Tuesday September 27th 2016

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Detoxing from heroin at home

Are you or a loved one ready for recovery from heroin addiction? Are you ready to begin the journey towards being clean? Recovery requires one step at a time, the first one being a thorough detox process.

What does the treatment entail? How long does it take to detox from heroin? What happens during and after the detox stage? And can you detox from heroin at home? Read more in this article to find out the answers to these questions. Then, feel free to ask additional one questions in the comments section below.

Detoxing from heroin addiction

Every case of drug addiction that is accompanied by drug dependence starts with detox. In this stage, the toxins from the drug leave the body and, as a result, withdrawal symptoms occur. When detoxing from heroin, these symptoms can be pretty uncomfortable. BUT heroin detox symptoms are treatable.

While medication-based therapies constitute an essential part of the whole detox treatment process, behavioral therapy that follows is not to be disregarded. During this period which can last as long as needed, patients may continue taking medications if/as prescribed by their physician. Behavioral therapies include individual and group counseling, contingency, cognitive-behavioral and are crucial to addressing underlying addiction issues.

Medications used during detox from heroin

First, detox from heroin includes the use of opiate substitution medications. Those used during heroin detox include methadone, naloxone, and buprenorphine. These opioids interact with the same receptors heroin does, yet they are less harmful. The purpose of taking these medications is to ease cravings for heroin and to delay withdrawal symptoms, thus avoiding a possible relapse.

Second, medications can be used during heroin detox to address specific symptoms as they occur. One medication that helps reduces the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms include clonidine. Antidepressants may also be prescribed during or after detox.

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Detox from heroin time

So, just how long does it take to detox from heroin? Cleansing the body from heroin can happen pretty quickly. When you go cold turkey off heroin, symptoms tend to peak about 72 hours after last dose but resolve within 7-10 days. Still, it may take a longer period for the body to get used to the absence of heroin and fully recover from protracted withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). Detoxification can also be completed within hours if the individual is administered an opioid receptor antagonist such as naltrexone, in conjunction with anesthesia or sedation. However this method is much more expensive and can be dangerous, hence not recommended.

Generally, the time it takes to rid the body of heroin will depend a great deal on the method chosen. The most common treatment i.e. methadone maintenance treatment (MMT), is usually combined with behavioral treatment and can last for months, sometimes years, after acute detox. Since methadone creates physical dependency, it is necessary that the daily dose is gradually decreased over a course of time. While short term methadone therapy is also available and prescribed for a quick heroin detox, long term methadone therapy has shown better results.

Detoxing from heroin symptoms

While the symptoms of heroin detox are not lethal, they can be quite unpleasant and can trigger a relapse. That is why it is crucial to endure this period if one is determined to quit abusing the drug. The withdrawal symptoms that can accompany heroin detox include:

  • anxiety
  • abdominal cramps
  • bone and muscle pain
  • chills
  • constipation
  • cravings
  • diarrhea
  • disturbed sleep
  • enlarged pupils
  • fast pulse
  • high body temperature
  • high blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • fever
  • nausea
  • runny nose
  • sweating
  • tearing
  • vomiting

In few instances such as severe vomiting or diarrhea, an individual is likely to experience dehydration or electrolyte imbalance. In such cases, it is advised to take fluids containing electrolytes, or, if the individuals cannot keep the fluids down, IV therapy will be required. Moreover, cardiovascular diseases can get worse during heroin detox, especially if the individual experiences high blood pressure or sweating. Moreover, anxious people should be wary of panic attacks, while those who have been diagnosed with chronic pain should be prepared that the intensity of pain could be increased during detox.

Should you detox from heroin at home?

While it’s possible to detox from heroin at home, it is not advised. The success rates to stay clean in the long run are lower than with medically assisted detox. Additionally, quitting heroin abruptly (cold turkey) will cause intense withdrawal symptoms, thus increasing the possibility for a relapse. ALWAYS GET MEDICAL APPROVAL BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO DETOX FROM HEROIN ON YOUR OWN. Some cases of poor general health, co-occurring disorders, or pre-existing medical conditions will require clinical detox under medical supervision.

If detoxing at home, it is advised to gradually cut down on the heroin dosage rather than entirely, so as to decrease the chances of relapse. However, given the discomfort of the withdrawal symptoms as well as the complications that may occur, it is highly recommended that individuals undergoing detox seek medical supervision, especially because aftercare is required if one wants to achieve lasting results.

Detoxing from heroin on your own

We hope to have addressed your main concerns in this article. But if we have not answered your question(s) about heroin detox or you would like to share your experience, please use the comment section below to do so. We will try to get back to you in a personalized and timely fashion.

References: NIDA: Drug Files on Heroin
NIH: Medical Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
NCBI: Opiate withdrawal: inpatient versus outpatient programmes and preferred versus random assignment to treatment.
NCBI: Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances
The Alabama Department of Mental Health: Substance Abuse – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs: Acute treatment of withdrawal

 

Photo credit: Tyler

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21 Responses to “Detoxing from heroin at home
pepper
7:48 am January 21st, 2015

My friend is detoxing from herion at my house 5 bags a day for 1 year went to hospital on day 2 was given a patch and other meds all none addictive into day 4 and hes fine except trouble sleeping is something wrong

3:02 pm January 21st, 2015

Hello Pepper. Insomnia and trouble sleeping are common during heroin withdrawal, and may continue for a period of weeks after acute detox. Has your friend sought professional supervision other than the trip to the hospital?

pepper
5:08 pm January 21st, 2015

I UNDERSTAND INSOMNIA IS NORMAL MY CONCERN WAS DURING DETOX HE ONLY HAD 2 BAD DAYS IS THAT NORMAL AND YES HE HAS A APPOINTMENT TOMORROW FOR REHAB

johnie
6:02 am April 2nd, 2015

Allmost a month since ive picked up a set of works. been using iv for 15 years. This run was 4 years.. if u run as hard as me and love heroin as much asd me u know 4 years is a long run..no arrests to stop me. found some one with the kind of $ that I never had to get out there and run the streets. that is what used to stop my runs..This time I had to die. my girl found me thank god on the couch,blue shit and pissed myself and if the fire dept wasn’t across st. that was it.I thought I was going to hospital for hours then get released..the found out I had some kind of staff infection, pnunumonia,and I was days away from all this shit attacking my heart and it would have been over. that was the silver lining from od ing..IM A SELFISH BASTERD..between hospital and home its been 24 days since ive picked up a set of works..trying to get on sobos because I did the methadone for years and couldn’t stay away from the cocktail. I don’t know I am rambling on and on..aa na r not option for me..idk just cant listen to the same shit over and over. My life is all ready better. maybe ill b able to spell in a couple years lol. all jokes aside if I don’t pick up a needle my life is going to get better…its funny reading the peoples blog asking about how do I get high on soboxone and all the other bullshit. I say just keep getting high until u can find something that in that in the a.m. u can wake up like a human is supposed to. have a cup of coffee,watch the news, WORK! Please don’t take this personal I really am doing this for me ..because I know the gorilla on my back is just resting…really thinking about that shot the blocker.I guess it works for a month. any comments..thanks for reading this and please lmk if someone ever reds this shit?

p.s. there is no way to kick the shit without some discomfort..we r addicts. we want it our way and cant cope with dis comfort..I subs,benz,clonadine,johnies,…just don’t pick up that set of works..u know how to make urself comfortable. you know what u can handle without saying fuck it. because we know how easy that is to say..NO DOPE ..NO NEEDLES!

kell
7:20 pm April 10th, 2015

I’m on day 14, I’m still feeling sick to my stomach, I’m vomiting, I have diarrhea, I feel like emotionally drained I have no energy. How long until these symptoms are gone? I just want to feel normal again

6:02 pm April 11th, 2015

Hi Kell. First of all, it depends on how often, for how long and in what dosages you were using heroin. But, generally symptoms should start to subside by this point. You have made it for two weeks now, and that means you are no the right track. However, trouble eating, sleeping problems, nausea and anxiety may persist for a longer period of time. Immodium for diarhhea combined with NSAIDs and heating balms for muscle pain can all help treat heroin withdrawal symptoms from home. You can visit the local pharmacy and get some regular over-the-counter medications that will also relieve your stomach problems. Please keep in mind that once these acute phase of withdrawal is over, you will need to get a long-term counseling and psychological support to help you maintain your sobriety and prevent relapse. Stay strong, Kell! I wish you to become a success story!

4:56 pm April 14th, 2015

Hi Johnie. Thanks for the insightful info and for sharing a personal story. I’m sure other people on our site can relate.

KELL
3:33 am April 26th, 2015

I’m reading this because I have family members who suffer from addiction and trying to help a really good friend save her son too. I so hope you stay sober, not for anyone else, for you. There are so many good things in life you need to experience. God is good, give him your heart! Good luck young lady!

doris
1:46 am April 28th, 2015

My son has been detoxing at home wiv no meds apart from a few valium, and antidepressant. He’s done 21 days now, did’nt use every day, smoked it for 5 mths. Is there anything he can take for pains in ankles and feet???? He’s tired and cant sleep because of fidgets and pains in legs, seems most unusual after all this time. Could u suggest anything?? Plze

11:48 am April 28th, 2015

Hi Doris. It’s great that your son is detoxing from heroin and that you are his support. Believe me, without you taking care he wouldn’t have made it through this period. Here are my suggestions: get Immodium for diarhhea combined with NSAIDs and heating balms for muscle pain to help treat heroin withdrawal symptoms from home. Also, hot baths, heating pads, massages, regular low-impact or moderate exercise, can help. If his legs are feeling restless, applying pressure with stockings or weighting blankets down will relieve pain. I hope he gets past this quickly and successfully. Don’t hesitate to seek psychological support from counselors and group meetings. This will help him maintain long-term sobriety.

Louis G.
5:34 am May 9th, 2015

Hi there,

I just read your blog today for the first time. I am a recovering heroin addict, and I did a supported – that is a very important piece of the puzzle – home detox with a product from Vietnam called Heantos. I went from shooting about a gram a day of quality heroin to nothing, overnight. I had a bit of discomfort, but it was nothing like kicking cold turkey. It was like 25% of what cold turkey was for me so many times I can’t count. I just want to put it out there, because it seems that nobody knows about this seriously effective option here in the US, yet. I had a support specialist from San Francisco, and my dad helped me at home. I’m just saying, there are other options out here, and Methadone and all those drugs are really a horrible option, and they’re so much harder to get kick than heroin. They have a long half-life and my friends have gone through terrible withdrawals – way worse than heroin or pills – coming off of them. Maybe they’re good for some people, but I don’t think they are for most people. Heantos. It really works. I don’t work for the company or anything. I’m just grateful to be clean today and wanted to share my story.

chelsea
9:05 am May 26th, 2015

My husband is an addict. He has no insurance. How can he get treatment?? Please help.

1:24 pm June 3rd, 2015

Hi Chelsea. Call the helpline number you see on our page to get in touch with addiction treatment professionals that can help you find the right treatment options that will work for you and your husband.

rich
10:34 am July 13th, 2015

hi there. my big question is that i used a 20 bag today and have a urine test for pro bation at 8-830 am on thrusday im 6″1 weigh 176 is there any way I’ll pass amd anything i cam do to speed uo the detox process

charlene
12:54 am November 13th, 2015

Hi I want to get of it now I have kids scared I will lose them if I turn for help I want to do home detox asap before they r home after Xmas way do I do how plz help I’m scared

1:54 pm November 13th, 2015

Hi Charlene. I hope this article has helped you be prepared about what you can expect. Also, don’t hesitate to seek doctor’s help if the symptoms of detox get too much for you to handle. Keep in mind that there are many over-the-counter medications that you can purchase at the pharmacy to help manage some of the withdrawal symptoms. Good luck!

ronso
6:37 pm May 29th, 2016

i decided to cold turkey. because i knew it would only take 5 days for me to start feeling better. no vomiting .not weak in the legs. tired all the time. cant move on the couch. and also the hardest part. the depression it come with. and not able to eat a lot.or loose the taste in Ur mouth.i was ok the first 2 days. just was lazy and felt weak. but on the 4th day instead of feeling better i started vomiting again and that empty ness u feel in Ur stomach.and a lil agitation. i got my girlfriend to go to the pharmacy for me. she explained to the doc. he gave codeine. for the agitation. tramadol.for the stomach pains.and lomotin,for diorea. i took them all and it worked in less than an hour, it worked miricles. cus codein and tramadol has opiets in them. juts as subutex or methadone. also the codein cough mixture helps alot. and alot of vitamin syrup.easyer to slallow. using medical mauriana helpd alot to. to calm me dwn and be able to sleep. thanks u.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:39 pm June 3rd, 2016

Thanks for sharing, Ronso.

Cali
10:19 am July 7th, 2016

I just found out yesterday that my husband has been using heroin now for the last 5 months!! He was sent from work to the hospital for vomiting and stomach pain. I was planning on leaving him cuz of his violent mood swings. Now I’m sitting here trying to help him detox. ?? I’m so confused and lost!! I’m also a recovering addict but I’ve stayed clean… we have a 2 year old baby! Idk what to do for him . i think i feel bad too cuz i damn near hated him the other day and part of me wished bad things on him. He’s been struggling really bad and always takes everything out on me. I’ll be honest heroin came out of left field lol… I like uppers and he smoked crack. He says he quit on Monday evening it’s now Thursday morning. He hasn’t eaten he can’t sleep. I wanted him to smoke a little bit of weed but Lmfao he’s worried bout probation!! It’s horrible of me cuz i want this to all go away!! I’m tired of dealing with this shit… But i still love him and I’m hurting cuz i know he’s hurting!! I’m just lost and confused what to do!! I want to cry and punch him in the face!! But i remember what it was like to be in the middle of my addiction… Lol I’m surprised no one punched me in the face!! I’m really trying to help but idk what to do this is different from cocaine and meth withdrawal. He’s destroying our marriage and family and i don’t want to watch my husband kill himself!! I’m scared!!

caroline
1:46 am August 31st, 2016

Hi my daughter has been smoking herion for thd last 4 months. she is 26 years old.
she has come to stay with me to detox. I have researched and found a few home remedies.
night nurse
valarian
Imodium
zantac
she is in her first day and has taken the valerian and night nurse and has slept all day apart from waking up to eat.
she’s told me her legs are starting to ache and her nose is starting to run but she’s gone back to sleep now.
I’m dreading tomorrow as I’m sure she is as well.
Do you think that these medicines alone can get her through the vital 7 days?
Your help and advice would be most appreciated.
kind regards
caroline

Queen
2:42 am September 7th, 2016

On day 8! Have suffered from anxiety since I was 9 :/ it has become so intense that not even my (anxiety/ depression med) will touch it! Its crippling mental pain! I’d take any physical pain over this mental torture that has no escape! Can’t find any benzos to relieve it and not even my counciler has got in touch with.me (after I litterly called and asked for her to call me asap!) I am surrounded by support but just can’t kick it! ( I’ve tried everything.) Its just hell, and I hope.to find some fast relief. Nope should have to feel this way!!

Needed to vent! I’m proud of myself, but I want this anxiety to go away!!!

I feel like I’m gonna lose everything over trying to better myself.

I made a mistake and I own up to it! But damnnn this is hell.

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