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Heroin Withdrawal & Treatment

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

When heroin addicts do not get their regular fix in time, they have severe cravings for the drug, which impairs their judgment. They may be willing to go to any lengths to get heroin. Even if they try to inject themselves in such a susceptible and vulnerable state, there will be more risk of exposure to HIV and hepatitis. 

Besides, long-time users of heroin, especially the bar tar form, may have clogged blood vessels; liver, lung, and kidney damage; collapsed veins; and other issues.  

A person trying to take control of his life and lose the addiction may start by giving up the drug abuse completely. But the sudden cessation of drug use will result in heroin withdrawal.

This phase will different for each individual. For some who started heroin abuse with addiction to prescription painkillers may have mild symptoms of heroin withdrawal. But for others who misuse other highly addictive opioids, heroin may be a less expensive option. So, in the absence of both types of opioid availability, they may experience severe withdrawal.

As an opiate drug, heroin has a high potential for addiction. Its mechanism of action is suppressing certain functions of the central nervous system. Hence, your heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, and body temperature are susceptible to vary rapidly. It binds itself to the opioid receptors in the brain and increases the production levels of various chemicals that let you feel the sensations of pleasure. These feelings generate a euphoric state, and the user gets addicted to the rush. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal cause the exact opposite effects.

Is Heroin Withdrawal Dangerous?

When the addicts do not get their regular buzz of such intoxicating effects, they may exhibit medical and psychological symptoms. Although the withdrawal stage is not in itself a life-threatening situation, the subsequent complications can be considered so. Among the significant psychological effects of withdrawal, depression, and suicidal tendencies are most common. Hence, experts always advise that before quitting your habit of excessive heroin use, you must consult with medical professionals. Mental health specialists use various techniques and teach you multiple methods to help you deal with the side effects of weaning heroin. You can stay safe and prevent future relapse with appropriate counseling and other support systems.

Duration Of Heroin Withdrawal

Just as the withdrawal symptoms vary from addict to addict, even the intensity and duration of these effects are different. Several factors affect the impact of withdrawal side effects, including:

  • How you use heroin
  • How long you have been an addict
  • The dosage you take regularly
  • Your body chemistry
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Gender, and other

The common thing most addicts in the withdrawal phase complain about is that they face their worst symptoms in the first week after taking their last hit. After this, the symptoms start to fade; still, it is no indication that you can go at it alone. With medical supervision only, you will be able to get out of your condition safely. 

For long-term users, the symptoms as well as the medical care needed will be of greater duration. You may also know of some cases where users in recovery may report of persisting symptoms even 2-3 years after stopping their use. Given these cravings or intense withdrawal signs, people may go back to abusing the drug and relapse without proper support. These facts

make it all the more crucial that you get yourself the required care from healthcare professionals. 

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

6-12 Hours:

  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Sweats
  • Yawning

72 Hours- 1 Week:

  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of focus
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue

Beyond 1 Week:

  • Heroin craving
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Slowed respiration
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Some Shocking Statistics:

  • Around 36 million people in the world have an addiction to heroin and abuse opioids, including prescription painkillers.
  • About 591,000 Americans over the age of 12 have heroin SUD substance use disorder.
  • 4 out of 5 new heroin users started out as prescription painkiller abusers
  • The highest rate of hospitalizations and medical emergencies due to heroin overdose or misuse is the age group between 21 and 24 years.
  • Between 1999 and 2016, the heroin overdose deaths increased from 1,960 to 15,469.

How Can You Treat Heroin Addiction?

Specialists use a variety of therapies and combinations of effective treatment options to help the addicts stop using heroin. However, it is vital that they tailor the best treatment approach depending on the individual patient’s condition the severity of the addiction, and the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms. If you see someone suffering from those signs, get the needed assistance for them as soon as possible. If you are the sufferer, be honest with your healthcare provider about your particular needs so you can get the most efficient treatment.  

Sometimes, to counter the effects of one drug, you may need to take another drug as remedial medication. For opiate drugs like heroin and other prescription pills, doctors mainly use FDA-approved, non-opioid medicines. Like heroin, they, too, bind to the brain’s opioid receptors.  However, their effects are weaker, and they reducing cravings and withdrawal. 

But before commencing any sort of medicated or psychological treatment, you should make sure that the patient has detoxed completely. It is difficult to see successful results for active users with any strong medication. Once you finish detoxification, almost all medications are suitable to induce similar positive outcomes. In addition to medications, experts suggest behavioral therapies for added effectiveness in heroin addiction treatments.

Heroin Detox

The first step to your heroin drug-free recovery is to find a reputable drug and alcohol treatment center. There will be many certified and specialized experts that offer a range of opioid treatment programs. This factor is critical since you will need the best medication-assisted treatment (MAT) available 24/7, which is essential as you may require emotional and psychological support during your detox process. Look for an inpatient detox center where you will be living in a safe and secure residential environment for a few days. 

Throughout your stay, your symptoms of drug withdrawal may include bone pain, muscle cramps, vomiting, cold flashes, and others. These symptoms can wreak havoc on a patient’s mind. Medication-assisted treatment at an inpatient rehab ensures that you also get cured of the homesickness you feel, and treat common symptoms like restlessness, nausea, sneezing, insomnia, or general weakness.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

You may need medicated assistance to alleviate your drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Some of the medicines can be used in the detox process, and others are used for continuous use, for years together.

Following are some of the FDA-approved drugs permitted to use in heroin addiction treatments, based on an individual’s condition:

Methadone: It is in use for over 50 years, and it acts by making it impossible for the user to experience a high. It is effective in cases even when a person does not respond to other medications. However, there is a high overdose risk, which is why you should be carefully monitored. 

Buprenorphine: This drug helps reduce cravings for heroin. Although you cannot get high, you can still get hooked if it is injected for a long time.

Naltrexone: It induces a repulsion for the pleasurable sensation after using heroin, and is nonaddictive. The long-acting versions are more effective and create compliance among users.

Suboxone: It can reverse an opioid overdose, but is not so potent as buprenorphine or methadone. It is a combination of other drugs like buprenorphine. 

However, some people, such as pregnant women or nursing mothers may not take these medications. Hence, tell your doctor if you suspect pregnancy. Other situations you must reveal are if you have any comorbid conditions, previous substance abuse disorders, or mental health issues.

Behavioral Therapy Treatment

Behavioral therapies include contingency management and CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy). Another evidence-based practice to help you cope with stressful life events is mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). These methods focus on modifying the addict’s behaviors and reducing their drug-use expectations. They help control the cravings and help them deal with managing their stress and facing the triggers. The treatment may include motivational incentives like cash rewards, vouchers, or other incentives for holding out on their own and staying drug-free.

Since heroin has a high relapse rate, doctors find it crucial to address the underlying trauma or mental health issues. You will be working with qualified counselors, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists. Your program includes cultivating a new lifestyle and avoiding places where you can meet people that may use heroin.

Reach out to Enroll in Effective Heroin Addiction Treatment Options

There is a stigma attached to heroin addiction, which may be one of the reasons that addicts fear to come out openly and admit their dependence. 

First, you need to understand that addiction or substance abuse is a disease. Just like you seek medical care for other illnesses, you need to get treatment for heroin dependence issues. However, choosing the right drug addiction treatment facility is crucial.With proper care and attention for every individual who enrolls at an inpatient drug rehab, medical professionals can help you get rid of heroin addiction. With behavior modification therapy, you can stay positive and avoid the drug cravings from coming back.

Visit Your Nearest Heroin Addiction Treatment Center Now

If you need help to kick your addictive habit, or you want to help a friend, we have made it easier for you to find the best rehabs. The top drug rehabs in the country are featured on our website. Take a look and choose one to get the best treatment for heroin addiction

  • https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/resources/heroin+withdrawal+dacas+factsheet
  • https://www.swiftriver.com/blog/heroin-withdrawal-detox-timeline/
  • https://www.ashleytreatment.org/heroin-withdrawal-timeline/

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