The first step in breaking free from a drug addiction is detox. When detoxing, the individual abstains from the drug for the toxins to leave the body. Undergoing detoxification from drugs can be difficult and uncomfortable, especially when withdrawal symptoms occur.
Heroin detox at home
Some individuals who wish to kick their Heroin addict attempt to detoxify on their own. Utilizing information and personal strength, or support from loved ones, they either gradually cut down their dosage or quit using the ‘cold turkey’ method. Whichever method is used; withdrawal symptoms cannot be avoided and complications may occur. For this reason, detox which is done under medical supervision, at an appropriate facility, has proven to be more successful, with less cases of relapse.
Typical detox process
A typical detox process would involve using medications that are Opiate substitutes. For a Heroin detox, Buprenorphine, Methadone, and Naloxone are used. Opiate substitutes interact with the brain’s receptors, thus helping to ease cravings and delay withdrawal symptoms. Antidepressants are sometimes used if necessary, when dealing with withdrawal depression.
The time taken to flush Heroin from the body depends on how long the person has been addicted to it. That said, it is possible to be cleansed of the substance quite quickly. Dealing with the withdrawal symptoms is however, more complicated. For some users, the symptoms may peak after around three days, while for others it can take weeks or months before the body loses cravings for Heroin completely.
For a total recovery from addiction, one should not end treatment with opiate substitutes, as dependence will remain an issue. Professionals often use medication, along with behavioral therapy and counseling to equip the patient in dealing with withdrawal symptoms properly, thus completing recovery.
Withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from Heroin
Once Heroin dependence has taken hold, getting off it is rarely as simple as just stopping usage. This is due to the myriad of withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced. Some are unsuccessful in kicking their addiction because of their difficulty with withdrawal symptoms during detoxification.
Withdrawal symptoms often occur in two phases. During the first phase, one will typically experience agitation, anxiety, excessive yawning and sweating, low energy, muscle aches, restlessness, runny nose, tearing eyes, and insomnia. In the second phase, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, dilated pupils, goose bumps, rapid heartbeat, nausea, and vomiting may occur.
When vomiting and diarrhea occurs, the person will be in danger of dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Health complications can happen, especially for those who have existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Withdrawal from Opiates is not technically life threatening, but the effects of withdrawal have been found to be fatal in some cases.
Why doing a Heroin detox on your own is not recommended
Whilst it is possible to undergo a Heroin detox at home, it is not advised. Withdrawal symptoms can be complicated and as such, the best method is to seek professional supervision at a licensed detox facility.