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Common Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Posted on December 30, 2022

Woman uncomfortable sufferings from opioid withdrawal symptoms

Common opioid withdrawal symptoms include milder ones, such as body aches, sweating, and restlessness, and more serious ones, including fever, hallucinations, and seizures. These symptoms can appear twelve hours after an opioid was last taken. Withdrawal symptoms may last a few days or as long as a couple of weeks. Detoxing at home could lead to dehydration and heart failure if diarrhea and vomiting develop. Medical detox allows for a safe withdrawal process while under the care of medical professionals.

Someone ready to quit opioids after using them for months may be uncertain about what will happen without taking them daily. However, a sudden decrease or absence of this drug can produce various withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe complications. So let’s look at some of the more common withdrawal symptoms that come from ending opioid use and explain why attempting to detox at home can be an additional high risk.


Withdrawal symptoms can appear if you lower the amount of an opioid you’re using or quit using it suddenly. Symptoms can be mild and create some discomfort. However, they can be more severe under some circumstances and lead to life-threatening outcomes.

Mild Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Belly cramps
  • Body aches
  • Goosebumps
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes
  • Widened (dilated) pupils
  • Yawning

Serious Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting


Fentanyl is an especially dangerous opioid, given its potency is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Overdoses from it can be fatal, and they can come from street versions of drugs secretly mixed with fentanyl. Even small doses of fentanyl can be hazardous. Without testing a street drug with fentanyl test strips, there’s no way to determine if it’s been laced with fentanyl. If you know someone using fentanyl, signs of an overdose will appear as choking, discolored skin, limpness, “pinpoint pupils,” loss of consciousness, and lack of breathing. If this happens, calling 911 immediately and administering naloxone could save a life.


Withdrawal timelines differ among opioids. Symptoms from some short-acting opioids appear within 8-24 hours after the drug is last used, peak within 1-3 days, and persist for as long as 7-10 days. Heroin is included in the short-acting opioid list. The withdrawal symptoms of long-acting opioids, including methadone and extended-release versions of morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, appear up to 36 hours after the last dose and can persist for two weeks or more.


Quitting opioid use on your own can be manageable for some people but risky for others. The discomfort of withdrawal symptoms can become more severe in some cases, especially if a person has pre-existing medical conditions. For example, health complications could develop if someone injects an opioid instead of taking it orally. Overdose is another potential risk for someone who detoxes at home for a time and then returns to drug use. Prolonged symptoms from withdrawal can create other health issues, such as dehydration from diarrhea and vomiting. Severe dehydration during withdrawal can lead to brain swelling, coma, kidney failure, seizures, shock, and even death.


Origins provides treatment for people with a history of opioid misuse and addiction. Medical detox allows patients to safely move through the withdrawal process while under the care of medical professionals. Existing medical conditions and needs related to drug use and withdrawal can be addressed, including proper nutrition and hydration.

In a residential treatment center, patients learn to practice good self-care daily and meet their needs without returning to drug use. Tools for sustaining sobriety are learned in individual and group therapy sessions as well as wellness activities. Family sessions, supervised by a moderator, can help a patient rebuild relationships with loved ones. Continuing care planning is also an essential element of treatment at Origins so a patient can set themselves up for success in sobriety after a program ends.


Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.

For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1296.