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What to Expect from Heroin Detox

Heroin Detox

While it’s as talked about by the media as it once was before, the past twenty years have seen an increase in heroin-related overdose deaths in the United States. If you or a loved one is suffering from heroin addiction, it’s important to get help as soon as you can.

However, one of the scariest parts of the healing process is heroin detox. Detox can be a painful, harrowing, and sometimes even fatal experience to many people. This is why it’s important to never try to quit alone — to always find a trustworthy addiction treatment program that specializes in alcohol and drug detox.

This article will walk you through what you should expect from medical detox when you’re recovering from heroin. It will also help you understand alcohol detox, in case you need a drug and alcohol rehab to avoid serious withdrawal symptoms, even seizures, or delirium tremens.


Before you undergo any of the steps of detox, an inpatient detox facility will conduct an examination and complete assessment. This will help the experts figure out a personalized plan for dealing with your addiction. It’s always best to deal with things in a personal way since everyone’s bodies and addictions are different.

The exams range from the garden variety exams you get whenever you have health crises — X-rays, electrocardiograms, urine and blood tests, etc. — as well as a screening for mental illness, and a test for HIV and Hepatitis C.


Stabilization is the next most important step in the detox process. In this part of the process, the patient has ceased taking drugs, and symptoms of detox begin to set in.

A good detox facility will provide a patient with mental and physical support to stabilize them while they go through this scary part of the process. As with most parts of this process, different patients will require different levels of stabilization.

Side Effects

Heroin withdrawal comes with some serious side effects. Heroin is considered one of the most addictive drugs out there. You don’t only get mentally used to the positive effects, your body begins to rely on it; when you shut your body off from its supply, at first it will rebel.

When using an opioid such as heroin, a person experiences a sense of euphoria, elation, and happiness. The opposite is true of someone going through heroin detox. They may experience feelings of anxiety, paranoia, agitation, and despair.

Someone going through a moderate withdrawal might suffer from bodily symptoms as well, such as tremors, exhaustion, a lack of focus, body aches, sneezing, and diarrhea. More drastic symptoms (usually accompanying a more serious addiction) include hypertension, muscle spasms, and breathing trouble, and suicidal thoughts. While opioid addiction on its own can’t cause death, it’s still considered deadly, since suicidal ideation is so common.

If you’re looking for treatment in alcohol addiction as well, you might want to look at a dual diagnosis addiction treatment center. While alcohol is a legal drug, it still has devastating effects on people who are addicted.


While the active alcoholism is less likely to kill you than heroin addiction, those undergoing withdrawal from alcohol addiction have to be careful about Delirium Tremens. Delirium Tremens is a potentially deadly side effect of alcohol withdrawal that can cause shaking, shivering, sweating, and potential heart failure in users.

These symptoms can start as quickly as a few hours after the last usage of heroin. This is why it’s imperative that all addicts who wish to quit heroin undergo medical detox.


There are several types of medication that a detox facility might administer to help out someone who is suffering from addiction.

Methadone is the most widely known opioid treatment. Methadone is a synthetic drug that acts on the brain’s opioid receptors. It reduces the symptoms of addiction, while also reducing a user’s drug cravings.

Methadone acts more slowly on the brain’s opioid receptors, so the patient doesn’t experience feelings of euphoria. This makes methadone a safe, reliable way to get people off of opioids. The fact that it operates on opioid receptors helps the patient manage their withdrawal symptoms, but the lack of euphoria decreases the chances that someone will get addicted.

It’s not unpopular to see methadone clinics set up in areas with a high level of addiction. At a methadone clinic, those who are addicted will be able to get a daily dose of methadone, so that they don’t suffer the serious side effects of withdrawal and don’t turn back to the drug.

While methadone is a great way to help someone get through an addiction, it’s important that it’s always administered by a medical professional. It’s less likely to cause addiction than other opiates, but there’s always a chance that someone can become addicted.

Inpatient Detox Facility

While there are outpatient detox facilities (we even offer one), we highly recommend an inpatient detox facility for anyone trying to get clean from heroin.

Heroin is highly addictive, and your addiction will fight tooth and nail to stay alive. If you don’t have medical professionals to help you out 24/7, you may give up and start using again. We couldn’t blame you if you did, considering all of the terrible side effects; however, it’s best to make sure this doesn’t happen and check into an inpatient facility.

The same is true for an alcohol addiction treatment center. Find yourself a place that will take care of you 24/7, so you don’t fall victim to delirium tremens.

Heroin Detox

Heroin addiction still runs rampant in our country. While heroin detox causes many physical and mental side effects, it’s not impossible to get through.

If you or a loved one is battling a heroin addiction, it’s time to get to an inpatient detox facility, to get that person clean.

For more information, contact us today.