Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs available. Its withdrawal symptoms are equally as uncomfortable. Once a heroin use disorder is formed, it is difficult to break. Users can start to feel withdrawal symptoms in as little as hours after use.
This discomfort makes it even more difficult for addicts to stop using heroin. Thankfully, heroin withdrawal can be combated during a medical detox to make it more bearable.
Withdrawal symptoms are experienced by most users of heroin. They can vary from person to person depending on their weight, metabolism and other factors.
About Heroin Withdrawal
When someone struggles with drug abuse for more than a few days, a physical dependence is built in their body. They become physically and mentally addicted to the drug.
When an individual stops doing heroin, they start to experience withdrawal symptoms. This is due to the physical reaction of no longer having the substance. Heroin withdrawal is associated with severe withdrawal symptoms.
Heroin and opiates are commonly revered as extremely difficult to withdraw from. Since opiates like heroin are so strong, your body has a very rigid and strong reaction to the stopping of use. This is why opiate addiction and heroin addiction are so difficult to overcome.
Heroin produces its euphoric effects by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. This interaction releases dopamine which induces the high.
When the heroin in the body wears off, the interaction stops. The lack of more heroin induced withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms are frequently regarded by users of heroin as the reason they do not stop. They fear the discomfort and mental instability that arises from it.
The Heroin Withdrawal Process
Withdrawal timelines vary from substance to substance, but heroin withdrawal can begin in as little as a few hours. Effects of withdrawal last up to a week. Then, post acute withdrawal symptoms, or PAWS, can be felt for months afterwards.
Beginning of Heroin Withdrawal
The National Institutes of Health state that opiate withdrawal usually begins after 12 hours. This can vary depending on the drug. Withdrawal symptoms start with mild discomfort and mental distress like anxiety or depression.
The First 48 Hours
The more severe symptoms of withdrawal begin in the first 48 hours. Muscle aches, stomach discomfort, sweating and insomnia can be felt during this stage. Unfortunately, the worst symptoms are yet to come for those hoping to overcome heroin withdrawals.
The First 72 Hours
The worst effects of heroin withdrawal can be felt on the third day of stopping use. Severe chills and sweating, vomiting, diarrhea and other discomfort is commonly experienced.
In addition to the physical effects, psychological discomfort also occurs. Anxiety, depression and other mental instability frequently accompanies the physical symptoms.
Individuals may have difficulty stomaching food, drinking water or sleeping, all of which can compound their physical and mental discomfort.
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After 72 Hours
After the 72 hour tipping point, most symptoms start to fade. They can still be felt, but usually start to subside. The following days will get better and better as long as the individual stays abstinent from the drug.
By this time, people can usually attempt to start taking care of their physical ailments and begin resuming normal activities. There will still be feelings of discomfort, but most addicts report they are able to function at this time.
Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
Post acute withdrawal symptoms are less serious withdrawal symptoms that can be felt for months after separation from the drug. However, these symptoms should not be written off. Difficulty with cognitive tasks, depression, irritability and sneezing can be experienced for months. These symptoms can also fluctuate and show up unpredictably.
Mental illnesses that may have been suppressed by consistent drug use may also start to appear. It is best to address these with medical professionals as they appear.
Post acute withdrawal symptoms, or PAWS, can often pose a threat to individuals recovery. It can be a constant reminder of their use, and some individuals blame it for relapse.
Mental health and substance abuse treatment combined are best served for combatting PAWS and relapse in most cases.
Despite the extremely uncomfortable symptoms that accompany heroin withdrawal, heroin withdrawal does not usually carry a risk of death. Other drugs like alcohol and benzodiazepines often have much greater risk of death. Certain medical conditions can be complicated by heroin withdrawal.
Another issue associated with overcoming withdrawal is the greater risk of overdose. When someone uses heroin long-term, they build a high tolerance to the drug. When they stop using for more than a few days, their tolerance dwindles.
If an individual relapses and uses a dose of heroin that they used to tolerate, they risk potential overdose. Heroin withdrawal and relapse are dangerous. Heroin detox should always be performed in a medical facility if possible. Facilities that offer mental health and substance abuse services are recommended.
Combating Withdrawal Symptoms
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated by a number of different treatment options. The two most common treatment recommendations are medication assisted detox, and medical supervision.
Medications like Subutex and Suboxone can be used to combat withdrawal symptoms. They work by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain. This causes the individual to experience lessened withdrawal symptoms, without an intense high that heroin causes.
It is always best to detox from heroin under direct medical supervision at a treatment facility. Doctors and physicians can ensure proper prescription and use of medications to ensure a comfortable detox process. They can also treat any adverse health issues that flare up during the process.
We offer a high quality, comfortable addiction treatment program. Our combination of medication assisted detox and therapy under medical direction is second to none.
Feel free to take a look at our treatment center. If you or a loved one is in need of treatment from heroin, we are here to help. We are always available at (800) 817-1247
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