Heroin is not an easy substance to detox from. Withdrawal symptoms are dependent on the age of the individual using the substance, length of use and dosage. Detox typically begins 6 to 12 hours after the final dose and persists for 1 to 3 days intensely and then gradually tapers off over 5 to 7 days.
Days 1 to 2
These are usually the hardest days to get through. The detox symptoms are in their severest form during these days, most noticeably muscle aches and pains. Other symptoms that show up at this early stage can include insomnia, loss of appetite, diarrhea as well as anxiety attacks. Early symptoms begin to show up within 12 hours of the last dose being taken.
Days 3 to 5
By this stage the worst of the discomfort is over, but not completely gone. It is important to remember to eat properly at this time in order to boost the immune system’s response. It is common to experience abdominal cramping, vomiting and shivers during this time.
Day 6 and after
Reaching day 6 of a heroin detox means the individual trying to quit heroin is on the right track. At this stage the individual may still experience trouble eating and sleeping and some nausea.
How Long to Detox?
A suitable period of time to detox from heroin depends on how severely an individual is addicted. Therefore, there is no fixed time for heroin detox.
However, according to medical research it takes at least 3 months of medical supervision, upto 6 months, for an individual trying to quit heroin to address their addiction issues. This is a longer than usual period due to the fact that the use of heroin causes neurocircuitry changes to the brain, and that affects emotions and behavior. These changes can linger even after the most acute withdrawal symptoms have ceased. This is known as Protracted/Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) and is defined as symptoms which persist longer than the expected timeline. Some common symptoms of PAWS include anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability and fatigue.
If you have any questions about heroin detox and need assistance for yourself or a loved one call The Villa to find out how we can support you.