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Understanding the Process of Heroin Detox
Some drugs are psychologically and emotionally addictive, creating strong cravings in regular users but exerting no physical hold on the body. Other commonly abused drugs are physically as well as psychologically addictive, creating a powerful hold on the body as well as the mind of the addict.
Heroin clearly belongs in the latter category, and its physical effects have been well documented and will no doubt be familiar to any former addict. Long-term heroin users who try to quit the drug can experience a full range of withdrawal symptoms, from racing heartbeats and unbearable anxiety to chills and night sweats.
Understanding the process of heroin addiction detoxification is a vital part of understanding how addiction and recovery work. Whether you are struggling with your own heroin addiction or trying to help someone you care about, having a better understanding of the hold that the drug exerts on the body and how the detoxification process works is a good place to start.
The detoxification process can seem mysterious and hard to understand, but it is actually a natural process the body undergoes as the drug is withdrawn. Simply put, detoxification is the process the body uses to rid itself of a foreign or toxic substance - in this case heroin. Unfortunately for the longtime heroin user, the results of the detoxification process manifest in a wide range of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and that can make getting clean quite a struggle.
The symptoms associated with the heroin detoxification process typically begin within the first 6 to 12 hours after the last dose of the drug. In the absence of supportive medications to mitigate these withdrawal symptoms, the effects usually continue for three or four days, although the process can sometimes take longer to complete.
There are a number of prescription medications that can reduce the impact of heroin detoxification and make the withdrawal process more comfortable and easier to handle. Many drug treatment centers incorporate these supportive pharmaceutical medications into their rehab process, often using them as the first line of defense against a heroin addiction.
In many cases that initial heroin detoxification process will be accompanied by additional support, including counseling with family members, education of loved ones and peer counseling that includes fellow addicts. This combination approach to heroin detoxification and treatment can be remarkably effective, especially for addicts who are dedicated to changing their lives and living a sober lifestyle going forward.
Understanding the process of heroin detoxification and how it works is important, but it is only the first step in a long path to recovery. If someone you care about has been struggling with an addiction to heroin, it is important to get them into treatment as soon as possible. When you call us at 800-807-0951 we can provide the guidance and ongoing support you need to get your loved one into recovery and help them recover more effectively.