Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, & Help | Banyan Boca

How to Overcome Opiate Withdrawal

Understanding Opiate Withdrawal


People who are starting on the road to recovery usually want to know how long opiate withdrawal symptoms last. The truth is, it varies from person to person. In general, opioid withdrawal symptoms begin within 6-30 hours of last opioid use, depending on whether the drugs abused are fast or slow acting. Opioid withdrawal symptoms typically peak around 2 to 3 days into detox and taper off as the week goes on.1 To fully understand what helps when detoxing from opiates, it’s important to learn about the mechanisms of opioid addiction and how they affect the opioid detox process.

Understanding Opiate Addiction – Opioids vs Opiates 

Opioids and opiates are terms used to describe two different subsets of one class of drugs. Opioids are synthetic versions of opiates, which are drugs derived from naturally occurring chemicals in the opium plant. Today and in this informational piece, opioids and opiates are used interchangeably, as they have the same effects on users. The only difference is that opiates stem from naturally occurring components of the opium plant, while opioids are synthetically created for the same effects as opiates. Opioids can be more powerful than opiates due to their synthetic creation, but both opioids and opiates carry dangers of addiction and overdose. Common opioids include fentanyl and common opiates include morphine. Heroin is in between, with synthetic and natural components.

The Science Behind Opioid Addiction and Withdrawals

Opioid addiction causes changes within the brain’s reward systems that can cause serious withdrawals during the detoxification process. Constant opioid use results in changed brain chemistry, where a person’s brain operates normally when they’re using opioids and abnormally when they’re not using the drugs, which causes withdrawal symptoms.2

The brain’s own natural opioid receptor cells become less responsive to opioids as the addiction and drug use continue, resulting in a tolerance where the user needs to take more drugs for the same results. While many people understand how opioids hijack the brain’s reward systems, the problem continues beyond that. Continued opioid use and tolerance associated with opioid addiction can harm the brain’s locus ceruleus, a part of the brain that creates chemicals responsible for wakefulness, blood pressure, breathing, and alertness. When a person who is addicted to opioids continues using higher doses of the drugs, these parts of the brain often struggle to function normally without opioids, resulting in withdrawals such as jitters, anxiety, and digestive problems when opioid use stops.2

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Opiate withdrawal symptoms generally begin slowly and follow the opioid withdrawal timeline where they peak around 72 hours after a patient’s last opioid use. Common opiate withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Irritation
  • Shivers
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks

These withdrawal symptoms can be frightening, but they do not last forever. In fact, the worst withdrawal symptoms generally last only a week or so, with the third day of detox typically being the worst day of opiate withdrawal. The severity and duration of your withdrawals will depend on your addiction type, the duration of your addiction, and your overall health. Our Boca Raton detox programs are designed to mitigate any opiate withdrawal symptoms and promote patient comfort.

How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last?

So, how long does it take to withdraw from opiates? Opiate withdrawals can start as little as 12 hours after the last dose. How long does opiate withdrawal last? Acute withdrawals typically last one to four weeks, but post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) can last years as a patient’s brain chemistry equalizes. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms typically include anxiety, mood swings, and other mental health effects.

How Long Is Opiate Withdrawal for Different Types of Opiates?

When considering how long opiate withdrawal lasts, it’s important to understand what influences the process. The duration of a patient’s opioid abuse, their overall health, type of opioids abused, and the overall patient health will all influence how long it takes to detox from opiates and opioids. Our opioid withdrawal timeline, below, shares a general outline for the timing of the opioid detox process.

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline – Acute Withdrawals Phase

The exact opiate withdrawal timeline varies from patient to patient, with factors such as type of opioids abused, duration of abuse, and overall health affecting the withdrawal timeline. The opioid withdrawal timeline generally follows this pattern for stages of opiate withdrawal:

  • 6-12 hours after last opioid use, patient begins to experience withdrawal symptoms like yawning, teeth chattering, and anxiety3
  • 12-72 hours after last opioid use, patient experiences the most intense opioid withdrawals including nausea, digestive issues, shivering, cravings, and mood changes
  • 72-120 hours after last opioid use, patient’s opioid detox symptoms tend to taper off in intensity until the cravings and withdrawals dissipate entirely
  • 6 days-1 year after last opioid use, patient has exited the acute withdrawal timeline outlined above and may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms during this time
  • 1 year after last opioid use, patient has successfully treated addiction and found sobriety

What Is Opioid PAWS?

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome, known as PAWS, is a withdrawal state that many patients experience after completing the acute phase of opioid withdrawal. Patients may feel fine for a few weeks or months after detoxing from opioids, only to face mood issues, sleep problems, or intense cravings months after completing their acute detox. When a patient suddenly begins facing cravings, mood changes, or other symptoms after completing detox, they are facing PAWS. This is caused by the power opioids have over brain chemistry, PAWS stem from the brain rewiring chemical components after opioids are no longer present in a person’s system. Opiate PAWS generally lasts for a few weeks or months after detox, and the intensity of symptoms will vary widely for each person.

It is estimated that 90% of patients who successfully detox from opioids experience PAWS.4

Overcoming Opiate Withdrawal and Opioid PAWS

While opiate withdrawals can occur, they are not entirely inevitable. In fact, you can fight withdrawals with the right support. At our opiate detox in Florida, we can help you fight the discomforts of opiate withdrawal. We provide crucial services, including:

  • Therapeutic Support
  • Medical Care
  • Monitoring
  • Exercise Programs
  • Nutritional Meals

Exercise and proper nutrition can make all the difference to ease your opiate detox. Our team at Banyan Detox Boca Raton offers the custom detox plan you need to successfully work past opiate withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawals don’t have to keep you from successful recovery.

Opiate Withdrawal Help from Banyan Boca

Many patients are wondering how to get off opiates without withdrawals or they are searching for help on how to get through opiate withdrawal. At Banyan Boca, we believe that nobody should have to work through the opiate withdrawal processes alone. We offer a variety of approaches to opiate detox, helping patients with medical support and therapies focus on what helps when detoxing from opiates.

What Helps When Detoxing From Opiates – Medically Supervised Detox

Detox is the first step along the road to recovery. Without detox, drugs such as opiates will continue to stay in control through mental, physical, and emotional dependencies. Our opiate detox programs at Banyan Detox Boca Raton can help you break free. Successful opiate detox is crucial to getting sober, and it’s best performed through medically monitored detox. A medical approach to detox is the best thing for opiate withdrawal because medically monitored detox reduces and even eliminates many symptoms of opiate withdrawals.

We offer the support you need for overcoming opiate withdrawal with our Boca Raton detox programs. Contact our team at Banyan Detox Boca Raton today to learn how we can help you. Call us at 888-280-4763.


  1. Wiley Online Library - Yes, People can die from opiate withdrawal
  2. NCBI - The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence
  3. Science Daily - Key Trigger of Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Found
  4. Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior - Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.