The Extreme Difficulty of Detoxing from Heroin
Heroin is one of the hardest drugs in the world to quit. Aside from the intense physical addiction, prolonged use of opiates actually reduces an addict’s body’s ability to combat pain by itself.
Because of this, most first-time attempts at quitting the drug fails relatively quickly. In fact, most heroin addicts must go to rehab facilities multiple times to detox before they are able to stay clean for a long period of time. Usually, addicts are at the highest risk of relapsing into use around the peak of the withdrawal process, when the symptoms are most unbearable.
The primary reason that heroin addicts often require numerous detoxification stints in rehab to quit the drug entirely is that they know that only using the drug again will completely alleviate their symptoms.
What Does Detox Entail?
Detoxification refers to the natural bodily process that occurs as a person’s body begins to eliminate toxic foreign substances. In the case of long-term drug use, detoxing is often characterized by many uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that are extremely difficult to manage.
- Intense Drug Cravings
- Uncontrollable Shaking
- Severe Depression
- Muscle Spasms
How Long Does Detoxing Take?
While the length of the detoxification period depends on the method being used, on average, withdrawal symptoms begin 6-12 hours after the most recent dose. They reach their peak 48 to 72 hours later, with the entire process lasting between 5 days and 2 weeks.
For newer addicts who haven’t had a prolonged history of use, outpatient treatment can be an effective detoxification method that allows users to detoxify in their own home, as opposed to a hospital or a rehab clinic. It typically entails the use of an Opioid Agonist such as methadone or buprenorphine. While it is useful and a more convenient rehab method for many people, outpatient treatment, on the whole, is less effective than inpatient treatment.
Inpatient treatment is usually the best option for anybody struggling with an opioid addiction. This is especially true for long-term users, individuals with a history of relapse, or who have coexisting mental or medical conditions that require attention during the detoxifying process.
Rapid detox, as the name implies, is a method that aims to get addicts through detoxification quickly so they can begin to focus on treatment. However, most of these methods are fraught with risks and aren’t advisable for most people, however tempting they may sound.