How to Survive Opiate Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, Recommendations

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How to Survive Opiate Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, Recommendations

This week I am sharing a guest post from Bill Weiss, who is the creator and founder of a blog, that sheds light on addiction from both opiate drugs and alcohol.  I wanted to share an important piece on the withdrawal of Opiate addiction hoping it can help at least one person out there.

Opioid addiction is becoming a serious epidemic in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Drug overdose is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and a lot of these overdoses are due to opioid abuse.

What Are Opiates?

The root cause of the epidemic seems to be an increased use of opium-derived prescription drugs. Opiate painkillers provide a sort of sedation to the central nervous system. The biological opiate effects include pain reduction but at the cost of a severely compromised nervous system. Popular opiate drugs include Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, fentanyl, morphine, and heroin.

While opiate effects tend to produce feelings of happiness and relaxation, the impact of this drug can be devastating. Users who want to quit the drug often find themselves stuck in a cycle of relapse and addiction. Addiction is a disease and opioids are one of the most difficult drugs to break an addiction from.

What Are the Opiate Addiction Recovery Statistics?

While opiate addiction has certainly gained a lot of attention in the past decade, the recovery process is not as successful as we would hope. The overall opiate addiction recovery statistics are daunting:

– Opiate use is linked to half of major crimes in the United States.

– Opiate addiction accounts for about 20% of patients at substance abuse facilities.

– 90% of opiate addicts will relapse within the first year of getting clean.

– On average, it takes around 14 years before an opiate user seeks a treatment program.

– The vast majority of people who attempt to break their opiate addiction will relapse within 30 days.

– An estimated 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription opiates, according to the World Health Organization.

Opiate Effects.

So, what are opiates in terms of their impact? The opiate withdrawal timeline may be fairly quick, but it is rough. Those who have successfully broken opioid addiction report on a few phases through withdrawal.

The first phase is called the acute phase. This is an intense period that typically lasts about three days. The side effects of Vicodin, for example, often include symptoms of pain, sweating, muscle ache, insomnia, diarrhea, anxiety, panic attacks, and loss of appetite. It is important to remember that these painful symptoms will eventually pass as long as the user waits it out.

The second phase usually comes in after 3 days and lasts around a week. Users often feel continued cramping, minor aches, shivers, and fatigue. The symptoms should vanish after a week. During this phase of recovery, it’s important that the user has access to the best opiate withdrawal remedies available.

Opiate Withdrawal Remedies.

The best way to mitigate withdrawal pain is by finding some effective remedies. These tips should help opiate users overcome their addiction during the withdrawal process:

  1. Find Support. Gaining the support of friends, family and coworkers will do a lot to relieve the mental stress during this process. Friends and family can provide advice and emotional support during the user’s greatest time of need.


  1. Make Time for Addiction Recovery. Users will need to push aside their personal lives in order to put all of their energy into recovery. Take care of the bills, inform friends and relatives, and push out any other distractions before diving into this.


  1. Rest. While getting sleep might be difficult during the initial detox stage, it’s still important to try to sleep. Getting plenty of rest will help the body in its recovery.


  1. Exercise. Moving around may sound counterproductive, but incorporating some exercise can relieve some symptoms, especially feelings of anxiety. When the user is feeling up for it, going for a gentle walk could be beneficial to recovery.


  1. Food and Drink. Healthy and nutritious foods will help restore your body to its original health. Users may experience nausea and gastrointestinal stress during their withdrawal phase, but eating food and staying hydrated should remain a priority. The best foods for withdrawal are soup, bread, rice, crackers, oatmeal and the plain meals. Leafy greens, artichoke, fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil are ideal foods for long term recovery.

Dehydration could become a problem during withdrawal, as the user may frequently visit the bathroom. It’s important to avoid dehydration as this could actually worsen the detox period. Sugarless water is the best drink to have during this period.

  1. Create Comfort. The place that the user chooses to break addiction will have to be comfortable. A familiar, safe room with a decent temperature range would be ideal. The user should also wear clothing that will be acceptable during hot and cold flashes.


  1. Medication. Over the counter painkillers like Advil and Tylenol could help in relieving some of the withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepines will help with insomnia and anxiety, though only use with your doctor’s recommendation. Clonidine is a drug commonly prescribed to those who are going through withdrawal.


  1. Attend a Detox Program. Breaking a drug addiction is already difficult, but attempting to do it by yourself is quite a feat. For those who are severely addicted and unable to break the pattern by themselves, a treatment center may be the best option for them.

While addiction is hard to break, former addicts will often say how it was worthwhile in the end. It just takes the right tools and a will to work for it.



Guest blog post:  Bill Weiss is the creator and founder of a blog that sheds light on addiction;  both Alcohol and drug. Where they offer people resources to learn more about the disease of addiction. Bill is in recovery and has multiple family members who were affected, this is why he takes such an interest in this cause.
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