With drugs, especially ones like heroin, the side effects can be extremely hurtful. This leave many addicts to want to know more about the withdrawal process of heroin. There are actually two sides to recovery from any substance—the physical and the psychological.
Let’s start with the physical. Many people describe heroin withdrawal as feeling like you have a severe flu. You may feel nauseous and experience diarrhea and vomiting. In addition, abdominal cramps, muscle cramps, sweating, and chills are all common.
When Does Heroin Withdrawal Start?
Heroin doesn’t stay in your system for long. Here’s what happens after your last dose of heroin:
- Symptoms begin within 6-12 hours
- Symptoms peak within 1-3 days
- Around day 4, symptoms begin to improve
- Symptoms generally are gone by the time you have been off heroin for 5-10 days
The severity of your symptoms depends on a couple factors like how long have you been using heroin and how heavily you have used the drug.
Wouldn’t it be great if after your week of feeling lousy you could get back to your old life, feeling fine and ready to go?
Unfortunately, there’s still the second phase of heroin withdrawal- the psychological symptoms.
The Psychological Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal
Drugs may make you feel good, but there’s always a catch or a loan that needs to be paid back. So if heroin made you feel joyful, carefree, and comfortably numb, you can expect to feel the exact opposite during this phase of recovery. You should think of this phase as your body’s way of balancing everything out from the high intensity of the heroin.
Everyone reacts differently to the psychological effects of heroin, but it’s common to experience depression, anxiety, sleeping problems, lack of motivation and sensitivity to stress.
There are a few ways to handle these symptoms. One way to handle this is to understand that a resolution is going to take time. Heroin has taken a toll on your brain’s natural reward system. Many people find that they turn a corner at around 60 days and begin to feel more peaceful, hopeful and happy.
Another way to manage these symptoms is to address them head-on. Going forward, you’ll need new ways of handling stress and dealing with life other than turning to drugs and numbing out the struggles of everyday life.
Many people think that the point of rehab is to help you to find physical relief of a drug. While that is one part of it, it’s actually far more important to find out why you started using heroin in the first place and kept using. Addressing the “why” to your heroin addiction is going to provide more peace moving forward.
A good treatment program can help you straighten out both your body and your mind, which will give you the tools you need to launch your new life while being surrounded by a community of others who are facing similar struggles.