Coming off heroin can seem tremendously scary and difficult to many people, which it can be. Withdrawal symptoms like insomnia and drug cravings can be severe and intense, while symptoms like muscle and bone pain can often be unbearable. Fortunately, coming off heroin can be made into a more comfortable experience and produce minimal symptoms for those who choose to receive professional treatment at a heroin detox center.
Here’s a closer look at how heroin detox works, and how to find a treatment center near you.
How Does Someone Help a Heroin Addict Detox?
If someone you care about is addicted to heroin, the best way to help that person detox is to connect them with treatment at a drug rehab center. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that heroin withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable and feel like a bad case of the flu, but is not usually life-threatening. However, there are some instances in which heroin withdrawal may be life-threatening, such as when symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating cause dehydration.
People who choose to come off heroin at an addiction treatment center are monitored 24 hours a day by nurses and doctors who keep an eye on the severity of their withdrawal symptoms. Medications are often used to either reduce certain symptoms or to reduce all symptoms—depending on how heroin withdrawal affects the patient. In most instances, the medical staff at drug detox centers collaborate to make sure patients feel as comfortable as possible as they go through withdrawal.
Coming off heroin at a heroin detox center is the safest way to recover from drug dependence while facing the lowest possible risk of complications. Though detoxing from heroin at home can be done, it rarely results in long-term recovery given how many people will resume heroin use later on in an attempt to relieve drug cravings and lingering withdrawal symptoms.
Is There a Specific Heroin Detox Medication Available?
There are currently three main medications used to treat opioid use disorder, including heroin use disorder. These medications act on the same receptors in the brain as heroin and painkillers but do not produce the same euphoric effects. This means that when people use these medications to treat opioid addiction, their withdrawal symptoms are minimized, but they will not get “high” from the medication.
Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are the three FDA-approved medications used to treat heroin use disorder, reports the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Methadone is a slow-acting medication that reduces the euphoria typically produced by opioids while also reducing withdrawal symptoms at the same time. This heroin detox medication is available only at outpatient treatment centers, which require patients to visit their clinics daily to receive their prescribed doses.
Buprenorphine works much in the same way as methadone to reduce heroin withdrawal symptoms, but is less potent and can be prescribed for at-home use. Naltrexone works by blocking the action of opioids, which means patients who use any opioid while on this medication will not feel its euphoric effects. Naltrexone helps patients stay abstinent from heroin and other opioids.
How Long Does It Take To Detox From Heroin?
Heroin is a short-acting opioid that generally leaves the system faster than many other opioids. According to the WHO, heroin withdrawal symptoms usually begin within eight to 24 hours after the last use and continue for between four and 10 days. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) reports that heroin withdrawal symptoms usually begin within 12 hours of the last heroin usage.
The length of time it takes to come off heroin will be different for everyone, as factors such as age, metabolism, polydrug use, and medical history can affect the length of heroin withdrawal. A young person with a high metabolism and a short history of heroin abuse may need only four days to detox from heroin, while an older person with low metabolism, poor health, and a years-long history of heroin abuse may need 10 days or more in which to come off heroin.
What Is the Rehab Success Rate For Heroin?
Heroin addiction treatments offer varying success rates for long-term sobriety. The NIDA reports that patients who receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT) benefit from improvements in social functioning and are more likely to remain in therapy compared to patients who do not receive medication. MAT combines the use of medications like methadone and buprenorphine with counseling and behavioral therapy.
Another report from the NIDA states that patients who receive methadone generally have 33% fewer opioid-positive drug tests and are 4.44 times more likely to stay in treatment compared with those who do not receive methadone. Buprenorphine is also highly effective as a heroin detox treatment, given evidence shows that patients who receive doses of at least 16 mg per day are 1.82 times more likely to stay in treatment than those who do not receive this medication.
Heroin detox treatment is usually personalized for each patient given how each person responds to treatment differently from the next. Some patients find that long-term use of methadone or buprenorphine is the most effective at helping them stay sober, while others find that combining medications with behavioral therapy work better than medications alone. Should your friend or loved one choose to recover from heroin addiction at a drug rehab center, the staff at the rehab center will work together to develop a personalized treatment plan.
What Are People’s Experiences From Rapid Detox Of Opiates?
Rapid opiate detox is a treatment that accelerates the withdrawal process by several days. During this treatment, patients are given general anesthesia and high doses of opioid detox medications through an IV line. Patients generally sleep for the duration of withdrawal and wake up after their bodies have finished going through detox.
Rapid opiate detox remains a controversial treatment, as it has resulted in serious adverse effects including death. Evidence from the CDC shows that anesthesia may increase the risk of death during opioid withdrawal, and that rapid detox does not offer any long-term benefit over other detox techniques. However, other studies show that rapid opiate detox may be safe and effective as long as the treatment is administered under the right circumstances by an experienced medical professional.
Before choosing rapid opiate detox for yourself or someone else, learn more about the experience and qualifications of the detox center or doctors performing the procedure, and ask about the incidence of adverse effects and deaths. Also, if possible, locate online reviews and personal stories from people who have gone through rapid detox to learn more about their experiences with this treatment.
Is It Easy To Find a Heroin Detox Center?
Opioid and heroin abuse affect more than two million Americans every year, reports the NLM. Because opioid addiction is so prevalent, there are many detox centers located throughout the U.S. that are devoted to helping people recover from this substance use disorder.
Finding a heroin detox center in your area is relatively easy. Ask your doctor for a recommendation or referral to a nearby treatment center, or research your available options online. You can even go to another state for treatment if there are no detox centers in your local area.
Summer House Detox Center offers heroin detox in sunny Florida to help people experience a safe recovery from heroin dependence. Call us today at (877) 338-6907 to learn more about our many available addiction treatment programs.
Disclaimer: This post serves a strictly educational use. It does not necessarily reflect the services, products, or therapeutic approaches of this establishment or its healthcare practitioners. The purpose of this blog is not to advertise the products, services, or therapeutic approaches of any other establishment that may be associated with this site. On the subject of safe or legal services, products, and appropriate therapies, recommendations ought to be given by a qualified professional on a case-to-case basis.