Are You Dealing with Heroin Withdrawal?
It is a fact well known by many that heroin is a highly addictive drug. Withdrawal symptoms of heroin are powerful, and thus heroin addicts will fare better in medical detox. Heroin addicts begin to experience withdrawal symptoms between 6 and 12 hours after their last heroin use. Heroin’s withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of opioids. Heroin withdrawal symptoms are rapid as compared to those of painkillers. This is because heroin leaves the body faster than painkillers.
What is Withdrawal?
The longer heroin is used, how it was abused, and the amount taken each time are all factors that will depend on how the body and the brain will react to the substance. Likewise, the severity and duration of withdrawal will vary too. Therefore, a person with a history of mental illness or prior opioid abuse may experience more intense withdrawal. There are times withdrawal symptoms may feel like the flu. Typically, heroin withdrawal symptoms peak during the second and third days. Below are some of the common withdrawal symptoms:
Mild Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
- Abdominal cramps
- Running nose
- A lot of yawning
- Muscle and bone aches
Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms
- Lack of concentration
Severe Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
- Rapid heart rate
- Muscle spasms
- Impaired respiration
- Difficulty in feeling pleasure
- Drug cravings
Duration of Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
Many factors influence the length of heroin withdrawal symptoms. Below are some of the common factors affecting the size of withdrawal symptoms.
- The amount of heroin abused by the user
- How much heroin took at a time
- How often the heroin was abused
- Which method do they use to take the heroin
- Underlying medical issues or mental disorder
Recovering heroin addicts may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) depending on the level of use and duration. This includes lack of sleep, anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic attacks, and fatigue. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) often last 18 to 24 months. Even after withdrawal symptoms have passed, post-acute withdrawal symptoms can cause changes in behavior and mood that may last for months. The withdrawal symptoms will gradually diminish as long as the user is drug-free.
In medically-assisted heroin detox, rehab facilities use medication and therapy to ease heroin withdrawal symptoms. Utilizing pharmacology ensures that a person will move through heroin withdrawal symptoms safely and successfully.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms with Suboxone
As a general practice, individuals who receive rehab treatment will experience medical detox and, after that, intensive therapy. However, heroin and other opioids have prescription medication available in both withdrawal symptoms and abstinence maintenance. In the case of heroin, a person in recovery may be treated with buprenorphine (Suboxone), methadone, or naltrexone. Every medication can have a different introduction time, but all will require an in-clinic visit or a prescription for at-home use. The above particular discussion focuses on heroin withdrawal symptoms and Suboxone.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration approved buprenorphine for the use of opioid withdrawal symptoms and as maintenance therapy in a Suboxone clinic. In terms of the withdrawal process, these medications are regarded to inhibit symptoms, including cravings. This way, buprenorphine serves as a relapse prevention measure. Furthermore, when used as an abstinence maintenance therapy, buprenorphine has a lower probability of abuse than methadone. Some studies report one-year sobriety rates for those on buprenorphine to be between 40 and 60 percent.
However, buprenorphine, is sometimes used for a different purpose than its intended use. Some heroin abusers purchase Suboxone in the streets for recreational use. They usually use Suboxone to kill off pain or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms from heroin usage. Individuals who have lawful Suboxone prescriptions choose to sell the Suboxone in the streets with the sole aim of making a profit. Moreover, some individuals use Suboxone in between heroin usage as a way of “chipping,” a slang word for using heroin recreationally without becoming clinically addicted. Chipping, by way of Suboxone use or not, is a very dangerous behavior and can lead to physical dependence and addiction after that.
Heroin Withdrawal Treatment with Methadone
Methadone has been used to treat heroin addiction for a very long time. In most cases, methadone stays active in the bloodstream for almost a day. Methadone reduces heroin withdrawal symptoms by activating opioid receptors in the same way as the drug itself, although with less of the extreme and rapid onset of euphoria that heroin produces.
Methadone is regulated by the federal government and is usually given out as a pill a day. Methadone has the potential to create dependency, especially if abused and taken in high doses. However, there are other options and medications preferred by different individuals.
Another product that is a long-acting opioid is buprenorphine. Buprenorphine has the bonus over methadone of reaching a plateau after taking a certain amount, thereby reducing its abuse potential. Naloxone may also be added to buprenorphine products to keep users from the urge to take more heroin for fear of the onset of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is injected. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that blocks opioid receptors and can be used for the long-term maintenance of heroin abstinence.
A drug user must disclose his drug abuse history and correct the last dose to avoid precipitated withdrawal symptoms during detox. For instance, if a drug user takes an active opioid antagonist while an opioid agonist, like heroin, is still in the bloodstream, withdrawal symptoms may be more dangerous and start a precipitated withdrawal.
The Heroin Withdrawal Timeline
The length of time for heroin withdrawal symptoms depends on various factors. In general, heroin withdrawal symptoms may last for a few days to a week for acute withdrawal. However, there are psychological symptoms that could go on for months. Some symptoms may come back and forth throughout the heroin withdrawal duration.
While it may take several days to detox from heroin, withdrawal symptoms may begin as soon as 6 hours after the last dose. These symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Poor concentration
- Drug cravings
The withdrawal symptoms peak within the first three days since the heroin usage. During this phase, symptoms from the first 24 hours will grow in severity, and other new symptoms like
- Stomach aches
After three days, physical symptoms will start to wane until they gradually subside. The acute phase of heroin withdrawal is over by the end of the week, but psychological symptoms may remain.
Minimize Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms with Us
Instead of experiencing the above heroin withdrawal symptoms, give us a call at the Better Wellness Group. With our medical assisted detox you will be able to overcome the heroin withdrawal symptoms. If you are addicted to heroin, it is not too late to visit a rehab center and get treated.