How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?: The Timeline, Explained

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Did you know that Opiates were the cause of 49,860 deaths in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)? This made opiate overdoses responsible for over 70% of all drug overdose deaths.

Heroin continues to contribute to the opiate epidemic in the United States, and the number of heroin-related deaths continues to increase every year. Luckily heroin addiction treatment can be successful, and recovery is possible.

Unfortunately, the heroin withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, and many people experience symptoms for weeks to months when going through the heroin withdrawal process. Keep reading on to learn more about heroin withdrawal and how long heroin withdrawal lasts.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

It is important to know that everyone experiences heroin withdrawal symptoms differently. Common symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Body aches
  • Cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Tremors
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Some people describe heroin withdrawal symptoms as having a terrible cold or flu. Unfortunately, there are sometimes when heroin withdrawal symptoms become severe and require hospitalization. However, there are some medications such as, Clonidine, that help reduce the severity of some heroin withdrawal symptoms.

Initial Comedown Phase

The comedown from heroin withdrawal usually occurs shortly after someone stops using heroin. This can vary between addicts, but typically the comedown phase occurs within the first 6 to 12 hours after the last dose of heroin. Some even experience it as soon as 4 hours after their last dose of heroin.

Several factors influence how long and server someone may experience withdrawal symptoms.  Some factors include:

  • Length of heroin use
  • How much heron used
  • Route of administration (i.e., smoked, snorted, injected)
  • Previous attempts to quit
  • Mental illnesses
  • Health conditions
  • Additional substance abuse

The initial comedown phase from heroin can be unpleasant and discouraging. Unfortunately, this sometimes can trigger someone to relapse and start using immediately.

Many addicts find more success in overcoming heroin addiction by going into a treatment facility for supervised detox. Treatment facilities provide medical assistance and can help minimize the risk for heroin relapse.

Heroin Withdrawal Peak

Heroin withdrawal peak is when someone experiences the most intense withdrawal symptoms.

The withdrawal peak period usually comes around the day 1 to day 3 mark. During this stage, people experience more severe symptoms such as:

  • Confusion
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased irritability and mood swings
  • Sweating
  • Goosebumps
  • Depression

This stage usually lasts over the next 5 to 7 days and symptoms usually gradually subside during this period. However, as symptoms subside over the next few weeks, many people still experience fatigue, depression, cravings, and discomfort.

Post-Acute Withdrawl Syndrome (PAWS)

Unfortunately, when going through the heroin withdrawal process, some experience a condition known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, also referred to as PAWS.

PAWS occurs when some addicts experience withdrawal syndromes over an extended period of time. Sometimes recovering heroin addicts have symptoms for a period of a few weeks to even months.

Protracted Period

Once the initial comedown phase and peak phase are over, next is the protracted period. The protracted period lasts for about 6 months.

During this period, people recovering experience intense cravings to use heroin again.

To reduce the risk of relapse during this period, long-term treatment is crucial. Long-term treatment may include behavioral therapy and pharmacological treatments.

Behavioral therapies may include various therapy options such as group therapy, family therapy, and individual therapy. In addition, behavioral therapies allow for a better understanding to understand and uncover the underlying cause of heroin addiction.

There are various pharmacological treatment options that the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends. Some pharmacological treatment options include:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone

Many people have found success when taking these medications, but this is something to discuss with your healthcare provider and treatment facility.

Coping During Detox

Withdrawing from heroin is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot out of someone, both mentally and physically. However, some things can make this process slightly easier.

Seeking help from trusted staff members at a treatment center can sometimes make detoxing from heroin a little easier when experiencing a rough time. Do not be afraid to ask for support and help.

Staying hydrated is crucial in heroin withdraw. Withdraw from heroin takes a lot out of you physically. Staying hydrated helps prevent dehydration, especially if you are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea.

Oakvine Recovery Center

Unfortunately, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug relapse rates are between 40% to 60%. Many people find that using treatment facilities help them during the difficult heroin withdrawal process. Recovery centers also help people to achieve long-term success in overcoming their addiction.

Oak Vine Recovery Center prides itself on finding the right treatment plan for each addict. They understand that recovery may not look the same for everyone and develop a unique treatment plan for each individual.

They offer a variety of plans which may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy

Heroin withdrawal is hard, but seeking out professional help may help make heroin addiction treatment a little easier.

Recovery Is Possible Seek Help Today

Heroin addiction can take over someone’s life and is highly addictive. Quitting is not easy, and heroin withdrawal can lead to uncomfortable symptoms that last for weeks. Once these first few weeks are over, there are still some long-term symptoms that continue.

Although it may not be easy, recovery is possible and could save your life or someone you know life.

Finding a good recovery center is crucial. If you or someone you love is looking for a recovery center to help overcome heroin addiction Contact Oakvine Recovery Center today.