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Heroin Detox & Withdrawal Information

Last Updated on November 20, 2023
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Writer: Adam Zagha
Clinical Reviewer: Ariana Gravanis

Nineteen percent of opioid deaths in 2020 alone involved Heroin. The sad reality is that more and more people develop a dependence on the drug and in severe cases, it may develop into a full-blown substance use disorder.

Our specialists at NUMA Recovery Centers wish to help by enlightening people, particularly heroin users, on what they can do to reduce cravings and what to expect when undergoing heroin withdrawal treatment. Read on to find out more.

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Why is Detoxing from Heroin Important?

Detoxification is a process that helps the user recover from Heroin addiction. It is a medical procedure that helps the user get rid of any remaining toxins in their body. Detoxification can be done at home or in a detox center.

They may need heroin withdrawal treatment to prevent relapse and to avoid developing typically life-threatening physical and psychological problems that long-term users may encounter.

Withdrawal Symptoms to Expect in a Heroin Detox

Similar to the alcohol detox treatment process, they may range from mild symptoms to severe withdrawal symptoms that may impact mental health and promote physical dependence.

Physical heroin withdrawal symptoms:

  • Sweating

  • Muscle spasms

  • Runny nose

  • Yawning

  • Watery eyes and itching eyes

  • Cold sweats and chills

  • Stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting

  • Diarrhea or constipation (or both)

Meanwhile, psychological symptoms may also manifest in people during their heroin detox. These are:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Insomnia/sleep disturbances

  • Irritability

  • Restlessness

Timeline to Expect in Heroin Detox

The timeline to expect in heroin detox depends on a few factors. The most important factor is your level of addiction. If you're a long-time user and have developed a tolerance for heroin, your withdrawal symptoms will be more severe than if you're a new user.

Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within 24 hours after the last time you used heroin and can last up to 7 days—but it's not uncommon for them to last longer or return later in life.

If you're experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible so that your doctor can help ease your symptoms and prevent complications like seizures and death.

Day 1-3

The first three days of your heroin detox program will be the hardest. Here's what you can expect:

On the first day, you may experience some nausea and vomiting. You might also feel shaky or weak, and you may feel like you have a fever. These symptoms are common throughout detox because your body is adjusting to the withdrawal symptoms that heroin causes. This means that you'll need to keep hydrated with plenty of water and rest as much as possible during this period.

You should also expect that by the second day, those symptoms will start to subside—but that doesn't mean that they'll disappear entirely right away!

The third day will bring more energy back into your body, but it might also bring back some cravings for heroin or other opioids. It's important to remember that these cravings won't last forever—you've just got to ride them out until they go away.

Day 3-5

The third to the fifth day of your heroin detox program is going to be one of the most important days in your recovery.

You'll be able to start feeling the effects of the drug leaving your system, and you may experience some symptoms similar to withdrawal. You should expect these symptoms:

-Muscle aches



-Stomach issues (nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite)

-Sweating and chills

-Feelings of depression, lethargy, or irritability

The symptoms will be strongest on the third day after you stop using heroin. They will gradually decrease over time as you continue through your recovery program.

Day 5-7

The fifth to the seventh day of your heroin detox program is going to be tough. You'll probably experience some of the following:

  • The shakes

  • Anxiety and restlessness

  • Craving for heroin

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Dilated pupils (this can be caused by methadone)

Post 7 Days

A week to two weeks of your heroin detox program is when you will start to see significant changes in how you feel. Similar to medical detox, you will begin to feel a lot better, and your physical symptoms will be significantly reduced.

During this period, you are likely to have these withdrawal symptoms. These include:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Restlessness

  • Irritability

  • Insomnia/difficulty sleeping

  • Sweating

  • Lack of appetite/nausea (vomiting)

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Signs for Considering Detoxing from Heroin?

As with any detox program, you will probably want to seek out help from a medical professional. If you are wondering whether or not you need heroin detox treatment, consider the following:

  • You have been using heroin for more than 5 years

  • You have used other drugs in addition to heroin, such as cocaine and alcohol

  • You have experienced withdrawal symptoms when you stop using heroin

  • You use heroin as a way of coping with stressful situations in your life

The reality is that it's challenging to quit cold turkey. But to achieve a sober life, you must be serious in committing yourself to long-term recovery. Therefore, if you are experiencing any or all of these signs, it's time to reconsider undergoing medication-assisted treatment or a medical detox program to lessen your physiological dependence on heroin.

Can NUMA Help with Heroin Addiction Detox?

NUMA Recovery Center specializes in helping sufferers of drug abuse to manage their initial withdrawal symptoms during ongoing treatment safely. Our assistive recovery services complement the medical treatment that individuals may receive to hasten their recovery process.

We incorporate evidence-based therapies such as family therapy sessions, and cognitive behavioral therapy, on top of medication-assisted treatment to help with substance abuse. With many treatment options to choose from, our goal is to improve one's mental health while guiding someone during their withdrawal period.

Talk to our rehabilitation expert to learn more about our services. Together, let's fight heroin addiction and drug abuse.

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adam zagha of numa detox and rehab in los angeles
Adam Zagha
Adam Zagha is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles with over a decade of experience in addiction treatment and recovery. He holds a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and is certified in EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, and ACT. Prior to Numa Recovery Centers, Adam was CFO and the Director of Clinical Outreach at Transcend Recovery Community. Adam is committed to providing top-quality care to individuals seeking treatment for addiction and mental health issues. He also provides trainings and workshops on addiction, mental health, and mindfulness.
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About Numa
Numa Recovery Centers is a leading drug and alcohol detox and rehab company based in Los Angeles, providing evidence-based treatment for substance abuse and addiction. With a team of experienced professionals, Numa offers a comprehensive range of personalized services to help clients overcome addiction and achieve long-term recovery.
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    Numa Recovery Centers is a comprehensive drug and alcohol detox and rehab facility in Los Angeles, California dedicated to helping individuals overcome addiction and achieve lasting recovery. Our team of experienced professionals provides individualized care and support to address the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of those struggling with substance abuse.


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