Heroin Withdrawal  

About Heroin Withdrawal 

Heroin abuse has become an epidemic in the United States over the last ten years. Because of the highly addictive nature of heroin, and its potential for fatal side effects, heroin addiction has been in the news across the nation. Heroin is not a new drug, it has been around since the late 1800’s. In fact, heroin was once touted as a cure-all for all types of mental and physical illnesses. Now, heroin addiction has grown to mammoth proportions, and heroin withdrawal treatment centers have been overrun with individuals needing addiction treatment. Heroin withdrawal symptoms are not usually fatal, however the complications some addicts in withdrawal experience can be.

Undergoing heroin withdrawal without the help of medical professionals is rarely successful. While some of the physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal can be managed, the psychological and emotional aspects are much more difficult to navigate. Quitting heroin suddenly can cause heroin withdrawal symptoms to become unmanageable. Individuals with long term heroin addictions and co-occurring disorders are strongly encouraged to get medical advice and seek drug detox in a supervised detox center in Huntington Beach. The risk of relapsing, and overdosing, are quite high when attempting heroin detox alone.

Preparing for Heroin Withdrawal

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Before attempting heroin withdrawal and detox it is important that client’s prepare themselves for the process. Heroin withdrawal can be a painful process, as the drugs are purged from the body. Every individual responds to heroin withdrawal differently and heroin detox can seem overwhelming. Drug detox clients are supported through group counseling, behavioral therapy, and often medications. One reason clients experience more success when choosing to detox in a medical facility is the added support of medication to help combat the heroin withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin affects the brain reward system and most heroin users have built up a high tolerance for the drug. This tolerance drives heroin addicts to keep increasing their doses, making the heroin withdrawal symptoms more intense. Heroin withdrawal has many flu-like symptoms and can last for several days or a week. The emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms last much longer.


Physical Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms


The physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal can be mild to moderate in most individuals. For those who have been using heroin for extensive periods of time, the withdrawal process might be more severe and may last longer.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Restlessness
  • Chills and goosebumps
  • Runny nose
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Excessive yawning

More Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle spasms

Psychological and Emotional Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms


Heroin use causes chemical changes within the brain that can cause long term changes in the way brain cells and neurotransmitters function. Sometimes, healing from this can take years, and can leave heroin addicts at risk for lifelong drug addictions in the future. The psychological and emotional effects of heroin addiction are powerful, and users often site this as the number one reason they return to heroin.

  • Intense cravings for heroin
  • Loss of pleasurable feelings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Clouded thinking
  • Memory issues
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Inability to deal with stress
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Stages of Heroin Withdrawal

It is important to note that not all psychological and physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal happen at the same time. Each individual will progress through the stages of withdrawal at their own pace. The intensity and duration of these stages is often directly influenced by the length and extent of a client’s heroin addiction.

Onset of Symptoms – Within 6 to 12 hours of stopping heroin, drug withdrawal symptoms begin to develop.

Peak Symptoms – Within 1 to 3 days of stopping heroin, the withdrawal symptoms will reach peak intensity.

Subsiding Symptoms – Within about 7 days of stopping heroin, the withdrawal symptoms will begin to dissipate.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms – Following the first 7 days of withdrawal, the individual will begin to feel the psychological and emotional symptoms associated with heroin addiction withdrawal. These symptoms can last for many weeks and months after stopping heroin. Some emotional and psychological symptoms can last for many years.

The importance of follow-up care and transitional housing following inpatient heroin rehab in Huntington Beach cannot be stressed enough. Some drug addictions are easier to kick than heroin addiction as the emotional holds are never quite as strong. Heroin addiction, and other opiate addictions, can be the toughest to gain and keep control over.

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