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Heroin Withdrawal: What to Expect

Last Updated: January 17, 2023

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Heroin is a highly addictive opiate drug that is derived from morphine and can easily and quickly lead to addiction. The high that users experience with each hit of heroin causes them to seek the drug more and more often in an effort to achieve a euphoric state. But heroin wreaks havoc on the body and can be extremely difficult to stop using once a habit has been formed.

Addiction to opiates has become an increasingly serious and devastating problem in the United States. Overdose deaths due to opiate use were four times higher in 2014 compared to 1999, and the numbers continue to rise significantly, causing a real epidemic throughout the nation.

Anyone who is addicted to heroin and is looking to quit is certainly making the right decision, but the road to recovery will be a challenge, and it all starts with detox.

During the first few hours and days after quitting heroin use, the body will undergo a series of symptoms that can be very uncomfortable and even painful. The withdrawal symptoms can be so strong that the chances of relapse are quite high. Not only that but detoxing from heroin use can even be dangerous if not done in a medically supervised environment.

It is important to know the side effects of benzodiazepines as well as the signs of potential benzodiazepine abuse. If you think someone you love may be abusing benzodiazepines, it is important to know what to look out for.

What to Expect With Heroin Withdrawal

As heroin leaves your system, you will experience a number of physical and psychological effects. How long it takes to get through detox depends on several factors, including your health, how long you have been using heroin, and how strong your addiction is.

Immediately after stopping heroin use, you can expect to experience any one of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Excessive sweating
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep issues

Heroin withdrawal symptoms tend to worsen two or three days after stopping heroin use. The acute symptoms felt immediately after heroin use stops can become worse, and additional symptoms may be experienced, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Trembling
  • Chills
  • Stomach pain

Symptoms of heroin withdrawal are at their worst during the first week, but symptoms can still be felt long after the last time heroin was used. In fact, withdrawal symptoms can last as long as a month or more. The symptoms that usually tend to linger for weeks include fatigue, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Considering how uncomfortable these symptoms are, it is understandable why many people with an addiction to heroin would revert back to using the drug in an effort to eliminate these horrible side effects of withdrawal and detox. That is why it would be much more effective to detox with medical supervision and medication to make the process more bearable.

Detoxing in a Medically-Supervised Environment

Instead of going through withdrawal and detox on your own, you would be well advised to enter a reputable detox facility where you will be closely monitored by professionals who will be able to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms with appropriate medications safely and effectively.

There are plenty of Ohio addiction treatment resources available to help you through the withdrawal phase of recovery, as well as guide you to the appropriate treatment facility that will help you finally overcome your substance use disorder.

Call us today to learn about admission to a detox center and treatment facility.


Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.