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How to Overcome Opioid Withdrawal and Find Lasting Recovery?

Opioid Withdrawal


Before understanding what opioid withdrawal is, you should first understand what opioids are. Opioids are drugs that include both illegal substances like heroin and prescription painkillers by doctors like oxycodone. Doctors may prescribe these to you if you are dealing with serious and/or chronic pain. The American Medical Association reports that 45% of the individuals who use heroin first became addicted to prescription opioids. But even when prescribed drugs are used for a prolonged period of time, say even when the serious pain has started to reduce, it can lead to opioid dependence. This means you will have uneasy withdrawal symptoms once you stop taking them any further. 

But why does opioid withdrawal happen in the first place? Opioids chemically affect your brain and change how it normally works. It gets used to the dose of opioids and its effect on it. This is why you start depending on these drugs to feel normal. Thus, it becomes hard for your brain to work because of the chemical accustomization of opioids.

Your experience with opioid withdrawal may differ depending on the time you have been using it. But you are never alone in this. Why do we say this? This is because learning about the detox process can help you make an informed decision about recovery. We’ll walk you through the possible treatment options.

How long does the opioid withdrawal last?

Opioids stay in the body for a short period of time. They stay for 3.5 to 9 hours if they are hydrocodone-based drugs. They stay for 1.5 – 6 hours for drugs like morphine and heroin. To check if you had taken opioids in the last 72 hours, your urine screening can be done and to check for the last 24 hours, your blood test can be done. 

Your symptoms of opioid withdrawal start depending on when you used them the last time and with how much intensity. The withdrawal symptoms usually start to develop within six and 48 hours after the last dose. They can last as long as a week. The intensity and duration of symptoms may vary with different types of opioid-based drugs, but the symptoms are similar regardless of whether withdrawal is from heroin or hydrocodone. Intensive opioid addiction treatment is designed to manage the pain of opioid detox, while the brain and body become accustomed to functioning without drugs.

Despite all of this, opioid withdrawal can be treated with the right approach and treatment.

Opioid Withdrawal Using Medication

Using the right kind of medication right after the last opioid drug intake, the withdrawal symptoms can be managed.


Buprenorphine is the most prescribed opioid medication to manage mild and intense opioid withdrawal syndromes. It eases opioid withdrawal symptoms and reduces the uncontrollable temptation to take opioids.

It is advised that Buprenorphine should only be given to patients after eight hours have been completed until their last dose. Buprenorphine should be used with utmost care if the patients have respiratory deficiency, urethral obstruction or diabetes. Its dose must be regularly checked and must be frequently altered depending on the increase or decrease of opioid withdrawal symptoms. 


Clonidine is an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist. It helps in easing many physical symptoms after the last opioid intake like sweating, diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, chills, anxiety, insomnia, and tremors. Its side effects can be drowsiness, dizziness and low blood pressure.

It is highly stressed that it must not be given at the same time as an opioid substitution.


Methadone eases opioid withdrawal symptoms and reduces the frequent temptation to take it. It is helpful for detoxification from longer-acting opioids such as morphine or methadone itself.

Methadone must be used with carefulness if the patient has problems like respiratory deficiency, acute alcohol dependence, head injury, treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), ulcerating colitis or Crohn’s disease and severe hepatic impairment. 

Its dose must be regularly checked and must be frequently altered depending on the increase or decrease of opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Codeine Phosphate

Codeine phosphate eases opioid withdrawal symptoms and reduces the frequent temptation to take it. It shows no effect on 2–10% of people.

Codeine phosphate must be used with carefulness if the patient has problems like respiratory deficiency and severe hepatic impairment.

Its dose must be regularly checked and must be frequently altered depending on the increase or decrease of opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Therapies for Opioid Withdrawal


Biofeedback is a type of treatment where clients learn how to control their responses and overcome opioid temptation by being exposed to certain stimuli while their heart rate, skin temperature, and other bodily functions are monitored by a clinician.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a type of one-on-one counseling that helps people who struggle with substance abuse like opioids. During these sessions, therapists work with clients to overcome their reluctance or lack of motivation to change their lives. This approach is commonly used in addiction treatment and is a form of behavioral therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a well-established treatment for addiction that is based on scientific evidence. CBT helps individuals identify the personal triggers that lead to substance abuse and then teaches them how to modify their responses to those triggers. By doing so, individuals can learn how to overcome their addiction and live a healthier life.

Family Therapy

Family therapy can also be given to individuals if they wish to seek their family’s support and develop a closer bond with their families.

Rehab Centre for Opioid Withdrawal

Almost 1 in 4 people who abuse opioids seek opioid treatment. That number increases as more treatment options become available for the people. In cases of prolonged opioid use and regular supervision, a rehab centre is advised. To ensure it’s the right rehab for you, you should look for the following facilities.

Inpatient Rehab

After detox, clients often go to inpatient treatment. This can be in a hospital or residential setting. Treatment usually lasts 15-30 days, depending on what insurance will pay for. During inpatient treatment, clients learn about addiction and how to stay sober. Inpatient treatment also keeps clients away from outside influences that may cause them to use again.

Outpatient Rehab

The care plan for intensive outpatient treatment is similar to that of inpatient, but it is not as comprehensive and does not provide round-the-clock supervision. Although IOP programs have been shown to be effective, it is still advisable for clients to complete an inpatient program first to help them adjust to sobriety in a more structured environment.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

As we covered above medication (detox) can help ease symptoms and reduce the temptations of taking opioids, MAT (medication-assisted treatment) is a specialized approach to help individuals combat opioid addiction. It combines FDA-approved medications with behavioral therapy and counseling, helping clients stay sober and gradually taper off the treatment over several weeks or months. MAT is an evidence-based, safe, and effective treatment option.

Support Groups

Support groups are a valuable resource that can aid clients in their journey towards sobriety. These groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery, provide access to addiction professionals and other clients who can offer assistance. Along with IOP programs, support groups can help clients commit to their sobriety goals.


1. What is the Opioid Rehab Success Rate?

Providing accurate statistics on success rates of opioid use disorder treatment is difficult due to the wide variation in outcomes between individuals and treatment centres. However, similar to other chronic medical illnesses like asthma or high blood pressure, the success rate of treatment for opioid use disorders is estimated to be around 40-60%. Nonetheless, relapse is a common occurrence and may necessitate the implementation of new treatment strategies for the individual.

2. Which Opioid Treatment Program is best for me?

When searching for an opioid treatment plan, it’s important to look beyond the centre’s proximity. Factors to consider include whether Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is offered, especially if you have co-occurring mental or physical health issues. You should also verify the facility’s national or state accreditation and whether their staff is licensed or certified. Additionally, consider specialized treatment programs available for specific groups such as LGBTQ+, veterans, first responders, older adults, adolescents, women, or trauma survivors. These factors will help you choose the most suitable facility.

3. What can lead to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)?

Opioids can cause physical dependence in just a few weeks. Opioid Withdrawal symptoms include pain, chills, cramps, and intense cravings. Genetic and environmental factors can increase the risk of developing opioid use disorder.


You may be flooded by feelings of hopelessness when dealing with Opioid addiction and its withdrawal but with the right treatment approach and counseling, you will be able to overcome it. This includes the intensity of your symptoms, any other problem or disorder you may have, etc. However, all of this will require a strong will but your loved ones’ support can surely help.

Opioid overdoses and abuse are still wreaking havoc in Fort Myers and throughout Florida. Calusa Recovery has taken action to eradicate opioid dependency by providing behavioral therapies, emotional support during detox and withdrawal symptoms, and even helping with insurance coverage as part of their well-known opioid addiction treatment in Fort Myers.

We are here to support and mentor you on this never-ending road to recovery.


Pharmacologic treatment for opioid dependence
Opioid Reduction and Treatment Plan
Finding the best opioid treatment
Clinical guidelines for withdrawal
Opioid and Opiate Withdrawal
Opioid Withdrawal: Symptoms, Prevention and Tapering
Opioid Withdrawal: Timeline and Detox Treatment
The 3 stages of opioid withdrawal
What to expect from opioid withdrawal
Opioid withdrawal: medication and management
Opioid withdrawal and detox symptoms
Opioid addiction treatment plan
Opioid addiction treatment and rehab centres
Opiate and opioid withdrawal


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