Opium Withdrawal: Symptoms, Detox Timeline & Management

Opium withdrawal is a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by a set of uncomfortable symptoms that people with opioid dependence experience after discontinuing opium use. 

It is one of the main reasons why quitting opium is very difficult and why relapse and overdose rates among opioid users are extremely high.

Fortunately, with the proper guidance, anyone can achieve a full detox from opium—even those who have been struggling with an addiction to opiates for years.

What Is Opium?

Opium is a highly addictive natural opioidor opiate—derived directly from the opium poppy plant by extracting and drying the liquid from unripe poppy seedpods. 

This liquid contains opium alkaloids, such as morphine, that are often used clinically to relieve pain or create semi-synthetic opioids. 

Some opium derivatives include:

Opium is also used to create illicit drugs, such as heroin, and can be abused by being combined with other substances, including marijuana.

The most common street names for opium include:

  • Big O
  • Dopium
  • Midnight Oil
  • Black Pill
  • Aunti Emma
opium withdrawal and detox

Opium is manufactured in three forms: liquid, powder, and solid, and it can be smoked, injected, or taken orally. While the effects of opium vary based on the method of consumption and the amount consumed, this opiate typically induces intense feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief.

Over time, opium use can lead to tolerance, dependence, and opiate addiction, which is why it is considered a Schedule II controlled substance.

Opium Withdrawal Symptoms

Opium withdrawal symptoms are a sign of opioid dependence. These symptoms occur when people dependent on opium stop taking the drug or reduce their usual dose.

Regular opium use—especially abuse, such as taking the drug for non-medical purposes—leads to tolerance, which is another sign of being physically dependent on opium. 

When taken for a prolonged time, opium triggers the production of new opioid receptors, causing your usual dose to lose its effectiveness. In other words, if you build up tolerance to opium, you’ll need increasingly larger amounts of it to feel its effects. If you don’t take the drug, your body will struggle to function normally and will initiate the opium withdrawal process.

Opium withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and potentially life-threatening. For this reason, opium detox—the process of clearing out the drug from your system—should always be carried out under medical supervision.

The most common opium withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Impaired cognitive function (difficulty making decisions, concentrating, etc.)
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Opium cravings
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Shivering
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Vomiting
  • Watery eyes

Opium Withdrawal Timeline

Opium Withdrawal Timeline

The opium withdrawal timeline may vary based on how long, at what dose, and how frequently you’ve been taking the drug. Factors such as your metabolic rate, age, and general state of health can also affect the duration of opioid withdrawal. 

Here’s what the opioid withdrawal timeline for opium users typically looks like:

Days 1–2

Opium withdrawal symptoms usually start within the first two days after taking the last dose. During this time, the symptoms tend to be relatively mild, but they gradually increase in intensity.

Opium withdrawal often begins with flu-like symptoms, such as watery eyes, fever, and runny nose. These can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and psychological symptoms such as anxiety and opium cravings. 

Days 3–5

This stage of the opium withdrawal timeline marks the peak of withdrawal symptoms. Both physical and psychological opioid withdrawal symptoms can be tough to bear during this time, increasing the risk of relapse.

Days 6–14

After peaking, physical opium withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, begin to fade away gradually. However, psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and cravings may still be prevalent and pose a high risk of relapse.

Opium Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Opium post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) refers to opium withdrawal symptoms that persist for a longer time than usual

Typically, opium users experience acute opioid withdrawal symptoms for about two weeks. However, post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last additional weeks, months, or even years and make it hard for people to keep up with the discontinuation of opium.

More often than not, PAWS refers to ongoing psychological withdrawal symptoms as opposed to physical ones, as these tend to subside relatively quickly. Depression, opium cravings, anxiety, mood swings, fatigue, and insomnia are among the most common symptoms associated with PAWS.

If you suspect you may be struggling with PAWS, seek medical help to reduce the risk of relapse.

How to Manage Opium Withdrawal Symptoms

Your doctor can help you manage opium withdrawal symptoms by assisting you in tapering off the drug until you can safely quit it. If necessary, they may also prescribe medication to treat specific withdrawal symptoms, though mild symptoms can also be treated with home remedies.

Managing opium withdrawal symptoms can be very difficult without medical help, which is why it’s not recommended to go through opium withdrawal on your own. Long-term users, in particular, may struggle with severe symptoms, some of which may require immediate medical attention.

For example, one case study on opium withdrawal reports a patient experiencing severe episodes of vomiting (up to 20 times a day), which led to relapse. The patient had been using the drug for seven years before quitting. 
Such severe opium withdrawal symptoms can not only cause you to resume opioid use but also lead to potentially lethal complications, such as dehydration. For this reason, you should always work with your doctor or seek a specialized opioid addiction treatment to get off opioids safely.

Risks and Dangers of Taking Opium

opium withdrawal and detox

Opioid addiction is the greatest risk anyone taking opium faces, as opiates affect brain chemistry. These chemical changes occurring in the brain are the underlying cause of opioid dependence.

Importantly, opium can also cause an opioid overdose. While continuous opioid abuse is a risk factor for overdosing on opium, it can also happen by, for instance, taking an extra dose by accident. If not treated on time, an opiumoverdose can be fatal.

Moreover, you should never take opium with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, as this may lead to respiratory depression. Mixing opium with other substances, including benzodiazepines, alcohol, sedatives, and even some herbal medicines, increases the risk of addiction and opium overdose.

Opioids can also cause various side effects ranging from mild to potentially fatal. 

The most common side effects of opium are:

  • Appetite loss
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slow, shallow breathing

How to Detox From Opium

There are different opium detox options available, including:

  • Medical detox, which refers to detoxing from opium under medical supervision, often with the help of medications that help manage withdrawal symptoms
  • Rapid detox, which combines general anesthesia and opioid-blocking medication to quickly eliminate opium from your body
  • Outpatient detox, which provides you guidelines on how to quit opium at home but requires you to show up at the treatment facility at agreed times

However, opium detox alone won’t heal your opioid addiction since it doesn’t fix the opioid-induced chemical brain imbalance.

Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is an ultra-modern opioid addiction treatment that restores your brain to its normal state. Unlike opium detox treatments, it eliminates opioid withdrawal symptoms, negates the risk of relapse, and allows you to recover from opioid addiction within days.

Opium Rapid Detox vs. ANR Treatment

The ANR treatment differs from opium rapid detox in terms of objectives, safety, and effectiveness.

Opium rapid detox aims to quickly eliminate the drug from the system. However, it can cause a variety of side effects, some of which can be fatal. Most importantly, despite its high cost, rapid detox may lead to relapse, overdose, and even death.

Meanwhile, the therapeutic goal of the ANR treatment is to re-regulate the endorphin-receptor imbalance resulting from opioid use. Unlike opium rapid detox,  ANR is tailored to each patient and performed in an ICU setting by highly experienced medical professionals. As such, it eliminates opium dependence without the risk of side effects, relapse, and complications.

Opium Rapid Detox vs. ANR Treatment

ANR Opioid Treatment for Opium Addiction

Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is an opioid dependency treatment that takes an innovative approach to helping people overcome opium dependency and addiction.

The ANR treatment is not only safe but also highly effective, allowing patients to recover from opium dependency within a few days. With patient care at the forefront of what we do, following the completion of treatment, ANR patients experience full recovery without the risk of relapse.

Its effectiveness stems from the fact that, unlike other treatments, ANR attacks opium dependency at its core, re-regulating the endorphin-receptor imbalance caused by opium use. 

Not to mention, ANR is much faster than long-term recovery treatments and negates the risk of overdose that can result from rapid detox or medically-assisted treatments, such as methadone replacement therapy. 

ANR Clinic has healthcare facilities in:

  • DeSoto Memorial Hospital, Arcadia, Florida
  • ANR Europe Thun, Switzerland
  • New Vision University Hospital, Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Goiania, Brazil

Getting started with the ANR treatment is as simple as getting in touch with us and scheduling a free consultation!

Key Takeaways

If you’re dependent on opium, remember that it is not your fault—it can happen to anyone taking this drug. Even those who take opioids strictly as prescribed aren’t immune to opioid addiction.  

Remember that quitting opium “cold turkey” can exacerbate opium withdrawal symptoms and cause potentially life-threatening complications. It can also increase the risk of relapse, overdose, and death. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to seek professional help for opium withdrawal and addiction. 

At ANR Clinic, we can help you fast-forward the process of opium withdrawal and reclaim control over your life in a matter of days.

Now, let’s reiterate the key points we covered:

  • Opium is a natural opioid that is highly addictive and often used to produce semi-synthetic opioids.
  • Psychological opium withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, cravings, and anxiety, tend to last longer than physical ones (nausea, headache, joint pain, etc.).
  • If your opium withdrawal symptoms last several weeks or months after quitting the drug, you may suffer from PAWS.

Opium Withdrawal & Detox FAQ

The entire opium withdrawal period usually lasts around 14 days. However, the extent of your opium use and addiction can affect the opiate withdrawal timeline. The longer and the more frequently you’ve been using opium, the more time you will usually need to recover from it.

Heroin and opium are not the same drug. However, as a semi-synthetic opioid, heroin is derived from opium. Despite their differences, they are still very similar. Heroin withdrawal, for example, is similar in severity to opium withdrawal.

Yes, opium can cause an addiction or dependence on other opioids. If you become dependent on opium but can no longer acquire it, you may start using other opioids instead and become addicted to them. You can also become dependent on opioids used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and other such treatments.

When you will start feeling the symptoms of opioid withdrawal depends on several factors, including the type of opioid you use. In the case of opium, you may start to notice withdrawal symptoms within 72 hours after your last dose.

Withdrawal symptoms usually last a couple of weeks. However, the road to recovery often depends on a host of individual factors as well as the nature of your drug use (the duration of your opioid use, for example). In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can persist for months and even years. The recovery period lasts only a few days at an ANR treatment center.

At the ANR Clinic, we offer an opioid dependence and addiction treatment program that bypasses withdrawal altogether. Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is an extremely effective treatment that treats addiction by restoring the endorphin-receptor balance to regular levels. It is a much faster treatment than other programs, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Although it is unlikely, yes, people can die from opiate and opioid withdrawal. It is more common for withdrawal to be identified as one of the multiple causes of a person’s death. This is most likely to happen to someone who has other underlying health issues such as cancer, heart disease, or hypotension.

The signs of prescription opioid use disorder (OUD) include:

  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Continuing to take opioids despite their negative effects on your life
  • Attempting to obtain opioids by lying, stealing, forging prescriptions, etc.
  • Abusing prescription opioids (e.g., taking them for non-medical purposes)
  • Experiencing cravings and other opioid withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug

Reclaim your life with the revolutionary ANR treatment.

Dr. Andre Waismann

Dr. Waismann identified the biological roots of opioid dependency, Since then he has successfully treated more than 24,000 patients worldwide that are struggling with opioid addiction.

Throughout his career, he has lectured and educated health professionals in dozens of countries around the world to this day.

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