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Does Heroin Detox Help?

Published June 02, 2021 By Addiction Helpline America

Does Heroin Detox Help?

Shedding off heroin metabolites out of your body after several months or years of use is nearly an impossible mission. Due to its tolerance effect in the system, its withdrawal symptoms and cravings are difficult and painful to manage. However, most rehab centers across the US have different heroin detox programs that have proved successful.

Still wondering if heroin detox helps? Don't be scared of the withdrawal symptoms and the detox process thinking of it as a terrible experience. Through an inpatient detox program, patients can overcome the addiction and clear the drugs from their system. This article will take you through the heroin detox process, its withdrawal symptoms, and how the detox works.

How Heroin Detox Works

Withdrawal symptoms emanating from heroin treatment are a nightmare to individuals attempting to stay clean. Without detox, complications that occur due to withdrawal may cause severe dehydration or injuries. Therefore, it is imperative to undergo a supervised detoxification process to contain the withdrawal symptoms and prevent a relapse from occurring.

According to the National Institute on Substance Abuse, about 23% of individuals taking heroin become dependent on it. Regardless of the amount taken, heroin acts fast, and the users can feel the effects almost immediately. Any form of change in heroin intake is quickly noticed by the body leading to acute heroin withdrawal syndrome. The withdrawal symptoms are felt as fast as six hours from the last dose of heroin.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

Heroin withdrawal is different from one person to another. The duration it was used and the dosage taken each time determines how dependent heroin has become on the brain. The effects can be severe to individuals with previous withdrawal cases or mental illness.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms vary from mild, moderate and severe. Here's a breakdown of the symptoms and their stages:

Mild heroin withdrawal symptoms

  • Bone and muscle aches
  • Sweats
  • Nausea
  • Frequent yawning
  • Stomach upset
  • Moderate heroin withdrawal symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Poor concentration
  • Agitation
  • Panic attacks
  • Severe symptoms

  • Depression
  • Heroine cravings
  • Hypertension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • When detoxing, symptoms are felt as fast as 6 hours from the last dose. Muscle aches and general pain is felt on day one and intensifies in the next 48 hours. Between the third and the fifth day, heroin users can feel the withdrawal symptoms in their full swing. Individuals profusely sweat, vomit, shiver, and complain of crazy abdominal cramping.

    After a long struggle of overcoming the withdrawal symptoms in the first 5 days, you start feeling better from day 6 going up to day 7. Common symptoms start tapering off, and an individual becomes physically fit. However, not everyone can experience this relief so fast. Some cases take even months before the acute withdrawal symptoms can subside, depending on the neurological changes caused by heroin.

    A sudden stop of heroin use is a life-threatening situation that requires medical attention. While using different methods of managing the side effects, the professionals can keep the user safe. Also, their attention caters for psychological and mental symptoms that may have complex complications.

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    Medication Used for Heroin Detox

    Clinicians at any rehab center will assess the addict situation and prescribe drugs according to the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms. The medication lowers cravings and minimizes the withdrawal effects while the patient is recovering.


    It's a form of opiate that helps taper heroin. Its low strength and slow-acting are essential in ensuring that patients don't need more heroin. Once taken, it remains active in the body the whole day. Medics gradually bring the methadone dosage down with time.


    Overcoming cravings while detoxing is the biggest challenge for heroin users. Clinicians issue buprenorphine to curb the craving effect and reduce muscle aches and the urge to vomit.

    Naltrexone (Vivitrol)

    Heroin intake stimulates the brain receptors, which eventually become dependent on the drug. Restoring them to their normal functioning is hard. When naltrexone is given to a heroin patient, it blocks the receptors reducing cravings. This drug is not a sedative, neither is it addictive. It's recommended for patients who are through with the detox program. It is issued in the form of intramuscular injection, orally, or through a surgical implant.

    What to Expect During Heroin Detoxification

    The decision to undergo detoxification is an essential step in an individuals' recovery process. However, a few things have to be established to understand how your body will react to withdrawal symptoms and how to treat them.

    Assessment and Diagnosis

    The first step towards heroin detox is getting an evaluation and diagnosis from a reputable addiction treatment center. Clinicians start the assessment by looking at your drug history, medical issues, and social functioning. Also, a physical examination is carried out to identify whether you have a liver injury or jaundice. Lab tests on urine, saliva, hair, blood specimens, and attention to the prevailing symptoms will help ascertain other health problems that might hamper your detox journey.

    Initiate Treatment

    After a successful diagnosis, the physicians will recommend a treatment plan. Depending on the severity of the addiction, you'll undergo detox in an outpatient or an inpatient facility. Most physicians discourage home detox for heroin addicts considering its withdrawal symptoms are difficult to manage.

    How to Choose an Ideal Heroin Detox Center

    There's a lot to think of before choosing a heroin detox facility. Common issues to look for include:

  • Ease of access to the facility, including the transport infrastructure
  • Is the location away from heroin filled environment?
  • Does the rehab center allow the family to visit or involve them in counseling sessions?
  • Does the detox center offer other mental disorder treatments?
  • Does the facility accept insurance coverage? If not, does it have suitable payment options?

  • The above factors are instrumental in identifying an affordable and top-quality services rehab center. Everyone trying to come out of heroin addiction deserves the best treatment. You shouldn't shy away from regaining your physical and psychological fitness.

    Is Heroin Detox Enough to Treat Your Addiction Problem?

    Heroin detox is the first step towards recovery from addiction. When detoxing, an addicts' body gets prepared to engage and complete the rehabilitation process successfully. Drug rehabilitation centers offer community therapy instilling cognitive-behavioral changes that'll avert a relapse or temptations to go for heroin again. They address depression and other mental health conditions that affect individuals after heroin detox.

    Can I Detox from Heroin at Home?

    It's possible to detox from Heroin at home if you haven't abused it for long and have been taking small quantities. However, the home environment must be supportive of your detox process and free from illicit substances. A few visits to an outpatient rehab center might help run tests, counseling, and supply of medication.

    While detoxing at home, individuals should avoid going for over the counter medicines. Most of them are unproven and may not help you like the medically proven withdrawal drugs. Discuss your condition with the primary physician and get recommendations before proceeding to a pharmacy.

    Have you tried to detox from heroin or know someone who has tried but couldn't withstand the withdrawal symptoms? If yes, it's time you looked for a drug rehab near me to get the best care while sobering up from heroin.

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