The opioid epidemic in the United States is taking more lives than ever before. Heroin addiction can tear apart families, lose you your job, and will ultimately take your life.
It’s time to put an end to addiction and start taking back control of your life.
This is a scary decision to make, because anyone who’s been addicted to heroin knows how difficult and painful it is to quit the dangerous drug.
If you have been battling with opioid addiction and you’re ready to put an end to it, it’s important to understand what heroin withdrawal symptoms to expect.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the common symptoms and timeline for heroin withdrawal, and how to safely and effectively detox from the drug.
Heroin Withdrawal: Symptoms to Expect
The lifelong road to recovery will be challenging, especially in the beginning when you’re experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms.
It’s important to emphasize that detoxing from heroin is not going to be the same for everyone, but here are the most common signs of heroin withdrawal that you need to be prepared for.
Mild Withdrawal Symptoms
If you haven’t been abusing heroin for a long time, you may only experience some of the more mild symptoms, which include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle aches
If your brain isn’t extremely reliant on heroin, these may be the only symptoms you experience. Also, the detox timeline for someone who hasn’t abused the drug too much will generally be shorter than those who are more reliant on heroin.
Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms
These symptoms may be present in someone who has abused heroin for a longer period of time, but can also occur in people who have only used heroin a few times. Some moderate withdrawal symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
These signs of heroin withdrawal are more difficult to deal with and more likely to cause a relapse than some of the more mild symptoms.
Severe Withdrawal Symptoms
If you have been addicted to heroin for a long period of time, your brain has become reliant on the drug. This means when you decide to quit, you will have much more severe side effects than someone who has only used heroin briefly.
Some of the most severe heroin withdrawal symptoms you should expect to experience include:
- Cravings for drugs
- Inability to feel happy or experience pleasure
- Muscle Spasms
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased heart rate
These severe symptoms can be threatening to your health. If you think you are experiencing these side effects, you need to check into a hospital or a detox center so you have 24-hour medical assistance.
Everything You Need to Know About Detoxing
Detoxing is the process of removing the heroin from your body so that you will be officially clean and on your way to recovery.
Detoxing is extremely difficult and dangerous, which is why you need to be knowledgeable on the actual detox process.
The duration of your detox will be dependent on how long you abused heroin and your body type.
Heroin is a fast-acting drug, so it takes effect right away and also leaves your bloodstream quickly. This is good because the withdrawal period will be shorter than other, slower-acting drugs.
Expect to experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as 6 hours after your last time using heroin. The symptoms will be milder for the first day sober but will peak during the second and third day of detox.
After the third day, the symptoms should start to become less severe and will last in total for 5-10 days, depending on how much your brain relies on the drug.
When choosing to detox from heroin, you will need to decide exactly how to approach it. If you have attempted to quit heroin in the past, you should have some idea of what to expect in terms of side effects.
Detoxing can be dangerous and lead to life-threatening symptoms such as seizures and heart palpitations. This is why it’s important to never detox alone.
If you start detoxing at home and begin having severe symptoms, you need to go to a hospital so you can be monitored for the duration of your detox.
However, the best option for detoxing would be to check into a detox center before the heroin completely leaves your system.
In a detox center, you will be watched by medical professionals, and your withdrawal symptoms will be meditated by Suboxine or Methadone, which makes the detox much more manageable.
Recovering After Detox
Once you get through detoxing from heroin, your recovery journey is only just beginning.
Just because the initial withdrawal symptoms fade away, does not mean it will become easy to refrain from using heroin again. This is why it’s important to partake in rehab for a few months following your withdrawal.
There are a couple different types of rehab you can choose from, depending on what your needs are.
Inpatient care means you will be staying in a residential facility full-time, where you will be treated for your addiction.
These rehab centers are completely heroin free, so you’ll never have access to the drug when you crave it. Also, you’ll not only be surrounded by medical and addiction professionals, but other addicts who are attempting to recover.
This is the best choice for people who need a more intensive recovery option. You will attend daily group and individual meetings which is vital to maintaining your sobriety.
Outpatient programs are best for people who were not addicted to heroin for a long time, and therefore have less severe side effects and cravings.
They are also used for people who have already completed inpatient treatment and are now returning back home for the duration of their recovery.
Outpatient care allows patients to live at home and work, as long as they attend the required group and individual counseling meetings every week.
For More Information
If you are addicted to heroin, it’s time to take the necessary steps to gain back control of your life.
Check yourself into a rehab center so you can safely and effectively detox from heroin and start on the road to recovery.
If you have any more questions on heroin withdrawal and detox, please contact us today for more information.