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.
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
- Nausea and vomiting
- Restless legs
- 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.
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.