The growth of prescription opioid abuse in the United States has also resulted in an increase in heroin use. Southern California is no exception and has seen a similar rise in opioid and heroin use. Entering into a detox program for heroin addiction is vital. The first stage of any treatment from the addiction process requires detoxification. At Cornerstone, our team of addiction professionals provides medical detox for heroin addiction with care and compassion; it is our aim to make you as comfortable as possible during this important stage in the recovery process. Each person is different, and we understand the complexities that often surround addiction. Sustainable recovery from heroin addiction is very rarely achieved alone but together, we can craft a personalized treatment plan that will aim to address first, the physical aspect of your addiction, and then when you’re ready, discover and address the underlying causes that are currently defining your life choices.
Managing Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
Managing heroin withdrawal symptoms correctly can be the difference between success and failure in the detox phase of recovery. Often referred to as “dope sickness” the withdrawal timeline from heroin can vary, depending upon the individual and their drug use. At Cornerstone, we understand how difficult detoxing can be. Our primary concern at this stage of the process is to make the journey as comfortable as possible for you. We provide round-the-clock individual care, and our team is adept at withdrawal symptom management. Any opiate addict can describe with ease the flu-like symptoms that arise as the body begins to need heroin, it’s these symptoms and the fear of these that can keep an addict locked in addiction for far too long. We know how to deal with these symptoms and make them more manageable than they would be should one try to detox at home without proper oversight and medical support.
Dangers of Heroin Detox at Home
With the severity of the physical symptoms associated with detox, it is extremely dangerous to attempt a heroin detox at home. It's not a question of how to detox from heroin at home safely because medical professionals don't believe it's safe at all. If you or someone you love is contemplating undergoing heroin detox that is not designed and overseen by medical staff, you can come in for a free initial assessment at Cornerstone. During this assessment, our drug recovery practitioners can cover how we make detox safe and use it as a springboard into heroin addiction treatment for lasting recovery.
Heroin Detox Medication
Due to the aggressive nature of heroin withdrawal, it may be appropriate for you to take a heroin substitute during the early stages of your detox. Methadone can be used to aid with the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Buprenorphine (Suboxone/Subutex) is also recognized within the field of addiction as an effective medication when dealing with opiate addiction. Alongside supportive care, medications such as these will give you a sense of clarity and comfort that enable you to make positive choices for change. Hope for a better future, away from the repetitive patterns of addiction is cultivated, even at this early stage.
If You’re Taking Other Drugs
Many people present to us with addictions to more than one drug. This is known as polydrug use. Addiction to more than one substance does not make detox impossible or mean it will take longer, our team of addiction professionals will craft a detox program specific to your individual needs. It’s important that during our assessment you be as honest as possible, being open and honest is an important asset in the world of recovery, and of course, the more we know about your situation, the easier your detox will be.
If You’re Taking Prescription Medication
We will ask you about your prescribed medication, it is vitally important that we are informed of this prior to starting a detox. Some medications are known to react adversely when combined with other medications, so this need for prior knowledge is imperative. If you are unsure of the names, your doctor or physician can provide you with a printed list which we can use.
Common Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
At Cornerstone, we fully understand the difficulties in addressing a heroin addiction. The withdrawals are notoriously powerful and have kept many an addict in the cycle of addiction. Vain attempts to get clean may have lasted hours or sometimes days, the truth is that untreated and unaided, the symptoms that follow are like a sea that’s impossible to cross.
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
You are probably all too familiar with the physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Whether you have personal experience or have witnessed a loved one begin to enter a ‘cold turkey’ stage. Firstly the nose may start to run, the body’s first warning that it needs another ‘hit’. Shortly afterward stomach cramps may develop, untreated they become more and more severe. Physical cravings intensify, and your muscles and bones begin to ache indescribably. This can last for weeks and sleep becomes impossible. These symptoms make it easier to see why so many attempts to get clean are shattered by relapse.
Related article: Group activities for adults
All these symptoms are managed effectively at Cornerstone and our prescribed medication can help negate many of these symptoms. The highest standards of care are maintained at our facility; central to this is your comfort. Rest assured, that with our experience of detoxing thousands of heroin addicts, coupled with a professional compassionate team, your detox will be gentler than anything you may have experienced prior.
Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms
While physical dependence is a major factor of heroin addiction, the psychological aspect of addiction is as important to consider. The dependency will have had an effect on your brain chemistry. Habitual behavior patterns are difficult to break and most addicted people develop emotional attachments to their substance of choice. Take away the drug and the void can often create symptoms of anxiety, depression, and sometimes anger. These are all normal and you should expect to feel some psychological symptoms at some stage during early recovery. Fear can be inhibiting but do not fear these symptoms or let them stop you from getting clean and giving you and your loved ones the life you so richly deserve.
How Long Does a Heroin Detox Last?
Although the length of your withdrawal timeline and detox treatment will be determined on assessment, detox from heroin will last anywhere from 7-10 days. Each person presents with symptoms differing in levels of severity, so at Cornerstone we offer a program personalized specifically to each individual. If a heroin substitute is required, the amount will be judged by your current heroin use. A tapering-off process will be arranged once you are stable; this makes detox more manageable. The very early stages of your recovery are important to us because feeling comfortable will help you to power through the certain difficulties that you will face at the beginning of your recovery journey.
Is a Heroin Detox Enough for Long-Term Recovery?
While detox from heroin is important and often life-saving, detox alone is very rarely enough to maintain long-term recovery. In our experience, addiction is a symptom of an underlying issue. The cause can often only be discovered within a therapeutic setting. Our treatment facility offers various forms of therapy, all designed to help you develop the tools to sustain a life in recovery while addressing the underlying issues that caused your addiction. We know that recovery cannot be achieved alone; at Cornerstone, we have a strong recovery community, and throughout the early stages of your recovery, you will be alongside other people who are all at different stages in their own recovery, there to offer friendly support and advice.
What Happens After a Heroin Detox?
Once detox is completed the next stage of therapy should be residential treatment. A sense of clarity will have returned and we encourage you to embark on the next stage of your recovery journey. At Cornerstone, we pride ourselves on providing a treatment center that empowers you to address the underlying causes of your addiction. Our program consists of a wide range of therapeutic groups alongside individual therapy. We encourage yoga, meditation, and music therapy among others. We place great emphasis on having fun in recovery, outings to the beach are regular; bowling and miniature golf are just some of the activities we do as a group (depending on the weather of course).
We offer family therapy at no extra cost and believe that the healing of the family unit is as important as healing the individual.
Transportation is provided five nights a week to and from 12-step meetings. This is encouraged because we believe that by developing clean connections, a person is better equipped to face life in recovery.
Cornerstone is proud to offer ongoing aftercare because we have noticed that all too often, clients are left to their own devices once treatment has ended. We believe in the continuation of care, the building of a recovery community, and that by fostering this, long-term abstinence is more than achievable.
Heroin Detox FAQ
The symptoms of a heroin detox are horrific, the sad fact is that if it is attempted without the correct support, the most likely outcome is relapse. Relapse is dangerous and a medical detox at Cornerstone is the safest way to halt the progression of your heroin addiction.
Detoxing from heroin should be an informed decision. Understanding the process and what you are likely to face will help you once the decision is made. If you are struggling with heroin addiction we can help; we can give you the care and support needed in order to change your life around. Since our detox opened in 1984 we have witnessed thousands of heroin addicts change their lives for the better. We can help you.
Heroin withdrawal is complex; the physical and psychological aspects are the hooks that can bind addicts into decades of drug use. Detox from heroin will always present negative symptoms, however, at Cornerstone, our personalized treatment program will negate many of these symptoms. This makes detox possible. With our commitment and with your willpower and bravery, the battle for a life free of addiction can be achieved.