It is so difficult to watch a loved one struggle with heroin addiction or to battle it yourself. The professionals at Briarwood Detox Center understand this struggle and some have experienced it themselves. Our mission is to provide quality care in a clean and welcoming environment where you can safely rid your body and mind of toxins while also preparing for drug rehabilitation and your next steps to sobriety.
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, which is derived from the seed pod of poppy plants. It is typically made in the form of a white or brown powder but can also be a sticky, black substance known as black tar heroin.
To use heroin, people inject, smoke, sniff, or snort it. Injecting it straight into the veins is the quickest way to get high, but it’s also the most dangerous because the risk of overdose and infection is very high. Once inside the body, the drug travels to the brain very fast and a person can quickly become addicted even after just two or three uses.
Immediately after using heroin, a person will feel a rush of euphoria but they may also experience other effects such as nausea, vomiting, itching, slowed heart rate, slowed breathing, and moments in and out of consciousness.
Long-term abuse of heroin is extremely dangerous and can result in many terrible medical conditions, such as:
- Collapsed veins
- Liver and kidney disease
- Infection of the heart lining and valves
- Sexual dysfunction (for men)
- Infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis
- Mental disorders
Heroin overdoses are also very common and can lead to permanent brain damage, coma, or death.
Do I Need Detox?
If you are addicted to heroin and have developed a dependency, you will most likely need a medically assisted detox program to safely rid your body of the drug and manage any uncomfortable symptoms you experience during withdrawal. Our staff can help you determine if you need detox with a personal clinical assessment.
Why Choose Medically Assisted Detox?
Heroin detox will not be the same for everyone and there are many factors that come into play when determining how to best approach detox. These include:
- How long a person used heroin
- How it was abused
- The dosage that was taken during each usage
- The user’s medical health and mental health history
- Any co-existing mental or medical disorders
Since it’s impossible to predict exactly how you will react when heroin usage is abruptly stopped, the safest course of action is to undergo detox in a clinically monitored environment.
Briarwood Detox Center is fully staffed with a medical team of addiction specialists that have the knowledge and experience to create a personalized heroin detox program for you. Based on your usage history and other factors, your detox plan will be designed to provide the best care possible without risking your safety or severe discomfort.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be very severe and the detox process can be dangerous without medical supervision. Although withdrawal will be different for everyone, you may experience the following physical symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle spasms
- Pain in the bones, muscles, and abdomen
- Strong heroin cravings
Withdrawal symptoms typically peak within 1-3 days, but this time frame will vary depending on your situation. Severe physical symptoms can be eased with medication administered by our clinical staff to ensure heroin detox is as safe and comfortable as possible.
Management of Withdrawal Symptoms
Heroin withdrawal is safest when completed in a medically assisted detox facility like Briarwood. Our staff is trained to recognize and treat the symptoms of heroin withdrawal to make sure you are as comfortable as possible throughout the withdrawal process. We use medications to treat any uncomfortable physical symptoms and in certain cases, we may also use tapering medications to gradually bring you down into a sober state of being. Heroin withdrawal will not be the same for everyone and it can be dangerous and unpredictable. We always recommend that you detox in a medically assisted facility where you’ll be closely monitored and supervised.
Heroin Withdrawal Timeline
- 6-12 hours after the last dose: You will begin to experience some mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, abdominal cramps, sweating, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and muscle and bone aches. More severe withdrawal symptoms may include rapid heart rate, insomnia, depression, muscle spasms, impaired breathing, and extreme drug cravings.
- 1-3 days after the last dose: During this time, your symptoms will peak. The severity of withdrawal symptoms is different for everyone and will depend on how long you’ve used heroin, how you used it, and how much was taken each time.
- 5-7 days after the last dose: Your symptoms should be subsiding at this point but some may persist for weeks or months after completing detox if left untreated.
What Happens During Heroin Detox?
Your resident advocate and detox counselor will welcome you to Briarwood with a tour of the facility on your first day. After that, we’ll get you situated and signed in with some paperwork. We realize that sometimes medical paperwork can be overwhelming, but your onboarding documents will all be written in a clear way that is easy to read and understand. And of course, if you have any questions at all, we’re here to answer them.
Next, a nurse will perform a medical evaluation to assess your current conditions. Your detox protocol will begin based on the nurse’s findings and our medical staff will perform a more in-depth comprehensive assessment within your first 24 hours at Briarwood. This need-finding assessment will give us all the important information we need to design an individualized detox program for you.
Once your detox has begun, our medical and clinical staff will monitor you consistently to ensure that you are progressing through withdrawal and detox safely and comfortably. Our close level of monitoring allows us to continually adjust and tailor your program to meet your changing needs. Some people say they don’t even feel like they’re going through detox because we take such great care of them.
Individual and Group Counseling
The primary focus of your individual and group counseling sessions during detox is to address your emotional and physical response to detox. The experience will be different for everyone, but your detox counselor will help you through the progress as you peel off your old, harmful way of living and put on a more healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Although it’s all about addressing the here and now, this therapeutic component of detox is also a great way to help you prepare your mind and body for the transition into long-term addiction treatment.
How Long Does Heroin Detox Take?
It’s difficult to say how long a detox program will be without having more information about you. Most of our detox programs take 5-7 days, but this will depend on the person’s individual circumstances. Once we perform a physical evaluation, we can let you know how long you can expect to be in detox.