Those looking to overcome substance abuse addiction may have to go through a few important stages in this process, and one that’s well-known near the start of any such journey is withdrawal. Withdrawal is what happens to the body when it suddenly stops receiving expected doses of an addictive substance, and everyone experiences it somewhat differently — including how long it may last for.

At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we’re proud to assist with numerous forms of addiction recovery, including for prescription drug addiction and related areas that often include a well-known threat: Opioids. Many of our new patients who come to us with opioid abuse issues wonder about withdrawal and which factors play a role in its timeline; once again, it’s important to realize that there is no set answer, and the precise timeline for withdrawal and how long you feel symptoms will depend on a number of elements. That said, here are some of the key factors to be aware of.

Which Opiate is Being Taken

First and foremost, as you may have already guessed, a major part of determining how long withdrawal from an opioid may take is what substance is being abused. For instance, if the person in question has been on oxycontin, then they can expect it to last much longer than if they’ve been taking heroin.

That said, there is no industry-wide standard as to what kind of timeline we might expect, and this uncertainty only adds another layer of difficulty for those trying to fight their battle with opioid abuse. Even some people who have been using the exact same form of opioid will have wildly different experiences, so it is important to remember that these timelines are only general guides and not absolute rules.

Length of Substance Abuse

Another key factor in determining how long someone may experience withdrawal symptoms is simply the length of time they’ve been abusing opioids. For example, if you were taking a high dose of oxycontin for an extended period of time, then you can expect that your timeline will be much different from someone who only took it sporadically over several years.

Again, this is not to say that the length of the abuse totally determines the duration of withdrawal, as there are countless factors that come into play. In some cases, people have even been able to reduce their withdrawal symptoms by tapering slowly off opioids, though again this may not be possible for everyone and there’s no way to guarantee it will work for you.

Health and Lifestyle Conditions

One key consideration to be aware of is the health and lifestyle conditions you might bring into the picture. For example, if you already have some kind of illness, then withdrawal symptoms are likely to last a bit longer than they otherwise might.

Meanwhile, it’s also important to consider things like your diet, exercise habits and whether or not you’re getting proper sleep. All of these factors can influence the withdrawal experience and will make it last for different amounts of time, so keep this in mind as you try to overcome your opioid addiction.

Certain Genetic Factors

As many people who suffer from addiction are well aware, there’s also often a genetic component to how our bodies respond to certain substances. If you have a family history of addiction and/or mental health issues, then you may be more at risk for developing an addiction as well.

Even more specifically, it’s been found that certain genetic factors can also play a role in determining how long withdrawal lasts and what type of symptoms will be experienced. Although this is still a relatively new area of scientific study, it goes to show that there’s more to addiction than simply the substance itself and we may need to look at other areas as well in order to fully understand this complex problem.


It may sound overly simple, but one of the more basic factors in determining how long withdrawal from opioids can last is just your age. If you’re younger and have not been abusing these substances for as long, then it’s likely that your timeline will be shorter than someone who is older and has a history of abuse.

Some of this also relates to the overall health area we went over above. That is, it’s unfortunately just more likely that an older person has some kind of health issue that could exacerbate their withdrawals and make them last longer.

Again, this is not a hard-and-fast rule by any means, and there are many other factors to consider when it comes to the opioid withdrawal timeline. But understanding these basic things can at least give you a better idea of what you may be up against in your own fight for recovery.

Stress or Support Levels

Finally, it’s also important to consider the amount of stress or support you may have in your life. If you’re experiencing a large degree of stress and anxiety, then your withdrawal symptoms are much more likely to feel worse and last longer than they would otherwise.

On the other hand, if you have some kind of supportive friend group or family member watching out for you, then your odds of recovery are much higher. It’s also worth remembering that getting help from an addiction center or treatment program can be a great way to improve your withdrawal timeline and make it as easy as possible to quit opioids for good.

For more on how your timeline for opioid recovery withdrawal may last, or to learn about any of our caring addiction recovery programs or services, speak to our caring staff at Moonlight Mountain Recovery today.