Heroin is 2-3 times more potent than morphine and is a main, contributing factor to the current opioid epidemic in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that nearly 841,000 people have died in the past two decades from a drug overdose, with 70% of those fatalities involving an opioid. As a substance that is commonly injected or snorted, heroin rapidly enters the bloodstream, resulting in an intense euphoria. 

Due to the severity of heroin use and its life-threatening side effects, seeking treatment for this addiction is crucial. The first step in treating a heroin addiction for many is completing detox, a program designed to assist the physical body in eliminating all traces of the substance. Entering a clinical detox facility is highly recommended due to the detox process being physically uncomfortable and the various medical complications that may arise. 

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal 

The length of heroin withdrawal depends on the length of the addiction and the quantity of the drug regularly used. Those who have abused heroin for a short time, or only used very little, may have a significantly shorter withdrawal period and display relatively mild symptoms. 

In contrast, those who have struggled with heroin abuse for an extended amount of time, or in large quantities, may experience an extended withdrawal stage and more uncomfortable symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms typically show up within the first 24 hours after the last use and last up to a few weeks.

Symptoms include: 

  • Nausea

As the physical body adapts to the absence of heroin, uncomfortable, flu-like symptoms occur. Nausea is one of the prominent flu-like withdrawal symptoms along with body aches and sweating. 

  • Agitation 

An individual withdrawing from this highly addictive opiate is likely to grow increasingly agitated within the first week due to intense drug cravings and discomfort. 

  • Muscle spasms

Due to profuse sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea that are likely to occur during the withdrawal stage, the body becomes extremely dehydrated. This intense dehydration causes muscles and joints to cramp up, producing involuntary spasms. 

  • Depression

Heroin abuse causes a chemical alteration within the brain. Once withdrawal begins, the individual may feel depressed as heroin is no longer altering neurotransmitter activity as was once frequently occurring. 

  • Profuse sweating

Sweating is common when going through withdrawal. This is the physical body’s way of ridding itself of all remaining traces of the substance. 

Due to the severity of some of these symptoms and the potential for life-threatening side effects, clinical supervision within a professional detox facility is highly recommended.

After Heroin Withdrawal 

Once an individual has successfully completed a detox program, it is important to seek additional, more intensive addiction treatment. Research has shown that behavioral therapies are very effective in treating addiction. Professional addiction therapists work with clients to develop healthy decision-making and coping skills to fight future temptations. Treatment within professional addiction treatment centers also reinforces sobriety by providing a support system among like-minded individuals.  

Due to heroin being highly addictive, addiction treatment within a qualified center increases the likelihood of maintaining sobriety significantly. Upon graduating from one of these programs, continued support within a 12-step group or aftercare program is very beneficial to maintaining life in recovery. These services help individuals gradually transition into independent, drug-free living. 

Knoxville Recovery Center Can Help 

Heroin is a highly addictive substance that inflicts long-term damage on the body when abused. It is important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is struggling with this addiction. At Knoxville Recovery Center’s onsite detox clinic, our specialists are medically trained to supervise the detox process, ensuring that you are safe and comfortable throughout the duration.

Our facility provides a serene escape that comfortably accommodates all clients and frees them from external distractions and stress. Upon successfully detoxing, our case managers will work with the client to determine the best course of action moving forward. 

The founders of Knoxville Recovery Center, as well as many of our detox specialists, have struggled with addiction and now enjoy life in recovery. They understand the struggles of addiction and how difficult it is to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance addiction, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call us today and take the first step towards a rewarding life of sobriety.

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