How Long Does Opioid Recovery Take?

If you have a problem with opioids and have decided to seek help from a licensed rehab facility, you are at least one step closer to getting your life back on track.  But this is not to say the journey toward sobriety will be easy; it is, in fact, quite the contrary.  All too often, people relapse while they are still in an addiction recovery program, and many do so because they\’ve fall victim to cravings, temptation, or both.

Peer pressure and difficult withdrawal symptoms while going through detox can cause some individuals to relapse.  And all of this is well-substantiated in a study published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  According to researchers involved in the study, the overall rate of relapse associated with most substance use disorders is between 40 to 60 percent.  Comparatively speaking, the relapse rate among individuals trying to overcome opioid addiction, specifically, is around 78 percent.

The Hardest Part of Quitting Opioids

There is, obviously, a plurality of reasons why most people find it hard to quit opioids for good.  But detox and the associated withdrawal symptoms probably rank the highest among all others.  To make sense of all this, it helps to know a little more about what detox entails and the kind of withdrawal symptoms that most people face during this aspect of their addiction recovery journey.

First and foremost, the detox process is a natural one in that the body will naturally work to rid itself of drugs and other toxins once an individual stops using. As far as withdrawal symptoms, they can come on at different times depending on the drug an individual was using, how long they\’ve been using, and the average dose they were consuming. That said, some of the symptoms that follow detox from opioids include the following:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • High blood pressure
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Profuse sweating

How Long Does Opioid Recovery Take?

Having established that detox and withdrawal symptoms are the two most challenging parts of overcoming opioid addiction, let\’s shift gears a bit and discuss how long addiction recovery takes.  Before that, however, we should acknowledge that very few people make it through detox without receiving prescription-based medications to help combat severe withdrawal symptoms.  Some of the ones commonly prescribed by physicians in rehab facilities all across America include the following:

  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Lofexidine
  • Naloxone

While these medications can make overcoming opioid addiction a little easier, they don\’t necessarily speed up the detox or overall recovery process. It all comes down to whether someone was abusing short or long-acting opioids. For reference, short-acting opioids, such as morphine and heroin, can trigger withdrawal symptoms 8 to 24 hours after an individual has taken their last dose, and they can last for upwards of 10 days.  The same is true for the immediate-release formulations of oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.  These timeframes are markedly different when someone is trying to quit a long-acting opioid, such as methadone, for example.

Available data shows that long-acting opioids can trigger withdrawal symptoms within 36 hours after someone has taken their last dose and can last for 14 days or more.  Even when individuals get through detox and have survived severe withdrawal symptoms, it does not mean they have made a full recovery.  After all, there is a reason why inpatient and out-patient rehab is 28 days and 90 to 180 days, respectively.

What Happens After Detox?

After detox, most rehab facilities offer addiction counseling with an addiction therapist.  During these sessions, individuals will get the help they need to identify what drove them to start using in the first place; they also learn strategies that can help them cope with temptations and cravings.  Some of the more common forms of counseling offered to individuals in rehab include cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, rational emotive behavior therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy.  After detox and counseling, some rehab facilities will refer some individuals to a support group or a sober living home to improve their chances of staying clean long-term even more.

Bottom Line

In summary, it takes weeks to get through detox and even longer to get through an entire addiction recovery program at a rehab facility.  But when it is all said and done, it is time well spent.  For more information on overcoming opioid addiction, consider speaking with one of our compassionate representatives today at 833-820-2922.

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