Since heroin is such an addictive drug, getting sober can be tough. Often, people struggling with addiction worry most about getting through heroin withdrawal. Withdrawal can come with a range of unpleasant side effects, but it’s a necessary part of the recovery process. Explore what to expect from withdrawal, how long it will take, and what comes next after withdrawal is complete.
The Timeline for Heroin Withdrawal
If you or your loved one has a heroin addiction, then heroin withdrawal is unavoidable to get sober. It’s common for prospective clients to worry about how long withdrawal will take. The short answer is that withdrawal symptoms typically last one week. However, that timeline varies for each individual, depending on their health and the severity of their addiction.
Withdrawal technically starts the minute that a person stops taking heroin. In reality, the first symptoms of withdrawal will appear six to nine hours after taking the last dose of heroin. Those early withdrawal symptoms are still relatively mild but can intensify quickly.
Symptoms of heroin withdrawal typically peak two to three days into the process. This can be the toughest part of withdrawal for clients. Fortunately, after the peak, symptoms will diminish rapidly until they’re gone completely.
Does Everyone with a Heroin Addiction Go Through Withdrawal?
Yes. Simply put, everyone who has an addiction to this drug and wants to stop using will suffer from some kind of withdrawal. That being said, not all clients experience the same kind of withdrawal.
A lot of the symptoms depend on the individual and his or her history with heroin. A person who has been using heroin for decades will almost certainly have a tougher withdrawal than someone who has only been using heroin for a few months. Older clients may also have a tougher time with withdrawal and experience a greater risk for health problems along the way.
Typical Withdrawal Symptoms
Symptoms of heroin withdrawal can vary, but many clients experience the same common symptoms. Many individuals in withdrawal report symptoms such as nausea, abdominal cramping and pain, depression, muscle spasms and shaking. Less common, but still possible, are more severe symptoms like a dangerously rapid heart rate, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Rarely, clients may also experience aggression.
The Need for Medical Support During Withdrawal
There are two major reasons that clients need professional medical support while they’re in withdrawal: safety and comfort. To start, medical care is necessary so that individuals can be as safe, secure and healthy as possible throughout the process of withdrawal. Things like dehydration or a high heart rate can become serious issues, so having access to 24/7 medical monitoring and treatment is incredibly helpful.
In addition, people don’t need to suffer unnecessarily during heroin withdrawal. Overcoming addiction is tough, but treatment shouldn’t feel like a punishment. Often, medical support can reduce symptoms and make it easier for clients to rest, eat, and recover from addiction.
After Withdrawal: What Comes Next
Heroin withdrawal is just the first step in heroin addiction treatment. After detox comes rehab, a critical part of recovery. At Denver Recovery, rehab programs consist of a holistic approach to healing that includes all the following treatment methods:
- Family therapy
- EMDR therapy
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Recreation and outdoor therapy
Understanding heroin withdrawal and where it fits into the recovery process can help you overcome addiction. At Denver Recovery in Colorado, addiction treatment programs give you the tools and support needed to get sober. Call (844) 602-3175 to learn more about creating your personalized path to recovery.