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How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal last?

Heroin Withdrawal Signs & Symptoms

Worries about Heroin withdrawal and how long it will last are one of the main reasons why college students avoid taking the steps they need to deal with their heroin addiction.  To recover from addiction the detox and withdrawal process is crucial so making sure people have the information they need to take this brave decision is key.

How Long Will Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

There is currently a shortfall in the number of people needing help to stop using heroin and the treatment programs available particularly for young adults.  One of the reasons for this is that people are worried that the withdrawal symptoms will continue for a long time.  In reality, the main symptoms of withdrawal only usually last around 7 days.

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What Determines the Length of Withdrawal?

Most of the major symptoms are gone in around a week but some factors can increase the time frame.  This includes how severe the addiction is.  For example, a user who has been addicted only a few months may experience a shorter withdrawal time than someone who has been using for several years.  Other influencing factors are age, general health, the dose of heroin being used and whether or not the patient has already started to reduce their dose.

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

Initial Withdrawal Symptoms
Phase 1
Initial withdrawal symptoms start around 6 hours after the last dose of heroin. The symptoms in this phase are usually quite mild.
Initial Withdrawal Symptoms
Peak Withdrawal Symptoms
Phase 2
Peak withdrawal symptoms are experienced now. This takes place between 24-72 hours after the last dose was taken. These are the symptoms most people fear when entering an addiction program and they include:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea
- Shaking and muscle spasms
- Anxiety
- Depression
Peak Withdrawal Symptoms
Decreased Symptoms
Phase 3
At 72 hours the symptoms experienced in phase 2 gradually decline and the individual will start to feel better. They may also find that they think more clearly about the process and their addiction now that the drug is finally leaving their system.
Decreased Symptoms

Medical supervision is essential during detox which can be both frightening and painful.  The use of medications can help the patient cope by relieving the worst of the symptoms and being in a safe place can alleviate any anxiety they may have.

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What Happens Next?

The withdrawal stage is only the beginning of the process of recovery but afterwards, patients can take steps forward to engage in therapies and treatments which will make long-term sobriety a reality.  These include behavioral/experiential therapy, group counseling and dual diagnosis and treatment.

At The Last House, we provide a variety of therapy options for young people based on the best evidence available to help them withdraw from heroin and go into long-term recovery.  The programs we offer help individuals take control of their own lives and move forwards with positive coping mechanisms into long term sobriety.   Contact Us for help with heroin addiction and getting through widthdrawl.

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