What to Expect from Quitting Heroin



quitting heroinThe first and foremost thing to emphasize when discussing heroin addiction is the importance of seeking help. Heroin is a very dangerous drug to abuse and quitting can be equally dangerous. It takes hold of the body and doesn’t let go without a fight. Heroin is an incredibly powerful painkiller in the opioid family of drugs. It works by suppressing the central nervous system to create an intense sensation of pleasure. The pleasure is short lived but so desirable that users quickly return for more and addiction tends to set in soon thereafter.

The Slippery Slope

Heroin users typically begin with prescription painkillers as teens and then, as adults, graduate to heroin because it’s more affordable and accessible. However, heroin, while just as addictive as some painkillers, can be infinitely more dangerous due to the way it’s administered. It is commonly injected intravenously and needles are often shared to do so. This poses large risks for infectious diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV.

The detrimental health effects of heroin on the body are not limited to its use. Cessation of its use can be just as dangerous due to the way it changes bodily functions. After prolonged usage, the body adapts to the altered state by working to compensate. This can put the body in a temporary state of balance, but once this foreign source of dopamine runs out, the body is thrown back out of balance. Withdrawal symptoms from quitting heroin are a result of this physical jolt as the brain clambers to search for more.

Here are some common symptoms of withdrawal you should be aware of before deciding to detox on your own:

  • Severe, and often debilitating, headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Intense cold sweats

Other symptoms are residual and can last upwards of two years after detox and include anything from foggy thinking, emotional distress, impaired physical coordination, memory lapses, and trouble sleeping. Managing these symptoms on your own can be very difficult and leads many right back into addiction. Having the guidance and support of trained professionals serves as a safeguard against sinking back into substance abuse.

Professionals can help reduce the discomfort of the process in various ways, one of which is to administer medication to help manage the symptoms. Merely having a professional monitor you during detox reduces the chances of you returning to the drug, which at this point will likely be fatal as your body has decreased its tolerance. Many heroin addicts who attempt to detox on their own will relapse and overdose because they take the same amount as when they were using. Their bodies can no longer handle the quantity and the results can be fatal.

A professional detox treatment facility, like those provided by Leads Treatment Center, prevent this from happening as a result of their close monitoring and intervention strategies.

For more information on heroin detox and addiction recovery options contact our recovery counselors at Leads by contact us at (800) 380-0012.