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Everything You Need to Know About Heroin Detox Symptoms

a man struggles to cope with his heroin detox symptoms but luckily he has professional help to get through withdrawal

It is estimated that nearly 100,000 Americans use heroin a year. With numbers like that, it’s no shame if you or a loved one are suffering from heroin addiction. Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs available.

While heroin addiction is a disease that’s nothing to be ashamed of, it must be kicked as quickly as possible. Heroin is highly dangerous, and without a good heroin detox, addicts are at significant risk. Serenity Grove offers effective heroin detox and addiction treatment services in Athens, GA. End your search for “substance abuse treatment near me,” and contact us today at 844.904.3485 to learn how we can help.

Understanding Heroin Detox and Withdrawal

Before we get into the specific symptoms of detox, remember that it’s not something that everyone needs. Detox is usually only for severe addictions.

The point of a detox is to make sure that you don’t return to use when suffering from withdrawal symptoms. With a drug like heroin, your body has likely built up a dependence on the drug. Abruptly stopping the use of the drug will make your body panic and get sick.

These symptoms can be hard to manage, in combination with the psychological impact of not having the relief that comes from getting high. This leads many people to return to use.

Detox is when doctors and therapists watch over someone suffering from withdrawal 24/7. It often comes with medical treatment.

How Long Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms Last

Another important thing to remember about heroin detox is that symptoms peak and valley at different points of the treatment. Luckily, heroin is a fast-acting opioid that leaves the body soon after detox; it is important to remember that it’s not too late to get out of active addiction. Heroin leaves the body fast.

Withdrawal symptoms don’t set in immediately. They usually set in around 6-12 hours after the last dose of the drug. They proceed moderately over the course of 2-3, progressively getting worse until they peak.

Things begin to get better after that. However, the symptoms last for about 5-10 days.

This is why medical detox is so important. Though someone might feel confident that they can kick their addiction at the beginning, they may feel differently a week into the symptoms.

Symptoms of Moderate Heroin Withdrawal

Less severe addictions may cause less severe withdrawal symptoms. You can also expect to find less severe withdrawal symptoms on the non-peak days of detox.

Those suffering from moderate heroin withdrawal may experience the following:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Inability to focus
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Achiness in the body

Though these are only moderate symptoms, they can confuse heroin users who don’t know what they’re going through. The emotional symptoms, in particular, might make people think they’re better off using the drug. However, it’s only a temporary roadblock.

Symptoms of Severe Heroin Withdrawal

Severe heroin addictions come with severe symptoms. You can expect some of these symptoms to appear at the worst parts of a withdrawal cycle, around two or three days in.

Detox patients may experience the following:

  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Hypertension
  • Muscle spasms
  • Impaired breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Intense cravings
  • Suicidal ideation

Individuals going through severe heroin withdrawal symptoms might undergo such serious physical ailments that they can think they’re dying. These symptoms are painful and concerning. Beyond simple aches and pains, they can decrease a person’s quality of life. The symptoms relating to mental health are hard to manage without help, and those going through withdrawal may think that their distress is coming from things that aren’t related to drugs at all.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Heroin Detox

Medical professionals have developed prescription drugs to aid with recovery and decrease withdrawal symptoms. The most famous of the medications used in medication-assisted treatment for heroin addiction is methadone.

Methadone is a synthetic opioid, meaning it was developed by humans. Just like other, more dangerous opioids, it operates on the opioid receptors of the brain. However, unlike its dangerous counterparts, it does so more slowly, not producing euphoria.

Buprenorphine is another popular withdrawal medication. It’s often considered superior since it only acts on some of the brain’s opioid receptors, having even less of an effect than methadone.

Buprenorphine can also be prescribed for long-term use, whereas methadone should only be limited to medical facilities. It, in general, has a lower likelihood of abuse.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for heroin detox is a program that combines behavioral counseling and medications to help those experiencing opioid use disorder. It is a safe, effective, and evidence-based treatment option. MAT can help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms that are associated with opioid use disorder, such as nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, insomnia, and anxiety. The medications used in MAT also help control cravings and reduce the risk of returning to use.

Be Supported Through Heroin Detox at Serenity Grove

Quitting heroin isn’t as simple as not using the drug. Those who attempt to quit heroin will undergo moderate to severe heroin withdrawal symptoms that can severely impact someone’s quality of life. This is why medical detox exists. In medical detox, you can get medications for your withdrawal symptoms and get the supervision you need to make sure you don’t return to use. Contact Serenity Grove today by calling 844.904.3485 or filling out our online form. We can help.