There are receptors in the brain that interact with the body’s endogenous opioids. These are naturally produced and help your body control pain and balance moods. Some people turn to heroin to ramp up their pain tolerance or to get high. When they do, the brain stops being able to produce natural opioids and other neurotransmitters that function to stabilize emotions, allow the pleasure response, and manage pain. That’s when someone becomes addicted to heroin. In order for the brain to regain its normal function, the person with a heroin use disorder must go through withdrawal. The safest way to do that is under medical supervision in a heroin detox center.
What is heroin withdrawal, and how long does it take? If you have questions like those and want answers, reach out to Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) today. Our heroin detox center and heroin addiction treatment center offer proven, evidence-based treatments to help you withdraw from heroin safely and start recovery. Reach out via our online form or call us at 844.442.8673.
What Is Heroin Withdrawal?
Withdrawal from heroin is the time period that begins when your last dose of heroin is leaving your system. As a result, your body and brain experience the associated symptoms. Heroin is a short-acting opiate, so your body and brain will feel the initial signs of withdrawal within about eight hours, and the process can continue for a week.
The symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:
- Intense drug cravings
- Sweating and chills
- Violent tremors
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
These symptoms can be mitigated in a medically managed detox program.
Why Go to a Heroin Detox Center?
Withdrawal is a vulnerable time for those addicted to heroin. A professional medical team will ensure that your symptoms are monitored and managed and that you remain safe. Detox can help by:
- Reducing the worst symptoms with medication
- Preventing access to the drug and thus relapse
- Managing co-occurring health issues that can complicate drug withdrawal
- Preventing self-harm and suicide through 24/7 monitoring and care
- Increasing your chances of long-term success in your recovery
The evidence clearly shows that those who undergo professional, medically supervised detox have better recovery rates in the long term.
Heroin Withdrawal Timeline
The biochemistry of every human on earth is unique to some extent. However, the body’s response to heroin withdrawal is shared in many of its characteristics from person to person.
After the drug is withheld and you are admitted to a heroin detox center, a generalized timeline might look like this:
- Six to 24 hours later – The patient begins to experience drug cravings, muscle aches, brain fog, and stomach cramps.
- One to three days later – Initial symptoms peak, which can lead to extreme exhaustion, more stomach issues, and mood swings appear.
- Four days to one week later – Physical signs begin to decrease, signally that the acute phase is over, though psychological effects continue.
The heroin withdrawal length of time will vary. Physical symptoms of acute withdrawal usually end within a week, but emotional and psychological withdrawal can be quite prolonged. Therefore, we recommend that after detox, our patients enter a heroin addiction treatment program for at least 30 days.
In rehab, after detox is over, you may be faced with continuing anxiety, depression, and insomnia, but you receive therapy to help manage those symptoms. Meanwhile, you will learn new skills for sober living, face some of your underlying and harmful mental constructs and beliefs, come to terms with your drug history, and begin to mend broken relationships. In therapy and with the support of your peers, you will learn to turn your psychological symptoms around and face recovery with optimism.
Let Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge Help You
If you want to know more about the heroin withdrawal timeline or any other aspect of care in our heroin detox center, reach out today to PAATC via phone at 844.442.8673 or online form. We can review our evidence-based treatments, inpatient and outpatient options, and more with you. You do not have to do this alone. PAATC is here to help you on the journey.