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What Heroin Withdrawal is Really Like

Heroin is an illegal and highly addictive drug made from morphine which is extracted from the pods of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Pure heroin, coming predominantly, from Southeast Asia, South America, and Afghanistan is typically sold as a white powder. “Black Tar” heroin from Mexico is a dark, sticky substance that looks like roofing tar. Heroin has no accepted medical use that is safe and its high potential for abuse makes Heroin, in the United States, a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

Heroin Abuse

recovery from heroin

You do not have to detox from heroin at home! Treatment can help.

Heroin can be snorted, smoked, or injected intravenously and poses many health risks for the user and within the community. It is a major contributor to dangerous diseases such as HIV and Aids, Hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases. The “high” that Heroin users achieve is a euphoric “rush” of dopamine which acts as a reward in their systems. In order to achieve these desired effects, the addict, progressively, needs more of the drug, more frequently. There is no way of knowing the purity percentages within each dose of Heroin and according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “4,102 people died as an unintended consequence of heroin overdoses in 2011.”

Heroin Withdrawals

Heroin abuse can quickly, lead to addiction and those who try to stop using it will suffer withdrawal symptoms that can be like an unpleasant flu or more severe. Generally, the more chronic the abuse, the worse the withdrawals will be. Some withdrawals last 3-7 days, others can last longer. The existence of withdrawals such as reduced feelings of wellbeing, insomnia, cravings, and dysthymia, can last for weeks or months, depending on the person, how long, and how much they have abused Heroin. In most cases, the symptoms begin 6-12 hours after the last use, but in high levels of abuse, they may begin sooner.

What Heroin Withdrawal is Really Like

When the addict begins to withdraw, they will develop cravings for their next “fix”. The fear of not getting the “fix”, soon enough, can be overwhelming. The agitation and stress leads to confusion and anxiety and the addict begins to imagine other symptoms which psychologically begin to appear. Nausea, runny nose, fever, pain, muscle spasms, diarrhea, and a myriad of other physical ailments begin and progressively, they get worse. Fatigue and a sense of dread accompany these symptoms and the addict begins to get a sense of despair, paranoia, and depression. In chronic cases, the heroin addict may begin to suffer tachycardia, or elevated heart rates and blood pressure which can lead to heart attacks. They may suffer respiratory distress, panic attacks, suicidal tendencies, coma, seizures, or psychosis. Relapses in Heroin use can cause overdose and death.