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How Long Does It Take to Detox from Heroin?

How long does it take to detox from heroin? Read on to learn more about heroin detox, common withdrawal symptoms, and detoxing at home.


Heroin detox is the first and most important step in heroin addiction treatment. The process prepares patients suffering from substance use disorder for further addiction treatment.
However, people’s experiences with heroin detox differ; some have mild experiences and others have unpleasant experiences. Whichever it is for you, detoxing from heroin is essential for heroin drug addiction treatment.

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Focus of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy focuses on getting the patient to move from potentially destructive or harmful behaviors and instead learn to envision, articulate, pursue, and sustain goals. The approach to DBT is multidimensional, comprehensive, and relies on skills to change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. It also includes clear strategies to help overcome some of the most challenging problems that may complicate conditions.

What is Heroin Detoxification?

Heroin detox is the careful removal of heroin from the body system. The process is done by trained medical personnel and in a supervised environmentDuring detox, it is common for patients to experience withdrawal symptoms. Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be mild or severe depending on individuals. In some individuals, they can be life-threatening. Hence, a need to have trained staff when detoxing from heroin.

The Process of Heroin Detoxification

The process of heroin detoxification can be done by quitting heroin use or using drugs. Drugs used for heroin detox bind to heroin, make them soluble, and remove them from the body system during urination.If done without drugs, one quits the use of heroin and tapers its concentration in the blood. In the end, there is a slow removal of heroin from the body.

Heroin Detox Medications

Two drugs are generally accepted for heroin detox medications: Methadone and buprenorphine. However, buprenorphine offers more favorable side effects than methadone.1
A common buprenorphine drug used for withdrawal detox is suboxone. Suboxone contains naloxone which blocks opioids at their receptor sites to reduce attempts of abuse.2

The Importance of Heroin Detoxing

Heroin detox is essential for a successful treatment and to prevent further heroin withdrawal symptoms.

What are the Other Methods for Detox?

Aside from drug use or quitting cold turkey, there are other methods for heroin detox. These methods will be detailed below.

Detoxing from Heroin at Home

Heroin detoxing from home is a common method of detox. However, it is not a safe method because individuals suffering from heroin abuse cannot handle heroin withdrawal symptoms when they occur.

Acute Detox

Acute detox is done for patients suffering from chronic heroin addiction. It is done in a heroin detox center because patients must be kept under close supervision to prevent fatal side effects. 3

Rapid Detoxification

Rapid detox is detox during sleep. The process involves sedating a patient, then injecting an opioid antagonist to flush out heroin from the system.

Outpatient Detox

Outpatient detox is done outside the walls of a detox center. Patients undergoing outpatient detox do not stay in a detox center and regularly visit the clinic for medical monitoring. For this reason, we advise that outpatient detox should be done in a heroin detox center near you.

What is Heroin Withdrawal?

Heroin withdrawal is the re-adjustment of the body to low levels of heroin in its system after prolonged exposure. These re-adjustments come with symptoms that are known as heroin withdrawal symptoms.

When Does Heroin Withdrawal Start?

Heroin withdrawal symptoms start within the first 24 hours of withdrawal and last for more than 72 hours.

How Long is the Heroin Withdrawal Timeline?

Heroin withdrawal timelines differ for persons likewise their withdrawal symptoms:
  • Six to Twelve Hours: Within the first six hours, withdrawal symptoms are mild compared to the later hours of the day.
  • One to Three Days:  During these times, the withdrawal symptoms worsen and can become very severe.
  • About One Week Later: One week after the last dose of heroin, symptoms subside, and patients are most likely to recover.

What are the Common Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms vary from a person, but these are the most common heroin withdrawal symptoms:
  • Intense Cravings: These cravings occur due to a high level of energetic moments.
  • Sweating:  Sweating occurs early in withdrawal and can cause hygienic issues.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are common within the first three days of withdrawal but can be managed.
  • Death: Death is the last result of heroin withdrawal. However, it occurs in very rare cases. This is a risk that should not be taken lightly.

Other Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Changes in Mood: Mood changes during heroin withdrawal is common due to the fluctuating amounts of hormones in the body.
  • Hallucinations: Hallucinations occur in extreme cases of withdrawal but can be handled in a detox clinic.

How to Ease Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

A good start on how to ease heroin withdrawal symptoms is not quitting heroin use abruptly. A patient can taper its use till physical independence of the substance is established.Another way is using medications. Prescribed medications like painkillers will help alleviate the symptoms that come with heroin withdrawal.

What are the Other Methods for Detox?

There are several methods for detoxing off heroin, the most common being the detox at a clinic. Aside from this, there are also other methods of safe detox:

Detoxing from Heroin at Home​

Self-detox is a method of detoxing, but it does not guarantee proper management of heroin detox symptoms. If it must be done, individuals detoxing from home must have people around to call for help when needed.4

Acute Detox

Acute detox is the most common type of detox for people who are suffering from chronic heroin addiction. It presents severe symptoms to patients and must be done in a heroin detox.

Rapid Detoxification

Rapid detox is done while patients are sleeping. The concept behind rapid detox is to prevent heroin withdrawal symptoms in patients by causing them to fall asleep.

Outpatient Detox

Outpatient detox is a method of heroin addiction treatment for patients outside the walls of the clinic.

Detoxing at Home

Regarding heroin detox, there are three major ways to detox from home. These will be discussed below.

Outpatient Therapy

Outpatient therapy allows addiction treatment beyond the walls of the clinic. In outpatient therapy, people suffering from substance use disorder only go to the clinic to closely monitor their medications.

Inpatient Therapy

Inpatient therapy allows patients to receive treatment within the walls of the clinic or in their homes. All will be involved in the close supervision of patients by medical personnel.

Therapy Research

Therapy research is the careful application of psychological treatment for heroin addiction at home.

Restore and Rise Yourself with Ripple Ranch Recovery

At Ripple Ranch Recovery, your wellness is our top priority. We will help you heal and equip you or your loved one with the necessary tools to maintain long lasting sobriety.

We do not undermine the roles of heroin detox centers in treating heroin addiction treatments. Medical personnel are well equipped to provide the best services to ensure your safe, effective, and comfortable recovery. With Ripple Ranch, you’re sure to recover in safe hands.