- Title: Heroin Withdrawal
- Authored by Philippa Gold
- Edited by Hugh Soames
- Reviewed by Michael Por
- Detox and Withdrawal from Heroin: At Worlds Best Rehab, we strive to provide the most up-to-date and accurate medical information on the web so our readers can make informed decisions about their healthcare. Our subject matter experts specialize in addiction treatment and behavioral healthcare. We follow strict guidelines when fact-checking information and only use credible sources when citing statistics and medical information. Look for the badge on our articles for the most up-to-date and accurate information. If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate or out-of-date, please let us know via our Contact Page
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Heroin Treatment Center
By understanding the psychological and social factors impacting our clients, we are able to create an individualized treatment plan designed to address the total needs identified. Our client-centred approach allows us to effectively treat a broad range of issues and individuals. Remedy Wellbeing is one of the most respected Heroin Treatment Centers in the World.
Specializations | Burnout, Heroin Withdrawal, Alcohol, Trauma, Substance, Anxiety, Depression, Gambling Life Crisis, Smoking Cessation, Process Addiction
Full Online Program | The REMEDY @ Home is a monthly program with an investment of between USD $45.000 and $75.000 per month
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What is Heroin
Heroin is one of the most widely abused drugs in North America and Worldwide. Addiction is nothing now, but what is new is the super worrying trend of increasing deaths due to Heroin overdose. In part, this can be said to be due to a number of factors such as:
- Lack of education around Heroin
- Increase in Pharmaceutical Prescriptions generally
- A failure of Governments worldwide to do enough to stop Heroin addiction and related deaths
- Societal thinking regarding addicts and Heroin addiction
- Lack of Harm Reduction methods around Heroin usage
- Lack of addiction related education in the medical professional
Further reading about Heroin from around the web
Heroin, also known as diacetylmorphine and diamorphine among other names, is an opioid used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. Medical grade diamorphine is used as a pure hydrochloride salt. Various white and brown powders sold illegally around the world as heroin have variable “cuts”. Black tar heroin is a variable admixture of morphine derivatives—predominantly 6-MAM (6-monoacetylmorphine), which is the result of crude acetylation during clandestine production of street heroin. Heroin is used medically in several countries to relieve pain, such as during childbirth or a heart attack, as well as in opioid replacement therapy.
It is typically injected, usually into a vein, but it can also be smoked, snorted, or inhaled. In a clinical context the route of administration is most commonly intravenous injection; it may also be given by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, as well as orally in the form of tablets. The onset of effects is usually rapid and lasts for a few hours.
Common side effects include respiratory depression (decreased breathing), dry mouth, drowsiness, impaired mental function, constipation, and addiction. Use by injection can also result in abscesses, infected heart valves, blood-borne infections, and pneumonia. After a history of long-term use, opioid withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of the last use. When given by injection into a vein, heroin has two to three times the effect of a similar dose of morphine. It typically appears in the form of a white or brown powder.
Treatment of heroin addiction often includes behavioral therapy and medications. Medications can include buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone. A heroin overdose may be treated with naloxone. An estimated 17 million people as of 2015 use opiates, of which heroin is the most common, and opioid use resulted in 122,000 deaths. The total number of heroin users worldwide as of 2015 is believed to have increased in Africa, the Americas, and Asia since 2000. In the United States, approximately 1.6 percent of people have used heroin at some point, with 950,000 using it in the last year. When people die from overdosing on a drug, the drug is usually an opioid and often heroin.
Heroin was first made by C. R. Alder Wright in 1874 from morphine, a natural product of the opium poppy. Internationally, heroin is controlled under Schedules I and IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and it is generally illegal to make, possess, or sell without a license. About 448 tons of heroin were made in 2016. In 2015, Afghanistan produced about 66% of the world’s opium. Illegal heroin is often mixed with other substances such as sugar, starch, caffeine, quinine, or other opioids like fentanyl.
What Are Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms?
Withdrawal from Heroin is a serious matter. The effects on the body from Heroin use is extreme, and because of these effects Heroin withdrawal can very quickly become an acute medical emergency. Withdrawal from Heroin can cause a hypertensive crisis or myocardial infraction. In other words, a stroke or heart attack caused by sudden stoppage in taking Heroin or respiratory distress syndrome whereby your body shuts down from the lungs and respiratory system outwards. Heroin withdrawal can also lead to serious anxiety and mental health related issues.
Never in any circumstances underestimate the seriousness of Heroin withdrawal1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2891684/. If you are withdrawing from Heroin it is advisable to seek medical attention and in the case of medical emergency from Heroin withdrawal do not hesitate to head to the nearest Emergency Room.
Heroin withdrawal will vary for everyone and will be affected by several factors. The length and severity of Heroin use with be one of the main predictors of withdrawal symptoms and intensity. With Heroin withdrawal, it’s impossible to accurately predict how an individual will react to withdrawal.
Heroin Withdrawal Timeline
Full Heroin withdrawal often takes seven to fourteen days but sometimes longer, and the Heroin withdrawal symptoms are categorized according to their severity.
There are no minor symptoms of Heroin withdrawal. The first symptoms to exhibit themselves, usually 3-12 hours after Heroin withdrawal starts proper are headaches, tremors, sweating, itching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and total confusion with anxiety or depression.
These are followed relatively quickly by the next stage in Heroin withdrawal timeline by:
- Digestive discomfort
- Heart palpitations
- Panic attacks
- Muscle pain
- Delirium tremens
Worryingly, every time an individual attempts Heroin withdrawal the severity of symptoms tends to increase.
Heroin withdrawal has a mortality rate of between three and 19 per cent, depending on seriousness of Heroin usage.
Withdrawal from Heroin is a physically demanding process, in which the body will utilize every means possible to remove toxins, while creating psychological challenges because of the changes to the individuals brain chemistry.
Heroin Detox Process
The severity of Heroin detox makes it a process that should be approached carefully. Heroin Detox, especially for those with a heavy or long-lasting Heroin dependency, produces a range of symptoms and in extreme cases withdrawal can be fatal. However much they may want to end their addiction to Heroin, it’s vital to seek medical advice and enlist the support of their loved ones.
Heroin Withdrawal at a Rehab
Detoxing from Heroin within a treatment facility ensures medical help if it’s needed during the treatment process. Because Heroin rebound is a significant danger during withdrawal, having medical personnel present 24-hours a day can mean an instant response to any hypertensive or life-threatening crisis that may occur as a professional tapering process lowers the chances of patients experiencing fatal episodes.
Heroin withdrawal and detox begins with an initial medical exam to determine the patient’s physical condition upon entry into the rehab. This pre-detox Heroin withdrawal period can last up to 24 hours, as medical personnel determines both the patient’s general medical condition and drug history.
Detoxification of the patient’s body from Heroin begins after the pre-detox period ends. Medically assisted or tapered withdrawal from Heroin can take up to a few weeks to complete.
Rapid Detox from Heroin
Rapid detox from Heroin is a controversial topic and one that is unlikely to be accepted by everyone for its positive uses. It is a concept that has helped individuals addicted to Heroin and other drugs kick the habit and gain the help they need to live a healthier lifestyle.
A patient undergoing a rapid detox from Heroin is put under anaesthesia for up to six hours. During this time, an opioid antagonist drug such as naltrexone is used to remove the Heroin from the patient’s body. Rapid detox can alleviate some of the more distressing symptoms of Heroin withdrawal.
The Heroin rapid detox method is used to stop a patient from feeling the devastating effects of Heroin withdrawal. Sedating the patient and putting them under anaesthesia allows them to “sleep” through the initial heavy Heroin withdrawal and detox process. The hope is that after the rapid detox process, the patient will wake up with their body completely clean of Heroin. The remainder of the withdrawal process will be minimal enabling the person to get on with the rehab process. Throughout rapid detox, the patient is monitored to ensure safety.
Does Heroin Rapid Detox Help Withdrawal Symptoms?
Experts claim that rapid detox from Heroin is a safe way to cleanse the body. It is also more pleasant as individuals who go through Heroin withdrawal can experience shakes, sweats, nausea, and other issues for long periods.
Heroin withdrawal can take weeks to fully complete. However, rapid detox from Heroin can take only a few days to a week at most. While the process of undergoing anaesthesia is just a few hours, Heroin detox patients can be kept in a medical clinic for monitoring afterwards. The process enables a patient to get – for many – the most difficult and frightening part of rehab out of the way. Once completed, patients can focus on the mental and emotional side of recovery.
For most Heroin addicts, the biggest barrier of attending rehab is withdrawal. The pain and distress Heroin withdrawal can have on a person can drive them back to using. Therefore, limiting or stopping a person’s physical Heroin withdrawal symptoms allows them to focus on making a full recovery.
By completing a residential rehab program following rapid detox, individuals can fully recover from their Heroin addiction.