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If you’ve been struggling with opiate addiction, then your first step towards recovering from it is going through detox. But this process can be a little scary if you’re not sure what you should expect from it.

We’ve put together this blog post to help you with that. It outlines the opiate detox timeline and provides more information that should help you feel more prepared to get started with your opiate detox. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Opiate Detox?

Detox is the first stage of the substance abuse recovery process. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s when your body purges itself of the opiates that you’ve been abusing.

For example, if you’ve been using heroin, detox is when you get all of the heroin out of your system. This is a process that’s characterized by withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Opiate Detox takes roughly 5 to 7 days depending on metabolism and how much and how long you have been taking the drug.

Opiate Detox Timeline

Below, you’ll find the average detox timeline and symptoms for someone who is going through opiate withdrawals.

However, as you read through this section, keep in mind that the symptoms you experience will vary based on your personal factors. You may not experience some of the symptoms in this section and you could experience symptoms not listed here as well.

Day 1

Your first withdrawal symptoms will begin appearing about 8-24 hours after your last dosage of opiates. These can vary, but the most common symptoms are:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Insomnia

Day 2

The second day is when you begin experiencing the symptoms of your opiate withdrawal more intensely. This day can include more severe versions of the symptoms listed on day 1, as well as:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sweating
  • Panic attacks
  • Stomach issues

Day 3

Day 3 is when withdrawal symptoms typically peak for short-acting opioids, such as heroin, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. You may continue to experience the symptoms that you had during the first two days of detox, in addition to:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Day 4-6

Between days four and six is usually when withdrawal symptoms peak for longer-acting opiates, such as fentanyl and methadone. These can include all of the symptoms covered on the previous days, as well as:

  • Fatigue
  • Shivering
  • Cramping
  • Cramps

Day 7

By day 7, the most severe symptoms of your opiate detox should be over. However, that doesn’t mean that all of your symptoms will go away. You may continue experiencing a variety of symptoms as the detox concludes, including:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

What Happens After Opiate Detox?

Opiate detox is only the beginning of your recovery process. To truly heal and enjoy your sober lifestyle long-term, you need to also complete rehab.

There are lots of different rehab options available to choose from, including both inpatient and outpatient ones. Regardless of what you pick, completing one of these is important.

Rehab is when you’ll work individually with a therapist who specializes in addiction. They can provide you with the one-on-one, targeted support you need to identify the root causes of your drug problem and overcome them.

You’ll also get to do group work in rehab. This will help you develop a sense of communal support, which can be very helpful to be able to rely on as you work through your healing journey.


Once you complete rehab, you will also likely want to continue receiving treatment with a personalized aftercare plan. This won’t be as intensive as rehab. But it will give you the ongoing support that you need to transition your recovery out into the real world.

Aftercare typically involves continuing to work with a therapist. Doing this is important because it will help you address any challenges that you encounter with your recovery in healthy ways.

You will also generally continue attending group-based recovery meetings. Having this type of long-term support can be a difference-maker to your healing process.

Complete Your Opiate Detox with Zoe Behavioral Health

Opiate detox isn’t easy. When you go through it, you are very likely to experience at least several withdrawal symptoms that tempt you to give up on your recovery altogether.

That’s why it’s almost always a better idea to complete your opiate detox in a treatment center instead of on your own. By doing so, you’ll also give yourself 24/7 access to addiction specialists. They can help you manage the symptoms of your detox to make the process as safe and comfortable for you as possible.

If you’re ready to take the first step towards your recovery from opiate abuse, get in touch with Zoe Behavioral Health today. We’ll provide you with personalized advice and guidance to get you started.