How Long Does It Take to Become Addicted to Opioids?

Opioids (also known as opiates) often come in the form of narcotic pain relievers that contain either natural or synthetic opium. Anyone can become addicted to opiates, often before they even realize it. While not everyone who uses opioids will get addicted, every user is at risk.  

Opioids are usually prescribed to patients recovering from surgery or for those with intense pain. All opioids work by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and giving the user a “high” as they relieve the pain. But with this much potency often comes addiction.

When someone has an opiate addiction, their body and mind can begin to change negatively. In some cases, a person’s entire life can be consumed by opioids. With continued use, a person can begin to have a number of health issues which can lead to overdose or death in some cases. 

Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Abuse

Opioids are extremely addicting prescription drugs. When opiates are abused, a person will take doses much higher than prescribed. This can cause dependency within the user along with a wide variety of behavioral and mental changes. 

It is important to be aware of these signs so you can get help for a loved one who may be addicted to opiates. Time is at the essence when it comes to addiction, especially when dealing with opioids like heroin that can eventually lead to overdose if left untreated.

Common signs of opioid abuse include the following:

  • – Vomiting and nausea
  • – Slowed and shallow breathing rate
  • – Slurred speech
  • – Drowsiness
  • – Irritability
  • – Depression and anxiety
  • – A euphoric high
  • – Mood swings
  • – Constipation
  • – Decreased motivation 

When someone becomes addicted to opiates, they will often abandon their responsibilities to seek out their addiction. A person’s life can become entirely driven off opioids altogether. Additionally, it not only affects the person but family members, friends, and everyone around them as well. 

Sometimes a person can become completely consumed by an opiate addiction without seeing it coming. Becoming addicted to opiates can differ in time period and can create many social and health problems with continued use. 

Signs of an Opioid Overdose

With dependency and tolerance comes the dangerous chance of overdose. An opioid overdose can occur when someone takes too much of a certain drug (in this case opiates). Too much of a drug can take a dangerous toll on a person’s body at any given moment. 

It is important to be attentive to these signs and act quickly. If you notice any of these signs, call 9-11 immediately and get medical attention. Common signs of an opioid overdose include:

  • – Unresponsiveness (can’t wake)
  • – Irregular and slow breathing, or no breathing at all
  • – Unable to speak or communicate
  • – Constricted or small pupils
  • – Limp body
  • – Slowed or completely stopped heartbeat
  • – Pale skin and face
  • – Loss of consciousness (passed out)
  • – Vomiting

How Opioid Addiction Can Occur

There are many reasons one might begin taking opioids. Whether it starts as recreational use or as a legitimate way to relieve pain, any user can develop an opioid addiction. As a result, addiction can bring adverse health effects and mental issues after continued use. 

Opiates are highly addictive and give the brain a false sense of euphoria. If opiates are misused or taken for an extended period of time, the body is able to build up a tolerance, needing more and more of the drug in order to get that high or pain relief. 

This pain-free feeling may also become short-lived, which can lead to an urge to consume the drug more and more frequently. Opioid misuse can start to become a real issue down the line and in some cases, can lead to death. 

Dependence Vs. Addiction

There’s no way to predict exactly how long it would take a given person to become addicted. But the longer and more you use opiates, the faster dependence, and eventually, opioid addiction will occur. It’s important to understand the difference between the two (and yes, there is a difference) so that you can know when it’s time to get help.


Physical dependency is when the body adapts to the drug and can no longer function normally without it. The person will begin to exhibit withdrawal symptoms if the opioid use is abruptly stopped. Opioids in particular are extremely addictive and can consume a person’s life. 

The body can adjust to opioids and its effects if misused or taken for an extended period of time. Physical dependency does not constitute addiction, but it often leads to and accompanies it.


Addiction is defined as compulsive drug use despite harmful consequences. A full-on addiction is when someone has reached the point where they cannot stop or reduce their use of the drug. They may even lose the ability to limit their drug use or dosage. 

Opioid or prescription drug abuse can start to dominate their entire life. Not only does it affect a person’s health but their mind as well. There are a number of behavioral changes that can be seen in a person struggling with addiction, these include:

  • – Confusion
  • – Lack/loss of judgment
  • – Isolation from family and friends
  • – Anxious when not using opioids
  • – Shifts in mood and personality
  • – Mood swings and personality shifts
  • – Taking more than the prescribed amount (of opiates)
  • – Guilt and secretiveness to protect the addiction

Addiction can be dangerous for a person and the people around them. If you or someone you know shows these signs of opioid addiction, the good news is, there’s still hope for a happy, healthy life.

The Process Of Opioid Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery is a process that takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight. However, by getting professional help from a drug rehabilitation center, you’ll be better equipped to overcome your opioid addiction. You don’t have to go through it alone. There are a number of great drug addiction rehabs like Daylight Recovery that are ready to get you towards the road to recovery and stay there. 

When someone is addicted to opiates, their cravings can feel like a constant battle. Luckily, it is never too late to get help from qualified professionals. Let’s take a closer look at the steps to opioid addiction recovery.

1. Detoxification (Detox)

The first step at most inpatient opiate rehabilitation centers is detoxification. Detox is a process in which the body is purged of any harmful drugs and alcohol – in this case, opioids. This stage is crucial and tends to last between five and seven days.

It is also worth noting that a medically-assisted detox is always recommended and safer than doing it alone. In order to fully proceed with addiction treatment, a successful detox is necessary. With 24/7 surveillance and passionate staff, facilities like Daylight Recovery services can make your experience safe and as comfortable as possible. 

2. Rehabilitation and Treatment Phase

After detox is when the addiction treatment process really begins. In intense cases of addiction, inpatient treatment is recommended. Inpatient treatment allows you to reside in a rehab center with medical professionals ready at a moment’s notice.  

There are several different treatment options for opioid addiction. With a personalized schedule of different treatment options, the individual can get on the road to recovery and stay there. Individual counseling, group therapy sessions, and other behavioral therapies help change a person’s mindset while teaching them skills to deal with their addiction.

Other treatment options like outpatient treatment offer the same resources with an extra bit of convenience. Outpatient treatment allows you to continue your life outside of rehab, while still getting treatment. Outpatient treatment is made up of weekly visits with therapists and medical professionals. 

3. Life After Recovery

After opioid addiction treatment, a person still has access to a number of different support groups. During recovery, you can set up a relapse prevention plan among other techniques for life after recovery. Relapses can occur if a person slips back into using drugs after being clean. 

Relapses can be extremely problematic, especially when dealing with opioids like heroin and oxycodone. Relapsing back to old habits can slowly transition to more dangerous outcomes, particularly overdose. 

Let Daylight Recovery Help

At Daylight Recovery Services, our focus is on the individual. Our drug rehabilitation center offers inpatient drug treatment programs to get to the root of each client’s opioid or heroin addiction. It is never too late to get help from medical professionals 

If you think you or someone you know is addicted to opiates, let us help. We’ll use evidence-based treatments to guide you toward long-term recovery and with a customized treatment plan. Contact Daylight Recovery Services today to begin your journey toward sobriety.

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