Steps to Getting Help with Heroin Withdrawal

In a succession of revelations through which the heroin addict eventually becomes disenchanted with the using lifestyle, he or she decides it is finally time to quit.   Self-disgust for the destruction that heroin addiction has wrought in their life and the lives of loved ones is one key motivator for getting clean, as well as an inner desire yearning to find a more purposeful life.heroin-detox
Once reaching the difficult but life-saving decision to get clean and sober, the heroin addict will likely seek out the help with heroin withdrawal he or she will need during the first phase of treatment.  This step is key in helping to predicate a successful recovery outcome, as many addicts will relapse during this crucial phase.  By getting help with heroin withdrawal up front they will have the important support and monitoring that will usher them toward the treatment phase.

What to Expect in Heroin Withdrawal

Plain and simple, heroin is a particularly difficult substance to quit.  Without assistance there is little chance that the addict will be able to weather the very unpleasant and painful withdrawal symptoms that will commence within 8-12 hours of the last dosing.  It is imperative that the individual seeking sobriety locates a quality detox facility that will provide the medical supervision needed to ease the withdrawal symptoms and offer much-needed support.
There are several factors that will determine how severe the heroin withdrawal symptoms will be.  These include the duration of use, the type of heroin used—based on purity and potency, the frequency of dosing, the age and general health of the addict, and whether there is a co-addiction with other substances.  Once the severity of the addiction has indicated whether the addict will need an inpatient detox facility or can detox via an outpatient facility, a high quality medically monitored detox treatment option is selected.
The symptoms of heroin detox mimic those of the flu but much more enhanced.  Combined with intense cravings for the drug, these physical and psychological symptoms are so uncomfortable that, without medical and emotional help with heroin withdrawal, few will make it through the process without relapsing back into using.

Common heroin withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Agitation
  • Restless legs
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Intense cravings

It has been found that avoiding caffeine before detox, as well as drinking lots of water, juices, and beverages with electrolytes may help to ease the withdrawal symptoms to some degree.

Medications that Help with Heroin Withdrawals

Both over-the-counter and prescription medications may be necessary during the withdrawal process.  During the supervised withdrawal period, over-the-counter medications can be offered to help alleviate the gastrointestinal effects, as well as the body aches and fever.

Suboxone is a combination of naltrexone and buprenorphine

To help with the powerful cravings, prescription medications are often indicated.  These medications manipulate the opioid receptors and thus reduce the cravings and the incidence of relapse.  For help with heroin withdrawal, the most common drugs used for this purpose are buprenorphine, often prescribed for a short tapering period, methadone, and naltrexone.
There are also alternative, holistic methods used in some withdrawal programs, including amino acid replacement therapy, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), and ibogaine.  Other holistic therapies are increasing included in heroin detox and treatment programs.

About Marissa Katrin Maldonado

Marissa Katrin Maldonado is the founder of The Treatment Specialist, which is a free treatment referral service for those seeking addiction or mental health treatment for themselves or their loved ones.  To continue to provide more specific treatment options for those in need, Heroin Detox Near Me was designed to help those struggling with heroin addiction.

18 thoughts on “Steps to Getting Help with Heroin Withdrawal

  1. You know, this kind of crap really drives me up a wall. You ninnies can’t even distinguish between replacement therapy, trading one drug for another, and recovery. Better still, you can’t just come out and be honest: Look, detox sucks so we recommend you get high with a milder drug to come down for a couple of weeks. THAT’S honest.

    No wonder people have such a tough time embracing recovery… when the advocates and doctors beat around the bush, how are the addicts going to embrace honesty?


  2. None. I went cold turkey from the only drug that the detox can actually kill a person.

    My experience with heroin has nothing to do with the lack of honesty displayed in that post, Victoria – and I’m not about to let you drag me down that rabbit hole.

    I’m not asking for much. Just honesty. We need it to recover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting, from all of the things I have been taught through multiple rehabs and attempts to sober up the only drugs that can kill you during detox are alcohol and benzo’s not opiates.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. True benzos are somewhat new in comparison. I did do a little research for the heck of it and it does appear that suicide rates during detox and withdrawal are much higher with opiates. I honestly can see why given the intensity and length of the symptoms. I would venture it’s safe to say while opiate detox itself is not deadly coping with the symptoms can lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies which then created a deadly situation. I don’t recall any time during even my worst detoxifications from alcohol every having thoughts of suicide but I have been around those in opiate withdrawal who have. Seeing the struggle one goes through to quit with or without other assistive substances has given me a great respect for anyone who manages to cease opiate use!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hmmm. You do know that Heroin is NOT the only drug that you can die from detoxing on. Xanax can also kill. Going cold turkey after a long Xanax regimen can cause seizures, coma, and death.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alcohol detox, not heroin, can kill you. Didn’t know about Xanax, I wonder how long you would have to be hooked on it for the withdrawals to be that severe. Interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a good article, but I would like to share that there are other solutions. I detoxed on my mom’s couch. I only had to take prescription drugs twice. I took one Valium donated by my grandfather for the purpose of detoxing me at home and Flexorall when the muscle aches were unbearable. The anxiety was horrible. I had flu like symptoms so bad it was hard to lift my head to get fluids. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I had horrible muscle aches and also visual impairment. After two weeks the water patterns on my shower wall were still moving. When I went to my first twelve step meeting I could barely sit up for half the meeting. That is what saved me. I think treatment is amazing and support with prescription drugs is okay short term. I do want people to know, though, that it is possible to get clean without any money or health insurance. I still hate getting the flu because it reminds me of the most horrifying experience of my life: detoxing cold turkey off heroin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am enjoying the lively discussion. Thanks for sharing your experience. I truly mean that, I’m not being cheeky. Hitting my bottom required a lot of drugs and alcohol, but painkillers or heroin were not at my disposal. Probably 60% of the people I talk to have an opiate addiction.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I detoxed of heroin at age 24 after my then boyfriend died. I did it at home alone, and didn’t sleep for a week, but I did it. People I know from that time (I’m now 39) are either dead or still on methadone now. I also had to ditch every one I knew to stay clean. Unfortunately I made the mistake of replacing it with alcohol, which has taken me 15 years to kick in to touch. Everyone is different, each to their own x


    1. I see that ofter. Many drug addicts have never had a problem with alcohol. However, that is because they never really had a reason to abuse alcohol, when their drug of choice is something different. To me, sober means not taking anything that effects the way I think. I started and ended with alcohol … drugs were in the middle.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, Marissa Katrin Maldonado for sharing such a great article,
    There are many factors that will determine how severe the heroin withdrawal symptoms are. These include the duration of use, the type of heroin used—based on purity and potency, the frequency of dosing, the age and general health of the addict


  6. Thanks, Marissa for sharing such a great article
    There are many factors that will determine how severe the heroin withdrawal symptoms are. These include the duration of use, the type of heroin used—based on purity and potency, the frequency of dosing, the age and general health of the addict


  7. As a recovering addict myself, this really hits home. Clean for seven months now, and so happy about that. My quality of life has improved immensely. Don’t get me wrong, it was not an easy road, and although I am sober, I still experience Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, which can last several months. P.A.W.S. involves symptoms like depression, lack of interest in once loved activities, feelings of isolation and hopelessness.

    But for me, trying to stay mindful that it will eventually pass keeps me going. That and the good things in my life, like my job, and my wonderful daughter. I also find that staying as busy as possible helps an awful lot. I would highly recommend anyone who is in recovery to stay busy and active. Exercise is another great activity and will actually release endorphins in the brain that can ease some of those symptoms naturally.

    Great article! Thank you!

    Addictions Podcast

    Liked by 1 person

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