Heroin Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Quitting Heroin? Find out About Heroin Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin remains an extensive problem in the United States amidst the opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, roughly 80 percent of heroin addicts transitioned over from prescription opioids, meaning that the prescription opioid crisis is also fueling the heroin abuse statistics. In order to stop, the heroin detox withdrawal symptoms must first be dealt with, but they can be so intense that they cause relapse and potentially dangerous side effects.

An addiction to heroin can cause problems in your life to spring up from every corner. Your physical and mental health, the people in your life, your vocation and your home life can be devastated by the abuse of heroin. A part of addiction is not caring about the consequences of your actions and the negative things happening to you, but you are not the only victim in this situation; your friends and family suffer too. Getting through heroin detox withdrawal symptoms and finding the treatment you need to stop can help you and your loved ones find more joy in life again.

Heroin Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Stopping the abuse of heroin will result in withdrawal symptoms in any person who through frequent abuse has formed an addition. As the body tries to readjust back to its normal state, the transition causes these withdrawal symptoms; from a state of relying on the drug to normal function. Generally speaking, the chances of heroin withdrawal death are minimal, but certain symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure can lead to cardiac arrest if the person is prone to it.

The following are some of the heroin detox withdrawal symptoms that you can expect:

  • Intense cravings
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Severe depression due to chemical imbalance
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Body aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heavy sweating
  • Increased heart rate

Since these symptoms are often overwhelming for the addict, and in order to avoid the possibility of heroin withdrawal death, seek out professional programs that can be found at a rehab center to get through detox.


Some people may experience post-acute withdrawals syndrome (PAWS), which is prolonged symptoms that can last for several weeks or months. The symptoms of PAWS are only mental and they include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Possible Complications During Detox

A medical complication during the heroin withdrawal timeline, which is usually around 5 to 7 days, is a concern that is best addressed through professional help.

If a person had an anxiety disorder, they symptoms of the disorder will be very profound during the heroin withdrawal timeline. The same can be said for any condition that involves pain, such as chronic back pain, because of the patient’s reduced pain threshold during detox. It’s also more challenging to treat this pain because opioids cannot be used in most cases.

Heroin addicts are prone to several diseases including viral hepatitis, blood and skin infections, pneumonia and HIV/AIDS among others. These diseases can flair up during detox causing complications. Dehydration is another concern due to the excessive vomiting and symptoms of diarrhea.

The Use of Medication

If you were to enter rehab to get help for heroin detox, then you will be able to take advantage of medications that were designed to assist with opioid withdrawal symptoms. Some of the medications used include methadone, buprenorphine, clonidine and benzodiazepines.  Many of the medications act as an opioid replacement, which helps to reduce symptoms greatly by slowly weaning the person off the drug as opposed to cold turkey.

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.