What is Heroin Detox?

A detox is a period of time where the body gets rid of any drugs in it. Your body may react physically and mentally with hard-to-manage withdrawal symptoms—some of which can lead to lifelong problems if not treated correctly. Detoxing from heroin requires medical monitoring and supervision. The time it takes to fully recover depends on individual factors, such as how long heroin was abused, the drug intake method, and your family history.

For heroin detox, there are inpatient and outpatient detox programs available. We offer inpatient detox programs, meaning you’d stay in our luxurious, welcoming rooms and have access to professionals during your recovery. Our local partners offer outpatient detox, which is available to those who have a less severe addiction and want to continue their work or school during their detox. Though detox doesn’t sound ideal, it’s the first step to recovery that every addict has to take to start a new life.


What are the Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal?

Getting the drugs or alcohol out of your system is the first step to recovery. Detoxing in a safe, professionally staffed environment is important because your brain may have become dependent on drugs or alcohol, which can affect its chemical make up. In severe dependency cases, suddenly ending alcohol intake could lead to fatal seizures, and suddenly stopping the intake of benzos (benzodiazepine) could lead to delirium, a lost sense of self, and psychosis.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Frustration
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pains and cramps
  • Insomnia


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How Long Does Heroin Detox Take?

Heroin withdrawal symptoms start 6 to 12 hours after the last dose and resemble withdrawal symptoms of other opioids. You may feel like you have the flu, and you may experience anxiety, sweating, and dilated pupils. You can also experience hypersensitivity, memory loss, and panic attacks that can last between 18 months to two years.

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

1-2 Days

When you first detox from heroin, you will feel flu-like symptoms within the first 6 to 12 hours. These withdrawal symptoms—vomiting, sweating, and diarrhea—will peak on the second or third day.

3-5 DAYS

You’ll still have symptoms of the flu, combined with shakiness, chills, cramps, and muscle aches. Mentally, you may experience anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks.

6-7 DAYS

You’ll start to feel the flu-like symptoms resolve and begin feeling more like yourself. You may still feel tired. You can experience on-going insomnia, anxiety, depression, and fatigue for a year and a half to two years after detox.

Medications Used in Heroin Detox

Medications to treat heroin withdrawal symptoms may include slow-release opiates to ease addicts off of heroin. Other prescription drugs relieve cravings and symptoms of vomiting and nausea. Other medications are designed to block brain receptors that react to heroin to reduce cravings.

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone

What Happens After Heroin Detox?

While heroin detox is the first physical step to recovery, there are mental steps involved in recovery after detox. Structured activities, group therapy, and individual counseling are built into your day when you stay at a residential addiction treatment facility such as Gratitude Lodge. After that, you’ll be able to transition to outpatient care, where you can stay in your own home, attend work or school, and attend therapy in the daytime or evening.

You’ll feel your withdrawal symptoms become manageable after detoxing from heroin with the help of medical therapy. Then, you can partake in group activities, benefit from a structured schedule, develop responsibility, and become self-sufficient again. Taking all of the steps from detoxification to outpatient rehabilitation is what helps establish the foundation of a lasting recovery and decreases the chance of relapse.

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Is Heroin Detox Covered by Insurance?

We accept most PPO insurance policies at Gratitude Lodge for our Heroin Detox program. Whether you’re staying with us for as little as 7 days or more than 90 days, your insurance may cover it. We accept BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna, Aetna, and many more. As with any insurance, the cost depends on your insurance policy deductible and your policy co-pay.

Some insurance may limit your care providers or may want you to contribute to the cost. We’re happy to see if your insurance covers treatment for you or your loved ones. Other rehab facilities will be able to tell you the cost of detox as well. But when you choose Gratitude Lodge, you’re choosing to invest in a new you.

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