What Does a Heroin Detox Look Like?

Are you avoiding treatment because you fear going through a heroin detox? Detox is a necessary first step for individuals in the treatment process.

Excessive substance use causes your body to rely on that substance of choice, and recovery requires your body to purge itself of that harmful substance. Thankfully, there are many ways to manage withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. There are dangers associated with detoxing alone. For that reason, seeking professional help is vital for individuals looking to detox safely and healthily.

In this blog, we’ll discuss substance use disorder (SUD), what heroin addiction does to the body, and the heroin detox process.

Substance Use Disorder

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in seven individuals aged 12 years and older in the United States struggles with SUD. The National Library of Medicine states that SUD “occurs when a person’s use of alcohol or another substance (drug) leads to health issues or problems at work, school, or home.”

Unfortunately, there is no singular cause of SUD. Biological, social, and environmental factors all play a part in the development of addiction. Many individuals begin using alcohol or drugs out of peer pressure, curiosity, or as a way to self-medicate mental illnesses.

Individuals struggling with substance use and mental disorders must seek treatment for all illnesses. You may develop anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of substance use or begin using substances to cope with these disorders. These are co-occurring disorders.

Heroin is just one of many substances out there wreaking havoc on the people of this country, in addition to marijuana, opiates, depressants, and stimulants.

Heroin Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes heroin as “an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia.” It resembles a “white or brown powder, or a black stick substance known as black tar heroin.”

Heroin is an extremely dangerous and addictive drug. One of the reasons so many individuals are addicted to heroin is that it is inexpensive. People using heroin do not always start with heroin use. Some individuals are often addicted to prescription opioids or other substances, and when their access to more expensive drugs is cut off, they turn to heroin. Unfortunately, because of this progression, heroin use has skyrocketed during the U.S. opiate crisis.

Short-Term Effects

Some short-term effects of heroin, according to the NIDA, include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Warm flushing of the skin
  • Heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe itching
  • Impaired mental functioning
  • Being in and out of consciousness

Long-Term Effects

Common long-term effects, also according to the NIDA, are as follows:

  • Insomnia
  • Collapsed veins for those who inject
  • Damaged nose tissue for people who sniff or snort it
  • Heart lining and valve infection
  • Abscesses
  • Constipation and stomach cramping
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Respiratory issues
  • The development of other mental disorders, such as depression and antisocial personality disorder

Seeking treatment is necessary because symptoms and effects such as these can lead to further complications in the body. While the heroin detox process may seem daunting, you can get through it.

Heroin Detox

Due to its addictive nature, heroin use is challenging to stop alone. That is why intervention, therapy, and professional detox services are integral. There are, however, several withdrawal symptoms you may have to face during detox and early treatment.

Withdrawal Symptoms During Heroin Detox

When you detox from drugs and alcohol, you will feel physical and mental symptoms when you stop trying to use. These are withdrawal symptoms, and their length and severity range depending on the substance.

Common withdrawal symptoms individuals experience during heroin detox include:

  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Intense vomiting
  • Muscle spasms or severe muscle and bone pain

These are just a few potential withdrawal symptoms, but professional detox services and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help you manage the withdrawal symptoms.

Seeking Treatment

Trying to quit heroin cold turkey can be dangerous and ineffective. Many who attempt this can not handle withdrawal alone. However, there are other concerns around detoxing alone. Detoxing can be an emotional rollercoaster. Because of intense emotions and withdrawal symptoms, people turn to self-destructive behaviors, including the risk of suicide.

While you may avoid treatment because you fear the detox process, facilities can make the whole experience easier. Clinical staff can monitor, provide medication, and perform other interventions to help you manage your symptoms. Seeking professional services offers the chance to detox in a safe and controlled setting.

As discussed, if left untreated, heroin addiction will cause several long-term effects on your mind and body and can lead to death. Reach out to your doctor, therapist, or medical professional if you are struggling with heroin addiction. Recovery is possible should you seek treatment today.

Attempting to detox from heroin without professional help can be dangerous. The detox process is an emotional rollercoaster. The inability to handle these intense emotions may lead to self-destructive behaviors or even death by suicide. While the potential withdrawal symptoms are intimidating, it is vital that you seek treatment. Untreated heroin addiction wreaks havoc on other areas of the body, causing a number of complications that can potentially lead to death. To learn more about heroin detox, call Excel Treatment Center at (833) 883-9235. Understanding the benefits of professional detox services and treatment may help motivate you to seek help today. It may not seem it now, but there is a better way.