Getting Clean from Opioids

Making the decision to finally get clean from opioids is the most important step in your life. Chances are, you have tried to control your use but are unable to withdrawal from opioids. This is completely normal because one of the major signs of addiction is the inability to control use. While this can be very frustrating and has likely caused a lot of negative consequences in your life, it is important to know that you’re not a failure. You are chemically dependent on a substance that is difficult to quit by yourself.

In addition, you are certainly not alone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 26.4 million and 36 million people around the world abuse opiate drugs. Withdrawal from opioids can be very uncomfortable, so before you begin a detox, it can be comforting to know what you can expect throughout the process.

How Long Does Withdrawal from Opioids Last?

Withdrawal from opioids can vary in length from person to person. This can be due to many factors, including the severity of the addiction and how long the person has been using. The more opioids a person uses, the more their tolerance has been built. The higher their tolerance, the more opioids are required to achieve a high. The more tolerance is present, the higher the dependency can be. Depending on a person’s tolerance and dependency, withdrawal symptoms can be more or less severe.

In addition, if a person has been addicted to opioids for many years, it is very likely that the withdrawal process will be longer than most people. This is because the body has been dependent on the drug for so long, that it needs to remember how to perform and produce its own opioids for the first time in a long time.


The First Day

Withdrawal from opioids will begin within the first 6-12 hours of the last dose. People addicted to opioids might be familiar with these early symptoms. They are also considered being “dope sick” from not using in a while. Some early symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Runny nose
  • Sweats
  • Teary eyes
  • Muscle aches
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive yawning
  • Increased heart race
  • Hypertension
  • Fever

First Week

After the first day of withdrawal from opioids, more symptoms will take place. The first 72 hours is when they peak and they can last up to a week. These symptoms are mostly physical, however, emotional symptoms can take place as well. Most people who use opioids are doing so in order to numb an underlying cause. Feeling deep emotions for the first time can be difficult and hard to face, so it is very important to have a strong support system during this time.

It can also be very tempting to want to use drugs during this time. Cravings can be particularly intense, which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. It is important to remember that intense cravings are a normal side effect of withdrawal and to lean on your support system to help get you through this time sober.

More symptoms from the first week of withdrawal from opioids include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills and goosebumps
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Intense drug cravings


After the first week, the good news is most of the withdrawal symptoms will have subsided. Some people may still feel lingering physical symptoms, however, they mostly have run their course by now. Emotional and behavioral withdrawal symptoms may still be present for weeks, months or even years. Managing emotions, such as anxiety and depression, and managing drug cravings can be a life-long battle for some people that requires ongoing therapy and treatment.

Medical Detox for Withdrawal from Opioids

Withdrawal from opioids is not life-threatening, however, it can quickly lead to relapse if done alone. Medical detox offers a safe, comfortable environment to detox from opioids. Cliffside Malibu offers an on-staff addictionologist and medical team to assist you with any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. An addictionologist is someone specially trained to treat addiction and its withdrawal symptoms. This can include weaning you off slowly from opioids and even administering medications to help control your intense cravings. Why would you want to put your body through harsh withdrawal symptoms if you don’t have to?

About Cliffside Malibu

The timeline for withdrawal from opioids can vary from person-to-person, but will generally last about a week. This can be very difficult for someone to do alone, especially if not using even for a day is a challenge. Medical detox with a person with substance use disorderionologist and a stress-free environment is the only way to ensure your long lasting sobriety with the smallest chance of relapse.

Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for each and every client. Treatment plans are created based on a client’s current stage of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, or Maintenance. This model helps ensure that all patients receive the best treatment path possible based on their own specific need. Moving our clients through this model to completion successfully is our goal each and every single day.

Cliffside Malibu’s policy is to ensure that all people who choose treatment with us receives the best care possible. We strive to provide a continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program includes not only evidence-based behavioral therapy but family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are designed and structured to be a supportive environment in order to maintain sobriety.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, to meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

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