Heron is one of the most highly addictive drugs on the street. A person who uses heroin will have a hard time quitting and will experience detox to rid the body of toxins from the drug. A clinical detox process is best as it can be quite an uncomfortable experience. Learn how to treat heroin withdrawal symptoms and what to expect from detox.


Detox Symptoms

Detoxing from heroin can be uncomfortable. The body goes through extreme stress while heroin leaves the central nervous system. Some of the acute symptoms a person may expect can take some time for the body to expel. Allow time for healing from the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Diluted pupils
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Drug cravings
  • Chills
  • Cold sweats
  • Constipation
  • Pain and body cramps
  • Vomiting

An altered mood is also part of detoxification from heroin as well as depression, difficulty sleeping and regulating sleep patterns.


Time Frame

Heroin detox depends on the treatment method used. Rapid detox happens over the course of a few hours while medication maintenance can last several weeks or months after the last dose of heroin. Acute heroin detox can be followed by withdrawal symptoms which last a long time. Withdrawal symptoms can be managed by complementary treatments such as:

  • Acupressure
  • Acupuncture
  • Staple therapy



Detox treatment from heroin helps rid the body of opiates and clear the central nervous system so the body can begin repairing itself. Some of the following are heroin detox treatments:


  • Anesthesia assisted heroin detox treatment. A person is put under general anesthesia for approximately 6 hours and treated with medications including naloxone and clonidine to clear opiate receptors in the brain and central nervous system. The detox symptoms after initial treatment can remain and be painful even as the person continues with naloxone maintenance after initial dosing.
  • Buprenorphine assisted heroin detox treatment. The individual will be medicated on buprenorphine to help address cravings for heroin. Buprenorphine works to occupy opioid receptors in the brain without inducing a high and carries a lower risk of abuse, addiction and side effects.
  • Clonidine assisted heroin detox treatment. Clonidine is helpful during heroin detox treatment as it blocks adrenergic discharge produced by withdrawal. Clonidine can reduce symptoms of heroin withdrawal during detox 50-75%. Other medicine may be used to address withdrawal along with psychotherapy.
  • Opiate substitution therapy. Different opiates are used to help disrupt physical dependence on heroin. Methadone maintenance is a popular program and positive outcomes have been exhibited in spite of some concerns of addiction transfer.




Whether a person should do detox alone is up to the individual. Individuals with addiction can manage withdrawal symptoms by reducing dosages and won’t feel withdrawal as much as quitting heroin straight away. Self-managed care can help ease discomfort. Increased chances of staying clean go up with medical support but outpatient programs and clinical detox can help individuals get clean and support healthy, long term recovery options.


Getting healthy, clean and sober all depend on the individual making a choice to take the first step and admit a need for help. If you need help getting clean from heroin, Hired Power is the place to start. Call us to find out how we can help your journey to health and recovery from heroin addiction.