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What is the Opioid Detox Timeline?

What is the Opioid Detox Timeline?

Ready to detox from opioids but not sure what to expect? Typically, the body begins the opioid detox process shortly after the addict has taken the last dose, and can last for up to 10 days, if not longer.

Let’s dive into what the opioid detox timeline looks like.

Opioid Withdrawals

Patients who use opioids for a prolonged period of time develop a physical dependence on them. As a result, their bodies have become accustomed to having the drug in their system and will react negatively when the drug leaves their body.


These negative effects are called withdrawals. Without proper medical care, opioid withdrawal can be life-threatening

Medical detox usually utilizes medications that mimic the effects of drugs and allow the user to “come down” in a controlled manner. This is not only done as a way to make the withdrawal more pleasant but also to protect the user from the severe and dangerous symptoms an opioid withdrawal can cause.

Pharmacological drugs such as Methadone and Buprenorphine are used as a way to achieve this.

Timeline for Opioid Detox

Each patient’s opioid detox timeline is different, as the length of time that symptoms last depends on the severity of the addiction, the type of drug, and how it was consumed.

For example, when compared to someone who has been consuming heroin intravenously for a long time, someone who recently started taking other opioids like Oxycodone will likely suffer milder symptoms of withdrawal from opioids.

Typically, addicts experience mild symptoms of withdrawal from opioids between eight and thirty hours after taking their last dose, with symptoms becoming stronger over time. It is possible to experience symptoms for up to 10 days after the last dose is consumed, milder symptoms may last longer in some cases.

During an opiate detox, a patient can expect to:

  • Receive a medical examination
  • Experience symptoms of withdrawal from opioids
  • Take medication for symptoms
  • Receive around-the-clock support 

Day One After the Last Dose

In the case of short-acting opioids such as heroin and codeine, discomfort may begin up to 24 hours after the last dose. 

Patients checking into detox centers can expect to receive a medical examination as soon as they arrive, along with pharmacological opioid treatment. 

As the preferred pharmacological option for opioid treatment, methadone and buprenorphine are typically administered in this scenario in order to help combat withdrawal symptoms. It is common for patients to be treated with small doses throughout the detox process.

As time passes, symptoms of withdrawal from opioids will become more severe.

Some of the first symptoms experienced include:

  • Headaches
  • Irritation
  • Anxiety and cravings
  • Body pains and aches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite

Two Days After the Last Dose

For patients who have consumed long-acting opioids like oxycodone or hydromorphone, this period is characterized by withdrawal symptoms. On the second day after taking a short-acting opioid, patients may experience additional symptoms such as:

  • Sweating
  • Panic attacks 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

Three to Six Days After the Last Dose

For both short-acting and long-acting opioid addicts, withdrawal symptoms peak between days three and six.

Additional symptoms experienced on days three to six include:


  • Cramps
  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Enlarged pupils

One Week After the Last Dose

Within a week of taking their last opiate dose, patients will begin to see their symptoms subside.

Even though the worst is now behind them, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, and depression may persist for a longer period of time.

Where to Find Help

Don’t underestimate the importance of getting professional help if you or a loved one are addicted to opiates. By enrolling in a detox program, the addict will be sheltered from the health risks that are associated with opioid withdrawal and will receive medical care from competent staff.

It’s time to take action now that you know what the opioid detox timeline looks like.

At Ava Recovery, we provide opioid detox programs that will help you stay sober and get the help you need.

There is no cost or obligation to contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Contact Ava Recovery today!

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