What are Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms?

What are heroin withdrawal symptoms? Symptoms vary from person to person in both type and intensity. One individual is unlikely to suffer all possible symptoms during the withdrawal process. However, the following are almost always experienced by people withdrawing from heroin, at least to some degree:

  • Nausea, diarrhea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Drug cravings

Restless leg syndrome is also common but may not occur in all persons all the time. It can be mild or severe.

Withdrawal from heroin tends to be shorter than other opioids, especially oxycodone. Some people may get through the heroin withdrawal process in as little as a week to ten days. However, it’s a tough, painful and highly unpleasant process. Dehydration is possible from near-constant diarrhea and vomiting.

Although it can be done and has been done, heroin withdrawal is not best done alone at home. Trying to get through it alone is not advisable, is very difficult and is extremely likely to end in failure. It’s just too hard to feel so bad and know that all will be relieved by a dose of heroin and still resist it.


This is the active narcotic ingredient in Suboxone. It’s an oral medication designed to relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms and suppress cravings without causing an opioid high. The drug can be used either short-term or long-term but if used for more than a week or so, it can result in a strong addiction to the buprenorphine that will probably be just as hard to stop as the heroin was. However, since you can get the Suboxone legally, this should not be an issue. Withdrawal symptoms only set in when the drug is suddenly withdrawn.

Many people take Suboxone daily to stay clean from other opioids. The drug is prescribed by specially licensed doctors for monthly take-home use. You fill the prescription in a pharmacy and take it in the privacy of your home. Should you ever want to stop the Suboxone, you can, but the withdrawal symptoms are severe, especially with higher doses over 8 milligrams a day or so. You will need to taper your dose down very slowly for many months. Your doctor will help you with this.

Suboxone can also be used short term. It’s given in gradually lower doses over a week or two, possibly longer if necessary. At the end of the treatment period, you will be physically free of both the heroin and the Suboxone. However, psychological issues remain untreated unless the Suboxone is accompanied by counseling. Suboxone only helps with the physical part of drug addiction, not the psychological part.

Get Help at a Detox Center

The best way to withdraw from heroin is to consult with an addiction medicine specialist or detox center. Since withdrawal from heroin and other opioids is typically not life-threatening, it can usually be done at home under medical supervision. You will visit the detox center or addiction specialist and receive your take-home medications and instructions. Staff members will be in contact with you throughout the process.

Modern opioid detox methods remove most, and sometimes all, of the main withdrawal symptoms. You should be able to sit comfortably, relax, sleep and eat. You should not be experiencing nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If you do, your medications need to be adjusted. This is not your problem. Call the detox or physician’s office immediately for help. You should not be uncomfortable while doing a home medically supervised detox. That makes no sense. You could detox at home by yourself for free if you wanted to be uncomfortable.

If you’re using other drugs, especially alcohol or benzodiazepines, and suspect that you’re addicted to them as well, your detox center or doctor will need to know that. Both alcohol and benzos are dangerous to withdraw from. Both can cause life-threatening symptoms. More than likely, if you’re addicted to opioids and something else, you will need in-patient withdrawal treatment and care.

Call us for Help

We’re here 24 hours a day at 844-639-8371. to help you with any questions about heroin withdrawal. We can guide you to a detox center, a rehab center and also provide Suboxone information and referrals for counseling. Call us anytime. We’re here to help.

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