Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is difficult to detox or withdraw from due to the strong cravings it elicits in people who are addicted to it. As an opiate, heroin works on receptors in the brain that relieve pain as well as create a sense of euphoria for the person using it. Repeated use of heroin causes a person to build up a tolerance to the drug and their brain becomes used to having the substance present. As a result, when a person tries to quit, they will experience withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to severe. The following are some heroin withdrawal symptoms that a person should be aware of when they go through heroin detox. Fortunately, there are many available treatments to help a person with heroin detox.
Heroin withdrawals tend to occur in phases. A person will usually start to experience symptoms about 12 hours after they last used heroin. The early withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin abuse include anxiety, muscle aching, difficulty sleeping, runny nose, sweating, and yawning. Usually heroin withdrawal symptoms peak at about two to three days after a person stopped using heroin. The most acute symptoms usually subside or reduce about seven days after a person stops using heroin.
The later symptoms associated with heroin withdrawal include:
Some people liken heroin withdrawal to a flu that can be moderate or severe. Sometimes the most difficult symptom to navigate is the psychological cravings for heroin.
While heroin withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, they are not usually deadly. The greatest risk to a person is that they may try to resume heroin use by using a larger-than-normal dose of heroin. This can result in overdose, which can be deadly.
A person may still experience symptoms associated with withdrawal after they stop using heroin. Examples of these symptoms may include anxiety, feeling tired, or lack of motivation. These are known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms. They can last for anywhere from months to years after a person stops abusing heroin. However, these symptoms are very little compared to the dangers of continued heroin abuse.
A person can choose from inpatient and outpatient treatment options for heroin detox. Inpatient treatment involves staying at a drug treatment facility. Services in an inpatient facility include medical monitoring around the clock, medication administration, and behavioral counseling. Those who are heavy or long-term users of heroin are more likely to benefit from inpatient treatment.
Outpatient treatment involves going to a treatment facility during the day to receive similar services as inpatient treatments. Examples of these services include medication administration and management. Outpatient treatment is usually recommended for newer heroin users or for those who are expected to experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms. If a person is unsure the best detox option for them, it is important that they talk to a rehabilitation facility to determine the most effective treatment.
Fortunately, there are many available treatments for a person going through heroin detox. Some people may choose to take medications that reduce the incidence of withdrawal symptoms. Examples of these medicines include methadone and Suboxone. These opiate withdrawal remedies can work on the same opiate receptors as heroin, but they do not cause the same euphoria. As a result, a person may not experience the same strong cravings and withdrawal symptoms they commonly do when a person does not take medications for withdrawals.