Home » Heroin Addiction » Heroin Detox: Withdrawal, Timeline, & Treatment
Heroin addiction recovery is a series of events that begins with detoxing from heroin. When you detox from heroin, this purges your system of heroin and toxic metabolites. As this semi-synthetic opioid leaves your system, intensely uncomfortable heroin withdrawal symptoms will present.
There is a lot of misinformation and myths about heroin out there, but this guide highlights what to expect from a detox of heroin, heroin withdrawal duration, and how to begin drug detox and get the support you need to sustain your recovery.
A heroin detox program enables you to address the issue of physical dependence on heroin and to manage the symptoms of heroin withdrawal.
The chronic abuse of heroin impacts the reward center of the brain. Tolerance to heroin forms rapidly, diminishing the effects of the drug and prompting many people to increase the amount of heroin or the frequency of doses. Abusive patterns of consumption will hasten the development of dependence.
If you are physically dependent on an opioid such as heroin, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms will set in when the effects of heroin wear off making drug rehab and detox a valuable resource.
The heroin withdrawal process occurs similarly to withdrawal from prescription opioids, although the presentation of symptoms is typically more intense. Learning how to withdraw from heroin comfortably safely will minimize discomfort during the detox phase and will reduce the chance of relapse in recovery.
In almost all cases a supervised clinical detox is the most efficient route to detoxing from an opioid like heroin and initiating your ongoing recovery by engaging with inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Many of those who attempt to abruptly quit using heroin at home (home detox) without medical liaison find that withdrawal symptoms are so aggravating that they use heroin to normalize, relapsing before the completion of detox.
The benefits of choosing to engage with heroin detox at an accredited medical detoxification center will:
Most people undergoing heroin detox find that the symptoms of heroin withdrawal are similar in presentation to a severe case of flu. Most symptoms peak during the second and third days of heroin withdrawal. You can expect most heroin withdrawal symptoms to subside after one week – a similar timeline to flu.
Everyone will have a unique experience of heroin detox and withdrawal. These are the most common symptoms of heroin detox:
How long does it take to detox from heroin, then?
If you are wondering about the heroin withdrawal duration or “how many days to detox from heroin”, here is an approximate timeline for heroin withdrawal:
The duration of heroin withdrawal can vary based on several factors, such as the individual’s level of dependence, the amount and frequency of heroin use, and their overall health.
Symptoms, which can include intense cravings, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, insomnia, and anxiety, usually subside within a week. However, some individuals may experience lingering symptoms such as depression, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping for several weeks or even months. It is crucial for individuals seeking to overcome heroin addiction to receive professional medical and psychological support to manage the withdrawal process effectively and ensure a successful recovery.
Heroin withdrawal can be intensely uncomfortable. The idea of heroin detox leads many people to continue taking opioids to avoid the onset of withdrawal. Others attempt to manage withdrawal symptoms at home. Engaging with a supervised detoxification program will make withdrawal as safe and comfortable as possible, improving the chance of sustained recovery without relapse.
Mild heroin withdrawal can be treated with acetaminophen, aspirin, or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen. Medications like loperamide may alleviate diarrhea, while hydroxyzine can ease nausea and anxiety.
More intense heroin withdrawal symptoms may require other medications like clonidine – this medication is chiefly used in an inpatient setting and may significantly reduce the intensity of heroin withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone is a combination medication that contains buprenorphine (a milder opioid) and naloxone (an opioid blocking agent or opioid antagonist). Suboxone triggers few of the addictive effects associated with other opioids. Using this medication during heroin withdrawal may reduce physical discomfort and decrease cravings for the drug.
Methadone is a medication that can be effective for ongoing maintenance therapy.
Heroin detox offers those looking to kickstart their recovery from addiction a safe space for the management of withdrawal symptoms.
Some complications that may occur during heroin detox can be dangerous and possibly life-threatening. Acute hydration can set in during heroin detox, and this can be effectively managed at a medical detox center. There is also a risk of vomiting and inhaling stomach contents during heroin withdrawal. In a non-clinical setting, this can lead to asphyxiation.
Those who manage to avoid those complications may still find that withdrawal symptoms feel unmanageable at home and without medical supervision. This can easily cause relapse, derailing your recovery before it gets fully underway and inhibiting future attempts at detox.
If you are dependent on an opioid like heroin, it is inadvisable and potentially dangerous to detox at home. By detoxing in a clinical setting, you will have continuous clinical care and access to emotional support on demand. You can also take advantage of medications to reduce the intensity of cravings and heroin withdrawal symptoms. If you detox from heroin in a non-clinical setting and relapse to mitigate withdrawal symptoms, this can trigger a lethal heroin overdose due to a reduced tolerance for heroin.
For most people withdrawing from heroin, the first adverse symptoms present during the comedown phase – this is from 6 to 12 hours after the last dose of heroin. As the rewarding effects of the drug wear off, so the first heroin withdrawal symptoms appear.
Most acute symptoms of heroin withdrawal peak from in the first three days of detox. Withdrawal symptoms usually dissipate after 5 to 7 days of detox.
Heroin is classified as a short-acting opioid. This means that the drug takes effect quickly, and leaves the bloodstream quickly, leading to a reasonably short withdrawal timeline.
PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome) involves heroin withdrawal symptoms that persist for weeks or months after the last use of heroin.
The average duration of heroin detox is one week, although those who have been abusing the substance long-term can expect to experience a more protracted withdrawal process.
During inpatient or outpatient heroin detox, treatment providers may administer medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.
These three medications are approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for treating opioid use disorder (heroin addiction):
While heroin addiction is incurable, almost all opioid use disorders respond favorably to evidence-based treatment. We can help you unpack the physical and psychological sides of heroin addiction at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California.
To address the issue of physical dependence on heroin, consider kickstarting your recovery at one of our pet-friendly heroin detox centers located in Newport Beach and Long Beach. Over one week, you will have access to a treatment team dedicated to your safe and comfortable withdrawal from heroin.
Drug and alcohol detox should be accessible to everyone. At Gratitude Lodge,we work with most insurance plans to cover the costs of treatment.
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Opioid use disorder (heroin addiction) is a chronic brain disorder characterized by the compulsive use of heroin regardless of obviously negative outcomes. This means that you will need to tackle the psychological aspect of addiction during ongoing treatment after heroin detox. We are happy to offer treatment programs for all drugs at all levels on American Society of Addiction Medicine’s continuum of care. Our most popular programs for heroin addiction are:
All Gratitude Lodge heroin addiction treatment programs offer personalized treatment that draws from a combination of science-backed and holistic interventions. These may include:
While heroin addiction is treatable, opioid use disorder has high relapse rates like all chronic health conditions. Accordingly, your Gratitude Lodge treatment program will include a comprehensive aftercare component that involves:
When you are committed to detoxing from heroin and beginning your lifelong recovery journey, bring your pet with you and head to Gratitude Lodge in Southern California for holistic detox programs. Call 888-861-1658 for immediate assistance.
Heroin detox is the process of removing heroin from the body and managing the withdrawal symptoms that occur as a result. Detox or detoxification typically involves medical supervision and the use of FDA-approved medications to help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce cravings for heroin.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, restlessness, muscle aches, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and insomnia. These withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous in some cases, which is why medical supervision is recommended during the detox process to effectively manage withdrawal.
The length of heroin detox can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the severity of the addiction, the individual’s overall health status, and the specific detox program being used. Generally, however, heroin detox and the associated withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Attempting to detox from heroin at home can be dangerous and even life-threatening. The withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and without proper medical supervision, complications can arise. The risk of relapse to ward off withdrawal symptoms is also greater if you detox in a nonclinical setting. It is strongly recommended to seek professional help from a licensed rehab center or detox center when engaging with heroin detox.
Heroin detox alone is not a cure for addiction. Addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain condition. Detox is a necessary first step in the recovery process, but ongoing treatment and support are typically needed to address the underlying causes of addiction and to help individuals maintain long-term sobriety. A comprehensive treatment plan may include therapy, support groups, and other services.
After completing a heroin detox program, individuals are typically recommended to enter a rehab program for continued treatment and support. This may involve therapy, support groups, and other services aimed at helping individuals overcome addiction and maintain long-term sobriety. It is important to remember that detox is just the first step in the recovery process.
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