How Long Does It Take to Detox from Heroin?

Heroin detox has multiple side effects, meaning it’s important to know how to detox safely.

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Heroin Detox

Heroin is an opioid drug made from the poppy plant, and it can be used in the form of a white or brown powder or a black, sticky tar. 1

Heroin is highly addictive. When a person uses heroin, the drug binds with chemicals in the brain, releases dopamine, and leads to a temporary euphoric feeling. But over time, a person will have to use more and more of the substance to get the same feel-good effect. 2

Heroin Detox

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Symptoms of Heroin Use

Someone who is addicted to heroin may exhibit the following signs and symptoms:
  • Drowsiness
  • Agitation
  • Slurred speech
  • Depression
  • Changes in appearance
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Risky or dangerous behavior
  • Problems at work or school
Additionally, someone experiencing heroin addiction may have problems keeping a job, maintaining close relationships, and keeping on top of everyday responsibilities.

Importance of Detoxification

If you or someone you know is dealing with heroin addiction, the first thing to know is that there are many options that can help you get better. The first step in treating substance use addictions is often detox, which is a process of removing all traces of a substance from the body.
Although it can be uncomfortable, heroin detox is the first step in treating heroin addiction because it allows you to enter recovery with a clear mind and decreased cravings.

Methods Used for Heroin Detox

There are a few different types of detox processes. These will be detailed include:3
  • Outpatient Detox: One method for heroin detoxification is outpatient detox, which allows you to live at home while you detox and attend a detox program during the day. Typically, you will visit a detox center at least once a week to receive treatment in the form of therapy or medications.
  • Acute Detox: There is also acute detox, which is the highest level of care and typically involves intensive, around-the-clock care. With acute detox, you will stay at a hospital or medical facility and are constantly monitored for serious withdrawal effects. People in acute detox frequently receive medications to minimize the discomfort associated with withdrawal.
  • Rapid Detox: Another type of heroin detox is rapid detox, in which a person quickly withdraws from substances while under anesthesia. While many people find the idea of a speedy withdrawal process appealing, rapid and ultra-rapid detoxes are controversial due to the fact that they can be dangerous. 

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Heroin?

When it comes to the amount of time it takes to withdraw from heroin, it varies depending on the person. Most people will experience the worst of withdrawal within seven days of their last use.

Factors that Influence Duration of Withdrawal

However, there are some factors that can affect the length of withdrawal, including:4
  • The severity of heroin addiction
  • The length of time one has been using heroin
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • The method by which heroin is used
  • Polysubstance abuse, or using other substances along with heroin

Heroin Detox Timeline and Symptoms

To get a better idea of what to expect from a heroin detox, consider the general heroin detox timeline below.

First 24 Hours

Withdrawal symptoms often begin within six to twelve hours after your last dose. These initial symptoms may mimic the flu, with fever, nausea, gastrointestinal issues, chills, and achiness. More severe symptoms can also occur, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and difficulty breathing. These more serious symptoms are why medical supervision is highly recommended during a heroin detox.

First Few Days

The severity of withdrawal symptoms will reach their peak within the first few days of a heroin detox. Many people find themselves feeling feverish, achy, nauseous, tired, and irritable. Vomiting and diarrhea are common. Heroin cravings may also begin to intensify around this time.

First Week

As the body clears itself of the chemicals and toxins from heroin use, individuals will continue to experience withdrawal symptoms. However, after a week, physical symptoms should subside and individuals should begin to feel better. People who have used heroin for a long time, or who used large amounts of the drug, may still face severe withdrawal symptoms at this time.

First Few Months

Once the substance has been cleared from the body, individuals get to experience restored brain and bodily functions. Many people feel good physically, but some experience mental and emotional challenges like cravings, anxiety, and depression. Entering inpatient or outpatient treatment and utilizing therapy and medication after heroin detox can help with this.

What Happens After You Finish Treatment?

Entering treatment after completing a heroin detox is extremely beneficial, as it provides you with a robust support system to help you recover. Having a support system, whether it is a team of medical professionals, a therapist, or friends and family, can provide the emotional care you need to successfully recover. 5

Post-Treatment Care and Wellness Opportunities

Once you’ve finished treatment, there is more support out there for you. Many rehabs offer continuing care programs, which involve ongoing therapy to help you stay on track with recovery and maintain sobriety. You can also join support groups and other programs like Narcotics Anonymous to get advice from others who have gone through addiction.

Lastly, taking care of your health in a holistic way – which means focusing on healing your mind, body, and spirit – can be a great way to continue recovery after finishing treatment. This can look like developing a nutritious diet, getting enough exercise, and engaging in meditation or prayer.
Heroin Detox Symptoms

Get Started on Your Heroin Detox Today at Profound

If you or a loved one are considering detoxing from heroin, Profound Treatment can help. Our facility is the perfect place for you to detox safely thanks to the highly qualified team of medical professionals who monitor your progress through the detox process.

To make you more comfortable, the team at Profound Treatment not only offers compassionate care, but also pharmacological interventions to minimize your discomfort. On top of this, therapy begins immediately, so you have the additional support of a mental health professional to help you through withdrawal.

Aftercare and a Commitment to Long-Term, Sustainable Wellness

After you’ve successfully completed detox, your journey with Profound Treatment doesn’t have to end. You can complete residential treatment, where you can continue to heal in a safe, structured, enriching environment.

At our facility, the focus is not just on sobriety – it’s about finding tools and interventions that help you on your individual path to recovery. To learn more about Profound Treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

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