Heroin is a powerful and highly addictive drug. Its effects can be both mentally and physically damaging, leading to an intense physical dependence. As such, quitting heroin abruptly can lead to withdrawal symptoms that range from uncomfortable to extremely painful.
We want to stress, though, that with the proper medical care these symptoms are absolutely manageable. You don’t have to do this alone, and with the help of professionals the process can be much more pain free. Studies also suggest that people who get the help of medical professionals when detoxing and treating addictions are more likely to stay drug free for the long run.
But how long does this physical heroin withdrawal last? And what symptoms can be expected? Depending on the individual it can vary, but generally a week or more. In this blog post, we’ll explore what you need to know about physical heroin withdrawal and how long it typically lasts.
What Is Heroin Withdrawal And What Are The Symptoms?
Withdrawal is the process of eliminating drugs from the body. More specifically, withdrawal is the symptoms of the body trying to deal with not having a particular substance anymore. Withdrawal can happen with all kinds of drugs taken regularly, even caffeine. But the withdrawal from a heroin addiction can be much worse and make you feel like you have the flu.
The symptoms of withdrawal can be uncomfortable, but they are not usually life-threatening. While the symptoms of withdrawal are not usually life threatening, dependence is. Physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:
- Intense cravings for heroin
- Muscle aches and pains
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweating, runny nose)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps
Psychological symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:
These psychological symptoms can persist for much longer, and this is one reason why it’s so difficult to get off heroin. Addictions in the brain, especially to powerful drugs like heroin can last a long time. This is why it’s so important to talk to professionals about quitting, as it’s very hard to do alone. This doesn’t indicate weakness, it just goes to show you how powerful these drugs can be.
In addition, while the above symptoms are generally not life threatening, like they can be with alcohol, it is still important to speak with a medical professional when stopping taking any drug, as there can be complications.
How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?
Physical withdrawal from heroin can last for up to a week, sometimes more, and the psychological issues can last much longer. These physical symptoms usually start within a few hours after the last dose of heroin and peak within 2-3 days.
While this process is uncomfortable, it’s not impossible. With proper medical care these symptoms can be eased significantly, and recovering addicts usually have a greater chance to stop using once and for all.
Under the care of a treatment facility or hospital, those experiencing withdrawal can be given medicine and other easing treatments to help them to get through the worst of the “detox” phase. This first phase is where withdrawals typically happen.
Once the patient has been properly “detoxed” then they can start rehabilitation, and learn strategies to stay off drugs for good as well as why one might have started using in the first place.
Lastly, patients enter recovery, where they use this newfound knowledge and strategies to stay sober in the outside world.
Without proper professional treatment, users often go back to using heroin again.
Treatments For Heroin Withdrawal
There are a number of different ways to treat heroin withdrawal, depending on the severity of the symptoms. This is called withdrawal management.For milder cases, over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help to relieve some of the discomfort. More severe cases may require prescription drugs like clonidine or buprenorphine.
It is always important to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.
For more severe cases of heroin withdrawal, there are a number of inpatient and outpatient treatment options available, like our facilities at The Addiction Recovery Institute of America.
Inpatient treatment usually involves detoxification followed by rehabilitation. Intensive Outpatient Treatment typically consists of detoxification followed by counseling and support groups, but many people still choose to live at treatment facilities or other sober living situations rather than go back home and to the environment where they were using.
There are also a number of medication-assisted treatments we can use that can be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Get Help For A Heroin Addiction Today— Call Us— Don’t Wait
Physical heroin withdrawal can be a difficult process that lasts anywhere from 7 to 10 days. However, it is important to note that the symptoms of heroin withdrawal are treatable and, when properly managed with medications or other therapies, many people are able to manage their symptoms and make long-term recovery possible.
Ultimately, the best way to achieve lasting sobriety is by seeking help from an addiction treatment center that offers comprehensive services for those struggling with opioid use disorder.
We offer one of those such treatment centers, and can be reached by phone at (844) 973-2611. Please give us a call today and don’t wait. The longer you or your loved ones use, the harder the addiction is to treat, and the greater likelihood there is for overdose.
Call today, and get your life back on track.