What Heroin Withdrawal is Really Like
I’m a recovering heroin addict. It took me a long time, too long probably, to say those words and mean them. Today, being a drug addict in recovery is the central fact of my life. It’s the foundation upon which I’ve built a healthy, productive, and fulfilling existence.
It wasn’t always that way, though. Being a recovering heroin addict means, obviously enough, that at one point I was simply a heroin addict. It also means that I have firsthand experience with the hellish state known as heroin withdrawal.
In an effort to raise awareness about addiction and recovery, I’ve decided to share my experience going through opioid withdrawal. It’s not pretty and it’s not for the faint of heart. Be warned!
I’m going to talk briefly about the different withdrawal symptoms I experienced and then give a sort of generalized heroin withdrawal timeline. I hope my experience can help those who are still struggling with active addiction!
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
First things first, the withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from heroin are different for everybody. I know addicts who’ve slept through detox. That certainly wasn’t my experience, but I’ve seen it happen.
So, take everything I say with a grain of salt. I’m not a doctor, nurse, or medical professional. I’m simply an addict in recovery who can share his experience with heroin withdrawal symptoms.
Find a list of common heroin withdrawal symptoms below:
- Hot & Cold Sweats
- Runny Nose
- Muscle & Bone Aches
- Depression & Extreme Anxiety
- Nausea & Vomiting
- Restless Leg Syndrome
Those are symptoms I experienced multiple times. I did notice some strange, one off detox symptoms throughout my illustrious career as an addict. These were things like yawning, sneezing, sinus pressure, and weakness.
I’d experience these heroin withdrawal symptoms sometimes, but not always. In a sort of morbid humor, I’d usually be able to tell when I was about to start detoxing based on how often I’d sneeze. If it was more than three times in short succession, I started to get worried!
Now that we have a handle on common heroin withdrawal symptoms, let’s turn our attention to a general withdrawal timeline.
Heroin Withdrawal Timeline
Much like my disclaimer above, the following is merely my experience with detoxing from heroin. There is no one timeline that is exactly the same for all individuals who detox from heroin, but there is a pattern that most people will experience.
Peoples’ bodies are different and react differently to stimuli and stress. So, the heroin withdrawal timeline below is merely my experience. Nothing more, nothing less.
Four to Twelve Hours
during this time, heroin withdrawal symptoms begin to creep in. Things like shaking, sneezing, and a general feeling of anxiety start to happen.
Twelve to Forty-Eight Hours
Trom twelve hours to two days into detox, things aren’t pretty. This is when the majority of heroin withdrawal symptoms manifest. Things like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, aches, and depression are nonstop. This is the part of withdrawal that’s most often depicted in movies and on TV.
Forty-Eight to Seventy-Two Hours
About 48 hours in is when the peak of detox is usually reached. Withdrawal symptoms are in full swing and, speaking for myself, life looks bleak. This is also the time that, again speaking only for myself, addicts are most vulnerable to relapse. Two to three days into withdrawal, there’s just about nothing I wouldn’t give for a bag of heroin.
Three to Seven Days
Three days to a week into detox and heroin withdrawal symptoms begin to subside. There may still be some insomnia, depression, anxiety, and aches and pains. Generally, though, detox is nearing it’s end. At last, there’s light at the end of the tunnel!
Okay, so what’s the point of giving a general heroin withdrawal timeline? In fact, what’s the point of any of this information? Withdrawal stinks, we can all agree on that.
Well, the good news is there’s hope! There’s hope and lots of it!
While the above symptoms and timeline of heroin withdrawal paint a bleak picture, it isn’t only doom and gloom. Truth be told, someone going through heroin detox usually has a desire to quit and change their life. Or they simply couldn’t score, but that’s another story!
If an individual is willing to experience the hellish symptoms of withdrawal, then they’re usually willing to try something new. That’s where detox facilities and heroin addiction treatment centers enter the picture.
While withdrawal is rough, it’s only the first chapter of an entirely new book. The book of a clean and sober life! Addicts need help to write this book. I certainly did.
So, are you or a loved one experiencing the above heroin withdrawal symptoms? Give Lighthouse Recovery Institute a call. We’re more than happy to share our experience, strength, and hope with you as you enter a new phase of life!