If you’re regularly using heroin, you’re probably going to experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop. Withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant side effects that occur as a drug leaves your dependent system. These symptoms may make you feel like you have the flu and can be very distressing. Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be so uncomfortable that a person begins using again to stop them. Whenever possible, a person should get professional detox treatment to manage their withdrawal symptoms.
You might be wondering, “How long does heroin withdrawal last?” if you are thinking of quitting. This article explains how long heroin withdrawal symptoms last and where to turn to for help.
Common Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
Everyone’s experience is different when it comes to heroin withdrawal, but here are some of the most common symptoms most people experience:
- Aches and pains: Heroin disrupts pain pathways, and a person may experience muscle aches, pains, and sensitivity once the pathways open up again during withdrawal.
- Stomach pain: Stomach pain is common during heroin withdrawal. The pain can be mild to quite severe.
- Diarrhea: A person going through withdrawal may experience uncontrollable, watery, loose, and frequent bowel movements. This is especially common during the later stages of withdrawal. Frequent diarrhea can lead to dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Extreme dehydration can be dangerous and require medical treatment.
- Psychiatric changes: A person may feel anxious, irritable, or depressed when going through heroin withdrawal. This is one reason why it’s important to seek professional psychotherapy and a medically supervised detox program for heroin withdrawal.
- Drug cravings: When going through heroin withdrawal, you may experience a strong desire to take the drug again.
- Fever: Fever is common in people who suddenly stop taking heroin. They may also experience cold sweats.
- Excessive sweating: As a person goes through heroin withdrawal, they may experience excessive sweating.
- Aspiration: Severe vomiting can lead to aspiration, where a person breathes in and chokes on vomit. This can cause lung infections, including pneumonia.
- Seizures: Seizures are rare during heroin withdrawal, but they can occur.
How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?
Heroin is a short-acting opioid, so withdrawal usually begins within 6 hours of the last dose and can last for two weeks or longer. The exact timeline depends on several factors, including the frequency of use, overall health, and the amount of use. Below is a general timeline.
- 6-12 hours after the last dose: Withdrawal symptoms usually begin during this stage. Early symptoms may include difficulty sleeping, runny nose, and muscle aches.
- 72 hours after the last dose: During this time, the intensity of withdrawal symptoms will peak and can include depression, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and intense cravings.
Some symptoms, especially psychiatric ones, can last for weeks. This is why it’s so important to get help for heroin addiction.
How To Get Through Heroin Withdrawal
Heroin withdrawal can be uncomfortable and intense. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to cope.
- Seek help: If you are ready to stop using heroin, know that support is the key to coping with withdrawal. Professional addiction treatment centers can provide the support you need to safely stop using heroin and ensure you are as comfortable as possible during withdrawal.
- Let your family know: Tell your close friends and family you’re going through heroin withdrawal. Having their support can help you quit and get through this hard time. They can also check up on you at home once you finish detox.
- Stay busy: Make sure you have things to keep you occupied. Books, movies, and music are things that can help take your mind off cravings, anxiety, and other psychological withdrawal symptoms.
Learn about the two of the most common medication used to treat opioid use disorder, Suboxone and Subutex.
A Warning About Heroin Withdrawal
If you are considering quitting heroin, it’s important to seek professional help. Medical detox facilities, like Asheville Detox Center, can help you safely quit heroin. People who use heroin are at a greater risk of overdose if they use it again after going through withdrawal. Treatment can help reduce this risk. It can also make withdrawal more comfortable.
Opioid medical detox involves constant medical supervision and treatment and usually lasts three to seven days. Physicians monitor your blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, body temperature, and psychological state and administer medications to easy physical and psychological discomfort.
Lear more about the different medications used in medical detox and medication-assisted treatment.
What Comes After Heroin Withdrawal?
Detox is just the first step in overcoming a heroin addiction. Following detox, a person usually goes through a period of about six months where they experience cravings and generally feel unwell. This can increase the risk of a relapse.
Your best chance of success after detox is by entering a residential or partial hospitalization addiction treatment program. Some people can directly enter outpatient treatment after detox. Still, heroin is highly addictive and typically requires a more structured treatment program.
Once you finish a 30 to 90-day treatment program, you’ll need aftercare to cope with prolonged symptoms and ensure long-term success following detox. Aftercare can include everything from mental health treatment to support groups. This support can increase your chances of attaining long-term sobriety.
Contact Asheville Detox Center
If you or a loved one is struggling to quit using heroin and want professional help, contact Asheville Detox Center. Our medical detox center was founded by recovery community members who wanted to create a program better than what was currently offered anywhere in the area, with comfort and compassion as the top priority. Now, it’s one of the top-rated detox facilities in Western North Carolina.
Call today, and one of our admissions agents can explain how our program works and answer any stressful or scary questions.