Heroin is a dangerous and potent drug. Once you become addicted to heroin, it will be difficult to function properly without it in your system. You may also become physically and psychologically become dependent on this drug. Using heroin regularly makes the user dependent and more tolerant of the drug.
The more tolerant you become to heroin, the more of it you consume to keep withdrawal away. In fact, it is such a powerful drug with intense withdrawals that most people are hesitant to experience it, even if they need to become sober to save their lives.
One use is all it takes to become hooked on heroin; from then on, nothing else will be relevant to the user. Getting sober and clean will be challenging, and you will have a strong urge to run from this recovery journey when it becomes painful.
A person’s dependence on heroin is based on the amount taken each time, the method of use, and the duration of heroin use. This also impacts the duration and intensity of heroin withdrawal. People with a history of opioid withdrawal or mental illness might experience a more intense withdrawal process. Individuals who have abused heroin heavily for a long time might have a longer withdrawal.
Heroin withdrawal usually starts about 6 to 24 hours after using your last drug dose. The duration and severity of withdrawal experienced during heroin detox vary with each person, depending on factors such as the last dosage amount, tolerance levels, and overall health. Heroin withdrawal symptoms usually peak at their worst point between days 1 and 3 of the detox process and subside 5-7 days into it.
Since heroin is a highly potent opiate drug that can cause addiction after one use, its withdrawal phase is more intense than other milder substances like marijuana. Heroin use also poses unique risks, such as inconsistent potency and purity of each batch you obtain from street dealers. This can increase the user’s risk of overdosing on the drug at any point.
Withdrawal from heroin can be so distressing and painful to the recovering individual that they end up sustaining the addiction to avoid it. The person could become desperate enough to use lots of money to get their next heroin fix. Heroin detox can be uncomfortable for the heroin user. Thus, it is not safe to try quitting cold turkey without any medical supervision available.
Complications resulting from heroin withdrawal can occur during detox and harm individuals who don’t have medical supervision. Individuals suffering from withdrawal can also experience severe dehydration; they can inhale their stomach contents and asphyxiate after vomiting. Although they are not dangerous, the withdrawal symptoms during heroin detox are usually so unpleasant that the patient will relapse to avoid quitting in the future.
Common Heroin Withdrawal Side Effects
- Joint and muscle pain
- Irritable mood
- Dilated pupils
- Mood swings and anxiety
- Runny nose
- Drug cravings
- Flu-like symptoms
- Chills and fever
- Change in heart rate
- Gastrointestinal distress, appetite changes, nausea, cramps
Some individuals might try a heroin detox at home, which is not advisable and dangerous. In an unsupervised, at-home setting, the risk of experiencing suicidal ideation, tremors, and hallucinations is higher.
If you want to enhance your recovery chances, getting a professional heroin detox is better than trying to do it at home by yourself. Heroin overdoses are very common among people who have recently undergone a detox from the drug. These individuals may instantly assume that their bodies can still handle the same heroin dose they were accustomed to before the detox, which is incorrect. Such a mistake has proven fatal in many instances.
Detoxing from an opioid can be deadly, which is why it is always safer to undergo a heroin detox under medical supervision. The withdrawal symptoms associated with this process may be uncomfortable, but they are generally not lethal. However, they are painful and unpleasant enough to make heroin detox dangerous when conducted in a home setting unsupervised.
Heroin Detox At Home
Home-based heroin detox can be counterproductive and dangerous to the individual. Medically supervised detox conducted in a certified recovery facility is safer and more comfortable. These centers also provide detox medications to help in easing the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Conducting a heroin detox at home alone can also be more uncomfortable, increasing the chances of relapsing.
During an at-home detox, the recovering heroin individual will start craving heroin and experiencing these withdrawal symptoms. They will use the drug to ease their pain during this stage. However, since the person’s body is clean and no longer used to heroin, they might return to using the same dose they did pre-detox. However, this can overwhelm the body, resulting in an overdose and, eventually, death.
When you are suffering from heroin addiction, it can strain the body and lead to death. This is why it is advisable to go through detox in a certified rehab facility with qualified medical professionals and addiction specialists.
Withdrawal is a stressful time for a recovering heroin user’s body. If the person has a co-occurring health condition such as an increased risk for blood clots, or a weak heart, a heroin detox might cause complications with such medical issues. However, with medical professionals monitoring the whole process and the patient’s health, this increases safety for the individual.
Mental health professionals are also available in rehab and detox facilities to support recovering patients’ mental health needs and help them believe they have the power to stop using drugs. Professional medical detox is the first step of a comprehensive heroin addiction treatment plan and can be a viable tool for preventing relapse.