Heroin addiction is one of the most serious addictions in the world, and it affects an unprecedented amount of people. There are reasons that the heroin epidemic has made news headlines across the United States. If you’ve lost control of your life, you shouldn’t feel bad about yourself. You’re one of millions of people with the mental illness called addiction. Detox is the first step to recovery from heroin addiction. It’s common to feel overwhelmed, especially if you haven’t been to detox before. These are some strategies to ease your jitters about going to heroin detox.
It’s helpful to educate yourself on what to expect. You should also keep in mind that you aren’t going through this alone. Thousands of other people have successfully detoxed and beaten their heroin addiction. You’ll have access to certified, caring medical professionals who will help you through the withdrawal process. Detox in a medical center is significantly less painful than detox at home, thanks to the assistance offered by your team of professionals.
The Best Strategies to Ease Your Mind
The best thing you can do is learn what you should expect from the detox process. Demystifying heroin detox is helpful to ease anxiety. Most people are more afraid of the unknown than the actual withdrawal process.
You can contact a counselor at the detox center to find out specifics regarding their policies. However, most heroin detox programs will closely resemble the timeline for heroin withdrawal. You can expect your program to last about a week. In cases with heavy heroin abuse, the body might take up to 10 days to filter the drug, so you may need a longer program.
What to Expect From the Detox Center
Detox centers and rehabilitation facilities are slightly different, although they’re often combined in the same building. A detox center inside a rehab facility can allow you to move directly from your detox program to an inpatient rehab program.
Your detox program doesn’t last as long as an inpatient rehab program. Detox deals with the physical symptoms of withdrawal, and lasts for 1 to 2 weeks. Conversely, inpatient rehab deals with the treatment of mental illness, and can last anywhere from 30 days to a year.
When you check in to the detox center, you’ll probably need to let the staff search your belongings to make sure you’ve brought only approved items. The center should give you information on what to pack. Because the programs don’t last as long as inpatient rehab, you shouldn’t need to pack as heavily as you would for rehab (unless you’re transferring directly from detox to rehab in the same center).
You’ll be introduced to a team of medical professionals who will monitor your detox. The exact people on staff will vary depending on the center and the program. You can typically expect a doctor, a nurse or two, and a mental health counselor. Detox centers are better equipped to handle heroin detox than hospitals, because they have better mental health resources for the withdrawal symptoms.
You’ll be given a room with basic amenities. Because the symptoms of withdrawal can be dangerous, you will receive 24/7 supervision. This is for your own benefit, as the medical professionals can intervene immediately if bad withdrawal symptoms occur. The staff will generally take care to respect your privacy as much as they can.
If you’re worried, keep in mind that everyone is there to help you. Nobody works at a detox facility or rehab center without caring about helping addicts. You don’t have to worry about being judged or mistreated. The staff is there to take care of you, so you can just focus on getting better.
What to Expect From Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms for heroin will typically start between 6 and 12 hours after you take your last dose. The peak tends to be within 2 to 3 days. Moderate users might have withdrawal symptoms that last for 5 days, but heavier users might have symptoms for up to 10 days.
It’s common for initial withdrawal symptoms to make you feel like you have the flu. You might also experience irritability, aggression, and mood swings. Long-term withdrawal effects are more psychological, including cravings, depression, anxiety, and paranoia. You might also experience high blood pressure.
Because of the psychological toll these symptoms take, this is the hardest part of withdrawal. The worst symptoms improve after about 3 or 4 days, and you should stop feeling sick after about a week.
One thing to keep in mind is that physically, withdrawal is very similar to a bad bout of the flu. Going to a detox center is the same as going to a hospital when you get a bad flu. The medical professionals are there to take care of you and ease the symptoms until the sickness has run its course. You can put your trust in them.
Your withdrawal symptoms will also be mitigated by medications that your medical team prescribes. There are multiple medications designed to manage heroin cravings and psychological symptoms. You’ll also have access to mental health resources.
The goal of your detox team is to make your detox as painless as possible. The health field has advanced exponentially over the last few decades. There are now more ways of treating heroin addiction than there ever have been in the past.
Other Strategies to Calm Your Mind
If you’re still feeling anxious, it can be helpful to employ mindfulness strategies to take your mind off the worry. Find something pleasant in the room with you and think of three words to describe it. Breathe deeply, exhaling longer than you inhale. Think about a place or setting that makes you happy.
Remember that detox is only a week, and you have the rest of your life ahead of you. The world is full of possibilities when you live heroin-free. It’s an exciting process, and it’s just around the corner.
If you want to talk to someone about your anxiety, we have trained counselors available 24/7 at 877-497-6180.