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What Can You Expect From Withdrawal During Your Heroin Detox?

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Deciding to get help for a heroin problem is a difficult decision. It is a decision that comes with the knowledge that you will have to go through detox. When you are deciding where you want to go, you need to know what you can expect from withdrawal during your heroin detox.

Even though every person is different, and every detox is different, there are certain commonalities among them. There are things that you are sure to experience if you go through detox. Many of them will be unpleasant, but you can get through it with support and medical attention.


The longer you have used heroin, the worse the detox will most likely be. The symptoms will vary in severity from mild withdrawal symptoms to sever withdrawal symptoms. This is why many people require a medically supervised detox. This will make sure if they need medical support, they will get it.

  • Nausea – You will probably feel sick to your stomach and want to vomit (and you might do that too). Your body is trying to function without the drug in its system and trying to make you give it to you again.
  • Abdominal pain – You may experience stomach cramps and abdominal pain. You should be prepared for this and know that it is going to be very uncomfortable.
  • Sweating – The body will try to expel the toxins and will go a little haywire. Sweating is a common withdrawal symptom.
  • Shaking – It might feel like a bad case of the flu, where you have shaking that you cannot control and seem to overtake your entire body.
  • Muscle spasms – Uncontrollable spasms can happen, so you need to make sure you are in a safe place, so you do not get hurt or hurt yourself.
  • Cravings for drugs – This is when using medications can be helpful because the cravings will drive you right back to using the drug if you do not have some kind of plan in place.


Withdrawal symptoms begin pretty quickly after you stop using heroin because it is a short-acting opioid. Although the timeline may vary a little, it is pretty similar among users. The following is a general guideline of the onset of withdrawal symptoms.

  • Start 6 to 12 hours after last dose of heroin – The onset will come fast, so you should be prepare to begin feeling sick quickly.
  • Peak between 1 and 3 days after last use – The worst of the withdrawal symptoms will happen during this time and is the most critical to have medical supervision.
  • Begin to subside about a week after last use – The major symptoms will begin to lessen and become more tolerable.
  • Symptoms can continue for weeks, months, or sometimes years – You may have to manage these for an extended period of time, so you need to make sure you have strategies in place.


This is the different interventions used to help you manage the withdrawal symptoms. If you choose to get medical detox, the medical facility can start giving medication and therapy before the heroin completely leaves the body. This means it can help lessen the intensity of the symptoms and help the brain recover. The dependency on heroin is both in the brain and the body. So, there are various bodily functions that need to be looked after. These things are monitored during medical detox:

  • Blood pressure – When going through withdrawal, your blood pressure can increase. Therefore, it must be monitored to make sure it does not get out of control.
  • Heart rate – You can experience an increased heart rate because of withdrawal. Again, this must be medically monitored because you do not want your heart working too hard.
  • Breathing – You might experience some trouble breathing during this difficult time, this is not unusual.
  • Temperature levels – Fever is a common symptom of withdrawal and can range in severity. You need to make you are able to keep down fluids so you do not become dehydrated.

Tools for Detox

There are the medical monitoring phases of detox and intervention, if needed. But, there are medications that can be used to help ease the symptoms, including cravings. Heroin is such a potent drug, that many times it requires the introduction of different drugs to make the detox easier and lead to a greater abstinence success. Some of these drugs include:

  • Suboxone – This is used for management of withdrawal symptoms and as a maintenance therapy. However, it can be abused just like any other drug and needs to be managed carefully.
  • Methadone – Even though this drug helps block the body from feeling pain, it also blocks the high you can get from heroin. This makes it useful in drug treatment. But you must be careful because it is addictive.
  • Naltrexone – This helps prevent relapses into addiction. It is important to use this without the use of opioids, like methadone. It can have adverse effects.

Ongoing Treatment

It is important for you to continue on with various components of treatment. Without a plan, it is very easy to slide back into old habits, old conditions, and drug use. Success is based upon how you embrace your sobriety and the steps you take to maintain it. Here are a few strategies to keep the sobriety going:

  • Meetings – It is important to go to meetings where you can be held accountable for your sobriety and speak with other people in similar situations.
  • Medication – Taking medications prescribed by your doctor, in the manner prescribed, is critical in staying sober and not abusing it.
  • Abstinence – There should be no use of any drug. You cannot just have a little and expect to be successful. You need complete abstinence.
  • Sober living – You may want to go to a sober living facility, so you are living in a structured place that has rules. You need these rules to help you control your life and your addiction.

If you are ready to take initiative, or you have questions, we can help, call now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 877-497-6180.

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