Heroin withdrawal is not usually fatal but can be exceptionally painful and challenging. If you go “cold turkey”, or without any medication to help your withdrawal process, the symptoms usually start about twelve hours after the last dose of the drug. Once the process starts, it continues for a good long while. Symptoms usually peak at about one to three days after they begin. The illness usually begins to subside in about a week. Some symptoms may hold on longer than that. For addiction that has been long term, withdrawal symptoms can take weeks–sometimes even months–to go away. This extended state of withdrawal is referred to as post-acute withdrawal syndrome.
The symptoms of heroin withdrawal include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and cold sweats. It has been compared to a mega case of the flu. Heroin withdrawal is far more harrowing than the flu, however. The illness can be so bad that it can cause seizures. The addicts mental health can also suffer. Sudden changes in moods and behaviors are not unusual. Sometimes people in this state of mind are very difficult to reason with and could quite possibly harm themselves inadvertently.
Help is Available if You Need It
If the heroin addict has been using the drug long term or has a history of taking large doses, the sickness caused by withdrawal will be extreme. Hospitalization or admission to a drug rehabilitation facility is advised in this particular case. The person should be monitored closely for any unexpected physical or mental complications. A professional medical establishment will also help to ensure that the recovering addict stays clean after the detoxification process.
For certain cases, it may be possible for the withdrawal process to take place in the patient’s home environment. It is more comfortable for someone to be in their own home rather than in a medical facility as long as the recovering person does not suffer beyond the point of feasible tolerance. If any problems or complications come up, it is necessary to consult a doctor immediately.
Essential Elements for Home Care
When detoxing at home it is important to remember some important factors. First of all, one should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can be cause for hospitalization if it’s serious enough. Water and electrolyte formulas should both be consumed to maintain the correct hydration level. Over-the-counter medications can help with diarrhea, nausea, or generalized body aches. It is helpful to make the person as comfortable as possible and to focus on distracting activities like watching movies, doing artistic projects, or reading.
Never try to go through the detox process alone. Let a friend or a family member in on your withdrawal plans so that you have trusted help when necessary. Just having moral support and company can help a great deal.
The cardinal rule to bare in mind is that a doctor will be consulted if extreme or unexpected symptoms develop. Never be so stubborn in your resolve to beat your addiction at home that you neglect vital medical attention when it’s needed.
It’s highly advised that you consult with our professional addiction treatment staff at Treatment Now before attempting heroin withdrawal at home.
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