Detox is short for detoxification, meaning that your body is purging itself of toxins. There are two different methods to detox from heroin. One way is by cutting down heroin usage and enduring withdrawal symptoms. Another way is through medication-assisted treatment through opiate replacement therapy.

Detoxing is an essential part of recovering from opiate use and making life-saving changes. However, detoxing without assistance can be dangerous and ineffective. Long-term care and assistance through programs like Alta Loma’s can be life-saving.

What “Cold Turkey” Detox Looks Like

Withdrawal symptoms after stopping heroin use are a result of the body developing a dependence on the substance. Depending on the level of dependence, withdrawal symptoms may occur within a few hours of the last time the drug was taken. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold flashes
  • Uncontrollable leg movements

In some, the worst of the symptoms peak 24-48 hours after the last dose. In more rare cases, symptoms may last for months. Going cold turkey and detoxing from opiates is often dangerous when undergone without help. The urge to ease the symptoms can become quite powerful, and relapse can occur.

Detoxing From Heroin Using Opiate Replacement Therapy

Opiate replacement therapy (ORT) usually involves the use of an opiate replacement, e.g., Methadone, Naltrexone, or Buprenorphine. These medications stimulate (or block) the opiate receptors in the brain without giving the recipient the euphoria they experience with opioids. Extended treatment with ORT can help a person to work down to a low dosage without experiencing withdrawal.

In conjunction with therapy, using medications has been proven to increase the time in recovery and reduce the odds of relapse. They can help control cravings, reduce the risk of overdose, and decrease illegal opiate use.

You Need Support

Staying in recovery after detoxing is difficult no matter the method you choose, which is why entering a program to learn skills and establish connections can keep you in recovery longer and can help you deal with setbacks in a healthier way.

Recovery from substance use disorder and co-occurring disorders is more effective and long-lasting when you enroll in treatment at Alta Loma. With our high level of care in our residential and intensive outpatient programs, clients will receive relief from mental health symptoms, community involvement, life skills, and education about their disorders. We believe that addiction results from untreated mental illness, so our treatment will focus on giving you clarity about your mental illness and coping skills to stay in recovery long after graduation. To learn about our program, call (866) 457-3843