How Long Does It Take to Withdraw from Opiates

How Long Does It Take to Withdraw from Opiates?

August 24, 2020

Withdrawing from opiates is an uncomfortable process. For those who choose to seek safe opiate detox in a drug and alcohol detox center, such as Summer House Detox in Florida, the process is streamlined, and discomfort is treated with medication. As such, detox can take a little more time than it usually would without the help of a drug and alcohol rehab center. Still, it is absolutely paramount that you choose to detox in a safe, professional treatment facility, especially with drugs as readily available and dangerous as these.

Generally, it takes between two weeks and a month to detox from opiates, assuming you choose the detox route for recovery. Let us shed more light on the process of detox. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our program, which offers drug and alcohol detox in Florida.

What Are Opiates?

Opiates are prescription drugs like hydrocodone, codeine, fentanyl, and morphine. Also belonging to this category are street drugs like heroin. These drugs cause drowsiness, pain relief, and an intense high when abused. Some people start taking opiates through a prescription and then begin abusing them after they become dependent. This sometimes leads to purchasing additional opiates on the streets.

When people abuse opiates for a prolonged period, issues can occur, such as addiction, tolerance, and dependence. Unfortunately, though, a person can become dependent on opiates without even abusing them. Just taking opiates for longer than a week under a doctor’s care can lead to dependence. 

Why Opiate Dependence Occurs

Opiate dependence occurs when the body becomes used to the effects of the drug. This can happen whether a person is abusing opiates or whether they are taking them as prescribed. According to the National Library of Medicine, different people experience become dependent on opiates at different rates. How quickly this happens can also change based on the drug you are using. For example, some types of codeine are not as strong as certain types of morphine. Finally, how much you are taking every day can also lead to faster or slower development of dependence.

Why Opiate Withdrawal Occurs

When you stop taking opiates after having done so for a prolonged period of time, your body will react. If you suddenly stop taking opiates altogether after becoming dependent on them (a choice colloquially known as “going cold turkey”), intense withdrawal symptoms will occur because your body isn’t used to being without the drug.

In the case of opiate detox in a treatment facility, patients can withdraw from opiates with the use of medication. This makes the entire process easier and less painful, while also minimizing the amount and severity of side effects.

Opiate Withdrawal in Detox

In a detox center like ours, detox comes in three phases. The first of these is the stabilization period, during which you will be given liquid medication that will be administered every four hours. This medication will, at first, match the amount of the drug you were taking before you came to us, and over time, the medication amount will be diminished with each dose.

Next, you will enter the reduction phase. The medication you will receive will be reduced even more over time, and you will be able to enjoy the amenities of the facility. Finally, you will enter the twilight phase and receive a booster medication to smooth out the effects of lingering withdrawal symptoms.

But how long does all this take? Everyone’s detox timeline is a little different, but most insurance plans cover about a month of detox. Because of this, we try to give patients as much time as possible to be slowly, safely, and painlessly weaned off opiates in a way that’s both effective and comfortable.

Your Opiate Detox Timeline

The ideal amount of time it takes to withdraw from opiates is approximately one month. However, many insurance plans will only pay for about a week or two of detox. It is important to determine exactly how long your insurance plan will pay for your detox program, and with this information, we can give you a more personalized timeline.

In the meantime, this is an idea of the detox timeline you may be able to expect:

  • Phase One: The first phase of opiate detox is mainly focused on stabilization. We help our patients become acclimated to the facility, get comfortable with their fellow residents, and prepare for the journey ahead. It can take time in the first phase to find the right medication dosage, so we are strictly focused on this task. By the end of phase one, you will begin to feel stable and better than you have likely felt in months. Phase one might last anywhere from a day to a few days to a week at the longest.
  • Phase Two: During phase two, we might start to reduce your medication a bit over time. You will also be able to start taking advantage of the other things our facility has to offer, including therapy group sessions, a hydrotherapy pool, and massages. You may still experience some discomfort, but you will still be thoroughly managed by medication. Phase two might take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on your needs and your insurance plan.
  • Phase Three: Phase three is usually most focused on getting your need for the medication under control. You might also start the booster medication at this point in order to help you over the hump of late withdrawal symptoms. You will still be encouraged to explore and utilize the facility’s other treatment options and amenities. Phase three might take a few days or longer, depending on how long it takes for you to become accustomed to the booster medication.
  • Phase Four: Most patients are either over the hump of withdrawal at this point or about to be. The phase week in detox is usually focused on making sure you have a plan for rehab after your detox officially ends. Remember, just like the National Institute on Drug Abuse states, detox alone is not a treatment for addiction but rather for dependence. If you leave detox without seeking rehab afterward, you will only have done half the work necessary for a safe recovery.

What If I Need Less or More Time?

As previously stated, every individual is different, and it is unwise to compare your recovery to someone else’s. As such, you must understand that your personal withdrawal period may take less or more time than the timeline laid out here. Also, not everyone chooses to withdraw from opiates. According to a study published in Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, many treatments exist for opiate dependence, some of which involve immediate detox and withdrawal while others involve long-term withdrawal or even management for years on a medication like methadone.

If you need more or less time to go through opiate detox, we can do our absolute best to accommodate your needs. Depending on your insurance plan, your payment preferences, and your treatment needs, we will help you build a personalized withdrawal plan and timeline that suits your recovery best.

Why Can’t I Just Withdraw at Home?

This is a very dangerous option. Not only can some severe side effects potentially occur, such as depression, anxiety, and dehydration, but withdrawing from opiates without medication can be extremely physically uncomfortable, so much so that you might return to drug abuse just to make it stop. In fact, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, this is the reason why many people continue abusing heroin after long-term use, even when their tolerance for the drug causes them to feel little to no effect when they use it.

Even if withdrawing at home will be faster, you shouldn’t have to take the risk of experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms, life-threatening side effects of withdrawal, and possible relapse just to make the process faster. Instead, choose to detox in a safe, professional drug and alcohol rehab center like ours, and we will help you recover as quickly as possible without endangering yourself.

Call Summer House Detox Center Today

Want to learn more about our drug and alcohol detox programs? Call Summer House Detox Center to speak with a qualified addiction specialist, anytime, night or day, and begin your recovery journey as soon and as safely as possible.

If you or someone you know is in need of addiction treatment in West Palm Beach, give Summer House Detox Center a call at 800-719-1090 to schedule a FREE consultation. You can also visit us at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Resources

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts#prescription-opioids

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2851054/

http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/heroin.asp

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