Over 60 million people are addicted to opioids worldwide and opioid withdrawal can be a difficult, drawn-out process depending on the opioids someone is detoxing from. Methadone, for example, takes longer to exit the body than other opioids. Other factors that could determine the length of time it takes someone to detox from opioids include – if they took multiple drugs, the person’s overall health and their tolerance to the drug(s).
While the timeline for opioid withdrawal can vary, it generally consists of the following:
- 3 to 4 hours after the last dose – symptoms include heightened anxiety as well as strong opioid cravings that could cause drug-seeking behavior.
- 8 to 10 hours after the last dose – symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sweating and stomach aches. Increased restlessness and anxiety can occur as well as drug-seeking behavior.
- 1 to 3 days after the last dose – symptoms include body tremors, muscle spasms, diarrhea, insomnia and increased blood pressure. Cravings peak during this stage and the person could be bedridden due to the severity of their symptoms.
- Up to 24 months after the last dose – symptoms include mood swings, cravings, vivid dreams, anxiety, depression, agitation, insomnia and trouble concentrating. People are also more prone to relapsing during this period especially if they encounter any triggers.