What is opiate withdrawal like?

What are the symptoms? How long might it last? I know opiates can be classified as either short-acting or long-acting, is there a difference between their withdrawals?

asked 28 Feb '12, 14:48

greenpea's gravatar image

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Opiates derive from constituents found in the opium poppy. Morphine and codeine, traditional painkillers in medicine, are major active opiates found in processed opium sap. Semi-synthetic opiates, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, are derived from morphine and codeine compounds, and have become increasingly popular over the last decade.

(16 Apr '12, 17:28) admin ♦♦



Professional and medical supervision is recommended for opiate withdrawal as it can be very dangerous, even life-threatening.



Heroin is a commonly abused short-acting opiate.



Oxycontin is a commonly prescribed opiate meant to relieve pain.


Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction creates strong chemical dependencies that, once opiate use is stopped, cause serious withdrawal.


Opiate Detox

It is recommended to seek professional help when quitting drugs, drug detox programs help you manage painful withdrawals.

Withdrawal from short-acting Opiates such as heroin, morphine and Oxycontin is usually in full swing 24 hours after the last dose, peaks the next day, and subsides over the next five to seven days. In the case of longer-acting drugs like methadone, withdrawal begins after 24 to 48 hours of abstinence and may not peak and begin to subside for as long as two weeks. Length of withdrawal is dependent, to a degree, on the amount of the drug that was regularly used, and may be affected by the presence of other drugs in the system.


answered 28 Feb '12, 14:51

McKail's gravatar image

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When not medically-supervised, severe withdrawal is physically and emotionally devastating. Symptoms include high blood pressure, rapid heart beat, muscle spasms, twitching, itching, restlessness, weakness, chills, body and joint pains, gastrointestinal cramps, anorexia (loss of appetite), nausea, feelings of inefficiency and worthlessness, and social withdrawal. Outwardly, the person may show tearing in the eyes, a runny nose, gooseflesh, rapid breathing, dilated pupils, twitching, restlessness, vomiting and diarrhea. The muscle spasms, twitching and gooseflesh have led to the expressions “kicking the habit” and “going cold turkey,” since the goosebumps resemble the skin of a plucked fowl.


answered 28 Feb '12, 14:55

JaneSays's gravatar image

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As famously unpleasant as withdrawal can be, inpatient monitoring and easing of the symptoms with medication during detoxification can reduce the discomfort to tolerable levels. Medical detox, followed by extended treatment and development of a strong support system, is the protocol found to be most effective at achieving lasting abstinence in well-motivated addicts.


answered 28 Feb '12, 14:57

Meet281's gravatar image

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Asked: 28 Feb '12, 14:48

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Last updated: 16 Apr '12, 17:28