Detoxing from Heroin or Opiates

Detoxification from prescription opioids (painkillers) or heroin is one of the hardest physical detoxifications there is to withstand. The side effects of opiate withdrawal is physically and mentally crippling. It can be impossible for many to complete detox on their own from opiate withdrawal without receiving serious medical attention from a trained detoxification staff. If you or a loved one are addicted to opiates or heroin and want to successfully detox, you must do so under the guidance of a trained medical detox staff.

Why is heroin withdrawal deadly?

The withdrawal symptoms from heroin or opiates themselves will not cause death, however, the painful and excruciating symptoms associated with a bodily detox from such substances may cause the person to relapse. In the particular case of opioids, once a person’s tolerance is lowered through even a temporary abstinence, they are extremely susceptible to an unintentional overdose and death as a result of taking a similar dose they used to be accustomed to.

When it comes to opiates, abstaining for any period of time significantly lowers a person’s level of tolerance. The withdrawal symptoms that accompany opiate and heroin cessation are so severe that many who attempt to detox at home end up relapsing simply to end their painful symptoms. Prolonged opiate abuse causes a buildup of toxins throughout the bodies organs and bone system. The flushing of these toxins should only be administered by a trained medical detox staff as they are excruciating to endure.

If not performed under the guidance of a medical staff, detoxing on your own will almost certainly lead to a relapse. The majority of opiate and/or heroin users who die of an overdose often do so after they’ve attempted to self-detox.

Opiate Detox Facts

  • Abrupt withdrawal from heroin can cause extremely dangerous withdrawal symptoms
  • Heroin or Opiate withdrawal symptoms begin 12 hours after the last use
  • The most severe symptoms of opiate withdrawal peak between 2 and 4 days after the last use
  • Many users require a medically-assisted treatment program for 6 months to 2 years or more after detoxing
  • Most users relapse after trying to self-detox, putting them at risk of overdose and death

Some of the detox symptoms that accompany heroin and opiate withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety
  • Body pain
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Sneezing
  • Sniffing
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

How can I detox safely from opiates or heroin?

Medications help reduce or eliminate cravings, physical pain, ease anxiety and help the individual transition more gently from an abrupt cessation from using opiates. A medically-supervised, long-term prescription regimen is almost always required in order to alleviate the long-term symptoms associated with heroin or opiate detoxification, and to allow the individual to gradually achieve full abstinence. These tapering medications are only administered by medical professionals under approved treatment protocols.

An accredited detox facility provides the care necessary for a safe withdrawal process, including an individually prescribed, medically supervised detox program, a team of therapists to manage physical and emotional conditions as well as to provide a nurturing, safe environment without the risk of relapse.

Psychological indications from opiate detoxification

Opiates like prescription pain medications and heroin actually alter the brain’s chemistry by depressing the central nervous system. Other functions of the body, like the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems are also subdued, making the individual feel relaxed and euphoric. As a side note, in high enough dosages, opioids can cause unintentional death by slowing these systems down to a level that causes cardiac arrest. However, after prolonged exposure, the body builds a tolerance for these opiates and craves them continually.

This psychological obsession is another reason it is so hard for opiate and/or heroin users to stop using altogether. Psychologically speaking, it can take years of abstinence before intense cravings for opiates dissipate without any medicinal management. Without comprehensive treatment and ongoing rehabilitation, the user may never be able to regain the ability to live without the assistance of some form of medication to balance their brain chemistry, which has been altered due to opiate abuse. This is another reason why it is so critical for anyone who is suffering from opiate or heroin addiction to first get help from an accredited detoxification center so that they can detox in complete comfort while being guided toward an individualized rehabilitation curriculum to follow.

What are some common opiates?

While more recent legislation is helping to prevent the over-prescribing of prescription opiates, they are still widely prescribed by doctors in order to assist with short and long-term pain management.

Opiates come in a variety of drug forms and medications, derived synthetically from opium, ranging from fentanyl, codeine, morphine, Vicodin (hydrocodone), Percocet, OxyContin, oxycodone, to illicit drugs such as heroin and opium.

Why are opiates so addictive?

Opiates and prescription painkillers work by binding to receptors in the brain and decreasing the feeling of pain. However, if they are used in a higher dose than prescribed, or used for 3 days or longer, the individual is already at risk of developing a tolerance to the drug. This means that the same amount of medication will no longer produce the desired pain-relieving effect. This is the reason why prescription pain medications that are derived from opiates are so highly addictive and why people require higher doses of the drug with ongoing use. While the person can choose to stop using opiates at any time, they may not be able to psychologically stay stopped, or physically overcome the painful withdrawal symptoms, which perpetuates the cycle of addiction.

If you or your loved one are addicted to opioid painkillers or heroin, you owe it to yourself and your family to detox with dignity within an accredited, medically-supervised detox center. To speak to an advisor at Prestige Detox, call 855-535-8501.

Last modified: May 4, 2020

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