Thursday April 27th 2017

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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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42 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.

6:30 am December 29th, 2015

My boyfriend and I are addicted to heroin. I’ve been using about a year and he’s been longer. We don’t shoot it, we snort it…about a half of a gram apiece. We want to quit so badly, but keep getting weak. The last few days have been bad…I just got my last paycheck because I lost my job over my addiction and were at rock bottom. I only had a few hundred left and yesterday he took my debit card and car while I was asleep and took $100 for drugs without asking me…he’s done this before. I was so mad, but also took tge drugs too because i didnt want to be sick. I felt disrespected and devastated. We fought all day and I cried all night. Today, he did it again. I’m even more hurt. I’m almost completely broke and did not even have a say in if I even wanted the drugs or not. I’m so confused. I want to quit and he swears he’s quitting this week and I want to too…I don’t know what to think of him st along from me…is it the drugs taking him over? Does he just not respect me? Can we get clean together? We’re in a vicious cycle and were at rock bottom. I love him. I want to be clean and happy. I’m laying in a closet, listening to depressing music…and I’m just so lost. I don’t know if I can do this.
Can two addicts quit together? Cold turkey? And stay clean together?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
7:05 pm January 4th, 2016

Hi, Elornic. It may be successful, if both want it, and it needs hard work. I suggest you to contact our trusted treatment provider to learn more about your treatment options. The number is displayed on the site.

12:45 am March 5th, 2016

I have tapered down to 1bag a day and smoked my last bag of heroin today,I’ve never been an addict and live a healthy lifestyle until i started this shit will my cold turkey be bad or will i be able to deal with it i have no meds and have to do it ct as nobody knows iam ashamed of myself for allowing myself to get like this but its the devil and the claws have long will i suffer ct for

4:00 pm March 22nd, 2016

I lost my wife a year ago to an overdose I stopped snorting but was still using tabs and percs. A month before her one year I started using again. This time I started shooting it and then it all went down hill. I’m on day 4 of goin cold turkey. I got a the OTC products to help and so far so good. My fear is I’ll get clean again and at the 2 year mark I’ll start again. I just lost my job cuz of this and I’m having to start all over again. What do you suggest would help me stay clean for good?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:52 pm March 23rd, 2016

Hi Lenors. I’m sorry for your loss… Why don’t you call the helpline on the site? Our treatment consultants can help you make the right decision for you.

6:40 am April 12th, 2016

Hi I live in the u.k and I am looking for any advice on tapering down off Berlin. I’ve just stopped a methadone scipt of 90ml’s a day to 6.7 bags of H. I tried to go cold turkey of my meth last week and couldn’t handle it. I’ve been on opiates for 25 years now and I’m sick to death of it. How much should I taper down to? And how long do you think it will take? I’m going to get some valium to help. Any advice would be great. Please help.

6:31 am July 19th, 2016

Hello, My brother is a heroine addict he’s been using for 2yrs and was using opiates (pills) for 6 years. He injects 2grams of heroine a day, he just got arrested yesterday it’s been 23 hours since his last fix, I’m very scared for him, I’ve called county jail but they refuse to tell me anything, all they’ve said Is that if he needs medical help, they will give it to him, can my brother die? Is it legal that county jail refuses to let me know how my brother is doing? I’m very scared please any info will help!

8:38 am August 15th, 2016

I have been snorting 2 to 4 bags of heroin for about 4or5 months now how hard will it be for me to detox cold turkey

7:45 pm August 23rd, 2016

Hi I’ve been using heroin daily smoking on a pipe to make me feel normal bout .2g for last 6 months i now decided to go cold turkey I’m on my 4 day now and feel terrible has I’ve been sick can’t eat anything and now can’t sleep I am so drained it’s unbelievable I’ve never felt has bad has this ever, is they anything you recommend to help me ?? Has I don’t feel like I’m getting better I wouldnt say I was a heavy user or infected when will my sleep pattern come back ?? Or do you recommend anything to help me sleep I do also use cannabis but doesn’t help the situation at all thanks for your time god help me

12:13 pm August 24th, 2016

Hi Paul. Common medications used to treat the side effects of heroin detox include buprenorphine, Clonidine, and methadone. But, you need to see a doctor first and enter an addiction treatment facility to be prescribed and treated. Also, there is a lot you can find at your local pharmacy or health foods store to stock your home to support signs of heroin withdrawal, including hot baths, muscle massage with oils or cremes, NSAIDs (non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs), Imodium AD and/or flu medicines.

Additionally, a psychiatrist can also work with you to address depression and are in the practice of prescribing antidepressant(s) to treat underlying mental health issues. Behavioral therapy can further address drug cravings and help teach ways to avoid relapse through cognitive awareness.

4:31 am September 26th, 2016

Hi, I’m been main lining heroin for about 2 months. I have about 1-2 light injections. I want to go cold turkey without missing too mix of work. I’m in good health, I eat well and drink plenty of fluids. Typically how long will it take for my body to get over the withdrawals and should I get on suboxone to help with work?

2:08 am January 19th, 2017

Pls can u help I can sort of quit Its staying off it though a lot of times I go bk to ot is brought on through bordoom pls help me im desperate ive been dabbling about 6 an a years ire be gratefull for ur help

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:32 pm January 23rd, 2017

Hi Mandy. Call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant.

3:41 pm March 3rd, 2017

im on 4 bags of h a day anyone know how i can kick in one week with fi and simos so i do have to stop working?
need help dadly.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:48 pm March 3rd, 2017

Hi John. Call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7. You will speak to a sympathetic, well-trained individual who can help you find a reliable recovery program that will meet your treatment needs.

1:46 pm March 13th, 2017

My partner has been smoking heroin through a pipe for about 5 months maybe 6 but also takes medication for her bpd and anxiety she gets vz from docs but also takes street vZ at a higher dose she also smokes weed what I want to know is if she was to go cold turkey from the heroin how long would it take what would happen and how I could help her

5:43 pm March 19th, 2017

Im kicking 3 day n hurt bad how can i get energy n hav more stamina to go on vitamin recomended

11:50 pm March 24th, 2017

I have a friend who has been using heroin for less than a year he use to take norco then his cousin gave him “fetynol” a couple times because he had run out of his Norco prescription. Well he found out it was heroin but by then he was already hooked he wants to quit cold turkey and I’m willing to sit by his side and let him stay with me until it’s over but how do I help him? I know he is going to be more than miserable but is there anything to make him more comfortable?

11:51 pm March 24th, 2017

I have a friend who is a pretty heavy user his tolerance went up really fast. How do I help him detox cold turkey

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:41 pm March 27th, 2017

Hi Cortney. Cold turkey is not recommended method for quitting heroin. Call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7. You will speak to a sympathetic, well-trained individual who can help you find a reliable recovery program that will meet your friend’s treatment needs.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:08 pm March 29th, 2017

Hi Cortney. Heroin withdrawal is one of the worst withdrawal that exists. I suggest that you call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:22 pm March 31st, 2017

Hi Michelle. Heroine has one of the worst withdrawal symptoms. It’s for the best to detox from heroin under medical supervision. I suggest that you call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7.

4:58 am April 23rd, 2017

I quit this shit cold turkey. Fuck liquid handcuffs, fuck sugar coating and watering down. The worst pain in your life, if you’re female, is child birth. I was using shit that was 8 times stronger than dope. When my dealer was missing, and I couldn’t get that pink, heroin wouldn’t even touch me. That’s when I realized my chase would be virtually impossible. That day I decided to just fucking quit. Adult diapers later, Pedialyte, trash bags full of vomit was how I lived for 4 days. I’d trade 4 days any time for a life time of not having to chase and pay for this fucked up addiction. I chose life. Fuck weaning, methadone, subs. Eventually you’re gonna get sick. Nip it in the bud

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