Heroin addiction continues to be a challenge in the United States, with upwards of half a million people affected each year. Heroin addiction help is available in professional rehab centers in most states. The first thing that has to happen before anyone with a heroin addiction can start recovery is withdrawal. It is often best to go through withdrawal in a heroin detox center under medical supervision.
To learn more about heroin withdrawal, medically monitored detox, and how to access help for heroin addiction, contact Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC). We have been helping people leave heroin and other addictions behind for over sixty years. Furthermore, it is our mission to help you and your loved ones with this challenge. Call 844.442.8673 or use our online form to connect with a professional and compassionate staff member who can answer all your questions.
Signs of Heroin Withdrawal
Withdrawal begins as soon as the heroin is withheld, with symptoms beginning within six to ten hours. The symptoms of withdrawal include the following:
- Excessive sweating and chills
- Violent tremors
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Aching bones
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
There is no concrete detox/withdrawal timeline that applies to everyone. Individual differences in biochemistry, the presence of other drugs in the system, and the duration of the addiction all play a role in what clients experience. The first stage of heroin withdrawal lasts from a few days to a week for acute withdrawal, but psychological symptoms are present for longer, sometimes months. In medical detox, the timeline does not change much, but the risks are lower, and medication can mitigate the severity of these symptoms.
Heroin Withdrawal Timeline
Below is a timeline overview for heroin withdrawal.
- Six to 24 hours after the last dose–This is the window during which symptoms like muscle aches, diarrhea, and poor concentration start to appear. This period may also include drug cravings that make it challenging to stay the course outside a detox center.
- One to three days into withdrawal–During this period, the symptoms peak. The early signs continue to intensify while new ones appear, such as mood swings, stomach symptoms, and extreme fatigue.
- Four days to one week later–At this point, some of the physical symptoms decrease. By the end of seven days, the acute withdrawal phase is usually over, while psychological struggles continue.
- One week to several months–If you have been in medical detox, which has lessened the severity of the symptoms during the acute phase, you are now out and have moved on to post-detox rehab. During these early months, symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia may persist. Your care team will likely assess you for a co-occurring disorder if they do not improve over time.
The length of withdrawal and the challenging nature of the symptoms make detox at home very difficult. Outcomes at home are not as good as for those who undergo detox in a professionally monitored rehab. The availability of heroin in the outside world means you can end symptoms and cravings by returning to use before the withdrawal process is complete. You are then back at square one instead of about to begin phase two. Before you begin withdrawal, seek heroin addiction help at a rehab center that offers evidence-based treatments and medical detox.
Benefits of Heroin Detox
Detox is when all remnants of heroin leave your body. Though that is a very healthy thing, you may feel significant discomfort while it happens. However, in medical heroin detox, you will suffer far less.
A professional medical team will support, treat, and monitor you 24/7 until you begin the next step of rehab. Help for heroin addiction starts here. Benefits include:
- Reduction in withdrawal symptoms-Doctors and other medical personnel provide you with medications that reduce pain, nausea, anxiety, flu-like symptoms, and any other symptoms you experience.
- Relapse is not an option-In a closed, monitored detox setting, there is no access to heroin.
- Management of other health issues-If previously undiagnosed health issues are present, they are likely to raise a flag during detox. With medical personnel on hand, these complications can be handled safely.
- Suicide prevention-It is not uncommon for people in withdrawal to consider or attempt suicide. Round-the-clock monitoring in a secure environment greatly reduces this risk.
- Improved long-term outcomes-Medically supervised heroin detox has been shown time and again to have far better recovery outcomes than in-home withdrawal.
Begin Your Recovery at Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge.
We have the staff, the expertise, the knowledge, and the caring, safe environment to start you on your recovery journey safely in our heroin detox center. Reach out today to learn more about your heroin treatment options at PAATC. Please fill out our easy online form or call 844.442.8673.