Heroin, classified as an opioid, is notorious for its highly addictive nature. Derived from morphine, this synthetic substance has been illegal in the United States since 1924 due to its addictive properties.
Overcoming heroin dependence or addiction can be challenging and hazardous due to its highly addictive nature. The withdrawal symptoms can be severe, potentially leading to significant medical complications if not treated properly. To ensure safety and effective recovery, it is crucial to seek medical treatment through a heroin detox program. This approach provides the necessary support and care to manage withdrawal symptoms, offering a safe transition to the treatment process.
Northern Illinois Recovery Center is a drug and alcohol rehab center in Illinois that offers a full continuum of care and can offer you medical support in quitting heroin abuse and helping you achieve sobriety.
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What Is Heroin and How Is It Used?
Heroin is a synthetic opioid that is typically found in powder form. It can also be found in the form of a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Heroin can be ingested by either smoking it, snorting it, or injecting it.
What Are Some of the Symptoms of Heroin Use?
Heroin use has diverse symptoms that include both physical and psychological symptoms. The main reason why people take heroin is to achieve a euphoric high, which is similar to the high individuals get when using prescription opioids and painkillers.
Physical symptoms include:
- Upset stomach and vomiting
- Itching, rashes, and skin infections
- Warm, flushed skin
- Dry mouth
- Arms and legs that feel heavy
- Collapsed veins (if ingested via injection)
- Liver and kidney problems
- Lung disease
Psychological symptoms include:
- Changes in brain chemistry
- Coming in and out of consciousness
- Deteriorating mental health
- Development of a mental health disorder, such as depression and anxiety
What Happens When You Stop Taking Heroin?
When someone stops using heroin, they will likely experience withdrawal symptoms as the substance leaves their body. The brain and body have developed a drug dependence on heroin, leading to the belief that they cannot function properly without it. The instinct to alleviate heroin withdrawal symptoms may lead to the desire to take more heroin, making it challenging and risky to stop using the substance without proper medical treatment and support, such as a heroin addiction rehab program.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
Heroin withdrawal symptoms you may experience include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Cold sweats
- Extreme body temperature changes
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Muscle aches
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
What is the Timeline for Heroin Withdrawl?
Since heroin is considered a short-acting opioid, withdrawal symptoms can begin as quickly as 6 hours after the last dose was taken. Below is a timeline of what you can expect during the heroin withdrawal period.
Within the first 24 hours, you will start to experience withdrawal symptoms. They will typically begin within the first 12 hours and can start as early as 6 hours after you stop using. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms can vary based on a variety of factors including the severity of the abuse or addiction.
Days 2 and 3 are the most intense and most dangerous time when it comes to heroin withdrawal. During this time, symptoms are most extreme. It is also during this time that any physical or psychological problems begin to develop. As a result, this time period is when relapse is most common as a way to alleviate the symptoms.
By this point, any heroin that you have taken is completely out of your system. As a result, it is also at this point that the withdrawal symptoms begin to taper off depending on the severity of the dependency or addiction.
After the first 7 days, the brain begins to heal and return to normal function. While the withdrawal symptoms have fully passed it is at this point when any physical or psychological ailments that have developed need to be addressed. This is typically the time when you would enter into an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
What Should You Expect From Heroin Detox Center?
Due to the nature of heroin withdrawal and the symptoms associated with it, detoxing from heroin should be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals. It’s recommended that heroin detox be done at an addiction recovery center that offers detox services such as Northern Illinois Recovery Center. Attempting to self-detox can be uncomfortable and even potentially dangerous, leading to an increased chance of a relapse, so you should not quit cold turkey.
By undergoing medically supervised detox, you will have access to around-the-clock medical care as well as other services that can only be provided in a professional detox setting.
What Is Medical Detox and Is It Used During Heroin Detox?
Detoxing off certain substances, such as heroin and other opioids, can come with more extreme symptoms and potentially life-threatening complications. In order to help alleviate some of these symptoms and make the entire withdrawal and detox process more comfortable and safe, medical detox or medication-assisted detox will often be used.
When the withdrawal symptoms peak at the 2-3 day mark and become their most intense, it’s not uncommon to be prescribed a combination of non-narcotic pain relievers, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, and in some cases even a milder opioid such as suboxone or methadone. These medications help relieve discomfort, reduce cravings, and prevent relapse.
What Happens After Detox Has Been Completed?
Once heroin detox has been completed, the next step is to enter into a heroin addiction treatment program. Based on your needs and what your treatment professional recommends, you will enter either an inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization program. When you come to Northern Illinois Recover Center for substance use disorder treatment, we develop a comprehensive treatment plan for you.
Those entering an inpatient treatment program will live at the facility for the duration of their treatment. Living at the treatment center limits temptations that one might experience during their daily lives to use again. Inpatient treatment provides all the necessary therapy services as well as additional services such as access to medical care and even nutrition.
At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we offer the following treatment and therapy programs to those who are enrolled in our inpatient program:
Not everyone can commit to living at a treatment facility for an extended period of time while they are undergoing heroin treatment. For those who are unwilling or unable to commit to inpatient treatment, outpatient care is another option.
During outpatient treatment, the person comes to the facility to attend therapy sessions and then returns back to their daily life. Since they are not living at the facility, it is crucial for those choosing an outpatient program to have a supportive and stable home environment.
Similar to the inpatient program though, individuals receive therapy and learn coping skills to achieve long-lasting recovery. At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we offer the following therapies as part of our outpatient treatment program:
Partial hospitalization programs offer a well-balanced approach to the recovery process, catering to individuals seeking the flexibility of outpatient treatment alongside the added benefits of comprehensive medical care and services typically available in inpatient settings. Participants attend treatment sessions at the facility and can return home, similar to an outpatient program. However, what sets partial hospitalization programs apart is the level of structure and support they provide, akin to that of inpatient programs. This ensures individuals receive the necessary guidance and attention from healthcare professionals to foster a successful recovery journey.
Some of the services that we provide to those entering into our partial hospitalization program include:
- Experiential therapies
- Individual and group therapy
- Family therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Access to certain amenities within our facility
Contact Northern Illinois for Substance Abuse Treatment
Before starting the treatment process, the first crucial step is to undergo a medical detox program. Heroin detox can be challenging and may cause severe withdrawal symptoms, making it essential to have the support of medical experts during this phase.
At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we recognize the significance of detoxification in the recovery process. That’s why we offer comprehensive detox services at our facility, ensuring that you or your family members can experience a seamless treatment process in one location.
In our heroin detox program, you’ll receive medication-assisted treatment, heroin addiction therapy, and other supportive services to help you achieve long-term recovery. If you want more details about our detox services or are eager to embark on the path to recovery, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. Our compassionate team is ready to assist you throughout your journey.
Get the help you need at Northern Illinois Recovery!
Northern Illinois Recovery Addiction Treatment Center
Licensed Physician and Surgeon
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, and is the medical director at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. She is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at both campuses. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.