Opioids are drugs that are either derived from opium or synthesized to create the same effect.
This class of drugs includes the illicit drug heroin as well as legal prescription medications, like oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, and hydrocodone. Opioids are painkillers, most often used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Heroin is considered a ‘street drug’ that people take to achieve a high. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), of the 21.5 million Americans 12 or older that had substance use disorder in 2014, 1.9 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 586,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.
All opioids are addictive, both physically and psychologically, making it extremely difficult for people to stop using them. Depending on the particular drug, the duration of usage, the amount used, and an individual’s body type and chemistry, opioid withdrawal duration and severity differs. Some typical physical symptoms include abdominal cramping, often accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea, muscle aches, rapid heartbeat, chills and sweats, and whole-body restlessness. Other symptoms include anxiety, agitation, insomnia, paranoia, and psychological distress. These symptoms and their potential duration lead people to seek relief, which can quickly be found by using more of the drug.
Withdrawal duration depends on several factors, such as drug, dosage, length of time on drug, and individual body chemistry. However, common duration times are as follows:
- With high-powered prescription opioids, such as fentanyl, withdrawal symptoms can last 4-5 days.
- With other strong prescription opioids, such as oxycodone, hydromorphone, morphine, and hydrocodone, withdrawal symptoms can last from 7-10 days.
- Heroin withdrawal symptoms usually start within 6-12 hours of the last dose, peak in 2-3 days, and last 5-10 days in total.
Again, opioid withdrawal duration can and will differ from person to person, but the fact that it ranges from unpleasant to downright brutal keeps many people returning to the drugs for relief. It may often be difficult, but individuals can successfully discontinue using opioids and go on to lead healthy and productive lives. Recovery from opioid addiction is possible and within reach. If you or a loved one is suffering with opioid addiction, call someone today for information on recovery.
Contact us today if you or your loved one is ready to reach out for help. We can start you on the road to recovery.