Heroin is an increasingly popular opioid. Commonly injected or smoked, heroin produces a euphoric high and reduces pain. Originally derived from the opium poppy, heroin is popular among those with opioid dependency from prescription opioids like Vicodin or OxyContin. Unfortunately, heroin can be difficult to quit using without medical and psychiatric support. Today, there are heroin addiction treatment centers and across the country, ready to help people manage heroin detox and post-acute withdrawal. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin, realize you are not alone. Do not attempt to quit cold turkey. Call a reputable opioid addiction treatment center today to get the help you need. 

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin provides an almost immediate high. It also leaves the bloodstream quickly, leaving users wanting more. Like other opioids, users build a tolerance to heroin quickly. This means that in a short time, they will need a higher dose for the same euphoric effect or pain management. Because of this, heroin overdose is common and often fatal.

When a person attempts to stop heroin use, their brain goes into shock. Many experience dope sickness during withdrawal. These symptoms can be so severe that people believe they will die without more heroin. Withdrawal symptoms include: 

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Changes in mood
  • Erratic behavior
  • Anxiety 
  • Agitation, tremors, or paranoia
  • Cravings and other drug-seeking behavior
  • Cold sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Muscle spasms and pain

The longer someone uses heroin, the more intense their symptoms will be. Unfortunately, quitting cold turkey is virtually impossible because heroin changes a person’s brain chemistry. During heroin withdrawal, a person may become a danger to themselves and others. They will often seek more heroin or other drugs and often overdose. 

Many heroin users inject the opioid, which increases the risk of blood-borne diseases through shared needles. It also leads to collapsed veins and a decrease in overall health and longevity. 

How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?

Initial opioid withdrawal lasts a week or two. However, many people develop post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Also called PAWS, this syndrome can cause physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal to reoccur for months or years after initial detox. PAWS leads to relapse, self-harm, and other destructive behavior when not treated by medical professionals. 

Heroin Detox Treatment

Psychiatric and medical support are the safest way to detox from heroin. Most opioid detox centers will use prescription drugs like Suboxone and Methadone to help people slowly wean off opioids; however, some may take either drug for years after quitting heroin. Doctors and psychiatrists can determine what is best for a user and their overall mental health. 

Rehab centers provide safe, drug-free environments to reset, detox, and gain a new perspective on life. They lower the chance of overdose and relapse. Most heroin addiction treatment programs include aftercare planning, alumni programs, and 12-step programs to help people form sober support communities. 

Finding an Opioid Detox and Recovery Program

If you or someone in your life is using heroin, know you are not alone. Countless people around the United States use heroin for chronic pain relief. Unfortunately, the United States is in an opioid epidemic. 

If you’re ready to find the right opioid detox program, ask your doctor, therapist, or local 12-step program for recommendations. If you’re experiencing shame or embarrassment, know that is a common aspect of addiction. There are state and national websites and hotlines which can offer the support you need to find the right addiction treatment program. Always check a program’s reputation, qualifications, and costs. Most programs can help you navigate insurance and general cost questions. If you are trying to quit heroin at home, call a national hotline today for immediate help.