Millions of Americans, unfortunately, experience heroin withdrawal each year. As an opioid, heroin is one of the most dangerous and addictive illicit drugs. Part of what makes this popular drug so addictive is the heroin withdrawal symptoms users experience when trying to become sober. It becomes extremely difficult to stop using and users will find themselves relapsing time and time again. These symptoms can make the detoxifying process more than just irritating; it can make the process painful. Although the path to sobriety is never easy, it is possible and attainable with the right help. In fact, professional detox treatment can assist in making the detoxing process as painless as possible, providing lasting results in most cases.       

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

The repeated use of heroin causes changes in several systems in the human body. Most notably, it changes the physical structure and physiology of one’s brain. In doing so, a heroin addiction creates long-term imbalances in neural and hormonal systems. These imbalances serve as the source for the addiction and the body’s physical dependence. Over time, the human body adapts to repeated heroin use. Because of this, the body will retaliate when the substance it has adapted to and depends on disappears. In these instances, the symptoms of heroin withdrawal will appear.  

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Cold flashes
  • Leg movements

These symptoms of withdrawal can make detoxing painful and often dangerous. This is especially true since many of the major symptoms of heroin withdrawal peak 24 to 48 hours after one’s last intake of the drug. Unfortunately, these symptoms often take about a week to subside. Yet, for some, withdrawal symptoms can remain for months. However, there are treatments heroin users can seek and utilize to ease withdrawal symptoms during the detoxifying process. 

heroin withdrawal

Benefits of Professional Detox Treatment 

The first step on the road to recovery is to detoxify one’s body. Thankfully, this process is done naturally; the human body naturally processes and removes whatever one ingests over time. However, detoxification can be uncomfortable and even painful for individuals suffering from addiction, especially from substances such as heroin. While the body will eventually rid itself of the presence of the drug, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few months and will often cause varying levels of withdrawal symptoms.

Fortunately, professional detox treatment makes the process of detoxification safer and more manageable for those with heroin addiction. During a professional detox treatment, medical professionals can administer medicines to make the process as painless as possible and monitor patients to ensure they do not relapse or hurt themselves or others.  

Professional detox treatments take two forms: inpatient detox and outpatient detox. Inpatient detox is usually required for individuals with more severe addictions. These individuals have had a habit for more extended periods and have ingested larger quantities of substances like heroin within that time. Because of these factors, these individuals are the most likely to exhibit and experience severe withdrawal symptoms, so constant medical supervision and care are needed. Inpatient detox treatment allows patients to stay day and night in a medical or treatment facility to be monitored and cared for constantly. Inpatient detox is often the most successful; however, it is also the most expensive type of detox treatment. 

Outpatient detox treatment is similar to inpatient in many ways: medical professionals monitor an individual as they go through the detoxification process and provide remedies to ease withdrawal symptoms. However, the main difference between the two treatments is that outpatient detox does not include comprehensive day and overnight care. Individuals must schedule and attend treatment appointments or medical facilities for their treatment sessions with outpatient detox treatment.

Typically, outpatient detox treatment is more effective for mild to moderate addictions and withdrawal symptoms. Although outpatient detox treatments have higher risks of relapse — since an individual is not monitored 24/7 — professional outpatient detox treatment is an incredibly effective means of safely and more comfortably detoxifying one’s body.      

Recovery is Possible with Professional Help

An addiction can control one’s life and body. Even as one tries to become sober, the discomfort or pain of withdrawals can steer a person right back to a substance. To more effectively combat withdrawal symptoms, individuals with heroin addiction should seek professional detox treatment along with an addiction treatment program.

With the help of medical professionals, the process of detoxification is safer, more comfortable, and far more effective, which makes it easier to begin one’s recovery.  At Knoxville Recovery Center we offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment services along with a full detox. Our highly certified staff understand firsthand what it takes to beat addiction and live a substance-free life.

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