Heroin Detoxification: What To Expect
Heroin is a highly addictive drug. Although it’s in the same class of drugs as morphine and oxycodone its potential for addiction is much higher and its effects can be a lot more devastating. Deciding to give up heroin is a bold choice because of how strong its effects are. However, this is only the first step in the process to being clean. One of the most challenging stages is the detoxification period where your body will need to adjust to not having heroin around. It’s important to know what to expect so you can prepare for it psychologically.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms of heroin are both physical and psychological. The intensity of these symptoms will be determined by factors such as the level of addiction i.e. how long you’ve been taking heroin and how much you use. Age, sex and level of fitness will also play an important role in this. The commonly witnessed symptoms include:
- Pain in the abdominal region
- Aches in the whole body
- Depression and craving for heroin
- Constipation and diarrhoea
- Excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting and tearing up
- Irritability and Insomnia
In most cases, the worst of the withdrawal symptoms will pass within a few weeks. Occasionally, certain symptoms will last beyond a few weeks and carry on for months or even years after quitting. These are known as protracted withdrawal symptoms. These are usually the psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, irritability and insomnia. Managing these protracted symptoms is very important in preventing a relapse.
Possible Side Effects Of Heroin Detox
Sometimes, detoxing from heroin can worsen underlying medical condition. The process may also bring about new complications that have to be dealt with. Some of these situations include:
- The diarrhoea and vomiting may result in excessive loss of body fluids. This can end up causing dehydration.
- Anxiety disorders such as phobias may become heightened during the withdrawal phase.
- The symptoms of withdrawal such as fever may mask underlying causes which may go untreated. HIV, viral hepatitis, pneumonia and others conditions are not rare amongst heroin users who inject the drug. It is important to establish that these conditions are not behind some of the perceived withdrawal symptoms.
- Heart complications may also be worsened by the increased heart rates and blood pressure.
Coping With Heroin Withdrawal
The fear of the withdrawal symptoms holds back many people who wish to kick the habit. It is important in such moments to remember what you’re trying to achieve by kicking the habit. There are also several methods that you can use to manage these withdrawal symptoms.
- Using distractions: Distracting yourself from the process of heroin withdrawal is a powerful tool. Listening to music, watching television, reading a book and spending time with people who are a positive influence is a good way of distracting yourself.
- Remember all the people who have gone through what you’re going through and know that you can be one of them.
- Keep your house stocked with foods that are easy to digest. Leaving the house may not be a good idea during this period.