Heroin Detox Withdrawal - Symptoms, Timelines - Detox Plus UK

Heroin Detox Withdrawal

A heroin addict lives in constant fear. Fear of not getting their next heroin high, of getting dope sick and going into withdrawal. Heroin addiction traps the user, takes up all of their energy and time – getting the money for their next high, tracking down a dealer and trying desperately just to survive another day. If you are dependent on heroin, you will know this scenario only too well and be aware of heroin detox withdrawal symptoms.

But what if you could break free from the endless cycle of addiction? What if you could wake up one-morning free from the long-term effects of heroin, feeling well and looking forward to the day ahead without fear and without worry?

Undergoing a medical heroin detox within a professional detox clinic can help you to quit using heroin and start a brand new way of life. A life that is free from the prison that is heroin addiction.

Detox Plus UK provide medically managed and medically assisted private heroin detox. Our recommended drug rehab clinics are CQC registered and run by addiction professionals who genuinely care that you or your loved one beat your heroin addiction once and for all.

What is heroin and how it is used?

Slang terms and street names for heroin include:

Skag, H, Smack, Brown, Horse, Black Tar

Heroin is processed from morphine which is made from the seeds of specific types of poppy plants. Once heroin is in your system, it is eventually broken back down into morphine, but before that, it delivers a powerful euphoric high.

Heroin is a Class A narcotic drug that can only be purchased illegally from street dealers. As such, you never really know how potent the drug is or what it has been cut with.

Cutting agents are used to bulk out batches of heroin powder and make it stronger. Heroin is commonly cut with anything that resembles the white powdery drug including baking soda, sugar, starch, crushed paracetamol, aspirin and even rat poison.

UK drug dealers in recent years have been copying drug cartels in the US and have been adding powerful drugs to the cutting agents. These drugs include Fentanyl, LSD, Methamphetamine, Cocaine and occasionally the most potent opiate available – Carfentanil. A tiny amount of another drug makes for a more potent concoction and one that is likely to keep a user coming back time after time if they survive using it that is.

Heroin can be snorted, smoked, injected intravenously or swallowed. The route of administration that is responsible for the most deaths is intravenous injection. The reason for this is that the full amount of heroin is delivered into the bloodstream in one go and quickly reaches the user’s brain taking immediate effect. If the heroin injected is stronger than the heroin they are used to, or is laced with another drug, the chances of overdose are very real.

A physical dependence to heroin develops very quickly, and this is what causes most users to become heroin addicts. Recreational use can soon turn into daily use. The body rapidly builds a tolerance to heroin as it does with all opiates. A heroin user can find themselves using more frequently, using larger amounts, or changing the route of administration for a more powerful high, literally within weeks of first trying the drug.

What is a heroin detox?

There are various methods of detoxing from heroin, but only a few are clinically recommended and medically approved.

Detox Plus UK offer private inpatient heroin detox that is medically managed. This means that our recommended clinics will replace the heroin with an approved substitute pharmaceutical medication to help alleviate and manage heroin detox withdrawal symptoms.

On admission to one of our heroin detox clinics, you will be comprehensively assessed by one of the doctors or consultant psychiatrists. They will discuss with you the most appropriate method of detoxing you from heroin.

Each of the heroin detox programmes are bespoke as no two people are precisely the same. The detox programmes will be tailored to ensure the detox you undergo gives you the maximum chance of becoming heroin free.

Whilst you are detoxing, you will be carefully monitored by qualified nurses and staff. Should they have any concerns as to how you are coping with the detox, the clinic doctor will review your treatment plan.

We aim to help you be as comfortable as possible during your heroin detox so that you can complete your treatment and start a new life, free from the pain and misery of addiction.

Medications approved for heroin detox

Our recommended clinics use approved medications to manage heroin detox withdrawal symptoms on stopping heroin. The following pharmaceutical medications that they use have been approved by NICE for assisting heroin detox.

Medications approved to treat heroin dependence include:

– Methadone
– Buprenorphine (Subutex)
– Dihydrocodeine
– Lofexidine
– Clonidine

When determining the medication, during your heroin detox, numerous personal factors will be taken into account. This ensures that the medication administered will produce the most successful outcome.

To find out more about private inpatient heroin detox call Detox Plus UK today

Heroin detox withdrawal symptoms

Heroin detox withdrawal symptoms are generally at their most severe during the first 5 to 7 days of detoxing, after which they taper off.

Someone who has not been using heroin for very long will find that their detox period is shorter and symptoms are less severe. A chronic long term heroin user, on the other hand, is likely to experience a more lengthily withdrawal period with moderate to severe symptoms.

Chronic long term heroin users are also more prone to developing PAWS (post-acute withdrawal symptoms). PAWS can last for months after stopping heroin, and during this time, heroin detox withdrawal symptoms will come and go.

Everyone experiences heroin withdrawal differently. Heroin effects on the body very much depend on the severity of your heroin addiction as to what degree you will experience withdrawal symptoms and how long they will last for.

Undergoing a medical heroin detox with approved evidence-based therapies and medication reduces heroin detox withdrawal symptoms dramatically and minimises the chances of developing PAWS.

Physical and psychological symptoms of heroin withdrawal

Heroin withdrawal symptoms start between 6 and 12 hours after the last dose of heroin. When withdrawal symptoms start depends on the frequency of the administration of the drug.

Physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Hot and cold flushes
  • Dehydration
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Restless legs
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose increased tearing and sneezing
  • Skin crawling
  • Poor appetite
  • Yawning
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Strong heroin cravings

Psychological symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mental Fog
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Racing thoughts
  • Heightened emotions
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there)

Dangerous heroin detox withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations (auditory or visual), dehydration, malnutrition, paranoia, suicidal ideation and seizures. A medical heroin detox can prevent these symptoms from occurring.

Not everyone suffers from these symptoms, but the longer you have been dependent on heroin and the more heroin you have been taking, the higher the risk of developing dangerous withdrawal complications.

Dangerous or severe heroin detox withdrawal symptoms require immediate medical treatment as can become life-threatening.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms tend to peak in severity between 24 and 72 hours after the last dose of heroin. This is when unmanaged symptoms become most challenging for the individual.

Who needs a heroin detox?

Any individual that has become physically dependent on heroin will benefit from a medical heroin detox. Many individuals addicted to heroin attempt to self-detox only to find the withdrawal symptoms too much to bear. This results in them returning to using heroin.

Undergoing a medical detox in a heroin detox clinic vastly improves your chances of completing your heroin detox and staying clean in the long term.

Whilst you are detoxing, you will receive high levels of support from qualified addiction therapists, counsellors and support workers as well as the medical staff.

Residential heroin detox has the most successful outcomes in terms of detox completion and staying clean. You will also have the opportunity to undergo a bespoke heroin rehabilitation programme following your detox. Heroin rehab programmes provide the essential foundations for ongoing recovery back in the community, ensuring that you never have to use heroin again.

Heroin – Powerfully addictive and deadly

Heroin in the UK has been the cause of a surge in heroin and morphine related deaths over the past 5 years. Heroin today is stronger and purer than ever before – it is also more lethal.

In 2017 The Office for National Statistics recorded a staggering 1,164 deaths directly linked to heroin or morphine for England and Wales. If you or a loved one have an addiction to heroin or are even using it recreationally now is the time to seek help.


heroin deaths

Heroin deaths are combined with morphine deaths as heroin is broken down into morphine by the body. The reality is that very few die from an actual morphine overdose. Morphine is a controlled prescription drug that is not often used recreationally. It is, therefore, safe to assume that nearly all of the recorded deaths are due to heroin overdose.

The reason heroin deaths have alarmingly risen in recent years is due to the increased potency of this highly addictive Class A drug. Heroin is now regularly laced with other drugs, including fentanyl and even cocaine. One hit of heroin, even when it is an amount you are used to, now has the power to send you over immediately.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid painkiller that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine or heroin. Heroin dealers save money and make their heroin go further by adding the tiniest amount of this potent and deadly drug.

It goes without saying that heroin dealers are not pharmacists or doctors. In many cases, and especially with an individual who has a low opiate tolerance, taking heroin laced with fentanyl proves to be fatal.

Heroin and fentanyl detox – what you need to know

More and more people are entering heroin detox programmes who have an addiction to heroin that is regularly laced with fentanyl. Attempting to self-detox from these two heavyweight drugs can be life-threatening, especially if attempted alone.

Fentanyl detox should never be attempted without medical supervision. Our clinics will ensure that patients are provided with enough medication to ease heroin and fentanyl withdrawal symptoms where there is a dependence on both identified.

We understand that fentanyl withdrawal symptoms are exceptionally difficult to tolerate so our clinics ensure that patients are continually monitored and afforded high levels of support around the clock.

Following a heroin/fentanyl inpatient detox, it is strongly recommended that patients stay in treatment for as long as possible. Relapse rates for heroin are exceptionally high, and this is due to withdrawal symptoms that can be protracted and the chaotic lifestyle that heroin addiction lends to.

It takes time, commitment and professional therapy to change the mindset that drives heroin addiction. Many heroin addicts benefit from a long term rehab programme followed by recovery housing within a therapeutic community. This allows them the time to recover fully, have some valuable clean time free from heroin, and adapt to sober living within a recovery-focused and supportive environment.

Detox Plus UK can facilitate short term and long term heroin detox and rehab programmes. Call us to find out more.

Free heroin detox near me

Sadly, due to substantial cuts in funding to all drug and alcohol services within the UK, applying for a free heroin detox means lengthy waiting times and attending numerous appointments. You can find out more about accessing a free heroin detox near you by self-referring to your local drug and alcohol team.

Alternatively, please call us for information on our recommended affordable heroin detox programmes.

Heroin detox today

Detox Plus UK can facilitate an emergency admission for a heroin detox today. All of our heroin detox centres and rehabs are CQC registered, employ addiction professionals and have an emergency admissions team on standby.

Starting your heroin detox today is as simple as picking up the phone to us. We will take care of all of the arrangements and ensure that you receive the best in addiction treatment available.

If you are sick of the perpetual cycle of heroin addiction, let us help you to break free. Call now for fast, effective professional heroin treatment today.

Maintaining Recovery From Heroin Addiction

Stopping heroin is one thing; staying stopped is quite another. Relapse rates for heroin are exceptionally high, and a relapse can prove fatal due to drug tolerance levels dropping.

Undergoing a heroin rehab programme will mean that you will have the tools to stay clean from heroin and never have to go through heroin detox withdrawal symptoms again.

Heroin addiction is a recognised disease of the brain, and it is essential that the psychological aspect of addiction is treated. We therefore always recommend that any heroin detox is immediately followed by one of our bespoke heroin rehab programmes.






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NHS Digital

The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS)

Office for National Statistics

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