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Heroin Detox Process And Protocols

The initial step on every journey of recovering from heroin addiction is admission to a medical detox center. Individuals abusing heroin for any period of time almost always undergo some degree of withdrawal when they stop using.

It’s important to understand heroin withdrawal symptoms because there is extreme discomfort that occurs during heroin detox which can make it easy for the person struggling with substance use disorder to quit before the process is over. This is part of the reason why entering into an inpatient heroin detox program is so important. 

One major reason for the severity of heroin’s effects is its potency. Pure heroin is 10-20% morphine, with the remainder being other chemicals. Even small doses have more opium than most other addictive substances.

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The First Step In Recovery From Heroin Addiction

Medical detoxification, or medical detox, is an essential first step in the recovery process from substance use disorder. Heroin addiction isn’t the result of questionable morals or poor willpower. Due to chemical changes in the brain that occur with regular use, people struggle with impulses and self-control.

Heroin addiction is a chronic condition marked by compulsive drug seeking, without regard to the harmful consequences. Breaking the physical need to continue using heroin is the first step in the recovery journey.

Heroin Detox Timeline

The withdrawal symptoms for heroin begin in the first 24 hours (sometimes as soon as four hours) from the last use.

Within 36 to 72 hours, a user will be at its worst and last seven to 10 days. These are going to be the most intense withdrawal symptoms.

After a couple of weeks, you’re going to start to feel better. Because of heroin’s half-life, it can take up to five weeks for the drug to leave your system completely. 

The reward circuitry in an addict’s brain is quite literally changed by this repeated exposure to powerfully rewarding drugs like heroin – causing long-lasting cravings and related behaviors that develop into habits (i.e., addiction). 

Prolonged drug use causes neurochemical adaptations in specific brain regions so that sobriety feels uncomfortable or painful until you return to using while high on opiates – or until you seek help at a detox center or rehab facility.

Discharge From Detox

After detox is complete, it is typically time to move to inpatient rehab. Treatment planning to make sure you receive the appropriate treatment and level of care begins as soon as you or your loved one is admitted to our detox program.

In most cases, our inpatient detox program lasts for between 3 days and 14 days, depending on the unique needs of each individual client (though clients tend to stay for roughly seven days on average). There are several factors that might influence the discharge planning process. These factors include:

  • The severity of the substance use disorder
  • The presence of any underlying mental health concerns
  • Personal history with previous stints in treatment and subsequent relapse
  • Family involvement in the addiction treatment process
  • Financial ability/health insurance coverage
  • Plans to enter into a higher level of treatment like residential inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment

Residential Treatment After Detox: The Best Option for a Successful Recovery

Making the decision to seek treatment for addiction is a huge step in the right direction, but it’s only the beginning. After detox, what’s next? Many people choose to transition into residential treatment, and for good reason.

Residential treatment provides a safe and supportive environment where clients can focus on their recovery without any distractions. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefits of residential treatment and why it’s often the best option for a successful recovery.

One of the main benefits of residential treatment is that it provides a distraction-free environment. This is important because addiction recovery requires a lot of focus and dedication. In treatment, you’ll have the opportunity to work on yourself without any outside distractions or temptations.

Another benefit of residential treatment is that you’ll be surrounded by other people who are also on the journey to recovery. This can create a sense of community and support, which is essential for success. In treatment, you’ll also have access to experienced professionals who can help you through the challenges of addiction recovery.

If you’re considering treatment for addiction, we encourage you to consider residential treatment.

Outpatient treatment for heroin addiction

Outpatient treatment generally comes after detox and residential treatment and is a less intensive form of therapy. It can be a great option for people who have completed more intensive treatment and are ready to start transitioning back into their everyday lives.

In outpatient treatment, clients typically meet with their therapist a few times per week for individual and group therapy sessions.

Healing Can Begin Today

At Magnified Health Systems, We believe in the power of a complete continuum of addiction treatment that starts with medical detox and progresses to residential inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization or an intensive outpatient program.

Residential treatment is often the best option for those seeking a successful recovery from addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, we encourage you to reach out for help. We are here to support you on your journey to recovery which is why our 24/7 admissions team is standing by.

Heroin Detox FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Heroin?

Everybody is different and so is their detoxification process. Some people might be able to do it in a few days, while others might need weeks to months.  It’s important to find a good treatment center to help with the symptoms and recovery process once withdrawal symptoms start. If a person needs to go through the withdrawal symptoms for a longer period, medical detoxification is usually the best option. It takes between 5 and 14 days to complete the process and medical care is available around the clock.

Is heroin detox a good financial decision?

Yes. In fact, substance abuse costs our Nation over $600 billion annually and reduces associated health and social costs if sobriety is achieved. Many times insurance will cover some or all of the cost of treatment.

How long does heroin stay in your system?

the effects of heroin and their duration will differ based on several factors including the amount consumed and the amount of time it was consumed for. A persons metabolism and other genetic factors also play a role. Heroin can be detected in urine for 24 to 48 hours, in blood for 72 hours and up to 3 months in hair follicles. This timeline coincides with the detox symptoms of heroin withdrawal.  

How Do I Detox From Heroin?

Heroin is an addictive and potent opioid. It is an illicit substance that carries significant overdose hazards. Heroin has played a significant role in the American opioid epidemic, particularly when combined with Fentanyl, a highly powerful opioid. About 0.3 percent of adult Americans use heroin. Every year, more than 100,000 new people start using heroin. Despite a recent decline, deaths nearly quadrupled between 2010 and 2019. Since there won't be enough important oxygen getting through your body tissue if you are hooked to heroin or have been using it frequently, your health might swiftly deteriorate. This kind of addiction can frequently be fatal if it is not properly addressed with medical assistance through drug rehab treatment programs where tools are taught to live a life of sobriety. Inpatient detox and rehab are the most efficient types of treatment for heroin addiction. These facilities offer patients specific assistance that goes beyond just treatment and gives them the skills they need to once again lead drug- and alcohol-free lives (and willing).

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Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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