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5 Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

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5 Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

Young man and professional discussing 5 symptoms of heroin withdrawal

For individuals addicted to heroin, withdrawal can be a daunting prospect. Many people have heard or read accounts of the difficulty of getting off, or “kicking,” heroin or other opioids. While it’s true that heroin withdrawal symptoms can be severe, with the right kind of treatment plan and support, withdrawal is manageable. And it’s even possible to flourish in recovery.

If you’re ready to free yourself from substance use disorder, Red Oak Recovery® has the resources and guidance you need. Our empathetic, trained staff are here for you. To learn more about our heroin addiction treatment program, call us at 828.382.9699 today.

Understanding Withdrawal Symptoms of Heroin

If you or someone you love is considering quitting heroin, it’s vital to understand what to expect during the withdrawal process. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal will not be the same for everyone. They can vary in intensity and duration, but here are five things to be prepared for:

  • Agitation and anxiety: Because heroin has such a profound impact on brain chemistry, individuals going through heroin withdrawal may experience significant agitation, including temporary delirium and hallucinations.
  • Severe cravings: One of the most challenging aspects of heroin withdrawal is the intense craving for the drug. These cravings can be a hurdle in the initial stages of withdrawal and recovery.
  • Physical pain and discomfort: Withdrawal often causes flu-like muscle aches, joint pain, tremors, and sometimes seizures, which require monitoring.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps are common symptoms during withdrawal. These effects can lead to dehydration and a lack of nutrients, complicating withdrawal.
  • Fluctuations in body temperature: Heroin withdrawal often causes excessive sweating, chills, and fever.

Withdrawal symptoms can be managed appropriately in a controlled environment where individuals can receive the care and supervision they need.

What Is Heroin Withdrawal?

In the simplest terms, heroin withdrawal is the process of the body physically and mentally trying to adapt to the absence of a drug. Heroin is a central nervous system depressant that slows down brain and body functions. Once a person stops using the substance, their system needs time to rewire itself so it can go back to functioning normally.

Factors That Influence Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

Though heroin withdrawal symptoms are almost always predictable, the severity, and length of symptoms depend on several factors. Assessing these factors can help a client and their care provider prepare a plan custom-designed to manage symptoms. Some aspects to consider include:

  • The length of time an individual has been using heroin: Short-term users will experience different challenges than long-term users.
  • Your method of using heroin: Though addiction is addiction, it’s essential to let your care provider know whether you’ve been injecting, smoking, or snorting heroin.
  • Your overall physical and mental health: Withdrawal symptoms can be easier to manage if you’re generally physically healthy. Determination and a positive mental attitude are also crucial.
  • Whether you’re using any other substances: If you’re regularly using other substances, such as alcohol or cocaine, in tandem with heroin, your withdrawal symptoms might be more severe.

These factors can be almost as intimidating as withdrawal itself. However, creating a plan for withdrawal and recovery should be a cause for reassurance. Knowing what factors you’re coming in with can ensure a less complicated recovery process, with no surprises for yourself and your care provider.

Heroin Withdrawal Treatment

There are a range of treatment plans available to those looking to withdraw from heroin and stay sober. Some of these programs include:

  • Medical supervision: The withdrawal process might not be comfortable, but it will be safe under the watchful eye of medical professionals. And any complications that might come up will be dealt with professionally, safely, and immediately.
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): MAT is designed to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and lower the risk of relapse. Medications such as buprenorphine and methadone are administered under medical supervision, serving as a bridge to long-term recovery.
  • Therapeutic interventions: This comprehensive care model incorporates various techniques, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and group therapy sessions.
  • Support systems: Because the powers of empathy and community are great, participation in support groups can be an invaluable resource. Individuals can share experiences, gain insights, and build lasting connections.

When sound medical options and moral support work in tandem, great things happen.

Break Free from Heroin Withdrawal at Red Oak Recovery®

Many people have struggled with heroin addiction and gone on to recover and live vibrant, fulfilling lives. You will gain tremendous confidence once you go through the withdrawal process and come out on the other side. If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, Red Oak Recovery® can help. Reach out to us online or call us today at 828.382.9699. It’s never too late to change your life.