heroin withdrawal

“Dope sickness,” or heroin withdrawal fear, is what keeps addicts using. One use is all it takes to feel the “hangover” symptoms. That doesn’t mean you are addicted after one use, but the horrible way you feel can lead to using again to feel better. This begins a pattern that quickly leads to addiction

Heroin use is on the rise, with almost 500,000 Americans using it regularly. The need for excellent treatment is also on the rise. There are plenty of rehab facilities everywhere you look. Finding a great treatment center that cares for you like family and works as hard at helping you achieve sobriety as you do isn’t easy. Harmony Ridge is that place.

What Can I Expect With Heroin Withdrawal?

Heroin withdrawal, or “dope sickness,” is comparable to severe flu symptoms. The symptoms of heroin withdrawal start as little as eight hours after use and can last up to 10 days. The worst symptoms are felt 48 to 72 hours after the last use. The symptoms, their duration, and their intensity depend on:

  • How long heroin has been used
  • The way it was consumed
  • Frequency of usage
  • The amount consumed each time

Symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

heroin treatment
  • Severe cravings 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills/goosebumps
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping

Recovering addicts who abused heroin for a long time or consumed large amounts may experience post-traumatic withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). These symptoms can last up to two years and can include:

  • Poor sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Memory loss

The longest-lasting symptoms affect your mood and behavior. All signs of withdrawal will diminish the longer you stay sober.

Heroin Withdrawal Timetable

heroin withdrawal timeline

Days 1-2 

Symptoms of muscle aches and pain start on the first day and get worse over the first 48 hours. Other withdrawal symptoms you may experience include severe cravings, anxiety, panic, attacks, insomnia, shaking, chills, and diarrhea.

Days 3-5 

Withdrawal symptoms are in full effect. These are the most difficult days to stay strong and sober. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal during this time often include severe cravings, cramps, sweating, chills, and vomiting.

Days 6-10 

These are the final days of heroin withdrawal symptoms. Muscle aches and pains start to fade away, and you begin to feel normal. The main withdrawal symptoms you experience now are fatigue and weakness. 

It’s always recommended to go through a medical detox when withdrawing from heroin. Not only will you have a positive support system to keep you from using, but complications can also happen that need medical attention. After medical detox, the next step will be getting into a residential treatment center

What Programs Are Important for Heroin Addiction Treatment?

heroin treatment

A residential or inpatient treatment center is the favored source of treatment for heroin addiction. Inpatient treatment takes away the stress and influence of the outside world. The average stay in residential treatment is 28 days but can last longer if needed. Inpatient treatment allows you to focus only on your sobriety and rebuilding a healthy life. 

At Harmony Ridge, we offer a safe medical detox program. We also accept individuals who detoxed at home or at another facility. At our treatment center, we provide a comprehensive, holistic approach to treat heroin addiction. Our programs include:

Medication Management 

During medical detox from heroin, medications like methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone may be used to ease the process. These may be continued after detox or slowly tapered off. While in treatment, your therapist may decide that you’ll benefit from certain medicines for mental or behavioral issues. Our licensed medical staff will monitor and manage all medication regimens. 

Group Therapy 

Group therapy is highly beneficial for helping a person not feel alone. These sessions give each individual a chance to share their experiences and what they are dealing with at the moment. By sharing their issues, they find that others are going through the same thing. In group therapy, you will learn new ways to think and handle situations. Bonds and friendships are built. The larger your support group, the higher your chance at sobriety!

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy gives you one-on-one time with your therapist. In these sessions, you will discover underlying issues that led to addiction. Your therapist will also help you understand and manage mental disorders like depression and bipolar disorder.

Family Therapy

Heroin addiction doesn’t only affect the user; it also destroys relationships. Family therapy is vital to repairing these bonds and the trust that heroin destroyed. Rebuilding family trust and relationships increases your support system, which also increases your chances of lifelong sobriety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is vital in treatment for heroin addiction. CBT helps an individual to recognize the moods, situations, and thoughts that can lead to relapse. The therapist will teach you the tools to avoid these situations, how to change your train of thought, and ways to boost your mood. CBT gives you skills that you will use for a lifetime.

Aftercare and Transition Planning 

Recovery from heroin addiction is a long process that doesn’t end when you complete inpatient rehab. You and your therapist will write out a recovery plan together. This may include:

  • Attending 12-step programs
  • Having a sponsor
  • Individual therapy
  • Attending programs at the treatment center

Aftercare plans are designed to prevent relapse and help you stay on top of your goals.

You must know what your next step is when you walk out the door of a residential treatment center. Do you have a safe place to call home? If you don’t, then a sober living home may be the best choice for you. 

Sober living provides a supportive and safe environment while you rebuild your life. Each home has its own rules. The most common practices are:

  • No drugs or alcohol in your body or the house 
  • Continued work on sobriety 
  • Respecting other housemates

Sober living facilities aren’t free. You might need to get a job while living there to pay your fees, and some facilities offer volunteer opportunities for this. 

Sober living homes are not a long-term living situation. They are meant to help a person transition into the real world at a pace that does not risk their sobriety. 

Alternative Therapies for Heroin Addiction Treatment

At Harmony Ridge, we offer various music, art, and outdoor activities. We understand that to completely heal the addict, we have to provide multiple ways for people to express themselves. Some of these activities and alternative therapies include:

heroin withdrawal and treatment
  • Adventure therapy
  • Outdoor therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Nutrition and wellness
  • Indoor gym and sports activities

We understand that some of our clients don’t have a job or know how to get a job. At Harmony Ridge, we offer education and job assistance. We believe that having a purpose and goals increases your chances of sobriety. 

Benefits of Completing Heroin Withdrawal and Treatment

You’ve grown leaps and bounds since entering rehab for heroin addiction. You’ve been sober for at least 28 days, and you’ve never been more excited to show off the new you. You have a new mindset and are ready to enjoy life. 

withdrawal symptoms

With this freedom comes the fear of relapse. Withdrawal from heroin and all the hard work of treatment can go down the drain in a second. However, you have a new chance at life and a new frame of mind, and the world is yours to enjoy! 

The benefits of successfully completing heroin withdrawal and treatment are endless, considering that you missed so much during your addiction. Focusing on the benefits will help you stay on the road to lifelong sobriety.

A few of the benefits include:

  • You are alive. How many times should you have been dead from your heroin addiction? How many times did you cry because you hated the situation you were in? Every morning when you open your eyes and are sober and healthy is a good day. 
  • Having family in your life. Heroin addiction causes many family members to walk away. Addiction strips away the trust and faith that family members have in you. Family will always love you, but they don’t like what heroin has made you. Completing heroin withdrawal and treatment gives you the ability to rebuild the trust that was lost. There are so many fun things to do that you will not have time to think about using. And if you do think about using, take a look around at what you stand to lose. 
  • Making money. Now that you’re sober, you can get a job or further your existing career. You have a clear mind, you can make rational decisions, and best of all, you can be trusted. However, with money comes the thought of buying heroin. It’s essential to have financial goals and to stay on track with meeting those goals. If you have a few dollars burning a hole in your pocket, find fun and sober activities to do. 

The benefits are endless. When you stay focused on all the benefits of being sober and going through heroin withdrawal and treatment, then there isn’t time to think about using again.

Harmony Ridge Recovery Center Specializes in Heroin Withdrawal and Treatment

addiction treatment center

At Harmony Ridge, we understand the unique needs of a heroin abuser and offer a treatment program specifically for heroin addiction. Our caring staff believes in treating you like family. From the moment you walk in the door, our priority is to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Our team of counselors and therapists are here to support you through the hard times and celebrate all the accomplishments. 

Today is the day to contact us and start the road to sobriety! You know what to expect when you go through heroin withdrawals and treatment. You know that the Harmony Ridge Recovery Center is the right choice for you. What are you waiting for? Contact us today and speak with one of our experienced heroin addiction counselors.

References: 

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2018, June) What effects does heroin have on the body? Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/how-heroin-used
Haupt, A. (2014, February 10) The Facts About Heroin. Retrieved from https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2014/02/10/the-facts-about-heroin
Sissons, B. (2019, September 2) What to know about opiate withdrawal. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326223.php