Recovering from heroin addiction is an ongoing process that starts with heroin detox.
What is detox for heroin, then?
What is Heroin Detox?
With heroin detox, you address the physical component of heroin use disorder, preparing you to deal with the psychological aspect of addiction through ongoing treatment.
Sustained heroin use impacts the reward centers in your brain. Tolerance to heroin quickly builds, causing you to require more of the drug to generate the same effects, or to use the drug more frequently.
If you stop using heroin after becoming dependent on the substance, you will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms during heroin detox. In many cases, habitual users of heroin continue taking the drug simply to feel normal and to stave off those withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from heroin is similar to withdrawal from prescription opioid painkillers, but even more intense.
A supervised medical detox is almost always recommended to kickstart recovery from heroin use disorder. Complications can arise during heroin detoxification, and symptoms can be so uncomfortable that relapse becomes more tempting outside of a clinical setting. By withdrawing from opiates in a medical detox center, complications can be minimized, withdrawal symptoms alleviated, and the severity of cravings for heroin reduced.
Heroin Detox Symptoms
Heroin withdrawal involves symptoms similar to those caused by a bad case of flu. Symptoms peak during the second or third day and subside after a week or so – the same timeline as flu.
While everyone has a unique experience during heroin detox and withdrawal, these are some of the most common heroin withdrawal symptoms:
- Cravings for heroin
- Vomiting and nausea
- Stomach pain and diarrhea
- Aches and pains
- Changes in mood
- Overproduction of bodily fluids
- Disrupted sleep patterns and restlessness
Cravings for heroin
Most people undergoing heroin detox experience powerful cravings for the drug.
Cravings are partially driven by a desire to re-experience the pleasurable heroin high, and also by the wish to eliminate the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Vomiting and nausea
Nausea and vomiting both commonly accompany heroin withdrawal, leading to extreme discomfort and a loss of appetite.
Stomach pain and diarrhea
Many people in heroin detox suffer from frequent bowel movements and diarrhea as the body accustoms itself to the absence of heroin. Often accompanied by stomach pain, this aspect of heroin withdrawal makes it challenging to adhere to a normal routine.
While a fever is an effective method your body uses to fight infections and illnesses, fever occurs with no useful purpose.
If your temperature rises above 103F during heroin withdrawal, immediate medical intervention is recommended.
Aches and pains
Heroin serves to block the pain pathways in your body. When you are detoxing from the drug, however, you may experience a rebound effect, feeling aches and pains throughout the body, in addition to an enhanced sensitivity to pain.
Changes in mood
It is normal to feel anxious, depressed, and irritable as the heroin withdrawal process unfolds. This means emotional support is just as valuable as clinical supervision during detox.
Feelings of depression should subside when the withdrawal symptoms dissipate. Consult your doctor if these feelings persist. You may have an undiagnosed mental health disorder – major depressive disorder, for instance. If so, dual diagnosis treatment can help you address your addiction and depression simultaneously.
Overproduction of bodily fluids
From a runny nose to excessive tears and perspiration, these responses in the form of excessive bodily fluids occur as your body tries to restore balance without heroin in the system.
Disrupted sleep patterns and restlessness
Yawning, restlessness, insomnia, and disrupted sleep patterns are all common symptoms of heroin withdrawal.
How many days does it take to detox from heroin?
How Long Does it Take to Detox from Heroin?
Most heroin withdrawal symptoms present within the first 24 hours after the last dose of heroin. These symptoms peak after 36 hours to 72 hours of detox, typically lasting for 7 to 10 days.
Those who have been abusing heroin chronically may encounter withdrawal symptoms lasting for a month or more.
Heroin Detox Timeline
- Days 1 and 2 of heroin detox: Withdrawal symptoms can first present after as little as 6 hours. Pain starts to develop over the first day, mainly in the form of muscle aches. These pains intensify during the first 48 hours of heroin detox. You may also experience insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, shaking, and diarrhea.
- Days 3 to 5 of heroin detox: During this intense phase of heroin withdrawal, you can expect to experience nausea, vomiting, shivers, sweating, and abdominal cramping.
- Days 6 and 7 of heroin detox: Acute heroin withdrawal comes to an end after a week or so. Nausea, aches, and pains will subside. Although you will feel tired and run down, you will also start feeling physically better by this stage of detox.
In the event of PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome), symptoms can linger for months in the form of insomnia, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Heroin Detox at Home
While many people wonder how to detox from heroin at home, quitting cold turkey without medical supervision is inadvisable, and potentially dangerous.
Detoxing in a clinical setting streamlines the detox and withdrawal process, ensuring you have the medical care and emotional support you need to successfully detox without relapsing. Relapse during heroin withdrawal can lead to a fatal overdose. With your tolerance for the drug reduced, you could find using the same amount of heroin as normal triggers an adverse reaction.
If you need heroin detox help, consider reaching out to Renaissance Recovery Center for heroin detox in Riverside and beyond.
Renaissance Recovery’s Heroin Detox: Orange County
Here at Renaissance, we can connect you with licensed medical detox centers in Orange County and beyond, enabling you to more safely and comfortable detox.
With your body opiate-free, you can engage with one of our outpatient treatment programs for heroin use disorder. We offer all of the following programs:
- OP (outpatient program)
- IOP (intensive outpatient program)
- PHP (partial hospitalization program)
- Virtual IOP (remote intensive outpatient program)
- Dual diagnosis program
Through a personalized array of MAT (medication-assisted treatment), psychotherapy, counseling, and holistic therapies, we will help you create a firm foundation for sober living. Make this happen today by contacting Renaissance Recovery Center at 866.330.9449.