The Truth About Heroin Withdrawals
I’m not going to beat around the bush, heroin withdrawal is no picnic. Anyone who has tried to stop using heroin or even cut down can attest to that. Many people keep using heroin even when they want to quit, just avoiding the withdrawal process. However, if you really want to get off heroin, you’ll have to go through it. Luckily there are also some medications that can help with heroin withdrawal and ease the symptoms.
The Truth about Heroin Withdrawals: What can I expect?
Heroin withdrawal occurs when your body becomes dependent on heroin. You build up a tolerance to heroin, and you need more to produce the same effect. Once your body is dependent, it expects heroin in order to keep functioning. If it doesn’t get it, you’ll have some unpleasant symptoms. Common heroin withdrawal symptoms include: extreme pain, tremors, muscle cramps, sweating, chills, rapid heartbeat, itching, restless leg syndrome, runny nose, sneezing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness.
The Truth about Heroin Withdrawals: How long will it last?
Acute heroin withdrawal can last ten to fourteen days (depending on level of use.) Post-acute withdrawal from heroin lasts an indefinite amount of time, usually proportional to how long you have been abusing heroin. However, post-acute heroin withdrawal is much less severe than acute Roxy withdrawal and generally includes symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, and mild anxiety.
The Truth about Heroin Withdrawals: Will I die?
Heroin withdrawal itself is not life-threatening. You may feel like you are going to die, but you won’t. However, if you have an underlying health problem or you are dependent on more than one substance, you should seek the care of a medical professional.
The Truth about Heroin Withdrawals: What can help?
In a medical setting, there are a number of medications used to treat the unpleasant symptoms of heroin withdrawal. One of the most common medications given to a person who wants to get off of heroin is buprenorphine (brand name: Suboxone or Subutex). Buprenorphine has replaced methadone as the medication of choice to treat symptoms of heroin withdrawal. This medication eliminates the worst of the heroin withdrawal symptoms.
Clonidine is another medication that is commonly used to treat heroin withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine mimics the hypotensive (blood pressure lowering) effects of heroin. It is helpful in treating common central nervous system heroin withdrawal symptoms like tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) and hypertension (high blood pressure). Clonidine also reduces sweating, hot and cold flushes, and general restlessness.
Benzodiazepines are another class of medications used to treat heroin withdrawal symptoms. Benzo’s are normally prescribed as anti-anxiety medications. These drugs can relieve symptoms of anxiety, restless leg syndrome, tremors, and insomnia.
If you are trying to get off of heroin at home, there are a few things that can make the process more comfortable. Warm baths can help with the chills and muscle aches. Make sure to clear your schedule when you go through heroin withdrawal, because you will feel very sick and will not have much energy. Sleep is essential when you are getting off heroin, so be sure to get plenty of rest. Buy food that will be easy to keep down when you feel nauseous. Make sure to drink plenty of water and try to get up and move around at least once a day.