struggling with, or questions that need answers WE CAN HELP.
Heroin is the most abused and most powerful of the opiate drugs.
It’s difficult to users to quit cold turkey or without some form of support. Heroin withdrawal is difficult both mentally and physically. If an addict decides to quit, he or she will go through many stage of withdrawal so they can get back to normal. With time, the body re-learns to make its own endorphins and returns to a balanced state. For heroin addicts, getting back into balance takes time, dedication and medical assistance.
Heroin Detoxification and Withdrawal
Heroin withdrawal can start as soon as six to 12 hours after the last dose is taken. If an addict goes longer than that without a dose, their withdrawal symptoms increase over the next few days. They most often will peak within one to three days and subside within a week to 10 days.
During acute withdrawal, a patient can experience symptoms that include: restlessness, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, involuntary kicking and pain in their muscles and bones. The withdrawal symptoms will be more intense depending on how long a patient has been using heroin.
Heroin relapse is so common because of the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.
When addicts try to quit on their own, they may find it too difficult to get through the withdrawal period. Although the average for acute withdrawal is seven days, many addicts experience longer-term withdrawal – called post acute withdrawal syndrome. Detoxification centers can help patients deal with the pain of withdrawal and help patients adjust to a drug-free state.
Drug-Assisted Recovery For Heroin
There are several medications that drug detoxification and treatment centers can use to help patients learn how to quit heroin. Methadone treatment has been used for over 30 years to treat opioid addiction, which includes heroin. It is a form of opioid itself, but since it’s given at a controlled dosage and under medical supervision, many consider it to be much safer. Methadone can suppress withdrawal for 24 to 36 hours and help patients get over the toughest detox symptoms.
Another common medication used to quit heroin is LAAM (levo-alpha-acetyl-methadol). It’s a synthetic opiate that can block the effects of heroin for up to three days. It was approved in 1993 by the FDA and is administered three times a week during detox.
How to Quit Heroin with Behavioral Therapy
In addition to medications to help detoxification, behavioral therapy can help addicts regain control of their lives and prevent repeat behavior. Cognitive behavior therapy and contingency management therapy can help patients rebuild life skills, eliminate negative behaviors and build a life without heroin.
With medically assisted detoxification and cognitive therapy, some addicts are able to learn how to quit heroin for good.