Heroin Withdrawal

What is heroin withdrawal?

Heroin is an illegal drug which is highly addictive. It belongs to the category of the opiates. It is made out of naturally occurring substances extracted from the seed pod of a variety of poppy plants, known as morphine. It is found in the form of white or brown powder and has a bitter taste that can be smoked, snorted or injected. They affect the brain and the central nervous system.

It is able to produce a euphoric feeling or a state of well being. Over time the body gets used to the effect of the drug, hence, it needs to be consumed in higher quantities to produce the same effect. Thus, when a person tries to get off the addiction they cannot cope with the absence of the drug as their brain has become accustomed to functioning in its presence. This particular situation is known as heroin withdrawal.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Tearing
  • Runny nose
  • Sweats
  • Chills
  • Excessive yawning
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Vomiting diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Goosebumps
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety insomnia
  • Depression
  • Hypertension
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle spasms
  • Impaired respiration
  • Drug cravings


  • Patient’s medical history must be assessed thoroughly along with the level of dependence must be taken into consideration.
  • Tests should be conducted to know what toxins affect the patient and the quantity in which they are present.
  • Psychological reasons for the use of the drug by the patient needs to be evaluated.


  • Methadone has been prescribed for minimizing the impacts of heroin withdrawal. It stays active within the bloodstream and activates the opioid receptors in the same way as that of Heroin. However, the intensity and level of euphoria is drastically less.
  • Doctors often prescribe other medications like Buprenorphine & Naltrexone
  • Heroin withdrawal is one of the most difficult conditions to treat. It is best to allow the patient to be treated under professional care in a rehabilitation centre.
  • Behavioral Therapies are also effective and given to patient in both inpatient and residential settings. These compliment the impact of medications and support the entire withdrawal process.


  • Support from friends and family is extremely important to get over suicidal thoughts and situations of drug cravings.
  • Patient must avoid situations of stress and depression to prevent encountering a drug craving.
  • Divert attention to other activities to avoid thinking about the addiction.
  • Indulge in constructive activities that are beneficial for health such as exercising, jogging, etc.

How long does it take to detox from heroin?

Heroin leaves the blood stream quicker than others as it is a short acting opioid. Complete detoxification takes about 5 to 7 days. The symptoms are at its peak for the 1st 2 to 3 days and begin after 6 to 12 hours after the last dose is taken. Approximately after 10 days, the symptoms or aftereffects seem to stop. However, the symptoms may still persist for several months or may be a year if the person had been consuming it for a longer period of time and in high dosage.

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