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Heroin is an illegal, addictive opioid drug. A derivative of morphine, heroin is known for its highly addictive euphoric effects. Similarly, heroin mimics the pain relief of other opioids and is often used as a cheaper alternative to prescription opioids like Oxycontin and Vicodin. Certainly, abusing heroin offers nothing but negative side effects, most notably it’s painful withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe. Additionally, symptoms from heroin withdrawal temporarily affect physical, emotional, and behavioral traits. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may experience minimal discomfort or life-threatening side effects.   

Mild Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Shakes
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Watery eyes

Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Vomiting/Diarrhea
  • Irritability 
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Disorientation
  • Goosebumps

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Anxiety/Panic
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Heart and Lung complications
  • Spasms
  • Anhedonia

While heroin withdrawal symptoms alone aren’t regarded as life-threatening, underlying physical and mental health disorders can be exacerbated to the point of heart attack, lung failure, or psychosis. Additionally, depressive states often accompany heroin withdrawal in the form of anhedonia which can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions. 

For this reason, heroin withdrawals are not safe for an individual to try alone. Within drug and alcohol rehab, people receive medical care and treatment to curb the effects of withdrawal. In fact, a successful recovery is attainable through addiction treatment as it provides a safe and comfortable environment to medically detox.

How Long Does Withdrawal Last?

As with all drugs, heroin withdrawal varies from person to person. Withdrawal from heroin depends on how heroin is abused, how much heroin is abused during a single sitting and throughout the addiction, and how long heroin is abused. Most importantly, the level of dependence and addiction will determine the severity of withdrawal symptoms. 

However, on average a heroin withdrawal will have three main stages following your last dose. Those stages are the start, peak, and subsiding of withdrawals. Firstly, withdrawal symptoms generally start between six to twelve hours after the last dose of heroin. Secondly, your withdrawal symptoms will reach peak effect within a day and last for up to three days. Finally, the side effects typically subside in or around the one week mark. 

It is important to note there is always a potential for extended withdrawal symptoms. In fact, Post-Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome is the diagnosis for drawn-out symptoms that continue for weeks, months, or even years. 

Therefore, it’s important to seek the help of addiction specialists in drug and alcohol rehab to decrease the symptoms of your withdrawal as well as the length. Medically assisted detox provides medical care and medications, when applicable, for a manageable detox and the first step toward recovery.

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