Just as the road to drug addiction is unique for each individual, heroin withdrawal is also unique. Detox from heroin is known to cause specific side effects. But each person is affected in their own way as they go through withdrawal, making it hard to predict how the process will go. This is one reason why medically supervised detox from heroin is so important and can be lifesaving.

How Heroin Withdrawal Occurs

Isolated woman holding stomach suffering heroin withdrawal.

There are many factors affecting heroin withdrawal. These include the length of time heroin has been used, how it was abused and how much was taken with each dose. These issues combine to determine how dependent the patient is on the drug, as well as how severe withdrawal will be.

Other issues affecting detox from heroin include:

  • Family history of drug abuse
  • Whether mental illness occurs along with addiction
  • Presence of other health conditions
  • Use of other substances with heroin

Heroin changes how the brain and body function. When this dangerous drug is used, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and breathing are all suppressed. With use of heroin, there is also an increase in brain chemicals that create the feeling of pleasure. Just as all of these changes take place when the opiate is abused, they must be reversed when that abuse stops.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of heroin withdrawal can be divided into three levels. These include mild, moderate and severe. The depth and breadth of symptoms you experience will all depend on your drug use history, physical wellness, mental condition and how you abused the drug.

For short-term substance abuse, you may only go through mild withdrawal. Average use of heroin and addiction to it may lead to moderate withdrawal. Or you could experience severe symptoms if you have battled heroin addiction for a long time.

Mild symptoms of heroin detox include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Teary eyes
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Muscle and bone aches
  • Excessive yawning
  • Anxiety

Moderate symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Concentration problems
  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Goose bumps
  • Fatigue

Severe symptoms of heroin detox are:

  • Insomnia
  • Drug cravings
  • Depression
  • Intense anxiety
  • Hypertension
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Slowed respiration
  • Difficulty feeling pleasure
  • Muscle spasms

Patients do not usually risk death when coming off heroin. But there are some symptoms that can be life-threatening. A good example of this is the depression many patients go through as part of withdrawal. This depression can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Withdrawal symptoms start within several hours of taking your last dose. The worst symptoms occur over the second to third days in detox. The physical detox process is usually complete in a period of five to ten days.

Detox and Then Rehab

A major issue of heroin detox is that patients may relapse either during or after detox. Very often, patients do not realize how “clean” their body is of the drug and how they cannot use as much heroin as they once did. This is why so many patients leave detox and overdose, dying from that relapse.

In a medical detox program, patients are often given medications to help their bodies recover. Detox staff also watch symptoms to be sure patients are safe from beginning to end of the withdrawal process. They keep track of heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, body temperature and general wellness.

When this detox is over, it is very important for patients to enter a quality rehab program. In rehab, the lasting mental and emotional effects of heroin addiction must be treated. After detox and rehab, recovery can last a lifetime.

Serenity House Detox in Houston Provides Safe Heroin Detox

Medical detox at Serenity House Detox in Houston helps patients seeking recovery from heroin. Caring staff provide 24/7 supervision and safety for patients, helping them take their first steps back into sobriety. This drug detox is a new beginning.

If you or someone you love are ready to stop using heroin and start living the life you are meant to have, Serenity House Detox is ready to help. We’ll help with insurance verification and an individualized treatment program. Call 866.516.8356.