A Common Question: Can You Die From Heroin Withdrawal?
After an extended period of using heroin, and suffering the many related consequences, you are ready to get clean. It wouldn’t be at all unusual to have ambivalent feelings about taking the step to face detox and then get into rehab. No one enjoys the idea of suffering. For someone addicted to heroin it is always difficult to take this important step. Life has revolved around the drug to such a degree that it is hard to imagine what daily life will be like without it. Still, somewhere in your rational mind you know it is time to get clean and sober.
The first step in recovery from a heroin addiction is detoxification, or ridding the body of the toxins associated with the drug. Addicts are all too aware of the awful withdrawal symptoms that kick in after not using the drug for a certain number of hours. The thought of willingly enduring that pain can be a roadblock for many. Some may even wonder: Can you die from heroin withdrawal? Maybe they have heard rumors of people who died in jail withdrawing from heroin. Maybe they have heard of people who tried to detox alone only to relapse, take too much of the drug, and overdose. Can you die from heroin withdrawal? While there are rare occurrences of withdrawal–related death, most likely, you will not.
What to Expect During Heroin Detox and Withdrawal
The heroin detox process follows a fairly predictable pattern. The first withdrawal symptoms appear between 6-12 hours after the last dose of heroin. The length of the detox period, as well as the severity of symptoms, will be dependent on factors such as the duration of the heroin habit, the level of heroin dosing, whether the individual also has a mental health disorder, and the general state of the individual’s health. All these factors will play a part in the detox experience.
Generally, symptoms will peak between 24-48 hours and then gradually subside. Most heroin detoxes are completed in 5-7 days, however long-lasting effects can linger, known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Heroin withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Teary eyes
- Muscle and joint pain
- Intense drug cravings
While some may wonder if you can you die from heroin withdrawal symptoms while going through detox, the fact is that, while extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable, it is highly unlikely that a person will die from it. Detox medical providers will provide comfort via medications that can significantly reduce these symptoms, and will monitor and support the individual from start to finish.
Medically Assisted Detox for Heroin Withdrawal
In recent years, heroin and opioid addiction treatment increasingly includes the use of certain medications that will aid during the early months of recovery in staving off relapse. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) involves using Suboxone, methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone to block the effects of opiates and methodically remove the desire to use them at all. The goal of using these drugs is to help the individual achieve a better quality of life through ending cravings and extending sobriety.
The drugs are usually intended to be used for up to 3-6 months following completion of an addiction treatment program, although in some cases they will be used for years. For the short-term users, a tapering schedule will begin after a certain number of months in recovery, weaning the individual off of the MAT. In some cases, these drugs can also help reduce withdrawal symptoms during detox, in addition to diminishing drug cravings.
Phoenix Rising Behavioral Provides Medical Detox Services for Heroin
Phoenix Rising Behavioral is an intensive outpatient treatment program serving South Orange County, California that provides medically monitored detox resources and subsequent heroin addiction treatment services. Phoenix Rising integrates 12-step programming, cognitive behavioral therapy, and attachment theory to guide individuals toward a new, productive and fulfilling life post-heroin. Don’t hesitate to get help for heroin thinking you can you die from heroin withdrawal. Let us assure you that you will receive a safe, monitored detoxification. For more information about the program, detox, and sober living services, please contact Phoenix Rising today at (877) 299-5694.