Getting Through Heroin Withdrawal

Opioids like heroin are made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seeds of various opium poppy plants. Black tar heroin is a black sticky substance similar to heroin, but it can be a white or brown powder. 

According to a survey conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and health, the US has 948,000 Americans reporting that they used heroin in 2016.  The number of individuals using heroin for the first time is also very high.  

In the same year of 2016, there were 170,000 doing heroin for the first time, almost doubling the number of people in 2006 (90,000). The effects of heroin are seen all across the United States.  Heroin is a dangerous drug to abuse, too but treatment can help overcome the addiction. 

Continue reading to learn about addiction treatment and getting through heroin withdrawal.   

What Is Heroin Withdrawal?

A person going through an addiction to heroin has most likely grown a tolerance over time.  Eventually, the individual will need a higher dosage to reach the same high. 

When an individual stops using heroin, is when withdrawal symptoms begin to set in. 

Getting through heroin withdrawal symptoms during medical detox is no easy task.  Unlike other painkiller withdrawal symptoms, heroin withdrawal is often more intense and more brutal to get through. 

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms begin between six and twelve hours after the last heroin dose. It is similar to drug withdrawal from prescription opioids. 

Withdrawal occurs more quickly with heroin than with painkillers due to heroin’s speedy removal from the body.

Many people describe withdrawal as feeling like they have the flu. Symptoms of withdrawal peak during the second or third day. The worst pain and discomfort last about a week, comparable to the length of the bad flu. 

Common symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Cravings
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches

How Long Is Heroin Withdrawal? 

The duration of withdrawal depends on several different factors.  From the individual to frequency, heroin withdrawal depends on: 

  • How long the person abused heroin 
  • The amount they used each time 
  • How frequently they used
  • In what way they consumed heroin 
  • Underlying mental/medical conditions 

Addicts recovering from heroin addiction may suffer post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may include: 

  • Poor sleep
  • Impaired concentration
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Memory loss

PAWS typically lasts 18-24 months and the effects that is has on behavioral and mental health can last for months after withdrawal symptoms fade. When the user remains drug-free for a period of time, the symptoms will slowly begin to fade.

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

Symptoms of heroin withdrawal may begin as soon as 6 hours after the last dose. Muscle aches will typically start to occur during the first day.  Over the first 48 hours, these muscle aches will intensify along will other symptoms developing such as anxiety, insomnia, and shaking.

After the first day or two, the withdrawal will be at its peak.  During this time, symptoms will often include abdominal pain, sweating, shivering, and vomiting.  

Acute withdrawal typically ends within about a week.  Symptoms including muscles aches and nausea begin to subside.  At this point, former users will feel physically drained, tired, and worn out.

Heroin Detox with SoCal Sunrise 

The first step toward overcoming Heroin addiction is detoxification. A team of professionals who are trained to supervise and monitor you throughout the Heroin detoxification process is highly recommended. 

Heroin detox at SoCal Sunrise will provide individuals with a safe and comforting environment to detox from opioids.  Without the proper supervision, battling opioid withdrawal symptoms by yourself can be dangerous and even fatal. 

Our treatment programs offers not only evidence-based addiction treatment but also offer mental health therapies to combat co-occurring disorders.  

Despite withdrawal making heroin addiction a challenging cycle to break, it is more than possible to break your opioid addiction

Treatment centers offer both inpatient and outpatient heroin detox programs.  Inpatient and outpatient drug addiction treatment can include a variety of treatment options. 

Regular checkups and counseling are required of patients in outpatient recovery programs. 

Recovery addicts in outpatient programs can stay at home and continue their daily routines, but the odds of staying sober are not as good. 

Don’t Hesitate to Get Help

If you or someone you love is battling heroin addiction, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Our team of caring and compassionate staff is here to help you break the cycle of addiction.  

We treat every client individually and provide them with a personalized plan specific to their circumstances so that they overcome addiction and achieve their recovery goals.  

To learn more about heroin detox and rehab call us today at (949) 284-7325

Clinically Reviewed By

Dawn Masick, LMFT

Dawn has experience dealing with various relational, emotional, and psychological struggles. Dawn’s training has prepared her to work with children, teens, young adults, adults, couples, and families. She has undergone training in DBT, TF-CBT, and Family Therapy.  Other competencies include dealing with ADHD, mood/anxiety disorders, parenting challenges, addiction, PTSD, co- dependency, and relationship issues. I have experience in residential, school-based mental health, children’s community mental health, victims of crime (VOC), and private practice settings.

Dawn has been committed to guiding clients through their trauma, coming alongside them in their healing, and supporting them as they navigate life changes. Dawn’s passion is working with clients struggling with trauma in substance abuse and mental health.