Opiate Detox, Types of Opiates, Process, Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, Medications & Treatment

What is Opiate Detox? Opiate Detox is part of the treatment process for recovering from Opiate Addiction. Opiate addiction is a disease that makes a person compulsively use this type of substance even though the drugs are harming their health and well-being. Quitting opioids suddenly can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. But before we get to […]

What is Opiate Detox?

Opiate Detox is part of the treatment process for recovering from Opiate Addiction. Opiate addiction is a disease that makes a person compulsively use this type of substance even though the drugs are harming their health and well-being. Quitting opioids suddenly can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. But before we get to the main topic, let’s first learn about this drug.

As stated by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Opiate Addiction is a chronic disease that can cause major health, social, and economic problems.

Opioids are a class of drugs that act in the nervous system to produce feelings of pleasure and pain relief. Some opioids are legally prescribed by healthcare providers to manage severe and chronic pain. Commonly prescribed opioids include oxycodone, fentanyl, buprenorphine, methadone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. Some other opioids, such as heroin, are illegal drugs of abuse.

Opiate Addiction is characterized by a powerful, compulsive urge to use opioid drugs, even when they are no longer required medically. Opioids have a high potential for causing addiction in some people, even when the medications are prescribed appropriately and taken as directed. Many prescription opioids are misused or diverted to others. Individuals who become addicted may prioritize getting and using these drugs over other activities in their lives, often negatively impacting their professional and personal relationships. It is unknown why some people are more likely to become addicted than others.

Opiate Detox
Opiate Detox is part of the treatment process for recovering from Opiate Addiction.

Opioids not only include prescription medications, they are a class of drugs that also include the illegal drug heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl

Opiate Addiction, apart from being a long-lasting disease, is a declared epidemic in the United States. In 2017 HHS declared a public health emergency regarding this addiction. According to Hhs.gov, in 2019 around 1.6 million people in the US. had an opioid use disorder. 10.1 million people misused prescription opioids in the same year, and there were 48,006 deaths attributed to overdosing on synthetic opioids other than methadone during the second half of 2019 to the first half of 2020.

Types Of Opiates

There are a variety of medical reasons why opiates are prescribed. There are two main classifications for this type of drug: antagonists and agonists.

  • Antagonists: Such as Naltrexone and Naloxone, are considered to be less addictive than agonists, though the potential for abuse still exists. They are often used to help with the detoxification process, which often takes place as the first part of addiction treatment.
  • Agonists: Mimic the effects of naturally-occurring endorphins in the body and produce an Opiate effect by interacting with specific receptor sites in the brain. Agonists include drugs like Morphine and Fentanyl, which are most commonly used in medical settings and have the strongest effects. Many substances in this category have a very high potential for abuse and addiction. Other examples of agonists include Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Heroin, and Buprenorphine.

These are the most common Opiate agonists:

  • Codeine: Manufactured to relieve mild to moderate pain and coughing, Codeine is less potent than other Opioid Painkillers. It is easily obtained with a prescription and is present in some over-the-counter medicines. Commonly abused among young adults, Codeine is often combined with sugary drinks to create a mixture referred to as “Purple Drank” or “Sizzurp.”
  • Darvocet/Darvon: Though now banned by the FDA, Darvocet and Darvon are Propoxyphene-based Painkillers that were responsible for thousands of hospitalizations and deaths during their prime. While prescriptions for these drugs are no longer written, a black market still exists for the substances.
  • Demerol: A Narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain, Demerol is less frequently prescribed in modern times because of its high potential for addiction. Demerol is the brand name for Meperidine, which has euphoric effects similar to Morphine.
  • Dilaudid: Sometimes referred to as “Hospital Grade Heroin,” Dilaudid is a powerful type of Painkiller. Available in extended-release tablets, Dilaudid abuse can quickly lead to breathing problems or even death. Detox process is very hard, Dilaudid withdrawal have hard symptoms.
  • Fentanyl: A Synthetic Painkiller that is up to 100 times as potent as Morphine, Fentanyl is only prescribed in cases of severe pain. When used in conjunction with other Painkillers such as Heroin, Fentanyl can quickly lead to overdose and other dangerous side effects.
  • Hydrocodone: A main ingredient in many powerful Painkillers, Hydrocodone can be found in drugs such as Vicodin. It is typically combined with Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, but the FDA has also approved pure Hydrocodone medications.
  • Methadone: An Opioid used for moderate to severe pain, Methadone is also used as a way to curb cravings for people who are addicted to other substances, including Heroin. Despite its use in helping to treat other addictions, Methadone is still an addictive substance in its own right.
  • Morphine: Morphine has been touted as a godsend for people suffering from severe chronic pain. It is also one of the most addictive substances known and responsible for a large amount of unintentional drug-related deaths nationwide.
  • Oxycodone: Oxycodone is sold under brand names including OxyContin and Percocet. It is a widely prescribed Painkiller and has a high potential for abuse. 

How To Detox From Opiates?

Opiate Detox and Withdrawal Effects

Opiate Detox is part of the process of recovering from Opiate addiction, this process should be supervised by a medical professional and done progressively because the withdrawal effects can be very severe.

If you stop or decrease the number of opioids you’re taking, you may experience physical symptoms of withdrawal. This is especially true if you’ve been using these medications at high doses for more than a few weeks. Many systems in your body are altered when you take large amounts of opioids for a long time. Withdrawal effects occur because it takes time for your body to adjust to no longer having opioids in your system.

Opioid withdrawal can be categorized as mild, moderate, moderately severe, and severe. Your primary care provider can determine this by evaluating your opioid use history and symptoms and using diagnostic tools like the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale.

Opiate Detox
Opiate detox should be supervised by a medical professional and done progressively because the withdrawal effects can be very severe.

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Prolonged use of these drugs changes the way nerve receptors work in your brain, and these receptors become dependent upon the drug to function. If you become physically sick after you stop taking an opioid medication, it may be an indication that you’re physically dependent on the substance. Withdrawal symptoms are the body’s physical response to the absence of the drug.

Many people become dependent on these drugs to avoid pain or withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, people don’t even realize that they’ve become dependent. They may mistake withdrawal for symptoms of the flu or another condition.

The symptoms you experience will depend on the level of withdrawal you are experiencing. Also, multiple factors dictate how long a person will experience the symptoms of withdrawal. Because of this, everyone experiences opioid withdrawal differently.

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

However, there’s typically an Opiate detox withdrawal timeline for the progression of symptoms.

Opiate Detox Withdrawal Early symptoms typically begin in the first 24 hours after you stop using the drug, and they include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Lacrimation (eyes tearing up)
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sweating
  • Inability to sleep
  • Yawning very often

Opiate Detox Withdrawal Later symptoms, which can be more intense, begin after the first day or so. They include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Goose bumps on the skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated pupils and possibly blurry vision
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure

Although very unpleasant and painful, symptoms from opiate detox usually begin to improve within 72 hours, and within a week you should notice a significant decrease in the acute symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

Babies born to mothers who are addicted to or have used opioids while pregnant often experience withdrawal symptoms as well. These may include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Poor feeding
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

It’s important to remember that different drugs remain in your system for different lengths of time affecting withdrawal onset. The amount of time your symptoms last depends on the frequency of use and severity of the addiction, as well as individual factors like your overall health.

For example, heroin is typically eliminated from your system faster, and symptoms will start within 12 hours of last use. If you’ve been on methadone, it may take a day and a half for symptoms to begin.

Some specialists point out that Opiate detox recovery requires at least six months of total abstinence, during which the person may still experience symptoms of withdrawal. This is sometimes referred to as “protracted abstinence.” It’s important to discuss ongoing symptoms with your healthcare provider.

Medical Opiate Detox

Medical detox from opioids is the term used to describe a process of medically supervised withdrawal from opioid drugs. Medical Opiate detox is an effective way to rid your body of opioids and prevent relapse in those with opioid use disorder (OUD). Medical detox can be done either as a stand-alone treatment or at the same time as addiction treatments such as psychotherapy and medication, especially methadone.

Medical detox is the correct solution if you’re addicted to heroin, fentanyl, OxyContin (oxycodone), hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine, or other opioids, medical detox may be part of your recovery solution. Medical professionals supervise the withdrawal process because it’s potentially life-threatening if not done correctly.

Opiate Detox
Medical detox can be done either as a stand-alone treatment or at the same time as addiction treatments such as psychotherapy and medication.

Opiate Detox and Treatment

There are many treatment options, but research suggests the most effective treatment for Opiate addiction is Medical Detox from Opiates (inpatient detox) followed by inpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab centers have specialized programs for individuals with this substance use disorder. These programs help patients dig deep within themselves to uncover the root cause of their drug use. Knowing what caused patients to use drugs or alcohol in the first place will help prevent future triggers while in recovery.

Reclaim your life with Opiate Detox Program; We Level Up Washington center.

Opiate Addiction is a chronic disease that can cause significant health, social, and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. detox centers like We Level Up outside of Washington can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from Opiate Addiction with a professional and safe Opiate Detox. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

We Level Up Washington Mental Health Center: Primary Mental Health Treatment with Secondary Co-Occurring Treatments

The We Level Up Washington primary mental health center stands ready to help. Offering secondary treatment programs for underlying conditions like opiate addiction that frequently fuels harmful behaviors. Taking that first step to get the professional support you need can be life-transforming.

We know how mental health disorders and secondary co-occurring substance abuse diagnoses directly affect one another. The We Level Up Washington treatment center provides recovery programs through science-based mental health treatments that can help you feel better. Call us now for a free mental health evaluation! 

Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at affiliated facilities at other We Level Up Treatment Centers locations beyond the Washington treatment facility.


[1] ‘What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic?’ – www.hhs.gov

[2]  Opiate Detox – We Level Up Treatment Center 

[3] ‘Opioid addiction’ – U.S. National Library of Medicine (medlineplus.gov)