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The Three Phases of Opiate Withdrawal

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The Three Phases of Opiate Withdrawal

The-Three-Phases-of-Opiate-WithdrawalWhile the use of opiates can be an effective means of pain relief, users should beware. Opiates are highly addictive, and recovery from opiate addiction can be extremely challenging. Stopping their use not only means letting go of a way to control physical pain, it means going through the difficult symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Within a day of abstinence from opiates, symptoms such as diarrhea, depression, and insomnia begin to appear and can last for as long as three months.  Knowing what to expect and when, as one goes through withdrawal, can be helpful:

Phase 1 of Opiate Withdrawal:

This phase of opiate withdrawal is known as acute withdrawal. Symptoms begin about 12 hours after the last use of an opiate and peak somewhere around the three-day mark. These symptoms can last up to five days and may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea

Phase 2 of Opiate Withdrawal:

As the body detoxifies during withdrawal, it starts to rebalance endorphin levels depleted during opiate addiction. This phase of recovery from opiate addiction can last as long as two weeks. Symptoms typically include:

  •  Dilated pupils
  •  Leg cramps
  •  Chills and goosebumps

Phase 3 of Opiate Withdrawal:

This is the longest phase of opiate withdrawal, lasting anywhere from one week to two months, but it is the least severe. Phase 3 symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia

If individuals are taking any of the common opiates as pain relievers, such as Codeine, Vicodin, hydrocodone, morphine, Oxycontin, Percoset, Dilaudid or fentanyl, they should note the prevalence of addiction among those taking them, as well as the challenges of opiate withdrawal, and use the drugs only as prescribed. While recovery from opiate addiction is possible, it is a challenging process and is best achieved with the help of qualified health care professionals who can help manage withdrawal symptoms.

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Posted in Addiction, Detox, Drug Addiction, Recovery