If you’ve been thinking of going to rehab but are concerned about the length and intensity of heroin withdrawal side effects, keep reading to find out how Sylvan Detox will keep you safe and comfortable during this process. With the Fentanyl crisis killing thousands of Americans every day there has never been a better time to begin your path to sobriety.

If you or a loved one is suffering from any form of addiction or abuse, please call Sylvan Detox at (818) 308-3099.

What is Heroin Withdrawal?

Humanity has been using opioids for millennia, and we have a long and complicated history with them. While excellent for treating severe pain due to injury or illness, they’re also highly addictive. In simple terms, opioids, including heroin, block pain and make us feel good by activating the system in our brain that controls positive motivation, also known as a reward. When we activate that reward system our brain tells us yes, please do that again! This causes us to seek the drug that made our brain feel good again and again until our brain needs that drug to feel good at all. When we use opioids regularly we also develop a tolerance, meaning we need increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the euphoric state our brain desires. Often people who develop an addiction to prescription opioids turn to use heroin when they are refused more painkillers by their doctor.

Eventually, we become dependent on having opioids present in our central nervous system, and when we can’t obtain them we begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. The central nervous system sends strong, unpleasant messages that it requires opioids, as it is used to function with the drug present. This process is known as withdrawal, and it is extremely uncomfortable, even life-threatening in some cases. If you’ve been using heroin for any length of time you may have already experienced some of the symptoms of withdrawal when unable to access the drug. Someone who wants to stop using heroin must undergo a supervised, medical detox in an accredited facility. This cannot be over-emphasized, you must never attempt to withdraw from opioids by yourself.  

15 Side Effects of Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin shares similar withdrawal side effects as other types of drug and alcohol withdrawal and includes

  • Extreme sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Severe muscle aches and pains
  • Intense cravings for heroin
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate

None of these symptoms are very much fun, but the combination of extreme sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea can dehydrate a person to the point of heart failure. This is why it is crucial to undergo a supervised, medical detox. 

Timeline of Heroin Withdrawal Side Effects 

So how does the process of heroin withdrawal unfold? It begins within hours of your last dose, with the severity and timeline of withdrawal determined by factors such as your metabolism, type of opioid, and length of drug use. Heroin is considered a short-acting opioid (methadone is considered long-acting) and you may experience the beginning of your withdrawal symptoms in as little as 6-8 hours.

Early stages of Heroin Withdrawal

You’ve now been without a dose for about 8 to 12 hours, and you may be starting to feel anxious, frustrated, and have an intense desire to take the drug. It may be all you can think about even as you try to distract yourself. This stage may feel manageable by yourself, although some people need treatment. Your symptoms of withdrawal are mild, but they’re there and increasing. 

Peak stages of Heroin Withdrawal

Your withdrawal symptoms are becoming more severe as the heroin is metabolized by your body and leaves the central nervous system. You are definitely not having a good time at this point, anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after your last dose. You feel severely ill, and the symptoms listed above are hitting you full force. It is impossible to distract yourself from thoughts about using heroin. You may feel so severely ill that you are unable to get out of bed, eat or drink, or concentrate on anything except getting this awful feeling to stop. This period of time is also the highest risk of relapse into heroin use. 

Later stages of Heroin Withdrawal

It’s been an awful few days, you’ve been put through an emotional and physical wringer.  You’re physically and mentally exhausted, but your physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal have begun to abate. Your body has completed the process of metabolizing the heroin out of your system, and you begin to feel relief. The physical dependency on heroin is over after about a week of withdrawal, but your brain must re-learn to enjoy life and feel pleasure without opioids, and that can take weeks or even months. Your risk for relapse is still high during this period, it’s important to have support in place such as participating in an inpatient rehab program. 

Way That Detox Can Help with Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

So now you’ve got all this information about how awful heroin withdrawal can be, and you may be feeling discouraged about your ability to persevere through it. That’s where our expert medical team at Sylvan Detox steps in, when you undergo medical detox there are treatments to minimize your suffering and discomfort. Our team at Sylvan will help you navigate heroin withdrawal in the following ways

  • Prescribe medications to ease the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. You don’t have to suffer!
  • Provide 24-hour emotional and medical support.
  • Provide opportunities to exercise and move your body.
  • Provide delicious, nutritious, organic, and healful meals via our private chef, who is an expert in nutrition for recovery
  • Offer holistic, complementary therapies such as massage, acupuncture, and Tai Chi alongside medical treatment
  • Offer peer support from those also undergoing the same process you are

Sylvan Detox: A Place to Find Hope and Achieve Recovery

If you, or someone you love, is living with an addiction to heroin or other opioids in the Los Angeles area Sylvan Detox is here for you. Our comfortable, well-equipped, and tastefully furnished residential treatment center is located in the beautiful San Fernando Valley. With a maximum of 6 patients at any given time, we maintain a high staff-to-patient ratio, which allows us to give you the very best of care while you’re completing medical detox. Our amenities such as our pool table, ping pong table, and board games offer our patients opportunities to relax and socialize with others fighting the same battle. We offer services like housekeeping and a private chef so you can dedicate 100% of your time and effort to healing from addiction.
 But most importantly, our staff at Sylvan Detox truly care about you and your family and are deeply invested in your success in recovery. We offer the very best in evidence-based and trauma-informed therapies and will help you select the program components that work best for you, based on your unique needs as an individual. You are precious to your family and irreplaceable. Give them the peace of mind of knowing you are safe, comfortable, and cared for at Sylvan Detox. The first step towards recovery must be taken by you, reach out to us today. Our admissions specialists are standing by 24/7 to answer your questions.