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Cold turkey heroin

Cold turkey heroin

Going cold turkey heroin?

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is processed from morphine, a depressant that inhibits the central nervous system.  In fact, heroin addictive the first time you use it because  how heroin works in the body  is basically neurological.  And when you develop physical dependence on heroin the body will experience severe withdrawal symptoms when dosage is stopped abruptly. So is going cold turkey off heroin safe? Not really.

In fact, cold turkey heroin withdrawal can be difficult and is unnecessary. Cold turkey may cut down on overall detox from heroin time, but can be severe. Instead, there are various ways that you can stop taking heroin to minimize the severity of withdrawal. Here we, review what happens when you just stop taking heroin abruptly and explore its effects on the body. We also go over the withdrawal effects that you will experience and what you can do to reduce them. Plus, there’s a section at the end for your questions.

Cold turkey off heroin

You do not have to go cold turkey off heroin. When you go cold turkey off heroin you can experience serious and severe withdrawal symptoms, including restlessness, vomiting, muscle and bone aches, and diarrhea, insomnia and cold flashes. Plus, cold turkey off heroin increases chances of relapse. Instead, doctors use tapering regimens or replacement therapies to lowers the dosage of opiates in your system over a period of time. This way, your body will not experience such severe withdrawal symptoms.

Stopping heroin cold turkey risks

Trying to quit heroin addiction abruptly can be fatal, especially if you are a long term, high dose user. In these users, the body simply cannot support the stress of withdrawal and shuts down. This is why it is best to seek professional help before going cold turkey heroin: to get medical clearance first. There are also serious risks involved that should not be ignored. Risks of stopping heroin cold turkey include:

  • restlessness
  • relapse
  • severe aches
  • severe depression
  • vomiting and diarrhea (dehydration)

Cold turkey heroin withdrawal: How long?

Heroin withdrawal symptoms usually last a week after the last dose of opiates has been taken. If you do taper your dose of heroin, the symptoms can be a lot less severe, intense, and quicker to resolve.

Quitting heroin cold turkey

So what are the clinical traits that should be present before you quit heroin cold turkey? Those who are best suited for quitting heroin cold turkey should have the following characteristics:

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  1. Abstinence from other drugs
  2. Good overall health
  3. No health conditions that could be triggered by withdrawal
  4. Strong determination

Get off heroin cold turkey

Doctors do not recommend going cold turkey on heroin. Stopping heroin abruptly can result in severe pain and health complications. Medical professionals recommend that instead of quitting cold turkey you get tapered off heroin over the course of a few weeks. Your doctor will monitor your progress to keep withdrawal symptoms minimal.

Can I quit heroin cold turkey?

If you have been addicted to heroin for an extended amount of time, quitting heroin cold turkey can result in serious health complications. If you have not been addicted to heroin for a long time then you could stop cold turkey, but it is still not recommended.

Cold turkey heroin questoins

If you still have questions about quitting heroin cold turkey, feel free to post your questions below in the comments section. We try to respond to all questions in a timely manner.

Reference sources: SAMHSA TIP 42: Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders
National Center for Biotechnology Information: Physical harm due to chronic substance abuse
SAMHSA Tip 45: Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances

Photo credit: Steve took it

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19 Responses to “Cold turkey heroin
1:48 am March 8th, 2014

i have only been doing heroin for 6 weeks but other opiates for about 10 years. how bad will my heroin withdrawal be? how long? what can i do without seeing a dr or getting on methadone to ease withdrawal systems? what about marijuana?
any help would be appreciated.
quite lost at the moment

10:29 am March 10th, 2014

Hello Lisa. Tapering down doses with the help of a physician will help first. Call a doctor or pharmacist if you resist face-to-face meetings. Additionally, Klonipine (clonazepam) is a benzodiazepine sometimes prescribed during opiate withdrawal to ease symptoms. Buprenorphine can also help, but is often prescribed as long term therapy (like methadone). Why do you resist seeking medical help? If you can get over this barrier, there is much help and treatment you can benefit from.

10:25 pm November 26th, 2014

I’ve been using heroin for about 3 months now and I want to stop please explain to to me the tapering process what is it?

12:36 pm December 4th, 2014

Hello Trevor. I cannot find an exact protocol for dosing structure. But here is some follow up reading here: heroin taper guidelines

7:11 am January 28th, 2015

I been on heroin for about eight mos. I only snort about 4 bags a day just enough to stop the sickness i really want to quit but wen i go with out the chills are soooo bad i sweat like a pig but im freezing im scared to get help bc i dont want them to put me in rehab i want to quit at home i have a very strong will power n i kno i can do it do u have any home remedies that will help with the chills

2:53 pm February 12th, 2015

Hello Eloise. We’ve heard that long, hot baths and showers help with the chills; also those cold/hot gels for muscles may be helpful.

4:56 pm February 25th, 2015

Im on my 5th of detox from heroin. I have been using for 3 years. Im expiercing severe chest pains my heart is racingI havent slept at all and Iim duzzy while im laying down. Shoukd I go to the hospital?

4:13 pm March 2nd, 2015

Hello Rachel. Yes, I’d agree that seeing a doctor is a good idea. You may get a referral to a detox clinic in your area, and may get a prescription for a maintenance treatment. Although the initial withdrawal symptoms will be over soon, there are protracted withdrawal effects that can persist for much longer. I’d suggest getting psychological help, group-based therapy, or counseling. Good luck to you, Rachel! Stay strong, you can make it!

9:19 am May 19th, 2015

I use very small amount ,for last 5years.about one gram over the course of 10 days.Im in great health.But need to come off of it,because I want to Get pregnant in two months and start a clean life without being dependent on Snorting this poison..Do you think it’s easy or hard for me to quit cold turkey at home.I have purchase all necessary over the counter medication to ease the pain,vomiting and insomnia.thanks for your help.God bless.

1:13 pm May 22nd, 2015

Hi Sara. Yes, you can detox at home, but just make sure you have someone around you for support or in case you need anything. I don’t believe that it would come to it, but be ready to go to the hospital if symptoms get too harsh. After detoxing, I suggest you seek psychological help or start going to some therapy sessions, since there will be some psychological triggers and cravings you need to know how to deal with, in order to avoid relapse. And, good luck with becoming pregnant and being a new momma.

11:15 pm June 3rd, 2015

i stopped 80-120 mil grams daily which I had been taking after a neck surgery about a year ago. I did this cold turkey because my doctor and the pain clinic wouldn’t help me each said they wouldn’t help me so I had no choice. This day 9 still hurt not nearly as bad but I can’t even keep warm. What can I do and how long will this last?

12:46 pm July 17th, 2015

My boyfriend has been using opiates for 15 years on and off he wants to go cold turkey but I’m worried it may cause him more harm than good, any advice welcomed thankyou

8:02 am July 28th, 2015

I fear my daughter is on heroin. She is 19 and smokes weed daily. I found out her boyfriend uses heroin and since he left her she is hard to deal with…I did a drug test, but she told me she used cat that was mixed. Not sure what to do?

10:45 pm August 21st, 2015

Hi my boyfriend has been on heroin not injecting but smoking it he went to treatment 2 years ago was doing great but had a relapse he has been on it the past year and 3 days ago he went cold turkey but is taking sleeping tablets to sleep , is this going to work? ,? Also the three days I feel our relationship has changed hes snapping at me I feel he doesnt love me , please give me answears cause I dont know if I shud give tough love or be nice

11:59 pm August 27th, 2015

So I’ve been clean 13 days from heroin I’ve done it cold turky how long more till I feel better iam so week

4:33 pm August 31st, 2015

Hello Stephanie. It will take a while, but you will be feeling physically much better with each passing day. I’d suggest you join a support group or group counseling treatment in your area to help you deal with the upcoming cravings and triggers that will compel you to start using again. This is only normal, but you will need the additional motivation and support to ensure your success in recovery. Good luck!

4:24 pm October 9th, 2015

I’ve been using heroin for 3 or 4 months. I only snort a .25 a day.. can I go cold turkey? How long will the with draws take?

My name is Amy I'm 35
4:54 am November 3rd, 2015

I’m doing it and don’t know what to do I’m about to give up it hurts so much

4:35 pm November 3rd, 2015

Hello Amy. If you are willing to seek help I suggest you call the helpline number displayed on our site. It’s a free helpline and you can speak to our trusted treatment providers about the best course of treatment for your condition. They can help with the withdrawal pain and discomfort and suggest further addiction treatment options that fit your needs.

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