December 11, 2017

Tips To Help With Heroin Withdrawal

Quitting heroin is a serious commitment, but will dramatically improve your life. Read here for five tips to help with withdrawal from heroin.

Are you suffering from heroin addiction? Do you want to quit but are afraid of going through the withdrawal from heroin?

You are not alone.

Heroin use is a growing concern in the US and worldwide. Almost 700,000 Americans reported using heroin within the past year, which is a number that has been growing since 2007.

Heroin is extremely addictive. It creates a physical dependency in users, and it leads to a great deal of tolerance; this means that more of the drug is needed to feel the same effect.

Many people with an addiction want to quit but fear that the withdrawal from heroin will be too difficult for them to handle.

The reality is quite different, and there are things you can do to ease your symptoms while you withdrawal from heroin. Read on to learn more.

Symptoms of Withdrawal from Heroin

Before we go over methods of managing your withdrawal from heroin, it’s important to go over what symptoms you may experience–and for how long. This may ease some of your fears as well.

First, your withdrawal symptoms will start around 6 to 12 hours after your last dose. The worst of your symptoms will peak in 24-48 hours, which is the time when most people relapse.

Knowing that you are experiencing the worst of it and that things will get better can help you stay on track.

The rest of the physical symptoms will fade within a week or so. The mental and emotional symptoms can last longer, but physically, you’ll be feeling better soon.

What to Expect

So what exactly are the withdrawal symptoms? Mostly, they are similar to what you experience when you have the flu. You may experience some or all of the following during heroin withdrawal:

  • Insomnia
  • Lack of energy
  • Being irritable
  • Feelings of anxiety, agitation, or depression
  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Excessive sweating (cold or hot sweats)
  • Goosebumps
  • Excessive sneezing or yawning
  • Muscle and bone aches and pains (particularly your lower back)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Muscle jerks/twitches
  • Restlessness

The Hardest Symptom

Cravings. This symptom has its own heading because it is likely the hardest one you’ll have to deal with.

Cravings are the strong desire to use heroin again. You will want to use again both to feel the high of the drug and to stop the withdrawal symptoms.

This is a very normal feeling, but you will need to fight against it in order to be successful in your detox.

Tips For Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

1. Commitment and Support

First, you must commit yourself to quitting and acknowledge that it may be unpleasant. But also remember that the physical experience is actually a short amount of time.

Before beginning, take time to write yourself a letter. Talk about why you want to get clean and what things you want to do and accomplish afterward. When you begin to feel cravings or think you might quit, read your letter to remind yourself why you are doing what you’re doing.

You’ll also want to gather as much support around you as possible. Ask non-using family and friends to be with you (or be available to talk) as you withdrawal to support and encourage you.

2. Nourishing Foods and Rest

Before you begin your detox, stock up on plenty of healthy, easy to digest foods and beverages. Try to avoid processed foods and junk foods, but also make sure you have things that are simple to make if you aren’t feeling up to cooking.

Soups, whole grains, vegetables, and lean proteins are all good choices. Herbal teas (such as ginger tea) and electrolyte drinks are good for settling your stomach and making sure you don’t become dehydrated.

Get yourself set up with a comfy spot to rest, and consider having an extra set of sheets available in case you experience excessive sweating. Try to get plenty of sleep, or if you can’t sleep, at least rest to help your body recover.

3. Distraction

One of the best things you can do while withdrawing from heroin is to keep yourself distracted. Spending too much time focusing on your symptoms and your cravings will make the experience will seem longer and worse than it is.

Funny movies and television shows are a good way to pass the time, and you’ll want to make sure you have books and magazines on hand to read. Now is a great time to revisit your favorites.

Exercise is another excellent distraction that will also help you feel better. Even a simple walk around the block will do you good. The fresh air and endorphins will make your symptoms much more tolerable.

4. Medication

There are both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications that you can use during your detox. Stock up on OTC meds like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain, dimenhydrinate for nausea, and loperamide for diarrhea.

Prescription medications such as buprenorphine, clonidine, or naltrexone can also help manage the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. These are quite effective, but they do require a doctor’s supervision.

5. Professional Detox

If you feel like you need more support and help than you have available to you, going to a professional detox treatment center might be the right choice for you. Such programs can provide you with medical attention (including medication) and support around the clock.

Medical management of your detox can help reduce the length and severity of your symptoms. It also increases your likelihood of staying clean in the future.

Withdrawal From Heroin: Find More Help Today

Learning about what to expect when experiencing withdrawal from heroin is a great first step in your recovery. It’s also very important to have a positive mindset.

If you feel positive about the fact that you will be able to withstand the experience, you are much more likely to succeed. If you expect the worse, you may set yourself up for failure. Or worse yet, you may talk yourself out of trying.

If you feel like you can’t go it alone, Muse Treatment can help. We offer heroin addiction treatment programs, including opiate detox and both inpatient and outpatient rehab.

Contact us today to see how we can help you on your journey to recovery.

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