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Heroin Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and How a Detox Center Can Help

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heroin withdrawal timeline

An addiction to heroin can ruin people’s lives. Over the course of their addiction, they can lose their friends, families, their jobs, their homes, and for too many, it may even cost them their life. The decision to quit heroin for good is an admirable, and worthy undertaking. Admittedly though, it’s not for the faint of heart. Heroin withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant, and it can feel impossible to weather them on your own, especially with no end in sight.

Whether you have already decided to quit or if you’re still considering if you truly want to quit using heroin, it’s important to know that the freedom and health that comes along with sobriety can eclipse the pain of withdrawal. There is the promise of relief on the other side of the detoxification process, once all symptoms have subsided. Simply knowing the heroin withdrawal timeline, what symptoms to expect, and where to go to get help while you detox can help you conquer your heroin addiction once and for all.

What is the Heroin Withdrawal Timeline?

If you are already feeling the symptoms of heroin withdrawal, your first question is probably: when will this be over?

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that can cause physical and emotional dependency within only a few uses. But, the length of withdrawal symptoms will vary greatly from person to person based on their individual usage.

For instance, if you have been using heroin for a number of years or if your body is adapted to higher dosages, you are more likely to experience a longer detox process than someone who’s only just started using. Additionally, women tend to experience symptoms longer than men do.

Generally speaking, the withdrawal process will begin within 6-12 hours of the last dose.

Gradually, symptoms will begin to increase in severity until they peak in intensity between one and three days. This period will be the hardest to endure, but the good news is that if you can make it through the peak the more serious symptoms will begin to gradually subside between days four and ten.

After the tenth day, symptoms should begin to disappear entirely. If symptoms persist after fourteen days, it is vital that you contact your doctor. You may be experiencing PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) or you may have other complications.

What Are The Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal?

When you are detoxing from heroin, you may experience all or some combination of the below symptoms:[1]

  • Sweats
  • Chills
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Increased blood pressure and rapid heartbeat

In addition to the physical symptoms of withdrawal, you may experience any number of emotional symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Intense cravings
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia

While the heroin withdrawal timeline is challenging to endure, it’s important to note that the process of detoxing from heroin is rarely fatal. However, it is not unheard of. If symptoms are particularly intense, it’s important to seek medical treatment. Even if your symptoms are moderate, they could be more manageable when undertaken with the help of a seasoned and dedicated staff at a detox center.

How Can a Detox Center Help Ease the Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal?

Detoxing at home is possible, but heroin withdrawal is unpredictable, and it can be frightening to try and do it on your own. Seeking treatment at a Massachusetts heroin detox center can provide you with a clean, comfortable, peaceful space where you have access to 24/7 medical care.

Every detox center’s approach to heroin detox is different. Many employ medication-assisted treatment, commonly referred to as “MAT,” to help ease symptoms. With MAT, medical professionals at your detox center will prescribe an appropriate opioid replacement. Common medications include methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. These medications essentially work to help wean people off of heroin. They reduce the severity and the duration of symptoms.[2]

Once your detox is complete, a comprehensive heroin treatment program will be recommended for continued care.

Building a plan for recovery is vital in moving forward to achieve long-term sobriety so that you only ever have to experience the pain of withdrawal once. A detox center’s rehabilitation and therapy programs can help you to build the long-term coping skills you need to maintain your sobriety well into the future.

heroin withdrawal

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Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.

(781) 622-9190

Overcoming the Heroin Withdrawal Timeline With Help From a Massachusetts Detox Center

If you are considering quitting heroin and taking the first steps on your road to recovery, don’t deny yourself the care and support you deserve! At Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment in Woburn, MA, we offer an evidence-based, holistic approach to recovery that prioritizes individual success. That’s why our opioid rehab program has a completion rate 150% higher than the national average. Our uniquely tailored treatment programs will cater to your needs. Our team can help you manage the symptoms of your heroin withdrawal, provide you with the emotional support you’ll need in the immediate days following your detox, and help you to build a comprehensive plan for continued care so that you can maintain your sobriety and safeguard your wellness for years to come. Call today to talk to our admissions counselors.

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Medically Reviewed By

Inessa Maloney, MS, LMHC Clinical Director
Learn about Inessa Maloney

Inessa Maloney, MS, LMHC has been dedicated to the mental health and substance abuse field for a decade, providing her expertise to guarantee quality and accuracy.

  • Specializes in outpatient services with a focus on substance abuse
  • Expertise in reality-based therapy, CBT/DBT, and motivational interviewing
  • Holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling
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