Heroin; How to quit.

 

Heroin is becoming ever increasingly dangerous and more addictive especially with the introduction of Fentanyl. If youre having trouble quitting this guide can help you and maybe even save your life!

Addictionblog writes

What Happens When You Stop

If you’ve been using heroin daily for a couple of weeks or more, your body begins to adapt. This is because heroin is a strong opiate that affects the brain as a depressant. To accommodate these effects, the brain begins to send chemical signs for certain functions to “speed up.” Over time, you begin to function normally only with the drug. In other words, you can become physically dependent on heroin quickly and adapt to its central nervous system depressant effects.

What happens when you stop taking heroin is that you go through a period of withdrawal. During withdrawal, you’ll experience a variety of predictable symptoms, some of which are very difficult. During this time, the body is seeking homeostasis after a period of “speeding up” certain functions and system. It takes time to get back to its original, “non-heroin” induced state.

How long does it take to detox from heroin? It takes time to resolve these symptoms. Acute symptoms peak around 72 hours after your dose but can persist for 7-10 days after you stop taking heroin. Protracted withdrawal symptoms related to mood and sleep disorders can persist for weeks or months later.

Can I Just Stop?

Unfortunately, quitting heroin all of a sudden does not always positively help long term recovery and abstinence. It is not a question of self control or willpower. Drastic dose reduction is very difficult when the body has developed dependence on heroin over time. In these cases, the body manifests specific [uncomfortable] symptoms if it doesn’t receive its dose.

The intensity of withdrawal symptoms varies by individual but extreme discomfort is common. And to avoid withdrawal, some people relapse into heroin use, especially outside of medical settings.This is why the best way to stop taking heroin is WITH MEDICAL SUPERVISION. You may be prescribed medications during heroin detox, or asked to gradually decrease dosage in or to taper the withdrawal. Make sure you consult a medical professional any time you want to stop taking heroin in order to increase your chances of a successful withdrawal.

Withdrawal

Stopping heroin comes with side effects. If you are ready to undertake this step, you can anticipate the following side effects to occur:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Aches & body pains
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Sleep disorders
  • Shivers
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes

You can expect these symptoms to manifest a few hours after your last dose, and peak around 42-72 hours later. The intensity and duration of these symptoms will depend on your dosing history and the type of user you used to be. The heavier the use, the longer and more intense the symptoms. If you like to learn more about the timetable of these symptoms, check out our visual presentation of heroin withdrawal over time.

Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)

Protracted withdrawal, as defined by medical professionals, is the presence of specific signs and symptoms common to acute withdrawal that persist beyond the generally expected acute withdrawal timeframe. Their appearance is not psycho-somatic. Chronic substance use causes molecular, cellular, and neurocircuitry changes to the brain that affect emotions
and behavior and that persist through the weeks and months after you quit heroin.

In fact, many people experience these signs and symptoms after acute withdrawal from heroin. The most common symptoms of protracted withdrawal during heroin detox include:

  • Anhedonia
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Impaired impulse control
  • Impaired problem solving
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Sleep difficulties

It is common for many people to experience difficulty feeling pleasure, or anhedonia, for months after they quit heroin. Heroin PAWS get better over time.


These symptoms take time to resolve, and are a true phenomenon! SAMHSA has produced a newsletter about protracted withdrawal with more details about symptoms and suggestions for how to address them. Just know that if you’re feeling bad – even after 6 months or longer – things will get better!

It takes time to reverse extreme brain changes after taking heroin. And know that it’s not just you. You are not crazy! Adaptive changes in the central nervous system may lead to affective changes that persist for many weeks or longer beyond acute withdrawal.

Cold Turkey

Due to its highly addictive properties, suddenly stopping heroin can cause severe withdrawal symptoms and provoke relapse. Instead, plan withdrawal with a detox clinic or your doctor. Talk to a medical professional, or check in at an addiction treatment facility and let the process be supervised. It does not mean that you are weak. In fact, medical supervision will significantly increase the chances of successful recovery. Not only can withdrawal symptoms be made less uncomfortable, you will receive the emotional, social support that you need.

While it is possible to go cold turkey off heroin and reduce the detox time, it is unnecessary and not what doctors recommend. Quitting heroin suddenly can cause serious withdrawal symptoms and it’s highly likely that you relapse if using this method. There are various other ways to stop taking heroin aimed at minimizing the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Medical Detox

The safest way to stop taking heroin is under medical supervision. The following professionals can help treat you directly or refer you to assessments and services in your area:

  1. An addiction specialist (MD)
  2. A clinical social worker
  3. A licensed clinical psychologist
  4. A medical doctor
  5. A psychiatrist

To begin, anyone coming off heroin requires a set of physical and…

Read more!

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