The process of detox from heroin begins when the heroin addict stops putting heroin into their body. Within a matter of hours their body will start to crave the drug as their level of opiates in their brain starts to fall off rapidly. Depending on a number of factors, this can produce a very uncomfortable heroin withdrawal process. For example, the longer someone has been suffering from addiction to heroin, the more severe their withdrawal symptoms are likely to be. Likewise, the stronger and more pure doses of heroin will produce a much more difficult and strenuous detox. China White, or pure Fentanyl heroin, is much more powerful than regular heroin, and will thus produce a much more symptomatic detox experience.
What Happens During Heroin Detoxification?
The heroin detox process generally produces flu-like symptoms, including upset stomach, sweats and chills, body aches and pains, tremors, and anxiety. Different people will display different symptoms depending on their body and how they react to withdrawal. For example, some people can become extremely sick from heroin withdrawl but never display any tremors at all. Others might have very bad tremors but not have any issues with their stomach. This is why a scale is used to score the severity of opiate withdrawal when someone is detoxifying from heroin.
Withdrawal Symptoms during Heroin Detox
Much can be done to mitigate the effects of withdrawal, including the use of over the counter medications, as well as to administer a synthetic opiate. The addict can then be managed using a synthetic opiate during the detox process, and then they can be tapered off this drug if necessary. Some heroin addicts can get through the detox process with very little help from medications, and do not even require a taper from the synthetic opiate that is used. Others rely heavily on the use of such heroin detox drugs and may even request drug maintenance therapy for after they leave treatment. This all depends on the severity of their heroin addiction and the level of their body’s heroin dependence. Some heroin addicts have used heroin for so long that their body is no longer able to produce the normal daily requirement of dopamine to simply allow them to make it through the day without feeling fatigued. In such cases, using a synthetic opiate for daily maintenance might be an appealing option, though substance abuse professionals often disagree about what is the best approach regarding this.
How Long Does Heroin Drug Detox Last?
Overall, the heroin addiction detox process generally lasts about 3 to 5 days, though it can stretch out to cover a full week or even slightly more in extreme cases. This is regarding the acute withdrawal and the immediate physical withdrawal symptoms that an addict trying to clean up may experience. Some heroin addicts may experience post acute withdrawal syndrome, which can potentially last for years and years, and may be triggered by seemingly random events that the addict may not even be aware of. For example, a recovering heroin addict might see a nurse drawing out blood from someone’s arm, and can instantly start having withdrawal symptoms pop up out of nowhere: they may start sweating and become very anxious due to the mental images that they witnessed. While post acute withdrawal is psychological in nature, it is so powerful that it can affect the body in a physical manner, just as if the addict were actually going through withdrawal again.