Wednesday July 23rd 2014

Detox from heroin

Ready for heroin detox?

Are you using heroin and want to take the steps to quit heroin and recover for good? If so, you may want to go through a clinical detox process.  Signs of heroin withdrawal may not be life threatening, but can be VERY uncomfortable.

So how to treat heroin withdrawal and what happens exactly when you detox from heroin?  Heroin symptoms: how long?  And can you detox from heroin at home? We review here, and invite your questions about heroin detox at the end.

Detox from heroin symptoms

Detoxing from heroin will be uncomfortable. Your body goes through a lot of stress while heroin leaves the central nervous system. Below are some acute heroin detox symptoms you may experience during withdrawal. While experiencing heroin detox, expect to feel some symptoms for a while. It can take a long time for your body to repair itself. Detox from heroin symptoms include:

  • abdominal cramps
  • diarrhea
  • diluted pupils
  • disturbed sleep
  • drug cravings
  • chills
  • cold sweats
  • constipation
  • fever
  • nausea
  • pain and cramps throughout the body
  • priapism
  • seating
  • tearing
  • vomiting

Keep in mind that another detox from heroin symptom includes altered mood. You may go through depression and have a difficult time sleeping and/or regulating your sleep patterns as you get off heroin.

Detoxing from heroin time

How long does it take to detox from heroin? It depends upon the treatment method that you choose. Rapid detox happens over the course of a few hours while medication maintenance can last for several weeks or months after your loast dose of heroin. However, be advised that it does take a long time to fully detox from Heroin. You can get the opiate out of the body fairly quickly, but your body will take a great deal longer to heal from chronic heroin use. Acute heroin detox can be followed by protracted withdrawal symptoms which require a longer time for normal body function and regulation to return. While detoxing from heroin time is lengthy, you can do a lot to treat your withdrawal symptoms using complementary treatments. For example, acupuncture, acupressure and staple therapy have been said to relieve heroinwithdrawal symptoms temporarily. Whichever therapy you choose, taking the time to fully detox from heroin cankeep you from abusing heroin again.

Heroin detox treatment

Heroin detox treatment is a process during which you rid your body of opiates. The point is to clear the central nervous system’s opioid receptors so that your body can begin to repair itself. A few of the most well-known and clinically used heroin detox treatments include:

Anesthesia assisted heroin detox treatment – During this procedure, you are put under general anesthesia for about 6 hours and treated with medications like naloxone and clonidine to clear out the opiate receptors in the brain and central nervous system. Other non-opiate medication can also be used simultaneously to treat withdrawal symptoms. Also known as “rapid opiate detox”, the process takes about 3-4 days, after which you are referred to relapse prevention therapy. While ultra-rapid detox has been popular over the last 15 years, researchers are finding that this treatment does not provide any added benefit for detoxing from heroin; patients still exhibit painful detox symptoms after initial treatment with anesthesia. You will continue along with naloxone maintenance after initial dosing.

Buprenorphine assisted heroin detox treatment – During this type of heroin detox treatment, you will be medicated on buprenorphine to help address cravings for heroin. Buprenorphine works by occupying opioid receptors in the brain without inducing a high. As an opioid partial agonist, buprenorphine’s agonist effects increase linearly with increasing doses. At moderate doses, effects reach a plateau and no longer continue to increase with further increases in dose — the “ceiling effect.” Thus, buprenorphine carries a lower risk of abuse, addiction, and side effects compared to full opioid agonists like heroin. While on buprenorphine during heroin detox treatment, withdrawal symptoms do not occur. You may be asked to continue twice weekly with behavioral therapy while using this method of heroin detox treatment.

Clonidine assisted heroin detox treatment – Clonidine is helpful during heroin detox treatment because it blocks the adrenergic discharge produced by withdrawal. Clonidine can thus reduce symptoms of heroin withdrawal during detox by 50-75%. other medications may be used to help address heroin withdrawal and maintenance of pharmaceutical treatments continues alongside psychotherapy during detox.

Opiate substitution therapy – During this heroin detox treatment, different opiates are used to help disrupt physical dependency on heroin in the body. Methadone maintenance is a popular program used during heroin detox. Seeking out long term inpatient or outpatient treatment is common, although some view methadone maintenance as exchanging one drug addiction for another. Still, positive outcomes have been exhibited in heroin addicts using opiate substitution therapies. Follow up therapy after initial detox is always recommended for heroin addicts.

Detox from heroin at home

Can or should you detox from heroin at home? It’s possible. In fact, regular heroin users usually go through their own detox process every now and then. They do this because they run down on supplies or aren’t going to be able to get heroin right away. Addicts also manage withdrawal symptoms by reducing doses; you won’t get high but you also won’t feel withdrawal symptoms that comes with quitting heroin totally.

In sum, you can take care of and treat heroin withdrawal symptoms at home if you wish. Self-managed care can help ease discomfort. But while there are ways you can detox from heroin at home by using methadone or home remedies, it may be better to seek medical help. If you want to increase your chances of staying clean and avoid relapse, it would be better to detox in a clinic or to do so in a rehab facility, or be in contact with an outpatient program that can help after the initial detox procedure. Plus, clinical detox can help provide you with medications that can make the detox process from heroin much more humane.

Detox heroin questions

Do you still have questions about heroin detox? Do you have experience detoxing from heroin? If so please ask any questions or share any experience you may have with heroin detox. We would love to hear from you. And we will answer any questions you may have personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: SAMHSA: About Buprenorphine Therapy
Oregon State Protocol for Opiate Withdrawal
National Institute of Drug Abuse: Ultra Rapid Opiate Detox
NCBI: Outpatient Heroin Detoxification with Acupuncture and Staplepuncture  
Drug abuse: Heroin 
NCBI: Acupuncture and Heroin Detoxification

Photo credit: AZDHS

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8 Responses to “Detox from heroin
Angelo
3:57 am February 11th, 2013

Detoxing with Clonidine is absolutely worthless. It does nothing but lower your blood pressure a whooooole lot. You will suffer like hell. I never seen it help anybody. They gave it in a county jail I frequented and it never helped anyone.

12:10 pm February 11th, 2013

Hi Angelo. Thanks for sharing about your experiences with clonidine during detox. Did anything in particular help you ease symptoms of withdrawal? How did you get through it?

HaydenP
9:38 pm February 13th, 2013

There is an old therapy that is very effective and will break the craving over about 10 days of treatment with minimal discomfort. It uses a natural product derived from vitamin B-3. Administered by IV on an outpatient basis over about 10 days it also seems to be very effective at restoring cognitive ability – clearing the fog of addiction.

Hope that helps some of you.

AR
6:22 pm April 3rd, 2013

Well written article, however I need to address a couple of facts in the Rapid Detox section. There are many Rapid Detox programs out there, but they are nothing like the Waismann Method. Our Doctors have been performing Opiate Detox under anesthesia for more than 14 yrs, while initally patients WERE kept under anesthesia for 6 hours our procedure has evolved over time under the direction of our 2 Board Certified Anesthesiologists to slightly less than 1 hour under sedation. The big difference here is that the procedure is very safe, patients do not require intubation and they recover much quicker. After the detox they are closely monitored in the ICU, and are able to be transferred to our Retreat the following day. Other programs send patients to a hotel, to be cared for by their family members. We have 24 hour staff at our Retreat to care for patients recovering from detox. Waismann in essence breaks the whole over-whelming Opiate Dependence issue into 2 very do-able parts: Physical dependency managed in a medical setting, and Psychological aspects in a nurturing and safe environment. When a patient leaves our program they are not only Opiate-free, they have a good sense of ” what’s next for me.” In my near 7 years of working with Waismann I have had the pleasure of being part of giving the best care available anywhere, and making a huge, lasting difference in patient’s lives.

Angelo
3:30 am April 17th, 2013

In response to addiction blog, nothing is given in any jain in NJ or NY except Rikers Island gives methadone. You just suffer. For the other people I don’t believe in no vitamin analog will help anything. How can that possible help your receptor sites having no heroin attached to them anymore. Time is the only cure if you have nothing.
As far as the rapid detox you will feel like pure hell when you wake up. Weather it is 6 hours or 1 hour. You will suffer for weeks of not sleeping etc. It just basically fast tracks any opiates off your receptor sites. You still suffer the (paws) part of withdrawl and feel terrible after waking up. That post is just a advertisement. It should not be allowed.

Clare
6:47 am April 18th, 2014

The part about anesthesia assisted is wrong. Actually patients are under moderate sedation for usually an hour.

There is no need for lengthy general anesthesia anymore, that just increase risks. Patients should be inpatient 4 to 5 days for physical stability. Procedures should be done in a hospital.

Leah G.
3:32 pm July 7th, 2014

I have been a user for 3 years. Smoking not injecting. I’m a currently 3 weeks clean detoxing from home with methadone prescribed. Unfortunately another problem has arisen and I need help and answers. How long does it take to get out of your saliva with a mouth swab. And how long does it take to get out of your hair? Do actual shampoos from head shops work? Some have said yes with marijuana and I wish that is the case, but unfortunately its not. Please if you cam help me with these questions. I detox once in an impatient 5-7 days and relapsed two weeks later followed by 2 1/2 yrs. So please can you help?

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
8:04 am July 8th, 2014

Hello Leah. Opiates, like heroin enter your blood stream easily and can accumulate in the fat tissue. This means your system holds on to the drug longer, but it doesn’t mean it will show up on drug tests. Heroin can be detected in the hair follicles for a longer time, many say it is detectable in your hair even after 3 months. Saliva, on the other hand has a short detection time. It’s detectable anywhere from 5-48 hours after the last use, but shouldn’t be present any longer than that. What you can do to speed up the time your body needs to process heroin is drink lots of water and exercise.

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