Heroin Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment

heroin withdrawal timeline

Heroin is a powerful, illicit opiate drug that has been a major contributor to the United States opioid crisis. In 2020, about 691,000 people had a heroin use disorder and more than 13,165 people died as a result of a drug overdose involving heroin.[1]

Despite how deadly heroin abuse can be, those who are addicted to heroin have an extremely difficult time getting sober. Part of the reason why is because painful, intense withdrawal symptoms occur when you stop taking heroin after becoming addicted. The heroin withdrawal timeline can be mentally and physically taxing, but the symptoms are usually not life-threatening. The main risk associated with detoxing from heroin is the potential for relapse.

Heroin

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin is an extremely addictive drug, and you can become addicted to it after just a few uses. The more heroin you use and the longer you use it, the more severe and long-lasting your withdrawal symptoms will be.

The symptoms of withdrawal can vary from one person to the next depending on the severity of your addiction, what other drugs you are using, and your personal health. Common symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:[2]

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning a lot
  • Sweating
  • Goosebumps or chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Drug cravings
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tremors

Heroin withdrawal is often described as a severe case of the flu, but it is not life-threatening. In severe cases, complications can occur that require medical care, so it’s always best to detox under medical supervision.

How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?

There are many factors that influence the heroin withdrawal timeline, such as:

  • How often you use heroin
  • How long you’ve been using heroin
  • How frequently you use heroin
  • The last dose you took
  • Age, weight, and gender
  • Liver health
  • Metabolism
  • Polysubstance use
  • Method of administration (intravenous, insufflation, inhalation, etc.)

Many people begin having symptoms of withdrawal just 4-6 hours after their last dose. Symptoms may peak between days 2 and 3, and they usually subside after about one week. Some lingering symptoms may persist for several months and are referred to as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

Acute withdrawal should be managed at a detox facility, but PAWS can be managed by simple lifestyle changes and comprehensive substance abuse treatment.

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

While heroin detox may look different from one person to the next, you may notice that your symptoms follow a general timeline.

  • 4 – 12 hours after the last dose – Symptoms such as yawning, watery eyes, runny nose, and sweating may set in 4-6 hours after your last dose. These symptoms may continue to worsen over the next 12 hours and be accompanied by anxiety, restlessness, muscle aches, body aches, and insomnia.
  • 2 – 3 days after the last dose – Symptoms typically peak 2-3 days after your last dose of heroin. You may experience sweating, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and tremors.
  • 4 – 10 days after the last dose – After 4-5 days, symptoms should begin to subside. On days 6-10, you may still experience some discomfort.
  • 10+ days – Symptoms that persist after 10 days may include depression, anxiety, insomnia, and drug cravings. These symptoms may be classified as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) and can be managed outside of a detox facility.

Most people spend about 3-5 days detoxing from heroin in a medical facility before transitioning to a treatment program.

Medical Detox and Treatment for Heroin Withdrawal

If you or a loved one are addicted to heroin, the safest and easiest way to detox is at a medical substance abuse treatment facility. Heroin detox programs in New Jersey offer around-the-clock medical support and supervision to keep you safe and comfortable. 

The standard treatment for heroin withdrawal involves opioid replacement therapy (ORT). ORT is an approach that is similar to tapering a person off of a medication, however, instead of giving you heroin, you may be prescribed buprenorphine or methadone. Both of these medications are approved by the FDA to treat opioid use disorder, and during detox, they can alleviate your withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.[3]

Detoxification is only the first step toward sobriety. Heroin addiction is powerful, and without comprehensive treatment, you may fall back into old patterns and end up using again. That’s why a substance abuse counselor will meet with you before you leave detox to discuss your heroin rehab options and help you choose the right treatment program for you. Treatment will help you replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones and learn new coping skills that support sobriety.

Find a Heroin Detox and Rehab Center Today

Dying from heroin withdrawal is very rare, but that doesn’t mean you should try detoxing at home. Self-detox often results in continued drug use or relapse due to the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Instead, allow Moving Mountains Recovery to help you through the process and beyond.

Moving Mountains Recovery has close relationships with trusted heroin detox facilities in New Jersey and across the country. When medical detoxification is recommended, we can help you get admitted to the best facility for your needs. Following the completion of detox, we can also help make the transition to our outpatient treatment programs simple and easy.

Call now to get started.

References:

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/scope-heroin-use-in-united-states
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526012/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7385662/

Related Posts

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops after you experience something traumatic. You could also develop this condition after seeing or hearing about a traumatic event. The symptoms can begin immediately after the traumatic...

6 Warning Signs of Relapse

Maintaining long-term sobriety from addiction is never easy. People must continuously practice their recovery maintenance techniques without cutting any slack. When someone does slack in their recovery, they put themselves at risk of suffering from a relapse. ...

Stereotypes About Addiction and Why They Are Dangerous

Addiction is a common disease that affects about 10% of Americans.[1] Despite addiction being so prevalent in our country, the attitude around this condition is not always supportive or understanding. Many people still believe in stereotypes and the stigma surrounding...

Hydrocodone Addiction: Signs Symptoms and Treatment

Hydrocodone is an opioid medication used to treat pain. This substance belongs to a class of drugs known as narcotic analgesics (opioids) and acts on the central nervous system in the brain. While this medication helps treat severe cases of pain, it is also known to...

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood changes, including emotional highs and lows. People who struggle with this condition may experience mania (emotional highs) for weeks to months on end until they crash, leading to emotional lows...

What Can I Expect During Benzodiazepine Rehab in New Jersey?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), over 40 million adults in America suffer from an anxiety disorder.[1] One of the most commonly prescribed medications for anxiety is benzodiazepines and many Americans take these substances daily. ...

Should I Go Back to Rehab After Relapse?

Drug addiction and alcoholism are complex and progressive diseases that require constant dedication and practice to recover. If you suffer from a substance use disorder, you know that attending professional treatment is the best way to learn how to maintain long-term...

Dangers of Mixing Xanax (Alprazolam) and Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.[1] This substance is highly dangerous, claiming the lives of thousands of Americans each year. Oftentimes, fentanyl is mixed into drugs to create a stronger...

What Makes Fentanyl So Dangerous?

Drug addiction is a serious problem in the United States. Individuals who suffer from this condition suffer from an array of consequences that hinder their ability to function in their daily lives. One of the most concerning risks of drug addiction is the possibility...

Is it Okay to Go to Rehab More Than Once?

Addiction to drugs and alcohol can have a significant, negative impact on every aspect of your life. From your mental and physical health to finances and social life, addiction takes a toll that can last years–or a lifetime.  Addiction is a complex condition....

Take The First Step to a New Life

Transform daydreams into realities

Moving Mountains takes a whole-person approach to recovery by offering a continuum of care, clinically proven treatments, and holistic healing. We work closely with you to identify your unique needs, facilitate individualized treatments, and help you establish a foundation upon which your recovery--and the rest of your life--can grow. Our compassionate, friendly staff is available 24-hours a day to take your call and help you begin your recovery journey.

 

Combatting the ever-growing drug epidemic that this country faces begins with you. Make the most of our vast knowledge of addiction treatment and our proven ability to change lives. Let's Move Mountains together.  Take the first step towards a new, better life by giving us a call today.

Begin RecoveryVerify Insurance

Get Addiction Help Now
(973) 397-5055
Representatives available now.