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Dilaudid Detox | Timelines, What to Expect & Treatment

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Sep 24, 2023 • 11 cited sources

To safely discontinue Dilaudid use, Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) is recommended. Medications like Suboxone are used to keep opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings under control. This allows individuals to safely stop using Dilaudid and work on other aspects of their life that support long-term recovery. 

Dilaudid withdrawal is often defined by withdrawal symptoms that can include anxiety, muscle aches, nausea, insomnia. and strong cravings for the drug.[1] These symptoms occur because the person’s system is used to a certain level of Dilaudid and when suddenly without it, the body and brain struggle to adjust. With treatment, much of the discomfort of withdrawal can be avoided.

What Is Dilaudid & Why Is It Often Misused?

Dilaudid is a potent opioid pain medication that is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. It works by binding to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord that reduce pain perception. It is generally used for pain after surgery, chronic pain, and palliative care situations. 

Due to its euphoric properties, Dilaudid is often misused for recreational purposes. This practice can quickly lead to an opioid use disorder. Each instance of misuse comes with the risk of overdose, even for those who only occasionally use the drug. 

Dilaudid Withdrawal Symptoms 

Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms can occur when an individual who has been taking regular doses of the drug abruptly stops or reduces their intake. Withdrawal symptoms will differ in intensity and duration based on factors like dosage, duration of use, and personal physiology. 

Common Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms include the following:[1]

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches and pains 
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps 
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Restlessness and irritability

How Long Does Dilaudid Withdrawal Last? 

Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms typically start about one to three hours after the last dose. They tend to peak within two to three days and last for an estimated five to 10 days in total. 

While the physical symptoms of detox — such as muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting and sweating — may entirely dissipate after about 10 days, some people may experience protracted psychological withdrawal symptoms that last for weeks, if not months. These symptoms include persistent anxiety, insomnia and cravings for Dilaudid.

For many, this period can be just as risky for relapse as the initial days of detox. This is a primary reason why MAT is recommended.[2]

What Is the Proper Way to Quit Dilaudid?

If you’ve been misusing Dilaudid, talk to a doctor or connect with an addiction treatment program before stopping use. 

If you attempt to simply stop misusing opioids cold turkey, it’s very likely that you will relapse due to the discomfort associated with opioid withdrawal. With the right care, your chances of successfully completing detox and maintaining ongoing recovery are much higher.[3]

Decades of research have identified some of the most important characteristics of detox and treatment that will increase the likelihood of success for people in recovery. These include the following: 

Medical Supervision & Assessment

Assessment and oversight begins with a detailed evaluation of an individual’s medical history, opioid misuse patterns, overall health status, and safety concerns.[4] Based on the data from this assessment, an individual detox plan is created that is tailored specifically to that person’s needs during the withdrawal process. 

Close monitoring during detox allows for the effective management of withdrawal symptoms as well as timely identification and correction of potential complications that might otherwise damage the ability to complete the treatment process.

Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT)

MAT is considered the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder, including for those who have been misusing Dilaudid. This method combines FDA-approved medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone with counseling and behavioral therapies for maximum effectiveness. 

Benefits of MAT include the following:[4]

  • Little to no physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms 
  • Stabilized brain chemistry
  • Fewer and less intense cravings 
  • Overdose prevention

During treatment, healthcare professionals monitor the person’s use of the medication to ensure that the process unfolds safely. Because withdrawal symptoms and cravings are controlled, patients are empowered to focus on therapeutic treatment and growth, giving them the ability and space to build a better life in recovery.

Behavioral Therapy & Support

Therapy sessions and support groups are integral parts of the recovery process for people who are learning how to function without turning to drugs and alcohol to manage stress. 

In behavioral therapy sessions, people can learn coping strategies, identify triggers, and find healthier ways to handle stress and cravings.[5] Support groups offer an avenue for sharing experiences, encouraging each other, and offering help to those facing similar struggles.[6] 

Dilaudid Detox Timeline

The Dilaudid detox timeline can be broken down into various phases.[3]

Onset of Withdrawal: Days 1-2

Within several hours of taking the last dose of Dilaudid, withdrawal symptoms typically begin. These early symptoms may include restlessness, anxiety, and muscle aches. They begin as mild issues and slowly build as the hours pass.

Peak Withdrawal: Days 3-5

At this stage, physical withdrawal symptoms reach their height of intensity. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, and insomnia can make life challenging during this part of detox.

Dissipating Symptoms: Days 6-7)

By the end of the first week, acute withdrawal symptoms should have started to reduce in intensity, although discomfort may still remain present. Psychological symptoms may start to become the focus, such as depression, anxiety, and cravings for Dilaudid.

Improvement: Days 8-14

At this point, individuals often begin to see significant improvements in their symptoms. Physical issues tend to diminish until they disappear, while mood stability often improves significantly.

Protracted Withdrawal: Day 14+
For some, the problem of protracted withdrawal symptoms may be an issue after the first couple weeks of detox.[7-8] Feelings of intense anxiety, insomnia, and drug cravings can linger weeks to months after the acute withdrawal phase.[9]

Recovery Period: Varies 

Full recovery after Dilaudid detox may take anywhere from weeks to a few months depending on the individual and various personal factors affecting their use of substances. The severity of the opioid use disorder, general health status, level of support during rehabilitation process, and current stressors can all play a role in the ultimate timeline to stability in recovery. 

Remember that MAT can alter this timeline greatly since people who are on Suboxone or other medications can largely bypass the detox process.[10]

Finding Addiction Treatment Online

Addiction treatment is available via telehealth services.[11] This makes MAT available to you, no matter where you live. You can meet with an addiction treatment doctor from the comfort of your own home, ensuring accessibility and privacy for all patients.

If you attempt Dilaudid detox without medical oversight and support, relapse is likely. But with appropriate medical care and guidance, you can successfully complete Dilaudid detox.

At Bicycle Health, we understand the challenges associated with Dilaudid detox, and we are here to guide you through the entire process. Contact us today to learn more about our Medication for Addiction Treatment program and how you can get started. We can often connect you with a same-day prescription for Suboxone.

Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD

Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More

  1. Opiate and opioid withdrawal. A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Published April 30, 2022. Accessed August 5, 2023.
  2. Srivastava AB, Mariani JJ, Levin FR. New directions in the treatment of opioid withdrawal. Lancet. 2020;395(10241):1938-1948. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30852-7
  3. Shah M, Huecker MR. Opioid withdrawal. [Updated 2023 Jul 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan. Available from:
  4. Maglione MA, Laura R, Christine C, et al. Effects of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder on functional outcomes: a systematic review. Rand Health Q. 2020;8(4):RR-2108-OSD. Published 2020 Jun 15. Accessed August 5, 2023
  5. Carroll KM, Onken LS. Behavioral therapies for drug abuse. Am J Psychiatry. 2005;162(8):1452-1460. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.8.1452
  6. Creating and facilitating peer support groups. Community Tool Box. Accessed August 5, 2023.
  7. Haskell, Brittany. Identification and evidence-based treatment of post-acute withdrawal syndrome. J Nurse Pract. 2022; Vol 18, Iss 3, ISSN 1555-4155.
  8. Kosten TR, George TP. The neurobiology of opioid dependence: implications for treatment. Sci Pract Perspect. 2002;1(1):13-20. doi:10.1151/spp021113
  9. Maarefvand M, Ghiasvand HR, Ekhtiari H. Drug craving terminology among opiate dependents; a mixed method study. Iran J Psychiatry. 2013;8(2):97-103
  10. Kosten TR, Baxter LE. Review article: Effective management of opioid withdrawal symptoms: A gateway to opioid dependence treatment. Am J Addict. 2019;28(2):55-62. doi:10.1111/ajad.12862
  11. Fast N, van Kessel R, Humphreys K, Ward NF, Roman-Urrestarazu A. The Evolution of Telepsychiatry for Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19: a Narrative Review. Curr Addict Rep. 2023;10(2):187-197. doi:10.1007/s40429-023-00480-9

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