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Heroin Withdrawal: Timeline, Withdrawal, and Detox

Heroin is an illicit drug that is derived from morphine and it is often abused. As a result, it can lead to addiction and heroin withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are highly uncomfortable and unpleasant to experience and can make the process of giving up the drug extremely difficult.

However, with proper care, someone can manage these withdrawal symptoms, making the process easier to endure. The end result is an individual beginning a life free of heroin addiction. Understanding how heroin abuse affects a person, as well as potential withdrawal symptoms and the benefits of professional help can be beneficial knowledge.

Heroin Abuse

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2021 approximately 1.1 million people 12 years of age and older reported using heroin in the last year. Also, approximately 1 million people within the same age group were struggling with a heroin use disorder.

Heroin is an illicit substance that has no real medical use, and when this drug is used it can lead to a person building a tolerance. When tolerance is developed, it then leads to them needing more and more of the substance in order to achieve the desired effects. Additionally, when a person’s body becomes accustomed to a certain level of use of this substance, it can lead to heroin withdrawal symptoms when it is abruptly stopped. 

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from heroin are extremely unpleasant. They can cause major disruption in a person’s everyday life, and the heroin withdrawal process can be hard to endure without the right care. With the addictive nature of opioid drugs like heroin, using this drug can result in behavioral changes and changes within the brain.

Heroin binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, resulting in abnormal signals being sent to the brain and body. As tolerance and dependence begins, heroin withdrawal symptoms can arise when someone attempts to cut back or end heroin abuse. Withdrawal symptoms can be painful and extremely uncomfortable. As a result, this makes the process of ending abuse of this drug difficult.

These symptoms can include:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Goosebumps and sweating
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability
  • Intense cravings for the drug

Undergoing heroin withdrawal using the “cold turkey” method is not recommended. Without proper care, these symptoms can often lead someone back to using the substance as a means of alleviating heroin withdrawal symptoms. Managing the symptoms that arise can help a person overcome heroin abuse, and lead to a life free from addiction to this substance. 

Heroin Detox

A professional and medical detox can help someone through the withdrawal process. Withdrawal from the substance is a necessary first step to being able to maintain a healthier lifestyle. During heroin detox, doctors and other clinical staff can monitor these withdrawal symptoms to ensure safety.

They also provide medications that help to alleviate the symptoms. Addressing and treating the symptoms provides a sense of normalcy for the person struggling as the symptoms are less disruptive without using the illicit substance. 

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

When it comes to detox and withdrawal, there is no umbrella answer that can reflect how long heroin detox will last or how a person will feel when undergoing this process. There is, however, a general timeline that could reflect heroin withdrawal.

It is important to note that not everyone will recover at the same pace. There are different factors that can play a role in how long the process will last, and how the withdrawal symptoms will affect someone. Usually, within 24 hours of a person’s last use, they can begin to experience acute heroin withdrawal symptoms. These can include restlessness, fatigue, and the onset of muscle aches and cramps.

Over the next 3 or so days these symptoms can peak, making it difficult to complete daily tasks. They become highly uncomfortable and hard to manage without proper care. Within 4 to 7 days, the symptoms can begin to level off. However, some people experience protracted, or long-term, heroin withdrawal symptoms. Things like depression and anxiety can become more prevalent and should be professionally monitored in order to avoid further impact. 

Professional detox for heroin abuse can be a beneficial starting point for anyone struggling with this substance. Alleviating the symptoms and preventing complications is crucial to a successful withdrawal process. Once withdrawal is completed, an individual is then able to receive the much-needed care that can result in learning new and necessary life skills. These skills can help combat addiction daily, contributing to a successful recovery from heroin addiction.

Heroin Detox Can Help

Struggling with opioids such as heroin can lead to life-altering impacts. From broken family and interpersonal relationships to impacts on mental and physical health, heroin addiction can severely impact a person’s quality of life.

There is help available to overcome this struggle. If you or a loved one are struggling with heroin, Empowered Recovery Center can help. Our team of professionals is here to help guide you as you begin a journey of recovery from heroin addiction.

Call us today and begin your healing process.

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