More than 8,000 Americans die each year from heroin overdoses– making it one of the most deadly drugs in the U.S. The drug, according to recent reports, has nearly 700,000 annual users nationwide– meaning that more than 1% of those who use within a year will die of an overdose.
The deadly nature of heroin makes it all the more important for people to understand how to get off it– including what to do if you’ve become addicted, what to expect from the heroin detox process, and how to cope with the drug’s incredibly strong withdrawal symptoms.
Within 6-12 hours after an individual takes their last dose of heroin, they usually begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. In most cases, these symptoms intensify before peaking at the 3-4 day mark, then gradually lessen until around a week after the person’s last dose.
Patients who have used larger doses of heroin over longer periods of time may experience significant withdrawal symptoms for up to 10 days.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms often include:
- Severe anxiety and depression
- Shakiness and trembling
- Fever and chills
- Diarrhea and other digestive problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sweating, runny nose, involuntary tearing up
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Heart rate and blood pressure increases
Due to the severity of heroin withdrawal symptoms for most long-term addicts, it’s usually considered highly risky to detox from heroin without professional medical supervision.
Without quality medical care, the heroin withdrawal process can be even more painful and anxiety-inducing than it already is, leading to a higher chance of a relapse in order to avoid these uncomfortable side effects.
The chance of a relapse may be even higher for those who have received a dual diagnosis for a coexisting disorder such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia. In addition, if an individual suffers from physical problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, or digestive disorders, heroin withdrawal may exacerbate them, so it’s especially important they avoid attempting an at-home detox.
Other Stages of Heroin Addiction Treatment
For those suffering from heroin addiction, a medical detox program is an essential first step in the journey to recovery. Once detox is completed, other treatments and therapies can be administered to address the underlying causes of addiction and give patients the skills they need to avoid relapse.These coping skills empower them to gain more control over their decisions, their emotions, and their lives.
Whether you’re a long-term heroin user or you’ve recently began experiencing problems related to your heroin abuse, withdrawal from the drug can be quite difficult.
When every cell in your brain and body urges you to use again, you’ll need to fight back with everything you have to give yourself a second chance at life, to rebuild your mind, body, and spirit, and to make yourself whole again.
Don’t fight addiction alone. At Get Treatment, we can help you find the rehabilitation program that’s right for you. With medical detox, inpatient and outpatient programs, sober living arrangements, and more, our addiction treatment programs can restore your hope and save your life.
To learn more, call 855-638-9268 and speak to one of our dedicated admissions specialists.