Heroin Detox Timeline Explained

January 14, 2022

3 mins

One of the biggest hurdles for recovering from heroin addiction is taking the first step to detox from heroin. Heroin is a very powerful drug, and the withdrawal symptoms can be just as intense as the high, but very uncomfortable. Because they are uncomfortable, people are often scared of the withdrawal symptoms and continue using heroin for a more extended period of time before they decide to seek treatment. However, detox centers like West Valley Detox are equipped to help individuals safely detox from heroin and even provide medications that can make the experience a little less uncomfortable.

Can Heroin Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

Heroin use causes an intense high in the brain caused by releasing an excessive amount of dopamine in the brain. After continued use, the individual’s body becomes dependent on the substance. When the brain comes down from this high and is not met with another dosage of the drug, then the body starts to go into withdrawals. This can be very uncomfortable for individuals, and sometimes life-threatening if complications occur. Because of the severity of withdrawal symptoms related to opioids, individuals will often relapse to relieve those symptoms. 

What are the Signs of Heroin Withdrawal?

Signs of withdrawal from heroin or other opioids can be very uncomfortable and are often described as experiencing flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include the following: 

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Watery discharge from the eyes and nose 

While these symptoms are not life-threatening on their own, it’s important that they be monitored closely because the presence of certain health conditions may put an individual at risk of complications. 

How Long Will Heroin Withdrawal Last?

Heroin withdrawals start within 8-24 hours after the individual’s last dose of the drug. Once withdrawal symptoms start, they last for 4-10 days. It’s important to receive detox treatment during the entire time that withdrawals are present because any complications that may occur as a result of withdrawals can be life-threatening. The benefit of detox programs is that they give you access to medical staff 24/7. 

Heroin Detox Explained

When detoxing from heroin, it is recommended that you enroll in a program that offers continual observation and monitoring around the clock. Detox programs will often complete screening tools multiple times a day to determine the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. This helps them determine what medical interventions you may need to help with the withdrawals, such as symptomatic medication or opioid medication. Symptomatic medication is typically prescribed for individuals with mild withdrawal symptoms. An increase in fluid intake and vitamin B and C supplements are typically recommended. Individuals with moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms may be prescribed opioid medications to help manage withdrawals and cravings. Examples of these medications include clonidine, buprenorphine, and methadone.

What Happens After Detox? 

Recovery from heroin addiction does not stop after detox. Addiction disorders often cause individuals to develop maladaptive behaviors to help them get the drug their body is craving. Because of this, they tend to fall into these behavior patterns and lose skills, social supports, hobbies, and more than they once had. Therefore, ongoing treatment is needed to help individuals develop these skills and learn to manage relapse triggers. Typically, the next step after detox treatment is a partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient program.

West Valley Detox Can Help

West Valley Detox offers state-of-the-art treatment in a beautiful location. You will be able to receive quality treatment for your substance use and mental health concerns while being comfortable and healthy. Once you arrive, we offer medically assisted detox and residential treatment. We provide round-the-clock care with experienced and highly trained staff who are excited to provide you with one on one treatment. Our clinician-to-patient ratio of 3:1 allows this. In addition to therapy for addiction and mental health, we also offer help with nutrition, art therapy, grief counseling, yoga, life skills, and more. We will work alongside you to tailor an individualized treatment plan with our client-focused and highly customizable curriculum. There are over 14,000 drug rehab centers in the United States. But there’s only one West Valley Detox. Contact us today with a confidential and free call to start your journey to recovery.


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