How Long Does it Take to Detox From Heroin?

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How Long Does It Take to Detox

How Long Does it Take to Detox From Heroin?

It’s understandable why someone about to undergo a heroin detox might ask, “How long does it take to detox from heroin,” right?  It isn’t exactly a walk in the park, going through detox and withdrawal from heroin or opioids.  Sometimes it is best to be mentally prepared for what to expect during the heroin detox process so you can firm up your resolve to tackle it.

Detox and withdrawal will vary from one individual to another, based on a number of factors.  Some individuals might be able to detox in an outpatient setting, while others would require a medically monitored detox.  So, the short answer to the question, “How long does it take to detox from heroin” is, it depends.

What to Expect During Heroin Detox and Withdrawal

Having a basic understanding of what to expect in detox can help prepare an individual for this first step in addiction recovery.  Although an unpleasant experience, going through heroin detox and withdrawal is not life threatening and you will have plenty of support that helps minimize the discomfort. 

Because a heroin addiction impacts the brain’s dopamine production and levels, when the drug is withheld the body will begin to rebel.  The acuity of the addiction and the history of heroin use, in addition to factors such as general health, age, and if there are other substance use disorders or a coexisting mental health disorder are all factors that will influence the severity of the withdrawal process.

Powerful drug cravings and intense flu-like symptoms ensue within hours of the last dosing of the drug.  The first wave of these symptoms, lasting 24-48 hours, may include:


The second wave of symptoms will be more pronounced and unpleasant, lasting 3 or 4 days, and may include:


In all, how long it takes to detox from heroin depends on many factors, but is usually completed after one week.

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How Are Withdrawal Symptoms and Cravings Managed During Detox?

Throughout a medical detox the individual will be closely monitored, with medication provided as heroin withdrawal symptoms ramp up.  Detox nurses will utilize various medications to help ease the symptoms while also offering the emotional support that can help usher the individual through to completion.  Simple over-the-counter medications can alleviate the muscle aches, fever, headache, chills, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea symptoms.

Increasingly, heroin and opioid detox require the use of medication, using certain opioid antagonists and agonists to help control craving and slowly reduce the desire for the drug.  These medications may include buprenorphine, and naltrexone, and are prescribed in certain cases to better help with relapse prevention.  In most cases, the drugs are prescribed for a limited time, such as 3-6 months before a tapering schedule commences, but in some cases long-term use of these drugs is warranted.

After Detox, Next Steps

Once detox has been completed the individual will be in a much better place both physically and emotionally for beginning treatment.  Heroin addiction treatment can be provided through either an outpatient or inpatient program, determined by the severity of the addiction.  An inpatient program is best for entrenched addiction as it provides a living situation that is free of outside influences, stressors, and triggers that might lead to relapse.

During active treatment there will likely be multiple types of therapy provided, including individual psychotherapy sessions, group counseling, family programs, addiction education classes, and holistic therapies, such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness training. 

Some treatment programs address the dual diagnosis, individuals having both a heroin addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, by providing specialized treatment elements and psychotropic medications.  An individualized treatment plan will be created for the specific needs of the person, including how long their treatment term should be for optimal results.

Solutions 4 Recovery Provides Medical Heroin Detox

Solutions 4 Recovery is comprehensive heroin addiction treatment program located in California, serving clients throughout the United States and International.  Solutions 4 Recovery features a compassionate and highly experienced clinical team that will create a custom treatment plan designed specifically for the individual’s treatment needs.  Solutions 4 Recovery is also a dual diagnosis provider, and offers outpatient treatment as well.  For more information about how long does it take to detox from heroin, please call Solutions 4 Recovery today at (888) 417-1874