Author: Charles Frank

Heroin Detox: Withdrawal, Timeline, & Treatment Get Help Today

how long does heroin detox take

It may be risky to try to tough it out on your own, especially when professional help is available. You will experience withdrawal symptoms for the duration of the detoxification stage. With heroin and its toxic metabolites leaving your system, your body struggles to cope with this change.

  1. Learning how to withdraw from heroin comfortably safely will minimize discomfort during the detox phase and will reduce the chance of relapse in recovery.
  2. Many people mistake these symptoms of early-stage withdrawal for illnesses like the flu.
  3. Managing cravings and building positive coping skills are crucial components of heroin detox treatment.
  4. Nausea and vomiting during heroin withdrawal can lead to appetite loss and generalized discomfort.

Alternatively, you could detox at the beginning of a residential rehab program for heroin addiction treatment. A controversial method of detox, known as “rapid detoxification,” is carried out while patients are under general anesthesia. From start to finish, the process can last from 4-8 hours; discharge from the program can be completed 48 hours after recovery from the anesthesia. On the other hand, continuing to use heroin does put your life at risk, and an overdose or other health issues become more likely the longer the drug is used. To address the issue of physical dependence on heroin, consider kickstarting your recovery at one of our pet-friendly heroin detox centers located in Newport Beach and Long Beach.

Detox Days 1-2

Because recovery is a lifelong process, the individual will require ongoing support. The person in recovery will need a strong support system after detox completes. This support system may include long-term professional counseling sessions. Acute detoxification is defined as a form of treatment where a patient weans off the abused drug under a doctor’s supervision.

how long does heroin detox take

It’s possible to withdraw from heroin by just quitting without assistance, but going “cold turkey” isn’t recommended. Statistically, it’s temporary drug cessation without addressing the causes of addiction and devising a realistic relapse prevention plan. Addiction recovery programs aren’t something new, and deeper insight into the nature of drug dependence has led to more effective treatment options.

Medical doctors are aware of this addictive cycle and will usually limit opioid prescriptions to the short term in an attempt at prevention. If addiction has already developed, however, many of those caught in this cycle turn to street drugs like heroin because of untreated pain and overwhelming cravings or to combat their withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, detoxing from heroin at home exposes you to more risk in the form of a potential relapse. If you succumb to temptation during a home heroin detox and use a dose you would have easily tolerated before detox, this can be enough of the drug to induce an overdose. If you become physically dependent on heroin, just like any opioid, discontinuing use invariably precipitates intensely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, it is one of the many dangers of heroin addiction. The average duration of heroin detox is one week, although those who have been abusing the substance long-term can expect to experience a more protracted withdrawal process.


Most acute symptoms of heroin withdrawal peak from in the first three days of detox. Most brain and biological functions are restored in all but the most severe cases. Additional heroin withdrawal treatment to address mental and physical health problems can begin. Heroin withdrawal symptoms appear as soon as six hours after ceasing usage because of how quickly heroin goes through the body. In particularly severe cases, people can contract post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) after stopping heroin usage. In these circumstances, symptoms may persist for a year or more and expand to include things like hypersensitivity, mood swings, and restlessness.

how long does heroin detox take

The ultra-rapid detoxification can is a complete detox in under an hour, but it is very dangerous. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported on a study from 2006 that found “three serious adverse events” from a patient population of 35. Various home remedies are advertised, promising to help with heroin withdrawal and detox, but caution is advised.

Detox Days 6-7

We work to ensure that clients transfer directly to the next appropriate level of clinical care with no time in between treatment phases. Attempting to detox from heroin at home can be dangerous and even life-threatening. The withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and without proper medical supervision, complications can arise. The risk of relapse to ward off withdrawal symptoms is also greater if you detox in a nonclinical setting.

There’s also a higher risk of death due to medical complications and a high rate of suicide. These are some of the best reasons why recovery treatment should include medical detox and stabilization, including supervision in a calm, secure residential setting. Once brain function is restored somewhat, the body needs time to recuperate from the effects of dependence and abuse. Recovering addicts can work with their drug counselors and doctors to deal with lingering mental health and medical problems once the immediate side effects of withdrawal abate. A dual diagnosis treatment plan works to alleviate serious mental health symptoms so that each individual can focus entirely on long-term recovery. Withdrawal from heroin is painful for most individuals that experience it.

Cravings can be managed to some extent through the use of FDA-approved medications during heroin detox and recovery. Some of the most common heroin withdrawal symptoms include disrupted sleep patterns and insomnia. The symptoms experienced during heroin withdrawal are similar in presentation to the symptoms of a bad case of influenza. The duration of symptoms is similar, too, with most heroin withdrawal symptoms peaking after 48 to 72 hours and then subsiding after about a week – more on the heroin withdrawal timeline below. Heroin withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, restlessness, muscle aches, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and insomnia. These withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous in some cases, which is why medical supervision is recommended during the detox process to effectively manage withdrawal.

It is inadvisable and potentially dangerous to abruptly stop using heroin without consulting your healthcare provider as it will likely require the help of a heroin detox program. In almost all cases a supervised clinical detox is the most efficient route to detoxing from an opioid like heroin and initiating your ongoing recovery by engaging with inpatient or outpatient treatment. If you are physically dependent on an opioid such as heroin, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms will set in when the effects of heroin wear off making drug rehab and detox a valuable resource. When used during a heroin withdrawal treatment program, antagonists bond to the receptors without activating them. This means there is no effect from the drugs, and they block other opioids from bonding. Common antagonists are naltrexone and naloxone, which is the generic name for Narcan.

Heroin use quickly impacts the brain’s reward system and produces a feeling of being “high”. But as the body becomes more accustom to its use, tolerance increases and more of the drug is required to reach the same high. Users who have become dependent on heroin will commonly need to increase the dosage and/or its frequency of use to continue to get the same desired high which seems to only intensify and complicate the problem. Heroin withdrawal occurs when you stop using this fiercely addictive substance after sustained use. The worst symptoms ought to taper off and cease at about the two-week point. While mild symptoms may remain, most people regain normal functioning and energy levels at this point.

Once symptoms have largely subsided, the next weeks and months may involve cravings for heroin. These may be intense, even long after any withdrawal symptoms have disappeared. Managing cravings and building positive coping skills are crucial components of heroin detox treatment. The freedom of an outpatient detox program comes with the responsibility of the patient having a large stake in his own recovery. The Fix explains that visits to the treatment center (for medication replenishment, observation, and tests) have to be regular; for that reason, the visits themselves can be quite lengthy, lasting hours at a time.

Besides the physical symptoms, the person withdrawing may show psychological symptoms, such as confusion, anxiety, and aggression. Other medications may also be used during heroin detox to help with specific symptoms. These include sedatives (such as benzodiazepines) and the medication clonidine, which helps reduce some withdrawal symptoms. Stopping heroin “cold-turkey” brings about a rapid onset of withdrawal symptoms, which are very difficult to endure.