A large part of heroin user’s drive to continue to use results from fear of withdrawal. Commonly described as “the worst flu you can imagine,” a heroin detox can be painful both physically and emotionally. Opiate detox programs sole focus should be on the safety and comfort of clients, while providing constant encouragement towards an addiction-free life. Heroin withdrawal symptoms are present for roughly one week and can include any of the following: Nausea, sweating, chills, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, abdominal cramping, muscle spasms, increased cravings to use.
Increased cravings to use are the strongest during a detox but while in an opiate detox program, clients are able to break the cycle of using more heroin to escape withdrawal.
A heroin detox will relieve the physical need to use, clearing the way for therapeutic activities to be directed towards long term abstinence. As with any withdrawal management program, a heroin detox is most effective if followed up a full continuum of drug rehab, further enforcing relapse prevention strategies.
Heroin withdrawal by itself may not be considered life-threatening however, the presence of comorbid medical and/or co occurring mental health symptoms make a client’s risk for decompensation many times greater. Infections, including those as a result of intravenous use, cardiac problems, as well as depression and anxiety, all increase the client’s risk during a detox program.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe but the presence of any withdrawal symptoms is enough to require medical and clinical supervision. In addition to stabilization of physical symptoms, our clients receive comprehensive harm reduction information as a means to limit the number of opiate overdoses.
Opiate addiction is not necessarily a new societal issue however in recent years, there has been a massive spike in opiate related deaths, largely as a result of today’s street heroin. The widespread abuse of opiate pain medication has left clients seeking the cheaper alternative, heroin. With it’s demand having spiked, dealers will often use much more potent synthetic opiates, measured in micrograms instead of milligrams, to maximize profits. Opiate detox programs must assess and prioritize the high risk of overdose and overdose related deaths. The over prescribing of opiate pain medication has led to an epidemic, turning everyday life to a constant life or death situation.
A medically supervised program is the best place to lose the physical dependence on heroin. After detox, clients should continue on to either inpatient or outpatient levels of treatment, further reinforcing relapse prevention strategies, developing community support, and continued therapeutic monitoring. If you or a loved one are in need of a heroin detox program please call 866-488-8684 today.