Heroin Detox Side Effects and Timeline

Heroin detox is achievable, although addicts often find it difficult to stop usage. Although detox is different in each person, most heroin detox programs have the standard heroin withdrawal timeline. Heroin dissolves quickly into the bloodstream, therefore the effects are noticed almost immediately

In normal situations, it takes about five to seven days for the body to eliminate the remnants of the drug totally. For heavier users, detox can last up to 10 days. The withdrawal process is difficult. The side effects of withdrawal are almost as intense as the effect of using the drug. For a safe heroin detox, it is better to get medical help from a rehab center.

The side effects of heroin detox

Although heroin detox and withdrawal can be very difficult, it is possible, and you can live a normal life once more. The doctors will try to minimize the side effects by making the detox process comfortable and keeping the patient safe. When the patient tries to withdraw completely from heroin or reduce their intake, certain physical and psychological effects are bound to happen. The extent of the side effects usually depends on the amount of heroin the person has been using.

The symptoms can start as early as six to 12 hours after the last heroin use. The common side effects of heroin detox are divided into long- and short-term effects.

Short term effects of heroin detox can range from mild to moderate or severe, depending on the individual. The symptoms may include:

  • Running nose
  • Dehydration
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Excess secretion of tears
  • Recurrent yawning
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches and spasms
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate

Since most of the short-term side effects of heroin detox are physical, the patient must be under constant medical supervision to ensure safety. Withdrawal medications can make the initial phase of withdrawal a lot easier.

When the first symptoms subside, they are immediately followed by more intense and long-lasting symptoms. The duration of these side effects is different with each individual. They include:

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Relapse
  • Drug cravings
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperactivity

Although this is the hardest part of withdrawal, the symptoms stop after a while as the body adapts to living without heroin. These side effects usually improve after three to four days, and the patient should start feeling healthier after about a week.

Heroin detox timeline

The detox timeline is not constant for everyone depending on different factors, especially the extent of use. Knowing what to expect will help prepare for the procedure. The detox process typically lasts a week but may be as long as three to four weeks for chronic users.

Stage one, days 1-3: Most symptoms begin within the first 24 hours after the last usage. The withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable or painful, but you should know that the discomfort is only momentary. Relapse often occurs within the first two or three days after withdrawal.

Stage two, days 3-5: Following the first stage of withdrawal from heroin, most of the intense symptoms would have subsided. At this point, the patient may experience stomach cramps, shivers, mild muscle pain and fatigue.

Final note

Heroin detox side effects and timelines vary with each patient. This best option is to seek a rehab center that provides adequate support for their patients during this process.

Request an appointment here: https://www.joelnathanmd.com or call Joel Nathan, MD at (212) 410-6832 for an appointment in our New York office.

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