Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

Heroin is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs in existence. Withdrawal symptoms can be scary, but there are ways that you can prepare yourself for dealing with withdrawal. Outpatient treatment programs are designed to give you the most support and medical supervision possible while quitting heroin.  In order for you to be fully informed of the details of this process, it is necessary that you establish and understand your heroin withdrawal timeline.

Heroin is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs in the world. One of the most imposing things that people trying to quit heroin are afraid of is dealing with the symptoms that come with recovery. While heroin withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, painful, and even dangerous, they are less dangerous than continued use of heroin, and can be much safer when undergone with the right help.

Under professional supervision, such as for example, undertaking outpatient treatment, heroin detox is safe and achievable, and your chances of success are much better than if you try to fight the problem on your own.

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

During the process of withdrawal and recovery from heroin addiction, you will pass through various stages and symptoms, ending with the goal of complete and sustained abstinence from the drug and the ability to lead a healthy fulfilling life.  An integral part of the heroin withdrawal timeline is to understand the most common withdrawal symptoms.  These symptoms include:

  • Goosebumps
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscles and joint pain
  • Irritability, agitation, and anxiety
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramping and diarrhea
  • Runny nose
  • Heroin cravings

The physical withdrawal symptoms tend to subside within about a week. The symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and heroin cravings tend to last quite a while longer.

How Outpatient Treatment Works for Heroin Addicts

When participating in an outpatient treatment program, a little bit of prep before beginning can help you avoid relapse in the first couple of days when withdrawal is the most difficult. You will want to find a stable environment where heroin and other drugs will not be easily accessible. You will also need to be out of contact with other people who are engaging in drug use.

Trying to detox while in the company of people who are using is extremely difficult. Having supportive people around who can help to keep you focused on your goal can be a big help. Get some advice from your outpatient doctors about how to combat some of the most common withdrawal symptoms. Doing all of these things will help you stay strong when you are not at the treatment facility.

During treatment, you will be experiencing withdrawal symptoms. You may be able to get some medical help with those symptoms. There are several medications that you could be offered to help with the withdrawal symptoms including Clonidine, Suboxone, methadone, and naltrexone. The use of over the counter medications can sometimes help individual withdrawal symptoms. Speak to you outpatient treatment program coordinator to find out more about these heroin rehabilitation maintenance drugs.

Inpatient Rehab

There three most frequent formats for treatment programs are full inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation and partial hospitalization. For most people with strong heroin addictions, the breadth of the inpatient programs is essential for long-term recovery.

It is fundamental for for patients to stay at the hospitals for 30 to 90 days for Inpatient treatment. Days of isolation and proper medical supervision are fundamental to keep patients away from drugs for a long enough time in a secure environment so that they can develop the life-style changes required for sobriety.

Inpatient treatment also typically requires at least 40 hours of treatment every week.  This high amount of participation is crucial for dealing with symptoms of withdrawal, cultivating healthy behaviors, counseling for emotional trauma that might be leading the person to self-medicate, and development of protective social relationships.

Quick Detoxing

More or less all inpatient programs will start with detoxing. For a majority of patients, this lasts from 5 to 14 days during which the person totally abstains from the drug.  This process is where the person tackle the initial symptoms of withdrawal.

For patients who have a strong heroin addiction, however, the days of withdrawal will bring pain and difficult physical conditions. Heroin addicts sometimes experience heart tremors, breathing troubles, intense sweating, and psychological and physical pain throughout the withdrawal process. To decrease these effects, rehab physicians frequently use specialized medications to increase the rapidity of detoxing and to decrease pain and suffering.

Essential Lifestyle Modifications 

Current rehab techniques are very effective for heroin addiction patients because they are intended to produce long-term adjustments in lifestyle. Some modifications in lifestyle involve strong changes in personal habits. Left to their own devices, most patients will continue to associate with their drug-consuming social contacts, and it is a must to prevent this kind of associations from happening and to avoid this kind of bad influences.


The development of new interpersonal skills and creating of healthy social networks is a fundamental part of the rehab process, and also one of the most painful ones.  Also, changes in career path may be considered, as certain specific jobs can cause high levels of stress, an element that should be certainly avoided by someone coming out of heroin detox.

For anyone who is battling with heroin, or other opiates,  help is always at the reach of the hand, but you need to look for it.  The rehab process can be successful – as long as you seek the proper help, from professionals and that you are willing to make the necessary permanent lifestyle changes.

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OCD Handbook