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Someone addicted to heroin will likely go through a series of withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the usage, the heroin withdrawal may also manifest itself differently. Knowing what to expect will make it easier for you to get through the symptoms.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a street drug that is made from morphine, a substance extracted from the seed pod of a variety of poppy plants. It is a highly addictive substance, which is why the mother substance, morphine, is carefully used in the medical field as well. Heroin, as it is illegally created “on the streets,” is not a controlled substance. As a result, heroin can cause a variety of side effects that can turn out deadly.
Heroin addiction can appear in two ways. In some cases, it appears as curious individuals try heroin for the first time, to see what the high feels like. In other cases, it appears when opioid users (i.e., Vicodin, OxyContin) can no longer gain access to their prescription med. In fact, studies show that more than half of the people who were addicted to heroin would have originally abused opioid medicine
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What Are Heroin Withdrawals?
Heroin withdrawal is the process of detoxification that occurs when the heroin substance gets out of your system. Withdrawal will typically not be the same for everyone, and very often, it depends on the type of heroin used, the quantity, how long it was used, and so on.
For instance, someone who only used heroin just a few times may not have such pronounced withdrawal symptoms. However, longer use may lead to stronger symptoms, like overdoses. On its own, heroin withdrawal may not be life-threatening, and medical detox may help the addict get through the symptoms with much ease. However, long-term treatment is necessary in order to take care of the “aftermath.”
Signs & Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawals
Heroin can take a toll on everyone as it is exiting their body. Here are the signs that tell you are going through withdrawal:
When a heroin addict goes through withdrawals, they will begin having a strong craving for heroin. The cravings often appear as a desire to relieve the withdrawal symptoms, but it’s also the brain’s way of saying it wants to feel the high again. The more heroin goes out of your system, the more desperate your body will become to consume it again.
Fever often appears when there is an infection or a pathogen wreaking havoc in your body. However, with heroin, this is not the case – so, you may take the steps necessary to control that fever. If your fever goes higher than 103 Fahrenheit (40 Celsius) and does not respond to medication, you need to seek medical aid immediately.
Someone going through heroin withdrawal will have random mood changes – most of them in the negative route. They would shift between irritability, anxiety, depression, and other similar moods quite fast. Depending on the circumstances, these feelings may stick around even after the heroin gets out of the system. In this case, it is ideal that you contact a doctor for help. Emotional support is necessary under these circumstances.
Vomiting and Nausea
As uncomfortable as it may be, nausea associated with vomiting is very common during heroin withdrawal. Very often, this leads to loss of appetite as well, as you cannot seem to hold any food down.
Restlestness and Insomnia
Very often, people who are going through heroin withdrawal experience a very restless state. The cravings are enough to keep you on edge at all times, not allowing you to rest until you get your next “fix.” This exact restlessness is what will keep you up at night as well, leading to episodes of insomnia.
Excessive Body Fluids
When you go through heroin withdrawal, you may notice you are oozing bodily fluids from everywhere. The person going through withdrawal will be sweating a lot, feeling teary, and constantly battling a runny nose. This is why hydration is important as you are going through withdrawal, as this symptom can make you lose a lot of moisture.
Diarrhea and Stomach Pain
Another common yet very uncomfortable symptom of heroin withdrawal is stomach pain associated with diarrhea. Because of frequent bowel movements, your daily life will be interrupted, as you will have to stay close to the toilet. Your bowel movements will also cause spasms in your digestive system, which will throw stomach pain your way.
Aside from stomach pains, you will likely feel other body pains as well. As the heroin goes out of your system, you will go through a “rebound” stage, which will make you experience pain all over your body. Most of that pain will be in your legs and your back, but you may also feel it in your arms and other parts of your body.
Side Effects of Heroin Withdrawals
Heroin withdrawal has a variety of side effects, both in the short term and in the long term. In the short term, people may go through symptoms such as fever, nausea, pain throughout the whole body, cravings, depression, and many more. However, a lot of these symptoms will follow you in the long term as well.
The cravings and the mood swings are the symptoms that will stick around. Heroin typically affects people in the long term for at least 6 months after getting sober, or even more on long-term addicts.
For some people, the cravings never really go away. This is why addiction treatment is necessary, to cope with any potential side effects brought by heroin withdrawal.
Getting Help At Real Deal Sober Living
At Read Deal Sober Living, we can offer you all the help you need in order to deal with your heroin withdrawal. Whether you need inpatient or outpatient therapy with your medical detox, you will be provided medical assistance in order to get over your withdrawal.
Long-term help will be provided as well. Whether you need to deal with physical or mental symptoms, Real Deal can offer the type of therapy that is most beneficial for you.
Heroin withdrawal can be completed smoothly, without too much discomfort on the patient. You will need the right help for that, and Real Deal can come to your aid.