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How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?

Heroin is a powerful opioid drug that is highly addictive and considered a primary driver of America’s opioid crisis. In 2020 alone, more than 13,000 people died from a heroin overdose.[1] Unfortunately, the powerfully addictive nature of heroin is what makes stopping the substance so difficult. When people try to stop using opioids like heroin, their body needs time to adjust to not having the substance, and flu-like withdrawal symptoms set in.

If you or someone you love is addicted to heroin, you know how grueling the process of heroin withdrawal can be. Although detox centers can help you get through the process safely, you may have a lot of questions, like what is heroin withdrawal like and how long does heroin withdrawal last?

How long heroin withdrawal lasts and how severe a person’s symptoms become depends on several individual factors, like how long they’ve been addicted or how frequently they use heroin. However, most people see their symptoms improve after one week.


Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

Acute withdrawal is what happens when you first stop taking an addictive substance and experience uncomfortable symptoms. Drug and alcohol withdrawal is considered one of the most difficult parts of the recovery process.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms mimic symptoms of the flu and can vary from one person to the next. If you are detoxing from heroin, you may not experience all of these symptoms at the same time. Instead, they may come and go as the heroin withdrawal timeline processes, and they may change on a day-by-day basis.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:[2]

  • Teary eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive yawning
  • Anxiety
  • Drug cravings
  • Cold sweats
  • Chills or goosebumps
  • Muscle and bone aches/pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline: How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?

Factors That Determine How Long Heroin Withdrawal Lasts


Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

There are a number of factors that influence how long heroin withdrawal lasts as well as the severity of symptoms that occur. As a result, the heroin withdrawal timeline may be different from one person to the next. Generally speaking, heroin withdrawal begins 6-24 hours after taking your last dose and lasts for about a week. Some individuals experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) where some minor symptoms come and go for several months.

Here is a general timeline of what you can expect during heroin withdrawal.

6-24 Hours After Your Last Dose

Even though it can take up to a week to fully detox from heroin, withdrawal symptoms can begin as quickly as six hours after your last dose. In the first 24 hours, you can expect to feel muscle aches, general pain and discomfort, watery eyes and running nose, diarrhea, insomnia, anxiety, and intense drug cravings.

1-3 Days After Your Last Dose

Sometime between one and three days, your withdrawal symptoms will peak. You may experience the previously mentioned symptoms increasing in intensity, but also stomach aches, nausea, vomiting, and sweating.

4-7 Days Into Addiction Recovery

After the third day of heroin withdrawal, your symptoms should begin to slowly subside. By days four to seven, you should begin feeling much better, with only minor symptoms and some physical discomfort lingering. Some psychological symptoms like depression, irritability, and anxiety may continue.

1+ Weeks to Several Months After Quitting Heroin

While the acute stage of heroin withdrawal only lasts about one week, long-time users may experience PAWS that can last several weeks or months. Symptoms of PAWS include depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and drug cravings. These symptoms are best managed with the help of a comprehensive drug treatment program.

Factors That Determine How Long Heroin Withdrawal Lasts

The average person can expect heroin withdrawal to last about a week, however, there are several individual factors that can influence the heroin withdrawal timeline. Some of these factors include:

  • Tolerance and frequency of use – Heroin is an illicit substance and no two batches are exactly alike. Also, some people use heroin that is more potent than others. Your individual tolerance level and frequency of heroin use can influence how long withdrawal takes. People with high tolerance and very frequent use can expect the withdrawal process to be more severe and longer lasting.[3]
  • Duration of heroin dependence – How long you have been physically dependent on heroin is a major dictating factor in the heroin withdrawal timeline. The longer you’ve been addicted, the longer heroin withdrawal is going to take.[3]
  • Age, weight, metabolism, and overall health – Younger individuals who are in perfect health with a quick metabolism will clear heroin from their bodies faster than someone who is older or with a slowed metabolism. Additionally, certain health conditions like liver or kidney disease may impact opioid withdrawal.[4]
  • History of opioid use and withdrawal – People who have struggled with opioid dependence and/or withdrawal in the past may experience symptoms for longer periods of time than those who have not.

Fortunately, a certified drug detox center can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation and individually-tailored detox plan to help you get through heroin withdrawal safely and comfortably.

Get Help From a Heroin Detox Center in West Palm Beach

No matter how long you’ve been addicted or the challenges you’re currently facing. Getting through heroin withdrawal can be painful, uncomfortable, and extremely difficult. The best way to stop using heroin is to get professional help from trained addiction specialists.

Our drug detox center in West Palm Beach provides all patients with a safe, supportive setting and top-notch medical care. These services can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms as well as the risk of relapse.

If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, today is the day to get help. Call now to speak with one of our trusted addiction specialists.