How to withdraw from heroin

The best way to withdraw from heroin is under medical monitoring to ensure overall health, manage withdrawal symptoms and make sure that there are no complications during withdrawal. More suggestions on how to withdraw from heroin here.

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Withdrawal or detoxing from heroin can be an extremely uncomfortable. While rarely dangerous, strong physical and psychological need is often present during heroin withdrawal.  And the first signs of heroin withdrawal may compel further use.

But if you want to permanently get off heroin or help heroin addiction, you will need to address withdrawal symptoms to increase chances of staying clean. So, what are ways you can help treat heroin withdrawal? What medications do doctors prescribe? And what is the safest way to withdraw from heroin? We review here and invite your questions about how to withdraw from heroin at the end.

When do you withdraw from heroin?

You start to withdraw from heroin minutes to hours after you miss the next expected dose. Because heroin is highly addictive, your body can become dependent on heroin within a couple of weeks of daily use. So when you decide to stop taking heroin all together, you will feel symptoms of heroin withdrawal shortly after it has worn off in the body. If you have also developed a high tolerance to heroin, the initial high will not last as long in the body and if you are not always increasing heroin dosage, you will feel the effects of withdrawal shortly after the drug’s effects wear off.

How long to withdraw from heroin?

The length of time it takes to withdraw from heroin from varies by person. Every user is different and will go through withdrawal in their own time. But in general, heroin withdrawal peaks about 42 – 72 hours after last dose and can last with extreme severity for up to a week. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal will begin to even out in a few weeks.

Heroin alters and damages opiate receptors in the brain to the extent that many people who come off heroin have a difficult time feeling pleasure. So, you may continue to have pain and discomfort, disruptions in sleep, depression, and/or anxiety for several weeks afterward.  Problems regulating mood may also last a long time and affect one’s ability to address addiction or to completely withdraw. The body also takes a long time to heal and it may be several months, possibly years before your body repairs itself fully. Protracted withdrawal syndrome is especially present during heroin addiction treatment.

Can I withdraw from heroin at home?

Yes, you can withdraw from heroin at home. But doctors recommend that any withdrawal from heroin be MEDICALLY SUPERVISED. This is to prevent complications and to increase your chances of quitting for good. Withdrawing from heroin is risky on your own. Why? Because withdrawal symptoms may tempt you to use again just to feel relief.

Many heroin users go on drug holidays out of necessity. That is, they can’t get their hand on it or can’t afford it. Many have reported actually reducing the amount of heroin they use so they can maintain a level of heroin in the system without feeling withdrawal symptoms. Other users have actually gotten their hands on Methadone in anticipation of withdrawal. The bottom line is: if you wish to no longer continue using heroin, it would probably be safer to withdraw in a clinical setting.

Withdraw from heroin symptoms

Coming off the euphoria of heroin can trigger feelings of depression and anxiety. You may feel jittery and unable to relax. Many people relapse very quickly because of how uncomfortable and painful withdrawal from heroin can be. The symptoms you may experience can be lengthy and vast. So what withdraw from heroin symptoms can you expect? Symptoms can include:

  • akathsisa (inner restlessness)
  • cold sweats, chills
  • constipation
  • excessive yawning
  • fever
  • malaise
  • nausea
  • pain and cramps the body
  • priapism
  • sweating
  • tearing
  • vomiting

How to ease withdrawal symptoms from heroin

Pharmacological medications that are available to help with withdrawal consist of buprenorphine, clonidine, naloxone, and methadone. Each of these medications has been used in clinical setting to help the process of withdrawal and manage symptoms. There are also remedies lying around your house you can use to help treat the aches and pains of withdrawal. NSAIDs, hot water baths/showers/bottles, and massage can address acute symptoms. It would also be helpful if you sought out a counselor or a support group to help support your psyche while you are withdrawing to help keep you strong. Seeking out a detox clinic or a rehab facility so you can focus on withdrawal and support the withdrawal process can also help.

There has been a lot more research invested in discovering whether or not acupuncture is a good alternative in helping to ease heroin withdrawal symptoms. Acupuncture is the use of inserting needles into certain meridians along the body. Acupuncture helps to repair damaged neural pathways. It can also help with symptoms of craving, stress, and anxiety. While not as effective in the first three days of withdrawal, these treatments have been found more effective than some opiate medications in the 4-10 days acute heroin withdrawal. The natural dietary supplement “NAC” has also been used to support the immune system and helps with depression.

How to withdraw from heroin safely

The best way to withdraw from heroin safely is to be medically monitored through the process. An inpatient stay at a detox clinic helps you in more ways that one. You can manage withdrawal symptoms,make sure that there are no complications during withdrawal, and receive emotional support from staff. Furthermore, detox clinics usually recommend follow up treatment to address the underlying pscyho-emotional issues behind heroin use.

The best way to withdraw from heroin

The best way to withdraw from heroin would be to use multiple sources of help and support while withdrawal is occurring. That is, pharmacological and behavioral treatments can address not only the physical symptoms of withdrawal but the psychological ones that manifest when you stop taking heroin.

How to deal with withdrawal from heroin questions

Withdrawal can be frustrating and complicated. Do you still have question about heroin withdrawal? Please ask any questions you may have and we will get back to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources :OASAS: New Medications for cocaine dependence 
NCBI: Chinese Herbal Medicine in treating Heroin Withdrawal
NCBI: Strategies to avoid opiate withdrawal
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. My granddaughter is going through detox currently. She is going on to rehab next week. They have a program for that. What should we be asking them about their programs. I’ve been reading numerous articles on extended rehab and what they should offer. Most run on the twelve step program. Should she be on medication while in rehab? Read positives and negatives on this. I know as they say each individual recovers differently. She has been using for at least a year or more and has also taken prescription drugs in excess. What would your recommendations be the best route for her successful as possible recovery. Thank you. I hope she is able to turn her life around but I am finding some rehabs are expensive and very luxury places not sure if this is what she needs.

  2. I’ve been on opioid meds and benzo by my doctor now cut off of my pain meds after 25 years but have to take Kloipin for seizures and other seize meds I’ve had to go to heroin for pain I am down to .1 g a day can I quit now with no withdrawals

  3. hi my sister is currently withdrawing from heroin and fentanyl. She is on about day 4 no sleep. I am getting her NAC today to help. Is there anything that can help her sleep that is natural? She doesn’t want any type of prescription medication.

  4. I have been using heroin now for about 4 years but now want to quit. I don’t how to do it from home coz i have no other option but my plan is to reduce my daily dosage gradually from half a gram to no heroin at all then treat myself from home with prescription pills and other available drugs. I am strong hearted to quit this evil drug and become clean again i swear i won’t relapse again for i have lost enough of my life. So I want to know if my plan will work and also need some advice to detox from home alone. Thanks really i need your help on this one.

    1. Hi Roland. That seems like a plan! Keep in mind that heroin withdrawal symptoms are one of the most severe ans harsh. So, I suggest that you don’t do it alone. Ask a friend or a family member who’s sober to give you support when the cravings rise at their best. Also, if you experience any problems, 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.

  5. I need to get clean from heroin before the 24of this month i have a drug test coming up how long does it stays in the system I need answer asap plz

    1. Hi Edgardo. Each person’s detection window is a unique combination of factors such as weight, body mass, amount of heroin taken, frequency of dosing, and personal metabolism.

      Because of how quickly heroin is metabolized, it doesn’t stay very long in the body. Still, drug screens can detect heroin accurately using a variety of methods, including:

      Blood tests – detectable for about 1 day.
      Urine tests – detectable for 1-2 days.
      Hair sample testing – detectable for at least 90 days.

  6. Hi I have been using heroin for about two years every day I use a needle I had to go to a detox to quit the first time was about 2 weeks ago since I’ve been out of the clinic I started using again I’m so scared that my detox is going to be the same as it was when I was in the clinic I’m not going to go to the clinic this time I’m in it detox I’m just really scared do you think that I’m going to get as sick as I did the first time I don’t use every day like I did since I’ve been out of the clinic I used every other day but I can feel it in my body again

    1. Hi Jessica. Detox is just the first part of your recovery from heroin addiction. You need to go to rehab for a period of 1-3 months, then possibly stay at a sober-living house for as long as needed. Relapse, as you have experienced, is very common if you only go through detox and then go out into the “real” world.

  7. I just came off of heroine intravenously a couple of weeks ago and was periodically using suboxone to help with the last effects of withdrawal. I then got some bags of it about 4 days ago and did it over a 2 day time period. I haven’t used in 2 days. Will I to through withdrawals all over again because I relapsed or would I have had to use again for much longer than I did this last time?

  8. Been trying to get off H, I’ve seemed medical help. Only to b told to go cold turkey. I’ve tried numerous times to withdrawal, only to relapse. Due to wanting to relieve the discomfort, having severe anxiety from my last successful withdrawal. My body went crazy, had a few heart attacks, & ask scary one, I drove off the road. Now when I try to withdraw, my body has this weird tingling sensation. Which starts to turn into cramping, and than into pressure localized in my chest, & stomach. I continually ask for help, only always to be turned away. I need help, it’s embarrassing to let anyone know of this problem, and the medical community refuses to help me. I don’t know what to do anymore, but to stay on it. IDK what my question is, I guess I’m just venting. If someone can offer some advice on how to get help & not get turned away, or how to safely withdraw from home. I can get my hands on certain meds, except for suboxone, but I’m not sure how to use them to withdraw. Thank you.

  9. Hi I’ve done heroin in moderation the last year and would go weeks without doing it. But last 2 weeks I started doing it almost everydsy, and now I’m getting withdrawls. Mainly bone and body aches and diarrhea. It’s been 2 days since I’ve done it and was wondering since I just recently started doing it daily will my withdrawls not last as long as a longtime user?

    1. Hi Evsn. Yes, your withdrawal is expected to be far less intense than the withdrawal of long time users. Also, symptoms may subside more quickly, but you may still get cravings and feel a need to use again. Be careful because heroin use is a slippery slope. Seek psychological help if you feel recurring urges for heroin.

  10. hi i was off herion for a number off weeks and went on it about 3 weeks ago i want to be clean from it i detox from it at home i think i can bo it agan have u any tips that will help me yours thanksfully aidan

  11. I’ve tried at least a half a dozen times now to transition from H to Subutex with no success. When I’d used subs before, I’d had two experiences–one was at a detox facility where I was a patient and was given Suboxone five days after my last use yet I was throwing up into a wastebasket within the hour (which I now know was precipitated w/D’s), and the second was at a clinician’s office where I was inducted without incident. Both of these times, though, I was using hydrocodone or Vicodin, and though I had a huge tolerance, I wonder now if it’s possible to transition to subs while using a stronger opioid such as Heroin. I’m desperate for answers and trying my best to not feel hopeless, but at this point I don’t know what else to do short of biting the proverbial bullet and going into inpatient treatment which I really really really do not want to do. Can you help?

  12. hi im on herion about 2 and a half years and ive tryed 2 come off it to times can some one help me and what do i nead 2 help me do it at home please can anyone help

    1. Hi, Aidan. Help is available right away! Call the helpline number displayed on our website to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers.
      Good luck!

  13. hi I am getting ready to go thru w/d from shooting heroin for about 7 months I had 8 years clean from that stuff then decided to try one more time and now I am terrified to be sick. I have to still go to work however I do have some suboxone and kolopin does anyone know if this will help take away from some of the w/d before I would always go cold turkey cuz I wasn’t working and I just did but I can’t do that again and I am terrified this stuff is not
    Going to help any advice on if it will would be great please !!!! Thank you

  14. So im trying to quit and my withdrwals are as a painful and grueling process imaginable. I used heavy doses of a potent product for a once to twice a day habit over the span of a year. I got a great job and a beautiful loving family. I know where this train stops so im getting off now. My problem is i dont get health insurance till january and im on my 3rd day of detoxing. I cant go to work in this much pain and having to crap all day. I need answers that dont involve rehabs or doctors. Cause i dont have those luxaries so anybody got some tips on how to ease the pain and can anybody tell me what can i expect and how much longer?

    1. Hello Mark. Hang in there! Withdrawal could be uncomfortable, but sobriety is more valuable. Have on mind that you don’t need much money to complete an adequate treatment program. Contact the helpline number displayed on the site to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers and learn more about your treatment options.

  15. I was able to stay clean off heroin for 4 months, and just relapsed recently. My mom is extremely disappointed and upset with me. She took all of my belongings and locked it in her room and she left town for work for a couple days, leaving me to withdraw at home cold turkey. I know I deserve it, but is there anything I can do to help the symptoms? I know I have to face what I did and talk to my family about what happened, I just want to feel a little better before I do.

    1. Hey Nina. You already know that heroine withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable. You might use some over-the-counter medications to ease withdrawal symptoms, but experts recommend that any heroin withdrawal should be medically supervised. So, if you get worse, please pay a visit to a doctor’s office.

  16. Hi Amanda I’m so sorry to hear about your son dying. I also lost my daughter saffron she died in my arms its the worst feeling in the world . You can get through it and survive. I also had my son Thomas still born and ny daughter hope still born. So I understand the pain you are in. If it is allowed please ask for my e mail address and if you ever want to talk give me a shout. Sending you lots of love and hugs and support. Xxx

  17. Been addict for many years on and off,,Really had enough of people I mix with and wish I could go away morrow and get clean,,,mental side difficult enough but my son died and only 15 and he was my mate and only person I truly loved,,Really had enough of buying and seeing addicts and I want a get out card now xx tied and I should of died and my Jesse gone ,,omg the pains too much xx Nobody understand mex

    1. Hello Amanda. I’m so sorry about the loss of your son. Nothing will ever mend the pain of loosing a child, but you have to find motivation to keep going forward. You can get clean and get better because I’m sure your son would like to see you like that. I’m sorry I cannot really relate with your pain as I have never lost a dear one, but I’m glad you shared it with me. I am here to listen to you and help you if you need help.

  18. I am currently going through heroin withdrawals. I am finding the restless feeling in my legs unbearable. I have previously withdrew off methadone successfully so I no I can do it. However I am really struggling with the restless feeling in my legs. Any suggestions please?

  19. Hi. My boyfriend has been using for almost 1year daily. His use has gotten very bad. To the point that we are spending 20-40$ a day. He starts withdrawal after just a little over an hour of last “dose”. His symptoms start with panic attacks then restless legs begin and then aggression. I need help and advice on what I need to do to get him off this devil drug from home. We don’t have insurance. HELP!

    1. Hi Kristina. You can call our trusted treatment providers to help you find the best treatment options for your boyfriend. The number is displayed on our page, and is operating all the time. You can discuss health insurance and payment options, and find the most suitable options to help him.

  20. sorry doctor mark, suboxone was not the miracle cure the medical industry led us to believe. “You can walk right off no withdrawal”. Nope. 8 to 16mg a day of Sub is like getting back on 120mg of methadone. I took sub for 3 months to come off m-done and i was literally sick for a year. Every day i’d say “this has got to be the last day sick” and it never came. had to go back on methadone.

  21. Hi Diane. Have you looked into medication assisted treatments like buprenorphine or methadone or naltrexone? While heroin withdrawal usually resolves in acute cases of detox within 5-7 days, longer term therapies like this can address drug cravings.

  22. I am 12 hrs clean…Its the hot and cold sweats I cant stand. Went to sauna and hot tub yesterday and the relief was amazing but as soon as I got out the sickness reappeared. I have no craving its just the sweating is killing me

  23. The best way to withdraw from heroin is with Suboxone. And then stay on it! Simply withdrawing leads to relapse > 90% of the time.

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