What to Expect During a Suboxone Detox While Withdrawing From Opiates

green form

Every day, over 130 people in the US die from overdosing on opioids. In 2017 alone, 68 percent of overdose deaths involved opioids. 

While the opioid epidemic is certainly scary, the good news is, we’re more aware than ever of the danger of opioids. In the US alone, there are approximately 1500 methadone clinics that offer federally certified opioid treatment programs. 

If you or a loved one struggle with opioid addiction, this means that help is only a phone call away. The path to recovering from opiates all starts with a suboxone detox.  

What should you expect during this detox?

Check out this guide to learn everything you need. 

What is Opiate Withdrawal?

Opiates are drugs that derive naturally from the opium poppy plant. Taking the drug activates opioid receptors on your nerve cells. 

If you need pain relief, doctors will sometimes prescribe opiates, such as codeine. The synthetic version of opiate – opioid- binds to the same receptors. 

People use both opioids and opiates recreationally to produce a high. Withdrawal can be experienced both with opiates and opioids. While opiates can be effective for pain relief, when taken over and over, a person has a high risk of developing a dependence on them. 

If you’re physically dependent on the drug, this means that your brain chemicals and structure have altered in order to accommodate the drug. Therefore, when you stop using opiates, your body will then need to adjust to not having the drug. This can then result in withdrawal symptoms. 

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms 

Depending on the strength of your addiction, you may start experiencing withdrawal symptoms several hours after your last dose. 

The severity of your symptoms will depend on the dosage of opiates you were using and how abruptly you’re coming off the drug. The severity of the symptoms will also depend on:

  • Your overall health
  • They type of opiates you’ve been taking
  • Your family history of addiction
  • Your environment
  • The duration of your drug use

Here are some common symptoms of opiate withdrawal:

  • Stomach ache
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased heart rate
  • Agitation or anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chills and fever
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression

How long you experience these withdrawal symptoms can also depend on a number of factors. 

Withdrawal Timeline 

While it’s different for everyone, here’s what you should expect to experience in the week after you stop taking opiates:

6 to 30 Hours After Your Last Dose 

If you’ve been taking short-acting opiates, you should start experiencing withdrawal symptoms 6 to 12 hours after your last dose. Those taking long-acting opiates will start experiencing symptoms 30 hours after their last dose. These symptoms include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Excessive yawning
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fever
  • Anxiety 
  • Sweating
  • A runny nose
  • Hypertension
  • Increased heart rate

72 Hours After Your Last Dose 

Typically, symptoms will become their most intense 72 hours after your last dose. These severe symptoms can last for a week or more. 

The symptoms you may experience include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Depression
  • Craving for opiate drugs

Cravings for opiate drugs and psychological symptoms can last for over a week. It’s important that you surround yourself with a team of qualified healthcare professionals to help you through these symptoms. 

Typically, you’ll experience these physical symptoms for 5 to 7 days if you’re detoxing under medical supervision. 

Opiate Detox 

Now that you understand a bit about what the withdrawal process looks like, let’s talk about what happens when you enter an opiate detox program. 

First, let’s talk about what detox is. Detox is a natural process that occurs in the body in which all toxins are eliminated from your system. This is the first stage in treatment, and it can take anywhere from one day to one week to complete. 

Detox can be an extremely uncomfortable period, as your brain is already rewired to think it needs opiates to survive. Once the opiates are completely removed from the body, you may experience a volatile reaction, taking place in the form of withdrawal symptoms (as we discussed above). 

The detox process usually takes place in three steps: Evaluation, Detoxification, and Transition into further treatment. 


During the first phase, members of a medical team will evaluate you to determine the extent of your addiction.

You will then receive a customized treatment plan based on your specific needs. The evaluation process may involve:

  • Blood work
  • Psychological assessment
  • Medical assessment 
  • Social assessment
  • Risk assessment
  • Dual condition screening


During the detoxification phase, the medical team you’re working with will do everything they can to make you as comfortable as possible. 

You’ll be carefully monitored to make sure you’re vital signs are stable. If you do an inpatient detox, you’ll be intensively monitored by a medical team 24/7. If you choose to do an outpatient detox, you’ll likely only receive monitoring during business hours. 

If these options aren’t convenient for you, you may also wish to detox from the comfort of your home with online support. 

Transition to Further Treatment 

Once the detoxification process is complete, it’s time to transition to further treatment. Remember, detox is only the first step on your journey, so it’s important you continue to get the support you need so you don’t relapse. 

You may choose to join an outpatient or inpatient treatment program, either in your area or away from home. During treatment, you’ll take part in group therapy, individual therapy, and do other types of work to build the sober living skills you need. 

Suboxone Detox: Are You Ready? 

As you can see, the suboxone detox process is intense. However, the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be able to start your path to sobriety. 

If you’re ready to get started on your treatment, click here for more information. 

Share this post