Herion or Opiate Detoxification

Opiate withdrawal can start within 4-6 hours after last use for short acting opiates such as heroin and norco(vicodin, loratab, oxycontin, etc), or 3 days later for long acting opiates such as methadone or Suboxone. The brain and body reacts to the low levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.The effects of opiate withdrawal are very uncomfortable both physically and mentally. Severity and length of symptoms vary from person to person. It is often dependent upon the length of the addiction, the amount of drug used, and the frequency the opiate was abused. Withdrawal from narcotics should always be done under the close supervision of medical personnel. Common effects of opiate withdrawal include:


Withdrawal symptoms

  • Nausea

  • Stomach cramping

  • Bone and muscle pain

  • Tremors

  • Goosebumps and chills

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Anxiety

  • Intense cravings for the drugs

  • Insomnia

  • Dilated pupils

  • Irritation and agitation

    Serious symptoms include:

    • Suicidal thoughts

    • Seizures

    • Spiked fevers

    • Severe Dehydration


In Summary

While these symptoms are very uncomfortable for the user, they will be managed during the duration of the detox. If you choose, Medication can be started to decrease withdrawal symptoms this will be tapered so that when you do come off opiates, the withdrawal symptoms will not be as severe and more manageable.

Typically the withdrawals will be around 3-10 days depending on the way your body eliminates the toxins. The emotional symptoms, and cravings will last much longer. However, active engagement in a recovery program along with therapy can help to minimize cravings and triggers.  Your brain chemistry changes as your brain heals. It takes time endorphins, therapy, exercise and good nutrition, support groups, and doing service for others.

This process is an extremely hard thing for addicts to face and the hardest part of addiction. As family members we don’t want to see them suffer so we try to help in ways that we know how. Sometimes it can be enabling and will not be making them better. The best option for an addict is to get the right treatment for their circumstances and to have continuous meetings with support groups and therapy.