Heroin is perhaps the most physically and psychologically addictive substance on earth. Withdrawal symptoms occur when abruptly stopping use of any substance after a dependency has been formed. These symptoms can range from mildly uncomfortable to severe and life-threatening. Once a physical dependency has developed, the need to suppress withdrawal can create a strong drive in continuing a life of heroin addiction. Described as ‘the worst flu you can imagine,’ heroin withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and can quickly progress to a medical emergency. Vomiting, a common symptom of withdrawal, if uncontrolled, places clients at an increased risk for dehydration, requiring supplemental fluids. IV users are at an increased risk for infection, further complicating the withdrawal management process. A sudden drop in blood pressure (or hypo tension) may result in dizziness or lightheartedness, requiring clients to be placed on fall precautions.
Insurance providers will push for their members to seek treatment at an outpatient heroin rehab facility as a means to cut costs for shareholders, often minimizing the potential complications during the detox process. Withdrawal seizures, DT’s (delirium tremens) and blackouts are not intrinsic risk factors associated with a heroin detox but clients often experience symptoms severe enough to require the medical monitoring of an inpatient program. In addition to the physical symptoms resulting from discontinuation, there are a number of symptoms that are secondary to withdrawal. For example, an elevated pulse & low grade fever may be a symptoms related to dehydration and/or secondary to heroin withdrawal.
Withdrawal Symptoms During Heroin Detox
Withdrawal symptoms during a heroin detox can cause a quick deterioration in a client’s clinical presentation. Withdrawal symptoms on days one, two and three may be mild (restlessness, irritability, anxiety) but progress to severe (GI symptoms, nausea, vomiting, sweating, muscle spasms) during days four, five and six. The medical monitoring that takes place in heroin rehab facilities allows for a safe detoxification process, setting the stage for a lasting recovery.
After detox, the next phase of treating heroin addiction is most commonly a rehab facility. Once the physical dependence has ceased and the seemingly endless cycle of using to escape withdrawal symptoms has been broken, trained clinicians now have the opportunity to provide clients with the relapse prevention strategies needed to maintain long-term sobriety. The main goal of a heroin detox is to free clients of the physical need to use the drug, while rehab is focused on teaching the skills needed to stay stopped, keeping heroin addiction in a state of remission.
Heroin Addiction and Inpatient Treatment
With the opioid epidemic becoming a nationwide health crisis, treatment centers have become the first line of defense for heroin addiction. When it comes to the treatment of heroin use disorder or heroin dependence, inpatient treatment is understood to be an effective intervention. Removing a client from environments closely associated with using, assists in breaking the cycle of addiction and allowing time to be completely dedicated to recovery from active addition.
Once the physical dependency has been broken, a heroin rehab facility is the best place for clients to begin their journey towards a life of recovery. With the help of our highly trained medical and clinical team, clients can expect to identify what ‘triggers’ have led them to use in the first place, as well as learning the appropriate coping skills needed to delay immediate gratification and improve impulse control. With a genuinely holistic approach to the treatment of heroin addiction, our team is able to devise a plan that is unique to each client’s needs, setting the stage for long term recovery.