Heroin detox

At Oasis Runcorn, we recognise that parting ways with heroin can be a challenging and uncomfortable phase on your path to recovery. However, rest assured that we are here to stand by your side and make this process more manageable. Our heroin detox programme is thoughtfully crafted to address the physical symptoms of heroin addiction, enabling you to embark on the first crucial step toward reclaiming control over your life.

What is heroin detox?

Heroin detox is stopping heroin use and allowing the body to rid itself of the drug. It involves managing the physical and psychological symptoms that occur when someone stops using heroin.

The goal of heroin detox is to help individuals become physically stable and ready to begin their journey towards recovery from heroin abuse. It is an essential step in breaking free from the grip of heroin and starting the path towards a healthier and drug-free life.

What are the heroin withdrawal symptoms?

Heroin withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity and duration depending on your relationship with the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can be categorised into physical and psychological symptoms:

The physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue

Heroin withdrawal can also include psychological symptoms, which are as follows:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Cravings
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of interest in once-desirable activities

Why do heroin withdrawal symptoms happen?

Heroin withdrawal symptoms occur due to the body and brain’s response when heroin is suddenly removed. These symptoms involve various changes in the brain’s functioning and chemical balance. Heroin affects the brain’s neurotransmitter system, particularly dopamine, responsible for pleasure and reward. Prolonged heroin use disrupts this system, leading to dependence. When heroin is stopped, the brain struggles to regulate neurotransmitter levels, causing withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin also binds to specific receptors in the brain called mu-opioid receptors. With continuous heroin use, these receptors become less sensitive. When heroin is no longer present, the reduced activity of these receptors contributes to heroin withdrawal symptoms.
In addition to the physical aspects, there is also a psychological component to heroin withdrawal. The brain associates heroin with pleasure and reward, leading to intense cravings and obsessive thoughts about the drug.

Heroin detox timeline

When embarking on a heroin detox, it is crucial to recognise that there is no instant solution to the entire process. Your body requires time to fully recuperate from the impacts that heroin has had on it. Below is a comprehensive timeline outlining the changes your body undergoes during heroin withdrawal. Familiarising yourself with each stage will help you anticipate what to expect.

Week 1

Acute heroin withdrawal: The first week is typically characterised by intense physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Week 2

Continued symptoms: Heroin withdrawal symptoms often persist during the second week but tend to lower in intensity gradually. Physical symptoms may still be present but can be milder. Psychological symptoms like cravings and mood swings can persist but may become more manageable.

Weeks 3-4

Symptoms subside: By the third and fourth weeks, most physical heroin withdrawal symptoms have subsided. However, you may still experience residual symptoms like insomnia and fatigue. Psychological symptoms may also persist but become less frequent and intense.

Weeks 5 and beyond

Stabilisation: In this phase, physical heroin withdrawal symptoms generally resolve, and psychological symptoms become less prominent. You will begin to feel more stable and experience fewer cravings. However, occasional fluctuations in mood and cravings may still occur.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

PAWS refers to a prolonged withdrawal phase that can occur after the initial acute withdrawal. It typically involves intermittent, recurring waves of symptoms that can persist for months or even years. PAWS symptoms can vary widely and may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulties with cognition

It is essential to understand that the intensity and duration of symptoms can differ based on several factors, including your age, overall health, dosage and duration of heroin use.

Medical professionals may provide medications during detox to ease heroin withdrawal symptoms and ensure a safe and comfortable experience.

Is it safe to do a heroin detox at home?

Opting for a home detox from heroin can be dangerous for several reasons. It’s important to understand the potential risks involved before considering this option:

  • Medical complications: Heroin withdrawal can lead to severe physical and psychological symptoms. These complications may go unnoticed or untreated in a home setting, posing significant health risks.
  • Lack of support: A home heroin detox may lack the necessary support from professionals specialising in heroin recovery treatment and the understanding and guidance from peers going through a similar journey. This lack of support can make it harder to cope with withdrawal challenges.
  • Limited resources: A home heroin detox lacks access to the necessary resources that detox centres provide. Detox centres are equipped to handle emergencies and can offer a range of interventions to ensure your safety and well-being throughout the heroin detox process.
  • Relapse triggers: Home environments can be filled with triggers that may lead to relapse. Factors such as easy access to drugs or the presence of individuals who may not support your recovery can make it difficult to stay on track. Detox centres provide a controlled environment free from triggers, minimising the risk of relapse during this critical phase.

What is the best setting to detox from heroin?

To ensure a safe and effective heroin detox, it is highly recommended to undergo medical heroin detox in a regulated environment. This means you’ll be in a supportive setting where professionals can closely monitor your progress.

During this process, the dosage of heroin will be gradually reduced over a controlled timeline. Medications will also help prevent severe heroin withdrawal symptoms and ensure your body adjusts safely.

By opting for a detox programme at Oasis Runcorn, you can have peace of mind knowing that your safety and well-being are a top priority. A medical team will support you, monitor your progress, and help you navigate any discomfort that may arise during detox. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey; dedicated professionals are ready to assist you every step of the way.

How can Oasis Runcorn help with heroin detox?

Oasis Runcorn aims to provide a safe and supportive environment for you if you’re undergoing heroin detox, intending to help you to achieve long-term recovery and wellness.

We have a dedicated team of medical professionals who can monitor your vital signs, provide medication as necessary and ensure your safety during detox.

What are the next steps after heroin detox?

It must be noted that heroin detox is just the first step toward recovery from drug addiction. After completing this stage, our healthcare professionals will provide you with a comprehensive heroin rehab programme. This programme will involve a combination of therapy and counselling sessions, which can help you address the underlying issues contributing to your heroin issues.

We aim to equip you with the skills and tools you need to maintain your sobriety over the long term and help you rebuild your life positively and meaningfully.

Our aftercare programme will also support your recovery journey, providing ongoing guidance and support as needed. Our ultimate goal is to ensure you leave our treatment programme feeling empowered, confident and ready to embrace a new chapter in your life.

How can I help a loved one who is going through heroin detox?

Supporting a loved one going through heroin detox at a drug rehab centre can be challenging, especially when you’re unable to spend much time together. Here are some ways you can still offer support:

  • Maintain open communication: Stay in touch with your loved one through phone calls, video chats or emails, depending on the facility’s policies. Regular communication shows your care and provides a sense of connection during their detox process.
  • Be a source of encouragement: Offer encouragement and remind them of their strength and resilience. Let them know that you believe in their ability to overcome challenges and that you are proud of their commitment to recovery.
  • Respect their space: Understand that your loved one needs time and space to focus on their recovery. Respect the boundaries the rehab facility sets and avoid pressuring them to engage in activities that may interfere with their treatment.
  • Educate yourself: Learn about heroin abuse, detox, and support needed during heroin recovery. By understanding the journey your loved one is undertaking, you can provide informed and empathetic support.

Begin heroin detox today

If you or someone you know is seeking further assistance with heroin detox, we encourage you to contact Oasis Runcorn. With our expertise and compassionate approach, we can provide the support you need on your journey to recovery from heroin abuse. Take a positive step towards a healthier future by contacting Oasis Runcorn today. Help is just a phone call away.

Frequently asked questions

If I complete heroin detox, am I ‘cured’?
Completing heroin detox is an important step towards recovery from addiction, but it does not guarantee a ‘cure’. While it helps address the physical dependence on heroin, it does not address the underlying psychological and behavioural aspects of heroin abuse and what led you to abuse it in the first place. This is why heroin rehab is a crucial next step of the recovery process.