Heroin Detox Timeline – Understanding What It Is Like to Detox from Heroin
Since 2007, there has been a rise in reported heroin abuse – a rise that coincides with the prescription opioid epidemic. In 2016, more than 900,000 people in the United States said that they used heroin within the last year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Among the reasons why many don’t seek help for their heroin addiction is due to the onset of withdrawal symptoms. During the heroin detox timeline, the addict will experience what is described as the worst flu-like symptoms imaginable.
In this article, we will talk about heroin withdrawal symptoms and treatment for withdrawal.
Why Do Addicts Get Withdrawal?
When a person uses heroin frequently, they go through changes, specifically in their brain. The presence of heroin causes the body to have to fight the toxin by lowering or even stopping its own production of serotonin and dopamine – the chemicals that heroin causes the releases of in large amounts.
Once the person stops using heroin abruptly, they go through withdrawal symptoms, which is just the body’s reaction to being in this keyed-up state and then returning to normal. Once the heroin detox timeline is complete and the brain starts functioning like normal again, the majority of withdrawal symptoms dissipate, with the exception of depression and other psychological conditions in some cases.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
The heroin detox timeline starts as early as six hours into detox. It can take up to 12 hours for the symptoms to first start, but when they do, a user is expected to experience the following common symptoms:
- Muscle aches
- Eyes tearing and a runny nose
- Insomnia and disturbed sleep
- Heavy sweating
- Rapid heart rate
These symptoms continue and peak around the 72 hour mark, bringing with it further symptoms such as:
- Severe depression
- Intense cravings for heroin
- Cramps in the stomach
Heroin Detox Timeline
If a person goes into heroin rehab for their detox, the experience can be shortened somewhat. An average heroin detox timeline consists of symptoms starting within the first day and the entire process lasting from between 5 to 7 days. Some psychological symptoms may still need to be medicated after the initial week period, and some detoxes can last for 10 or more days.
The advantages of going to rehab instead of trying to deal with detox by yourself cold turkey is that you will be given medications to help cope. The symptoms of heroin withdrawal can be severe and while usually not life-threatening, it can be more than a person can handle. As such, various medications have been developed to help with detox.
Most of the medication given for opioid detox revolves around replacing the opioid with another opioid that is much harder to abuse, but in small quantities. The person is given less and less over a period until they are ready to stop entirely. Doing detox in such a way makes the symptoms far more manageable. Medications for heroin withdrawal include subuxone and methadone among others. Some medications that are used during rehab treatment are designed to make further abuse of heroin or another opioid impossible by blocking the effects of the drug. This helps a person, especially in an outpatient detox program, avoid a relapse.
After detox, the abuser still has an addiction. As such, they must partake in a rehab program designed to help an addict quit for good.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.