a doctor discusses if you can die from heroin withdrawal

People from all walks of life struggle with heroin addiction. Like other opioid drugs, heroin is highly addictive and can be hard to quit cold turkey. The physical and psychological effects of heroin can be overwhelming. In fact, some people wonder, “Can you die from heroin withdrawal?” Without support from a reputable detox facility, heroin withdrawal can lead to relapse, overdose, and other drug use. Today, there are programs around the country focused on safe and effective heroin detox to avoid withdrawal effects and relapse.

If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin, know you are not alone. Do not attempt to detox on your own. Call a reputable detox center or national helpline for a heroin detox center and recovery support today.

Dangers of Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin is a popular, easy to get short-acting opioid. Generally smoked or injected heroin hits the bloodstream quickly and leaves quickly. It can be easy to overdose and difficult to stop using on your own. Because of this, detox symptoms can be overwhelming. Can you die from heroin withdrawal? No, but the initial detox symptoms can last days or weeks. For those detoxing alone, it can be extremely difficult to avoid heroin or other drug use during withdrawal. The detox symptoms may include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Erratic behavior
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Intense drug cravings

The longer heroin is used, the more intense withdrawal symptoms will be. Changes in perception of pain and an inability to feel pressure against the skin can lead to injury. Psychological effects can lead to self-harm or the impulse to harm others during extreme cravings. Withdrawal symptoms peak two days after the last dose. Some may feel they can quit cold turkey until withdrawal peaks and cravings increase. Suicidal ideation and self-harm are the most significant risks of heroin detox at home. But, can you die from heroin withdrawal? The short answer is no, but the heroin withdrawal timeline can be lengthy.

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

So, how long does heroin withdrawal last? While initial withdrawal only lasts a week or two, many people can develop post-acute withdrawal syndrome, also known as PAWS. This syndrome can cause physical and psychological symptoms to reoccur for several months or years after initial detox. PAWS can be hard to manage without medical and psychiatric support. It can lead to relapse or self-harm, even if someone has not used heroin for months. Avoid painful heroin withdrawal symptoms by entering into a heroin detox program.

Benefits of Heroin Detox Programs

Most heroin detox programs use medical and psychiatric assistance for holistic healing. Medically assisted detox programs use prescription drugs to wean a person off heroin. This can reduce withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and the potential for self-harm. These programs also provide a safe, drug-free environment for people to recover alongside others struggling with addiction. Solidarity in recovery can help people feel less alone in their addiction and decrease the risk of relapse.

Various types of therapy, ranging from cognitive-behavioral therapy to trauma therapy, help address addiction triggers and uncover childhood or adult wounds that lead to addiction. Group and family therapy can help repair relationships and put addiction into perspective.

Find a Heroin Detox and Recovery Program

Some people may be ashamed to ask for help to recover from heroin use. This is normal. If you or someone you know needs help, find a reputable center near you today.

Look for a program through local and state government websites. Check with third-party programs like the Better Business Bureau for reviews. Federal and state websites can provide information for government funding inpatient and outpatient programs. Your doctor or therapist can also help vet a potential detox center. Excellent programs provide medically assisted detox, alumni programs, after-care programs, and a range of therapies. Never trust a center without certified therapists.

If you are currently attempting to detox from heroin alone, call a national helpline today for immediate support.