Heroin is a vicious drug that has made headlines throughout the United States due to the number of people who have died as a result of using it. The decision to stop is wise, but isn’t as simple as you might think. Heroin is an exceptionally powerful opiate that quickly becomes habit forming and those that attempt to stop will suffer from terrible effects referred to collectively as heroin withdrawal. Below are some things you should know.
How Long Is Heroin Withdrawal?
Typically, withdrawal from heroin will last about 7 days, but the time may vary depending on a variety of factors, one of which is the length of time in which the drug has been abused. Someone who has only been abusing heroin for three months or so may have a withdrawal that is shorter than someone who has abused it for years. Other factors that will influence withdrawal length include one’s state of health, the standard dosage they take and their age.
7 days may sound like a short period of time, but it is anything but. Withdrawal symptoms are truly nightmarish, and those attempting to quit can expect to experience shaking, depression, and pain in their abdomen, muscle spasms and nausea, 24/7 until the body has stabilized itself. The first 72 hours is the worst, but after that the patient will start feeling better with stronger cognitive clarity. However, attempting to quit heroin cold turkey is extremely dangerous because the initial 72 hour window can be so severe that some people relapse and resume using the drug in high enough dosages to result in overdose and death.
What You Should Do After Withdrawal
Once you’ve made it through withdrawal you’ve taken an important step towards living a drug free life. However, it is a mistake to think that you’ve reached the end of your journey. Withdrawing from heroin should be seen as the beginning of a lifelong commitment to remain free of the debilitating effects of addiction. To achieve this, you must first understand the underlying causes that led you using heroin.
Most people don’t wake up one day and decide to start using drugs; there is typically something in their lives that triggered the usage. It could be a traumatic experience, such as physical or sexual assault, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or divorce. By entering a treatment facility and undergoing behavioral therapy, group counseling and family therapy, you will be able to objectively explore your life and determine the factors that led to your decision to use heroin and most important of all, how to cope in a manner that allows you to overcome the pain of the past to live a fulfilling life. While the decision to quit using drugs is necessary, equally important is delving in your past and understanding the factors that led you to begin abusing the substance in the first place.