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Heroin Detox

Recovery from heroin addiction is not a single event but a continuous chain of events that begins with heroin detox.

During the detox phase, you will cleanse your system of heroin and toxic metabolites. As heroin leaves your system, the absence of this potent semi-synthetic opioid causes intensely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms to present.

Today’s guide explores what detox for heroin involves.

Table of Contents

What is Heroin Detox?

 

Detox from heroin addresses the physical aspect of heroin addiction (clinically termed either heroin use disorder or opioid use disorder).

The goal of heroin detox is to stabilize you physically in preparation for ongoing treatment designed to tackle the psychological component of heroin addiction.

Article at a Glance:

The sustained abuse of heroin targets the reward centers of the brain. Tolerance to the drug rapidly builds, diminishing its effects and prompting many people to use more heroin or to take more frequent doses of heroin to achieve the same rewarding effects. This abusive pattern of consumption will accelerate the development of physical dependence.

When you become physical dependent on an opioid like heroin, you will need the drug to function normally and to prevent the presentation of disturbing and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

The detox and withdrawal process for heroin is similar to prescription opioid painkiller withdrawal, although even more intense. Discovering how to detox off heroin as safely and comfortably as possible will minimize discomfort and the likelihood of relapse in early recovery.

In most cases, a supervised medical detox offers the smoothest route to detoxing from heroin and kickstarting your recovery. If you attempt to quit using heroin at home, you may find the withdrawal symptoms so aggravating that you use heroin to alleviate the symptoms, relapsing before you have completed detox.

Choosing to engage with detoxification at a licensed medical detox center will minimize complications, reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, and allow you to segue directly into inpatient rehab or some form of outpatient programming.

Heroin Detox Symptoms

For most people undergoing heroin withdrawal, symptoms are similar to those induced by a severe case of influenza. Symptoms typically peak on the second and third day of heroin detox, subsiding after a week or so. This is roughly the same timeline as flu.

Everyone will experience heroin detoxification and withdrawal slightly differently, but these are the most reported heroin withdrawal symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting: The nausea and vomiting associated with heroin withdrawal induce severe discomfort and provoke appetite loss.
  • Diarrhea and stomach pain: When detoxing from heroin, you are liable to experience diarrhea and frequent bowel movements. This is the result of your body accustoming itself to the absence of heroin. Diarrhea is often accompanied by sharp stomach pains, rendering it difficult to function during this phase of detox.
  • Fever: Fever can be an effective defense mechanism when the body attacks illnesses or infections, but the fever associated with heroin withdrawal is enervating without serving any useful purpose. You should seek immediate medical assistance if your temperature exceeds 103F during heroin detox.
  • Muscle aches: Using heroin blocks pain pathways in your system. During detox, you may experience a rebound effect, with aches and pains presenting throughout your body. You may also find that you are acutely sensitive to pain during this phase of detoxification.
  • Intense cravings: During heroin detox, you will experience powerful cravings for the drug. These cravings are partially driven by the desire to experience the heroin high, and partially by an awareness that using heroin would eliminate those withdrawal symptoms. Cravings that present outside a clinical setting could easily lead to relapse.
  • Mood changes: You are likely to experience episodes of irritability, anxiety, and depression during heroin detox. If you engage with a supervised detox, you will have continuous emotional care at your disposal when confronted with psychological and emotional distress during detox. If feelings of anxiety or depression do not subside when detox is complete, you may be suffering from a dual diagnosis – heroin addiction presenting alongside a mental health condition. Consult your physician and treatment team if emotional problems persist after heroin detox.
  • Excessive sweating and runny nose: As your body tries to restore balance during heroin detox, you may notice an overproduction of bodily fluids, from a runny nose and tearing eyes to excessive perspiration.
  • Restlessness and insomnia: Research shows that restlessness and insomnia are common heroin withdrawal symptoms.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Heroin?

Most of the symptoms of heroin withdrawal manifest during the first day of detox.

Symptoms peak on after between 36 and 72 hours of heroin detox.

The heroin detox process usually lasts for a week or so. Those who have abused heroin chronically and long-term may experience withdrawal symptoms that last for a month or longer.

What is the Timeline for Heroin Detox?

  • Heroin detox: days 1 and 2: The first symptoms of heroin withdrawal can present as quickly as 6 hours after the last use of heroin. Muscle aches develop and become more intense over the first day of detox. After 48 hours, pains intensify further. Additional symptoms are likely to include tremors, diarrhea, anxiety, panic attacks, and disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Heroin detox: days 3 to 5: During the acute phase of heroin detox, nausea and vomiting will be accompanied by sweating, shivering, and abdominal cramping.
  • Heroin detox: days 6 and 7: After a week or so, acute heroin withdrawal is complete. Feelings of nausea should subside, along with physical aches and pains. You may still feel fatigued and worn down, but you will start to feel physical improvements as you enter your first week of abstinence from heroin.

Why is Heroin Detox at Home Never Advisable?

If you are physically dependent on heroin, it is unwise and possibly dangerous to detox at home.

By detoxing in a medical setting, you will have access to continuous emotional support and clinical care, as well as medications to ease cravings for heroin and withdrawal symptoms. Relapse during heroin detox outside a medical setting can lead to a potentially fatal overdose with your tolerance for heroin reduced.

Heroin Detox Center at California Detox

If you need to fight back against heroin addiction, begin your recovery by engaging with supervised medical detoxification at California Detox in Laguna Beach, Orange County.

Spending a week or so at our luxury beachside detox center allows you to prepare yourself physically for ongoing treatment. Once detoxed, choose from the following programs depending on the severity of your heroin use disorder:

  • OPs (outpatient programs)
  • IOPs (intensive outpatient programs)
  • Virtual IOPs (remote rehab)
  • PHPs (partial hospitalization programs)
  • Inpatient programs (residential rehab)
  • Dual diagnosis treatment programs (for addictions with co-occurring mental health conditions)

Whether you require the support and structure of residential rehab or the affordability and flexibility of outpatient therapy, all programs at California Detox provide access to the following services and interventions:

  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Group counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Psychotherapy (CBT and DBT)
  • Holistic therapies

When you are ready to reclaim your life from heroin addiction, detox the right way by calling 949.390.5377 today.

FAQs

It typically takes between 7 and 10 days to detox from heroin.

Most withdrawal symptoms manifest during the first 24 hours of heroin detox. Heroin withdrawal symptoms peak on the third or fourth day of detoxification.

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