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What is the Opiate Addiction to Recovery Timeline?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, opiate addiction is one of the worst addictions facing the United States today. This widespread addiction is extremely dangerous and deadly. One of the first questions that people ask when they begin treatment is how long will treatment take. The opiate recovery timeline differs from person to person but you can expect a certain length for each stage.


The length of detox depends on the type of opiate taken. The detox process is not a complex one but it is one that is extremely unpleasant. Most of the symptoms appear at 12 hours after the last dose of the opiates and 30 hours after the last dose of methadone. The detox portion is when the drug physically leaves your body. Treatment for opiate detox is either a replacement drug or supportive treatments.

Acute Withdrawal

Withdrawal lasts around two weeks. Opiate withdrawal is one of the hardest to go through. It involves both physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms are extremely intense and very uncomfortable. Most people who go through it say that it is the worst they have ever felt and it is similar to an extreme stomach flu but with all of the symptoms at once with intense pain included.

Post Acute Withdrawal

post acute withdrawal

Post acute withdrawal can occur months into recovery and usually happens unexpectedly.

With opiate withdrawal, there is a second set of withdrawal symptoms called post acute withdrawal. This is a reoccurrence of the withdrawal symptoms unexpectedly during recovery. Post acute withdrawal happens days, weeks, months, and even years after ordinary withdrawal. It normally comes on suddenly without warning and can last a few hours to a few days.

Continued Withdrawal

Continued or secondary withdrawal consists of chills, sweating, emotional symptoms, and above all cravings. This portion of withdrawal lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a few months and starts about two weeks after acute withdrawal has ended. Most of the people who are suffering from it experience the following:

  • Severe depression
  • Severe anxiety
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Loss of pleasurable feelings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Other physical symptoms

These symptoms may persist for months after acute withdrawal and may only get better with counseling and time. Most people do find counseling a comfort during this time. They learn how to handle the triggers to use the drug as well as how to keep themselves occupied during the worst of the cravings.

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline


Aftercare is an extremely important part of recovery. Aftercare is what happens after regular rehab ends. Most people choose to continue counseling and other supportive measures for aftercare. Aftercare can last a lifetime depending on the strength of the addiction and treatment necessary. It takes a long time to completely recover from any addiction and opiate addiction is no different. Most people who finish treatment and have a good aftercare program succeed in their recovery.

Finding Treatment

Now that you know how recovery will progress, the next step is to find treatment. You can do this by calling us at 1-800-584-3274.

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