Heroin is an incredibly potent and dangerously addictive drug that has an intense effect on the body and mind. However, not only is its use highly detrimental to the body, but it also stays in one’s system even long after one’s high has subsided. 

Between heroin’s effects on the body and mind, those suffering from an addiction to heroin may never provide the body with time to process and expel this dangerous substance, leading to drastic repercussions. Because of the nature of heroin and how long heroin remains in the body, professional detox is necessary to effectively process the drug and begin one’s journey towards a sober future.

The Effects of Heroin on the Body

Each of heroin’s effects on the body can have lasting implications for those suffering from an addiction to the substance. Kidney and liver disease, collapsed veins, heart problems, seizures, and respiratory complications are all possible. Injecting the drug also leads to physical damage to one’s body, including track marks, bruising, skin disease, and the possibility of contracting diseases like hepatitis or HIV from unsanitary needles.

However, regardless of how heroin is used – whether in needles, powder, or smoked – it can remain in the body after one may have assumed it would have been processed. An individual is still at risk for its myriad of detrimental effects long after coming down from its high.

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The Persistence of Heroin 

Heroin can be present in one’s body for a long time. Heroin is detectable in urine for up to a week since one’s last use and can be found even longer by testing one’s hair follicles, lasting three months or more. With its prolonged existence in the body, detox is crucial to begin the healing process. 

Even if one isn’t currently experiencing the highs of the drug, the remnants of heroin in the body will continue to inform one’s decisions and affect one’s physical health. Detox is the first important step toward processing and relieving one’s body of the drug and is essential for setting the groundwork for a healthy, sober future.

Heroin’s Detox Timeline

Because of heroin’s persistence in the body, detox is a complicated affair. Heroin is an incredibly addictive drug, with some users even becoming addicted after their first use. Professional detox is crucial for navigating this transformative time and helping an individual cope with withdrawal symptoms. However, heroin detox takes place in stages.

The First Hours

Those addicted to heroin may feel the effects of withdrawal or urges to reengage with the drug incredibly quickly, with some experiencing symptoms within six to 12 hours after their last high. This feeling of withdrawal can set in fast and feel intense. Some heroin withdrawal symptoms during these first hours can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Body aches and spasms
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Depression

Each individual will have their own symptoms or combination of symptoms. This first day of detox is challenging, and, commonly, an individual will feel sick as their bodies and minds adjust to functioning without heroin. Because of these intense withdrawal symptoms, those suffering from addiction will need the aid of professionals to avoid relapse during this first stage of recovery. The impulse to reengage can be very strong, and proper aid and medical support are crucial for navigating this time safely.

The First Few Days

The most intense withdrawal symptoms can last for a couple of days into one’s detox, but around days three to five, these symptoms should begin to lessen. However, this doesn’t mean that heroin has been completely expelled from one’s system or that one’s detox is complete. There may still be some discomforting feelings, and it is important to use this time to begin setting up a proper recovery plan while coping with lingering withdrawal symptoms.

After a week or two of monitored detox, these symptoms will continue to subside as more and more of the heroin in one’s system breaks down, even if it is still detectable in one’s urine or hair. Track marks on one’s body should begin to show signs of healing, and feelings of nausea should continue to lessen. With an individual’s mind becoming clearer, an individual should continue to prepare for the next step in their sober journey for the next few days or until one’s detox is complete.

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Seeing Recovery Through

Professional detox from heroin provides a number of crucial benefits. Not only does it allow those suffering from addiction to receive dedicated, educated care during the most difficult and tumultuous times of detox, but these programs also bridge an individual to continuing recovery efforts such as further heroin addiction treatment. 

Detox isn’t the end of the journey to sobriety but rather the beginning of the efforts needed to pursue a truly transformed way of thinking and living, with one’s personal goals and health at the center. Detox opens the door to the most effective residential programs, sober living, and continued outpatient care, all of which are crucial to sustaining a heroin-free lifestyle. 

Heroin is a highly addictive, dangerous drug, and finding effective heroin addiction treatment is crucial for coping with its effects on the body and mind. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand how difficult it is to battle an addiction to heroin on a daily basis, and we are prepared to help you take the first step toward a sober future today. Between effective and monitored detox to inpatient drug treatment, partial hospitalization programs, and continued outpatient care, we can personalize each step of your journey. Our unique drug treatment in Hawaii allows us to connect you to like-minded peers while embracing the opportunities and benefits of Hawaiian culture, embracing new perspectives on the journey to a sober life. For more information on how we can help you, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 390-5070.