The heroin epidemic in the United States is a growing issue. Here we discuss the dangers and struggles connected with the quitting and detoxing from heroin.

heroin abuse facts

Heroin abuse is an especially dangerous and insidious cycle. Heroin enters the brain quickly and binds to the body’s opioid receptors on cells in many areas, especially those responsible for pain and pleasure. Furthermore, heroin impacts heart rate, sleeping and breathing abilities.

There are a good number of short-term effects associated with heroin, including the initial rush of pleasure or euphoria, for which it is so heavily abused. However, this euphoria is not the only effect, and there is a laundry list of less pleasant effects heroin may induce, including:

  • warm flushing of skin
  • dry mouth
  • heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • nausea and vomiting
  • severe itching
  • clouded mental functioning
  • nodding, or going in and out of consciousness

 

Heroin abuse often translates into a myriad of long-term health and mental effects. People who abuse heroin over a long period of time often develop:

  • insomnia
  • collapsed veins
  • damaged tissue
  • abscesses
  • constipation and stomach cramping
  • liver and kidney disease
  • lung complications, including pneumonia
  • mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
  • sexual dysfunction for men

symptoms of heroin withdrawal

The hard thing with heroin is that not only its use, but also withdrawal from it, comes with its own set of health complications and concerns. The symptoms of heroin withdrawal are vast and can be broken down into different categories, as seen below.

  • Pain areas: muscles affected, excessive muscle pain reported
  • Whole body: hunger, night sweats, restlessness, weakness, shakiness, lethargy, loss of appetite, sweating
  • Gastrointestinal: gagging, nausea, vomiting
  • Behavioral: agitation, crying, excitability
  • Psychological: delirium, paranoia, anxiety, etc
  • Mood: boredom is often experienced, as well as loss of interest in daily activities
  • Nasal: congestion or a runny nose
  • Eyes: dilated pupil or watery eyes

When going through heroin withdrawal, or general withdrawal from opiates, it is also not uncommon to experience seizures, slurred speech, teeth chattering, tremors, tingles in feet, extreme pain and sensitivity to it, and more.

heroin withdrawal timeline

The withdrawal timeline behind heroin and opiate withdrawal can of course vary depending on the user, how much heroin their habit had them consuming and more. However, there are certain patterns and a general timeline to serve as a frame of reference for opiate withdrawal.

Early Withdrawal Symptoms begin 6 to 12 hours after taking short acting opiates and within 30 hours when using longer acting opiates. Some of the symptoms experienced during this phase include:

  • Tearing up
  • Muscle aches
  • Agitation
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • A runny nose and nasal problems
  • Sweats
  • Racing heart
  • Hypertension
  • Fever

Later withdrawal symptoms peak within 72 hours and usually last about a week or so. They include a different laundry list of undesirable symptoms, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings

symptoms of heroin detox

Heroin detox is an arduous process, but one that is important and worth fighting for. Heroin detox is not often fatal, unlike drugs such as benzodiazepines and alcohol, but can be very taxing and painful. This is why many choose to detox from heroin at a rehab facility. This is quite simply the safest option, as well as the most likely to lead to long-term recovery. Medically assisted detox has higher rates of success than other alternatives, which unfortunately often lead to relapse.

There are certainly risks associated with heroin detox, death is even a possible side effect in adverse cases. This is why it’s so important to consider medical detox. This professional help is so necessary because of the serious and dangerous nature of heroin detox. The entire process should be monitored by health care providers that have specific knowledge and expertise in the field of drug addiction treatment and detox. That way, if any problems arise in the heroin detox process, a physician will be able to monitor the patient and also administer evidenced based medications to help mitigate cravings and other painful parts of the heroin detox process. If you or someone you know wants to take a powerful next step and consider heroin detox, check out our website or give us a call today.