Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, And Treatment Options

Have you seen people mess up their lives because of heroin? Do you recall seeing people get into heroin and never get out of it? Withdrawing from heroin is the most difficult thing because its effect on the body is so strong that people find it extremely hard just to give it up.

Heroin is a stimulant drug that blocks your pain receptors and makes you feel like you are on cloud nine, and using it even once or twice can easily get you addicted to it.

People usually start doing drug abuse when they find themselves incapable of dealing with stress and anxiety. One study revealed that 75% of the heroin abusers had anxiety and other mental issues such as ADHD or depression.

Whenever you ingest heroin, you get a rush of good feelings and happiness, which is probably the reason for its frequent usage among people with mental problems.

Heroin remains the most popular drug among drug abusers, and 77% of the drug abusers are addicted. Heroin drug abuse is becoming a growing problem in society, which needs to be actively dealt with.

All of this results in an immediate rush of positive feelings inside your body. But what people don’t understand is that it is perilous to use drugs such as heroin because they slow your heart rate down. An overdose may result in the death of the abuser.

As you continue to take more and more heroin, your body builds up a resistance to it, and you would need a greater amount of the drug to get the same high.

This makes withdrawal even harder because now your body is used to getting high doses of heroin, and being independent is not something that comes easy.

unresponsive man lying on the floor

Therefore, withdrawing from heroin can have some serious short-term side effects, but in the long run, it would most certainly have positive effects on your body, enabling you to live a healthy life again.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms

As soon as you decide to quit this drug, withdrawal symptoms appear. The strength of these symptoms varies depending on the amount of the drug and the time you have been using it.

The symptoms can range from mild nausea to severe headaches, but if you truly make it to the end, you will find yourself to be much better.

Light withdrawal symptoms

For people who used only a small amount of heroin and that too not for a long time, the withdrawal symptoms will be very mild.

They would include nausea, teary eyes, cramps, chills, muscle aches, etc. If the user is experiencing only mild symptoms, then the withdrawal process is easier for them since their body was less dependent on the substance in the first place.

Moderate withdrawal symptoms

Moderate withdrawal symptoms are experienced by people who haven’t been abusing heroin chronically but have been using it in larger amounts in a short span.

But the good thing is that they realized soon enough the dangers it poses and made a firm mind to detach from it. The symptoms can range from vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, restlessness, tremors, goosebumps, and fatigue. These are stronger than the mild symptoms and would take longer to subside.

Severe withdrawal symptoms

Severe withdrawal symptoms occur due to chronic drug abuse in greater amounts that have led the body to become totally dependent on the drug. Truly quitting heroin now would take a lot of patience and effort.

Severe withdrawal symptoms generally include anxiety, insomnia, hypertension, depression, muscle spasms, and impaired respiration. Contrary to popular belief, several withdrawals from heroin would not result in the death of the abuser. In fact, it has a low fatality rate.

How long does it take to withdraw?

Your digestive system metabolizes the heroin drug fast, and thus, the drug leaves your body within a matter of days. However, the time it takes for the body to be independent of the drug depends on other factors, such as the time of addiction and the amount of daily consumption of the drug.

The withdrawal symptoms would be very prominent and troubling during the withdrawal time. Hence, it is important that you have someone looking over you while detoxing.

Factors affecting the withdrawal time

Withdrawal can even take a few days to occur thanks to your super fast digestive system, but it can vary based upon a few factors mentioned below:

Amount of heroin being ingested

The amount of heroin you used to consume is directly proportional to the time it will take your body to get independent of it. Due to greater consumption of heroin, you’ve basically made your brain and body get used to it, and now they make you feel like you need it to function properly.

Thus, your cravings start, and you find a way to satisfy those cravings, consuming more and more of the drug. Usually, your body builds up a tolerance to it slowly, and now it would need a higher amount of the drug to provide you relief. This is especially dangerous because it can lead to overdose.

The time since addiction

While the amount of heroin being ingested plays a major role in your body’s reactionary outcome to withdrawal, the time since you started using can also play a significant role.

For chronic abusers, the symptoms are severe because their body has become used to the addiction for such a long time that it is very hard to just function without it all of a sudden.

It would take significant time for your body to get used to having no heroin in the system, and the withdrawal symptoms’ severity would also vary depending on how long you’ve been abusing the drug.

The body’s ability to cope

The body’s ability to cope plays a major role in the withdrawal. If your body has a faster metabolism, it will clear the drugs out of your system more quickly, and you will need a lot less time to withdraw.

However, other factors such as your general body health and immune system also come into play in determining the time of withdrawal for your body.

Heroin addiction and professional care

is a serious one, and you cannot go through detoxing it all by yourself. Realize that you need professional help to get better and, more importantly, to not relapse into it. Let’s discuss this more!

Why is it important to seek professional care?

Many people don’t realize it, but seeking professional care is important simply because going through the entire withdrawal procedure is almost impossible to get through, and the abuser needs some sort of support and help.

Medical help is required because the symptoms need some management, and the cravings also need to be satisfied through safe drugs that mimic heroin’s effect on the receptors, such as methadone and buprenorphine. These medicines last longer than heroin and are not as harmful either. One other important approach is through therapy. With behavioral therapy, more complex deep-rooted issues could be explored, such as reasons for starting abuse in the first place or figuring out new coping mechanisms. These are important questions that need to be tackled through therapy in order to avoid a relapse and limit drug abuse.

medical nurse, hands touching as a sign of support

Professional care vs. DIY methods

While DIY methods such as hydrating, exercising, and balanced diets are indeed great synergists in withdrawal, they may not be enough. You see, the withdrawal can be severe, and you should seek professional care rather than following these DIY methods because it can be dangerous and you may pose a risk to yourself or others.

Let’s say that through following DIY methods, you get through the withdrawal, but there is a high chance that you may feel the same anxiety again and relapse. It is important to identify your triggers and figure out why they affect you on a deeper level.

Through professional care, you could very much find a lot of answers, but to do that, you first need to seek the answers.

The outcomes of professional care

Professional care would lead you to have better outcomes in almost the entire outlook of your life. Medications would help you get through the procedure of withdrawal because these drugs would reduce the efficacy of heroin in your system as well as block the opioid receptors in the brain.

Moreover, professional therapy could help you find your purpose again and figure out your sense of identity.

Treatment options

To get treated for withdrawal, there are several options for you out there, and all of them would depend on the severity of the symptoms you’re experiencing. Here are some treatment options that you can follow for heroin withdrawal.

In-patient treatment

In-patient treatment means that you would be admitted to a hospital, and the doctors over there would take care of you.

This is the only option for people often undergoing severe withdrawal symptoms, who need to be constantly hydrated, and their symptoms need to be managed throughout the withdrawal time.

This treatment would include administering medicines and fluids intravenously for their quick absorption and effect. Oftentimes, patients having severe withdrawals need to be restrained because of their heightened cravings and hallucinations. These can lead to harm to other patients and health care workers.

Outpatient treatment

Outpatient treatment is generally for those people undergoing mild or moderate withdrawal symptoms. The primary care physician would prescribe the medicines and the patients need to adhere to the treatment regimen strictly.

However, these patients also need to be checked on carefully by their primary guardians. The outpatient treatment includes prescribing drugs that limit the effect of heroin on the opioid receptors in the brain and lessen the cravings.

In-home treatment

In-home treatments are preferable for people who don’t have a hospital facility nearby or don’t have the ability or strength to go there.

These treatments require the primary guardians to be extremely active and supportive. The in-home treatments allow you to receive treatment in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

This makes the withdrawal easier for patients since they find themselves to be in a comfortable environment and find familial support with them all the time.

Post-withdrawal care

Withdrawing sometimes might not just be enough. Once the abusers withdraw, they also need proper directions to move on through their life.

Preventing relapse

Therapy can play a major role in preventing relapse. Therapy is important because it allows you to figure out your triggers and what made you start abusing in the first place.

Relapse can be prevented by finding other activities and realizing that there are other ways to cope with mental health issues.

Initiating healthy activities

Now that the withdrawal is made, it is time to turn your life around. You can do that by inculcating healthy activities in your life, such as running, reading, cycling, etc. These activities can keep your mind off the cravings and allow you to lead a healthier life with better quality.

Figuring out what’s next

You should try to figure out your goals and ambitions and put your energy and resources into pursuing them. These ambitions would allow you to have a purpose, and thus, you wouldn’t find yourself to be struggling with these issues. This would help you lead a better life and avoid any chances of relapse at all.

Parting thoughts

Heroin drug abuse is a growing problem in our society, and individuals who decide to quit it inevitably have to go through a lot.

Withdrawal might not seem like the easy way, but it definitely proves to be better in the long run. To undergo withdrawal, professional care should be sought, and adhering to a strict treatment regimen should be exercised.

We are here to help you throughout the process. Addiction treatment goes beyond just detoxing, and seeking post-withdrawal care is extremely important.

Our detox regimen, as well as post-withdrawal services, would make you feel better in no time. If you’ve decided to get better, contact us and book your next appointment with Elite Home Detox today!

EHD Can Help You Through The Withdrawal Process

Elite Home Detox is here for you if you need help withdrawing from Heroin or any other addictive drug. We can provide you with the one-on-one care you need while going through detoxification and withdrawal symptoms caused by addiction. And best of all, we come to you! You can make a full and lasting recovery in the comfort of your home with the help of our expert medical team. Contact us today to learn more.

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