The Complete Guide to Heroin Detox & Withdrawal

Heroin Detox & Withdrawal: A Vital First Step Towards Recovery

Smack, Dope, H, Junk, Horse, China White, Black Tar, Dragon – no matter what you call it, heroin withdrawal and detox is the toughest stage of recovery an addict will ever go through.  

The cravings can be unbearable, the physical symptoms overwhelming, and depending on just how addicted you’ve become, it might feel like the world is coming to an end. You’ll probably be tempted to go right back to using just to get relief from these symptoms.

But it’s important to recognize that while detoxing from heroin certainly isn’t a picnic, it’s the first step towards getting clean for good. And when you have a professional detoxification facility by your side, it can be much more manageable than if you try to go it alone.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into what heroin detox is, what it’s like and what to expect, and why partnering with a professional program might end up saving your life.

Putting the Problem into Perspective: Heroin Addiction Facts & Statistics

While the opioid epidemic is certainly shedding light on the fact that opioid abuse is on the rise, most people don’t know just how enormous of a problem this kind of addiction really is.

Most people also don’t realize that the opioid epidemic isn’t just about prescription painkillers – OxyContin, Fentanyl, Vicodin, etc. It’s also marked by a significant rise in heroin addiction rates and overdose deaths.

Below are some of the most shocking opioid epidemic statistics  to help give you some perspective.
  • In 2015, around 591,000 American adults had a heroin use disorder.
  • Around 1 in 4 heroin users end up developing an addiction to this drug.
  • About 80% of heroin users reported abusing prescription opioids before moving on to this deadly street drug.
  • An astounding 94% of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they chose to abuse heroin rather than prescription painkillers because medical opioids were “far more expensive and harder to obtain.”
  • Heroin was involved in 15,446 overdose deaths in 2016 – over 1000 more than natural and semi-synthetic opioids, almost 5000 more than cocaine, and twice as much as methamphetamine.
  • While deaths involving most prescription opioid pain relievers has seen a steady rise since 2002 (around a 1.9-fold increase), heroin deaths have seen more of a sharp rise and have increased 6.2-fold since 2002.
  • From 2010 to 2016, the number of heroin deaths increased by over 500%.

Why Is Heroin So Addictive?

The combination of an especially intense and short-lived high, particularly painful withdrawals, a quick-growing tolerance, and intense psychological dependency make heroin more addictive than almost any other drug.

In fact, heroin is actually considered by some of the top addiction specialists to be the most addictive substance on the streets today.

For example, researcher David Nutt of London’s Imperial College developed a scale to help judge the addictive potential of different street and legal drugs. To this day, the scale is considered to be one of the best and most complete studies that compared the addictiveness of different drugs.

And heroin was at the very top with a score of 3.0 (the highest possible).

To give you some perspective, the next highest was crack cocaine with a score of 2.39, followed by nicotine (2.21), methadone (2.08), barbiturates (2.01), alcohol (1.93), and benzodiazepines (1.83).

Let’s take a closer look at the three factors that make it so hard to recover from this specific type of addiction: a short and powerful high, difficult withdrawals, a rapidly rising tolerance, and a powerful psychological dependency.

One of the main factors in why heroin addiction is so hard to beat on your own has to do with what kind of high this drug produces.

In most cases, heroin is injected straight into the vein using a hypodermic needle. When compared to other methods of abuse, injection usually results in both a quicker and more intense high.

Rather than passing through numerous organs and systems like the lungs, mucous membranes, or stomach, the drug passes directly into the bloodstream. This not only creates an almost instantaneous high, but it also virtually eliminates the breakdown of the drug before it reaches the brain. And that means a more intense high along the way.

A more intense high means that your brain will start attaching more value to it than if it were milder. As a result, the cravings and compulsion to use again will end up being much higher.

But the speed at which it reaches your brain can also make it much more addictive. Studies in lab rats have shown that injection led to more of a desire to use again compared to the equivalent of snorting. Plus, it also made mice more likely to start using again after a period of abstinence – similar to drug relapse in humans.  

And finally, a heroin high only lasts for several hours. And once you start coming down from using, you’re likely to want to use again to feel that same euphoria you felt before.

Consequently, a chronic heroin user can often shoot up many times throughout the day. And each time they abuse the drug, they’re reinforcing their addiction even further.

Almost every addictive drug cause withdrawal when you try to detox from them. But few have symptoms of withdrawal quite as bad as heroin.

Many people who are addicted to heroin experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as the drug begins to leave their bodies. These symptoms can often feel quite intense. Aches and pains, nausea, sweating, and a host of other physical effects can all make it difficult to stay clean for very long. And when you add in the psychological withdrawals associated with heroin, the experience can be too much to handle for some.

In fact, heroin is widely accepted to have one of the most severe sets of withdrawal symptoms out of any drug. According to the online drug forum BlueLight, it (along with methadone) is second only to benzodiazepines as the worst withdrawal syndrome to go through.  

As a result, this prompts many heroin users to get high again just to find relief from the withdrawals.

And before long, they actually begin to fear those withdrawal symptoms, which is why they put off getting treatment.

It isn’t any wonder, then, why the relapse rate for heroin addicts is so incredibly high – 91% by some estimates!

Heroin is notorious for being incredibly physically addictive. And in addition to the short but powerful high discussed earlier, one of the main reasons for that is the fact that opioids like H have a tendency to build up tolerance far more quickly than other drugs.

As you probably know, tolerance is when your body essentially becomes more immune to a drug’s effects. Maybe it does so by boosting the potency of certain chemicals to counteract the effects of the drug. Or maybe it kills off or deactivates certain cellular receptors so that the drug is less powerful.

In the end, a higher tolerance means that you have to take more and more of the drug in order to achieve the effect you’re after. And when it comes to opioids like heroin, that tolerance can rise incredibly fast.

In fact, opioids have been known to produce a physical tolerance within hours at especially high levels – a condition known as tachyphylaxis.

As your tolerance rises higher and higher, the physical changes that cause the tolerance become more pronounced. And that means that once you do try to quit, your body has more changes that it has to reverse.

As a result, your symptoms of withdrawal are often even more severe.

Not only is this drug incredibly physically addictive, but it's also mentally addictive too.

In general, people begin using heroin and other opiates as a way to escape some feelings of stress or pain. And in fact, this is how most addictions actually begin. The high that is experienced is intense, and like other opioids, heroin quickly becomes a source of the most powerful ecstasy the body has ever experienced.

And in an effort to keep chasing those feelings, the brain sets off a number of chemical reactions that end up making you want to use over and over again.

The important point to remember here is that while these cravings and compulsions are psychological in nature, the impact is actually physically measurable. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) points out that:

Brain imaging studies of people with addiction show physical changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control. Scientists believe that these changes alter the way the brain works and may help explain the compulsive and destructive behaviors of addiction.

When it comes to heroin specifically though, one thing that makes it so incredibly addictive is the fact that long-term use can lead to permanent brain damage. Studies have shown that over time, addicts may experience a decrease in the brain’s white matter. And according to NIDA, that loss may “affect decision-making, behavior control, and responses to stressful situations.”

In the end, then, heroin abuse physically changes your brain so that you just don’t have power over your actions anymore. And eventually, your abuse becomes compulsive or outside of your control.

What Is Heroin Detox Like?

To put it lightly, heroin detox can be hellish. Recovering addicts are often gripped with incredibly uncomfortable physical symptoms while battling disheartening and frightening psychological ones at the same time.

And without proper professional help, these symptoms may be too much for you to handle on your own. That’s why it’s so important to partner with a detox clinic when you’re trying to get clean from heroin – not only can they help make you as comfortable as possible during the process, they can also actually reduce the severity and duration of these symptoms.

Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect to experience during your detox from heroin.

Sometimes the best way of understanding what an experience is like is by hearing about it from someone who’s actually been through it themselves. Below are just a few accounts from recovering heroin addicts that detail just how trying of a process detox can be.

Since these are your first w/d's... expect fairly intense symptoms over the next 3-4 days… hot and cold flashes, sweating, chills, goosebumps, just a general feeling of not being able to feel settled in. Restless legs at night. Reminds me... insomnia. Yet, extreme lethargy. Expect to be dozing off/napping at least once a day over the next 3 days. Maybe 4… I know it feels bad... short half life opiate withdrawals hit fast and hard. That's why you feel caught off guard and scared. But, all I can do is tell you it will be over...

Freaksh0w via BlueLight

Some may know the Hell heroin withdraw can bring.I currently snort 2 to 7 $10 packs per day ,I have never shot up.After about 12 hours of not using I start my sniffles,runny nose,sneezing,hot and cold sweats and my worst is the anxiety(kicky legs,pacing) it sucks.

Scott1968 via Drugs-Forum

The past 9 months or so for myself have been back and forth and it's been so tiring I am finally seeming to 'get it' now as a result of pretty intensive CBT and counselling which has helped a lot and is worth considering if you have access to it. Also if you have an underlying mental health condition such as anxiety disorder or bulimia as you've mentioned then you need to get that treated, I got so depressed when first getting clean and so anxious I started on an SSRI because it was so debilitating all I could do was cry and feel like sh** for weeks and I couldn't cope any more. That's helped alongside the CBT and counselling and having a drug worker.

JonnyBGoode via Drugs-Forum

No, it is not.

Just as addiction itself can affect everyone differently, the detoxification process from heroin addiction will vary from person to person. Some people may coast through withdrawals with only a few nasty symptoms to speak of while others will go through the full gamut of physical and psychological side effects. It simply just depends on the person.

That being said, there are a few factors that play a role in how you’ll respond to the detox process. These include:

Below are some of the most common withdrawal symptoms you’ll likely experience according to Mental Health Daily. Remember, not everyone experiences detoxification the same way. As a result, you may only experience some of these symptoms as well as symptoms that aren’t included in this list.

Physical Symptoms –  The physical withdrawals from opioids are considered to be some of the worst. For the most part, patients report symptoms being similar to having the worst imaginable case of the flu. The most common symptoms include:

  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Cravings
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headaches
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Yawning

Psychological Symptoms – While the physical symptoms of heroin detox are often the most talked about, the psychological ones can be just as hard to get through. Added to that, the drastic changes in mood and personality can lead patients to act out of character and even become a danger to themselves. The most common psychological symptoms include: 

  • Anxiety
  • Crying spells
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep changes
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tiredness

In addition to the symptoms of heroin detox being different for everyone, not all recovering addicts will experience the same duration of their withdrawal process either. And generally, it’s going to be impacted by the exact same factors listed above.

However, there is a general heroin detox timeline that most withdrawal processes tend to follow.

Stage 1 (about 1 to 3 days) – Your symptoms of withdrawal should end up starting within just a few hours after your last dose since heroin takes effect quickly rather than over a long period of time. Once symptoms first begin, you’ll likely experience mildly uncomfortable symptoms that steadily increase in intensity until they peak at around day 3.

According to MedlinePlus, some of the symptoms you’ll experience during this phase will likely include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased tearing
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

Stage 2 (about 4 to 7 days) – After the symptoms peak in intensity, you'll likely begin experiencing a variety of new symptoms that are mostly physical in nature. They will start out severe at first, but over time, they will start becoming much more manageable. At around day 7 to 10 into your detox, you should be through the worst of your symptoms though cravings are still likely to occur after that point.

During this phase, you’ll likely experience a wave of new symptoms that you haven’t felt during the earlier phase. These may include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Some patients may also experience a type of protracted withdrawal condition known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, a.k.a. PAWS.

While the majority of people who go through detox will begin feeling much better after their withdrawals have ceased, some recovering addicts may end up experiencing symptoms for weeks, months, or evenyears after quitting heroin. This is PAWS. And it can make it incredibly hard to stay clean.

Not much is known about why certain people go through PAWS while others don’t. Some researchers think it has to do with the severity of the addiction. Others theorize that an individual’s unique genetics and addiction experience have more to do with it. And while the specific cause is still unknown, there is clinical evidence that these symptoms are more than just a simple figment of the imagination.

Some reported symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Severe drug cravings
  • Impaired executive control
  • Anhedonia
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks
  • Dysphoria or depression
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained physical complaints
  • Reduced interest in sex

In most cases, professional treatment can help you reduce the severity of the symptoms of PAWS as well as educate you about the best way to cope with these symptoms. In general, though, the best medicine is simply understanding that while the condition can be aggravating and even demoralizing, it is only temporary and someday, it will pass.

How Dangerous Is Detoxing from Heroin?

As you can see, heroin withdrawal symptoms can be pretty intimidating. And yet, you may have noticed that it doesn’t cause any side effects that can be considered life-threatening. That’s because heroin detox, while incredibly uncomfortable, does not bring on symptoms that are directly fatal.

Heroin Detox Information

However, the important word there is “directly.” That’s because while heroin detoxification may not produce potentially lethal seizures like benzodiazepines or alcohol, that doesn’t mean your life isn’t at risk when getting clean.

In fact, heroin detox can actually be quite deadly indirectly. To explain, one of the main dangers of getting clean from this drug has to do with the fact that it builds up tolerance extremely quickly. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so addictive in the first place.

But while tolerance certainly builds faster than with many other drugs, that tolerance also drops at a more rapid pace as well. And this can be especially problematic during detoxification.

For instance, imagine someone is trying to get clean from heroin by going through detox. Maybe they were a chronic user for years and built up their tolerance incredibly high over the years. And imagine they finally work up the nerve to check into a detox program that actually works.

But after a few weeks of staying clean, they might end up giving into temptation one night and go out and score some heroin – the same amount that used to get them high before they quit. Well, their tolerance has likely dropped so much over their period of abstinence that if they do shoot up that same amount, it will likely be far more than their body can now handle.

And consequently, they might be launched into a fatal accidental overdose.

This scenario is incredibly common for recovering addicts and is the main reason why heroin detox can, in fact, be lethal.

In addition to the potential for a deadly overdose, detoxing from heroin can also put your life at risk for a number of other reasons as well. It’s important to recognize that these other complications can be both prevented and treated at a professional detoxification program. But without expert help, they may actually end up costing you your life.

Malnutrition/Dehydration – Vomiting and diarrhea are both incredibly common withdrawal symptoms when it comes to heroin detox. Some recovering addicts report having violent bouts of both every half an hour in the worst cases.

And this near-constant expelling of liquid and undigested food can make it hard for your body to get the water and nutrients it needs to function properly. Plus, when you add in the fact that most addicts aren’t in the best health when they first start going through detox, it can end up being a recipe for disaster.

Malnutrition and dehydration are both deadly conditions on their own. But when they’re combined, it can cause a cascade of complications. And without proper professional help, these complications can be deadly.

Arrhythmia/Cardiac Event – One common side effect of going through heroin withdrawal an irregular heartbeat. Opioids tend to slow the heart down, and when you detox from this kind of drug, the sudden shift can cause your heart to beat at an abnormal rate, a condition known as arrhythmia.

The danger of arrhythmia is the fact that this condition can increase the risk of cardiac events. Heart attacks, strokes, and other heart problems can end up being fatal in some cases. And when you combine them with a weakened, dehydrated body, the risks are even higher.

Choking & Aspiration – Vomiting, as we’ve mentioned, is quite common and quite frequent when detoxing from heroin. And in addition to the risk of malnutrition and dehydration this withdrawal symptom can cause, there are a few other threats to your safety caused by this side effect: choking and aspiration.

You may have heard of people choking on their own vomit before. This is no urban myth – it is a very real possibility, especially when withdrawals are particularly severe. It is also possible if you use other drugs illicitly in order to sedate yourself, so you can get past the worst stage of detox.

Added to that, though, sometimes patients will accidentally inhale their own vomit while detoxing too. The fluid in the lungs can then end up causing a severe infection known as aspiration pneumonia which can also be deadly.

There are a lot of different risks involved in detoxing from heroin. Besides the incredibly uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and the threat of overdosing after a relapse, there are also the numerous complications that can all end up costing you your life.

And still, some people decide that despite these risks, they would still rather go through detox without professional help. This is a mistake. Heroin is one of the hardest drug habits to kick. And going it alone is making the process much more painful than it has to be.

It is not advisable, then, that you ever try to go through heroin detox on your own. Doing so is putting you at risk of relapsing, hurting yourself, and even putting your life in jeopardy.

That being said, if you do decide to go through heroin withdrawal on your own, there are a few things you can do to make the process a bit more manageable.

Clear Your Schedule – Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can still meet obligations like work or social outings when you’re detoxing. Your withdrawals will make it near impossible to function normally – so take some time off for a week or so and concentrate on getting sober.

Take Your Vitamins – The healthier your body is, the better able it will be to get through detox quickly. Take plenty of multivitamins and healthy supplements along the way to help.

Find a Natural Sleep Aid – Sleeping can be near impossible at times but not getting enough shuteye can end up making symptoms worse. Melatonin and valerian root are great places to start.

Stay Hydrated – Near-constant vomiting and diarrhea can very easily cause serious dehydration – and that can lead to dangerous complications. So, guzzle as much water as you can keep down. It will help.

Get Some Help – Don’t think you can do this on your own. Withdrawals can end up being so bad that you likely won’t be able to take care of yourself. Enlist the help of a close friend or family member to help you through the process.

Stock Up on OTC Drugs – Advil for headaches, Imodium for diarrhea, sleep aids for insomnia, etc.

Eat When You Can – You may not feel great most of the time, but try to eat when you feel up to it.  

How Can Heroin Detox Centers Help?

As we’ve seen, detoxing from heroin can be an incredibly difficult process to get through. Painful physical symptoms, overwhelming psychological ones, and even the risk of developing life-threatening complications are all part of detoxing from this dangerous drug.

But with the professional help of a heroin detox program, your withdrawal experience will be far more manageable than trying to kick the habit all on your own.

That’s because detox centers can reduce the severity of your symptoms, cut down on their total duration, and prevent and treat dangerous complications with medical expertise.

Heroin detox effectively helps move dangerous toxins out of the body quicker than just detoxing at home. It also ensures that you have a team of trained staff members monitoring your progress in the event of an emergency. They know how to act fast, and they may even save your life.

Ultimately, then, the purpose of detox is two-fold: to make detox more comfortable for the patient and to ensure that they get through withdrawals safe and sound.

And while the goal of all detox programs is usually the same, the way in which facilities reduce the severity and duration of withdrawals can be different from center to center. In general, there are two philosophies of how to treat withdrawals: medicated and holistic.

Not all facilities will fall strictly into a single category. Instead, most programs will fall somewhere in between these two and will likely use treatments from each. However, understanding the basics of these two philosophies will help you make a more informed decision when choosing your heroin detoxification program.

As the name suggests, a medicated heroin detox program uses a variety of prescription medicines to make withdrawals much more bearable. You'll receive an evaluation from a qualified medical professional, and they will prescribe different medications and see which ones work best for you. Sounds easy, right?

While there are some obvious benefits of using a medicated detox program, patients should be sure to recognize the downfalls as well. Many of these drugs, for example, are addictive on their own. And if you aren’t careful, you may actually end up developing an addiction to the drug that was meant to help you quit in the first place.

Added to that, some drugs come with their own long list of side effects. And when you’re already going through some pretty uncomfortable withdrawals, you may not want any more annoying symptoms on your plate.

Today, there are only three medications approved by the FDA to treat a heroin use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

MethadoneThis drug has long been the front-runner for Opioid Replacement Therapies (ORTs). These kinds of drugs are actually opioid agonists, meaning they activate the same receptors as other opioids like heroin. However, methadone does so on a much longer timescale and to a much smaller degree.

As a result, recovering heroin addicts can take methadone just once a day to help ease their withdrawals and help eliminate cravings. It can even help block the euphoric effects of heroin, making it less likely for addicts to be tempted to use again.

Since methadone is an opioid agonist itself, though, it can, in fact, end up being addictive over time. And getting clean from methadone may actually be harder than kicking a heroin habit for some.

Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex) – Similar to methadone, buprenorphine is also an opioid agonist, but it only activates receptors partially rather than fully. As a result, this drug is widely considered to have much less of a potential for abuse than methadone.

Added to that, buprenorphine also has what’s known as a “ceiling effect,” meaning you can only take so much of it before it stops having an effect at all. This makes it far safer to administer and can even be prescribed in a physicians office rather than handed out at a specialized clinic as with methadone.

But once again, buprenorphine can end up becoming habit-forming and should only be taken with the utmost care.

Naltrexone (Vivitrol, ReVia) – Unlike methadone and buprenorphine, naltrexone is not an actual opioid agonist at all. Instead, naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors entirely rather than stimulating them (an opioid antagonist).

The benefits of this unique process are that patients will feel experience fewer and milder cravings and won’t be able to get high at all while on the drug. Not only does it make detox far more manageable, then, it can also prevent relapse as well. Plus, it’s 100% non-habit forming, a huge advantage over buprenorphine and methadone.

Studies have even found that naltrexone may actually be just as effective as Suboxone, the “gold standard” for ORTs.

As we’ve seen some heroin detox centers rely solely on medication to assist people through the early withdrawal stages of detox. Others try to avoid the additional side effects as well as the addictive potential of these drugs by following a holistic detoxification philosophy.

Holistic heroin detox is a method that utilizes natural changes in the body to facilitate the detoxification process rather than drugs. In general, you can count on a few different things taking place during a holistic program. They include:

Nutritional Therapy – The nutrients you get on a daily basis play a big role in how fast your body processes toxins. It’s no surprise, then, that a nutrition-rich meal plan during your detox can help make your recovery much more comfortable along the way.

What a lot of recovering addicts don’t consider is the fact that their addiction has likely resulted in some pretty unhealthy habits. Maybe they would often skip a meal in order to get high. Or perhaps they would settle for highly processed and nutritionally lacking foods just because they’re cheaper and easier to get. Over time, these unhealthy habits can all add up.

As a result, many people who check into detox are not only suffering from addiction; they're also starved of essential nutrients as well. A proper nutritional therapy program, then, can help restore the body from weeks, months, and even years of abuse.

And not only will these programs give your body the vitamins it needs to help speed up the rate of detoxification, but it will also help reduce the severity of your symptoms of withdrawal as well.

Physical Fitness – In addition to getting nutritional therapy, you'll also likely participate in some type of physical fitness program as well. Your body relies on certain chemicals in your brain in order to feel its best. Serotonin is one of those, and when your body is producing healthy levels of serotonin, you feel better, overall. And one of the best ways of increasing mood-boosting chemicals like serotonin is through regular exercise.

Whether you're lifting weights or you're participating in some type of sports activity, when you sweat, you're also speeding up the removal of toxins from your body too. Many recovering addicts actually report that they can even smell the toxins being pushed out of their body in their sweat.

And finally, being active can also give you a healthy hobby to focus your attention on. Many times, one of the hardest parts of recovery is finding ways to not think about using again. With exercise, you're not only strengthening your body, but you're also giving yourself a much-needed break from the voice in your head telling you to use again.

In addition to a professional detox facility helping cut down on the severity and length of your detoxification, these programs also offer a number of other benefits as well. Below are just some of the most notable ways you’ll get so much more out of your recovery when you decide to get expert treatment for your heroin addiction.

24/7 Medical Supervision – One of the most important qualities of an expert heroin detox program is the fact that you’ll be under medical supervision as you progress through your withdrawals. As we’ve seen, detoxification can bring on a host of dangerous side effects and can end up causing potentially fatal complications.

With the knowledgeable and qualified support of a trained medical staff, you won’t have to worry about your safety during withdrawals. And that means you can focus your energy on staying clean.

Emotional Support – The physical side of heroin detox can be hard to get through. But what most people don’t take into account is the emotional toll it can take as well. Recovering addicts will often go through a slew of psychological withdrawals like depression, anxiety, and sudden mood changes. And that can make it hard to maintain control as well as sobriety.

With the help of a professional detoxification program, counselors and staff members will provide all the emotional and motivational support you need to stay on course and prevent making a decision you’ll end up regretting.

Behavioral Therapies – Many programs will also offer a variety of behavioral therapies to help you cope with stress and learn new strategies for overcoming your cravings. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Therapy, and many more can all give you back control over your actions. And that can help you stay sober permanently.

Rehabilitation Services – Detoxification is not the only step in your recovery. In fact, while it can help you recover from the physical side of addiction, going through detox alone does little to change long-term drug use according to NIDA.

Instead, detoxification programs need to be coupled with rehabilitation so that you can address the psychological side of addiction as well. And most professional detox facilities provide a seamless transition into rehab once you’ve made it through withdrawals – making your odds of a full recovery much higher in the end.

Aftercare Referral & Connections – In addition to detoxification and rehab, a complete recovery program also needs to include at least some level of aftercare. Since your cravings will often persist well after you’ve left rehab, one of the best ways of ensuring that you have the best chances of long-term sobriety is by continuing to engage in group talk, educational classes, 12-step programs, or other forms of aftercare.

These programs will help you keep your addiction and your sobriety at top of mind, give you the tools you need to continually identify triggers, and show you how to effectively cope with your cravings and the stress of a sober life.

Will Insurance Cover Heroin Detox?

You may be wondering how it could even be possible for you to even find an affordable heroin detox program. In fact, a national survey found that among the hundreds of thousands of people who recognized the need for illicit drug treatment but never received it, the number one reason for not checking into detox or rehab was an inability to afford the costs.

People assume that going through this type of drug treatment must be very expensive, and they're worried about coming up with a big sum of money to pay upfront. It’s a common problem, unfortunately, but it’s one that is in the midst of changing.

Thanks to new legislation brought into force by the Affordable Care Act, health insurance providers are now required by law to help cover addiction treatment options like heroin detoxification. It’s a huge change that will enable millions of people to get treatment that might have otherwise been far too expensive.

Every insurance company is different, and so, if you're wondering what insurance covers heroin detox completely, the best thing to do is to check with the detoxification center itself. You can often verify your insurance coverage online, or you can reach out to the facility directly, so you can ask questions along the way.

No matter what method you choose, the most important thing to remember is that treatment is more affordable than it’s ever been. So, saying you can’t afford it simply isn’t an excuse anymore.

How Can Northpoint Washington Help with Heroin Detox?

You know you need professional help for your detox and that going through withdrawals at home can end up being incredibly dangerous. That much is certain. And yet, even though you decided to get expert treatment, you don’t really know what you should be looking for.

How do you know which facility is right for you?

There are plenty of detox and rehab facilities to choose from today. And on the surface, many of them might seem just as good as the next one. But it’s important to recognize that not all treatment centers are the same. Beyond that, not all facilities will be as effective at keeping you clean for good.

That’s why partnering with Northpoint Washington for your heroin detox is one of the best choices you’ll ever make. Our high quality, evidence-based treatment programs will ensure that you kick your heroin addiction as comfortably and safely as possible.

But what makes Northpoint Washington different from the rest? Below are just a few questions you might have about how we handle heroin detox along with what ultimately makes this facility the best choice for getting clean.

Opiate withdrawal is eased with supportive medications that target symptom management. This means we use a variety of medications aimed specifically at symptoms such as restlessness, anxiety, body aches, nausea, and insomnia. Some of these medications may include: Clonidine, Hydroxyzine, Ropinirole, Zofran, Trazodone, etc.

In rare cases, Buprenorphine may be prescribed to handle significant withdrawal symptoms but only under the discretion of the Medical Director.

In addition to group and individual therapy we also use yoga, mindfulness classes, exercise, and meditation.

All rooms in the facility are shared and are separated by gender. We feel that this helps to keep patients focused on recovery and increase the effectiveness of treatment.

Northpoint Washington is proud to offer one of the best staff to patient ratios in the area. In total, we have 44 personnel on staff and 22 beds. At maximum capacity, then, our staff to patient ratio is 2:1.

It’s important when you do end up checking into a heroin detox program that the facility that offers it is properly accredited. Accreditation shows that a program follows evidence-based practices and safe procedures.

Yes, following their 72-hour blackout period. This period of time allows patients to focus 100% on their recovery without being preoccupied by the infinite distractions of the outside world. After that time, visitors are allowed on Sundays during regularly scheduled visiting hours.

Phones, tablets, laptops, and music players are not allowed during heroin detox. These belongings often only serve as a distraction and make recovery even harder. Also, no alcohol-based products or aerosols are allowed either. We suggest that you pack as if you were leaving for a weeklong trip. Details of allowed and restricted items will be gone over in detail before admission.

A medical professional is on staff 24 hours a day at Northpoint Washington. Added to that, these professionals will check with the client on a daily basis at the very least.

Opiate withdrawal is unique to all patients and our detox program is individualized to meet each patient’s needs - we will take it at your pace. Generally speaking, this will last between 5 and 7 days. Often, a patient’s opiate withdrawal is managed so well that patients choose to become involved in program activities like yoga, exercise, and meditation within just a few days.

The patient is met by an admissions coordinator initially to review paperwork. Following that they meet with medical staff to review all medical history and needs after which point treatment can begin.

Patients engage in all the same activities as the rest of the group (i.e., yoga, meditation, exercise, etc.). Detoxing patients participate in on-site activities as much as they are able during their treatment.

Yes – the psychological withdrawals from heroin can be quite overpowering in some instances. Our staff is equipped to identify any complications that can arise from such withdrawals. We are also able to identify co-occurring disorders as well.

Counseling is an integral part of recovery from any drug, especially heroin. Our counselors can help you get to the root of your addiction and show you ways to cope more effectively.

All treatment plans are individualized to meet the specific needs of each patient.

Patients in heroin withdrawal will been seen by a medical provider every day to oversee care and manage medications. Additionally, nurses will conduct assessments at a minimum of every 4 hours throughout the day to ensure the detox protocol is safe and as comfortable as possible. Because we have nurses staffed 24/7, medical care and medications are available around the clock. Clinical staff members are also available to offer therapeutic support during this time.  

Absolutely. We have been successful in maintaining stability for all different types and severities of opiate withdrawal. As a result of our high-acuity medical program, we are extremely attentive to signs and symptoms of heroin withdrawal from the beginning of a patient’s stay and prevent any serious complications far before they occur.

Research has shown that the best way of ensuring the top chances of recovery is by combining behavioral and group therapies during detox. That’s why Northpoint Washington offers both during your heroin treatment program.

Northpoint Washington recognizes that rehabilitation is incredibly important after detox. Without it, success rates tend to be much lower. That’s why we offer both detoxification and rehab services to facilitate an even smoother recovery.

Yes – Northpoint Washington is associated with numerous aftercare programs like support groups and 12-step programs. After you complete your treatment, we are happy to provide referrals to these programs.

Amytal Addiction Treatment

Northpoint Washington: Sobriety Is Possible – We Can Help

Here at Northpoint Washington, we've worked with so many people to make their dreams of leaving their heroin addictions behind a reality. And we would love to do the same thing for you.

While it might seem as though it's impossible right now, we promise that with the right type of professional support, you can finally experience the freedom of recovery from your addiction.

Just imagine:

  • No more spending all of your savings on an addiction that you just can’t stop.
  • No more worrying if your next score is going to be a bad batch that’ll cost you your life.
  • No more thinking about what happens if you overdose.
  • No more alienating your friends and family because of your drug habit.
  • No more living like a slave to your addiction.

No matter what your reason for quitting is, when you partner with Northpoint Washington, we can help you kick your heroin addiction for good. Our clean and modern facilities will be able to provide you with the support, guidance, and expertise you need to get through the painful heroin withdrawal symptoms comfortably and safely.

So, whether you have additional questions you need to have answered, want to check your insurance information, or you’re ready to take the first step down your road to heroin addiction recovery, please contact us today.

It may end up being the best decision you’ll ever make.

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Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

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