Updated February 18th, 2019

Check out the graphic below, “Heroin Withdrawal: Timeline and Symptoms,” to learn how about the symptoms of detoxing from heroin and how long they last, or click here to download a full-size, printable version.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

Most people know heroin is addictive, but they don’t always realize how easy it is to become physically dependent on this drug. And people who haven’t dealt with heroin withdrawal symptoms rarely understand how difficult it is to push through them to the other side.

Find out more about heroin withdrawal symptoms, how long they last, and how you can give yourself a better chance at getting out of the cycle of addiction and into a more positive, heroin-free life.

What is heroin, and how addictive is it?

Heroin is an illegal drug made from morphine, along with many other powerful prescription drugs. Like those prescription drugs, heroin can be extremely addictive because of how it interacts with the brain.

Heroin works quickly on the brain, binding to certain receptors and altering the chemistry and function within the brain — especially those processes dealing with how the brain and body feel pain and pleasure. That’s why heroin can bring such a powerful “high,” but those same properties can also impact brain functions that manage heart rate, breathing, and sleeping, making heroin dangerous for your health.

Opioids — including heroin — are very addictive. Because they alter how your brain chemistry works, your body can become used to this, which means when heroin isn’t in your system, your body feels like something is wrong. This is called physical dependency — your body feels like it needs heroin to function.

Even worse, as you develop a tolerance for the drugs, your body needs more of the substance to feel “normal.”

This physical dependency helps drive addiction to heroin, which can also be psychological and emotional in nature.

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What is heroin withdrawal?

Heroin withdrawal occurs when you stop using the amount of heroin your body has become dependent on. Depending on how much and how often you’re using heroin, you could begin experiencing withdrawal as early as a few hours after you last used the drug.

Heroin withdrawal causes your body and mind to experience symptoms — these can be physical, mental, or emotional. They can make it very difficult to quit using heroin on your own. In fact, depending on how dependent your body is on opioids and what your overall health status is, quitting unassisted could even put you at risk because the withdrawal can be that severe.

If you or a loved one suffers from heroin withdrawal and needs immediate help, call 877-284-0353 to speak with a trained counselor.

Most people know heroin is addictive, but they don’t always realize how easy it is to become physically dependent on this drug. And people who haven’t dealt with heroin withdrawal symptoms rarely understand how difficult it is to push through them to the other side.

Find out more about heroin withdrawal symptoms, how long they last, and how you can give yourself a better chance at getting out of the cycle of addiction and into a more positive, heroin-free life.

What is heroin, and how addictive is it?

Heroin is an illegal drug made from morphine, along with many other powerful prescription drugs. Like those prescription drugs, heroin can be extremely addictive because of how it interacts with the brain.

Heroin works quickly on the brain, binding to certain receptors and altering the chemistry and function within the brain — especially those processes dealing with how the brain and body feel pain and pleasure. That’s why heroin can bring such a powerful “high,” but those same properties can also impact brain functions that manage heart rate, breathing, and sleeping, making heroin dangerous for your health.

Opioids — including heroin — are very addictive. Because they alter how your brain chemistry works, your body can become used to this, which means when heroin isn’t in your system, your body feels like something is wrong. This is called physical dependency — your body feels like it needs heroin to function.

Even worse, as you develop a tolerance for the drugs, your body needs more of the substance to feel “normal.”

This physical dependency helps drive addiction to heroin, which can also be psychological and emotional in nature.

What is heroin withdrawal?

Heroin withdrawal occurs when you stop using the amount of heroin your body has become dependent on. Depending on how much and how often you’re using heroin, you could begin experiencing withdrawal as early as a few hours after you last used the drug.

Heroin withdrawal causes your body and mind to experience symptoms — these can be physical, mental, or emotional. They can make it very difficult to quit using heroin on your own. In fact, depending on how dependent your body is on opioids and what your overall health status is, quitting unassisted could even put you at risk because the withdrawal can be that severe.

What are heroin withdrawal symptoms?

The symptoms of heroin withdrawal vary by person and various factors — including how much heroin your body has become accustomed to and how often you use the drug.

Some common symptoms can include:

  • Restlessness and irritability, which can manifest as moodiness or snapping at others
  • Spasms in muscles, especially in the legs, can lead to uncontrolled movement in your legs
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting — which can also lead to dehydration
  • Problems sleeping, including severe insomnia
  • Cold flashes or chills accompanied by goosebumps
  • Shakes
  • Sweating
  • Changes in your heart rate — often a rapid heart rate that can be dangerous to cardiovascular health
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe pain or aches in muscles, bones, or joints
  • Changes in mental status, including problems concentrating or even paranoia
  • Inability to feel — or trouble feeling — pleasure in normal things
  • Such severe cravings for heroin that you may take actions you wouldn’t normally take to get the drugs and soothe the withdrawals and cravings — including illegal activity or actions that are dangerous to yourself or others

Because heroin withdrawal can be so severe, it can be almost impossible for people to quit using the drug independently. If you’re addicted and physically dependent on heroin, heroin withdrawal symptoms can even be hazardous to your health.

Instead of trying to push through the pain and danger on your own, ask for help. Heroin addiction isn’t a bad habit you can kick through willpower — it’s a chronic condition that requires professional treatment. You wouldn’t try to beat a cancer diagnosis with your own mental power.

Get help making it through heroin withdrawal and into the next step of recovery. Contact us today at 877-284-0353 to speak to a caring staff member about your heroin rehab and recovery options.