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Woman upset and uncomfortable at her home possibly in danger from quitting heroin without medical supervison

Dangers of Quitting Heroin Cold Turkey

May 24, 2022

The choice to quit using heroin or any illegal substance is wise, but what becomes critical in safely and successfully stopping using heroin lies with the approach you choose. Without knowing the dangers of quitting heroin on your own, you might be putting your health and well-being in harm’s way.

Onset of Serious Health Problems

Heroin withdrawal can start 6-12 hours after the last dose. However, these symptoms can last several days without diminishing until a week has passed. Without being prepared to manage these symptoms safely, you may experience mild to severe discomfort and even life-threatening results.

You may experience some of the following mild symptoms: nausea, abdominal cramps, tearing, runny nose, sweats, chills, yawning, and muscle and bone aches. Moderate symptoms are more uncomfortable and include vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, restlessness, tremors, trouble concentrating, and fatigue. Severe withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, insomnia, depression, hypertension, rapid heart rate, muscle spasms, impaired respiration, difficulty feeling pleasure, and drug cravings.

Lack of Medical Expertise

While going through heroin withdrawal at home may be more private, complications from medical and psychological symptoms present a clear and present danger. Without medical knowledge and resources, you may put yourself at unnecessary risk for more severe consequences. Even having the support of a family member doesn’t compare to the quality of care in a medically-supervised setting where blood pressure, oxygen levels, and breathing can be monitored.

Delay in Getting Medical Care

As withdrawal symptoms intensify, managing them in a timely fashion is critical. However, a delay in proper care could lead to medical emergencies that cannot be addressed in a home setting. For example, dangers of quitting heroin may include complications are related to the heart or respiratory system. In that case, the lack of available medical care could have permanent consequences on a person’s health and well-being.

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

In addition to physical withdrawal symptoms, unmanaged psychological symptoms can disrupt a person’s ability to detox successfully. These symptoms may have been present before the drug use or may coincide with the drug use. The list includes extreme cravings, anxiety and irritability, moderate to severe depression, erratic changes in mood and behavior, hallucinations and delusions, and psychosis and paranoia.

Lack of Medication Support

Without medical detox, access to prescription medication to help ease the symptoms of heroin withdrawal is not an option. However, these pharmacologic treatments for opioid dependence increase the chances of a safe and successful detox by reducing the severity of symptoms and eliminating cravings.

Lowered Risk of Successful Detoxing

An unsuccessful detox experience at home can derail a person’s attempt to start a recovery plan. By delaying the completion of detox, the person cannot work on a long-term plan toward recovery. As a result, the person may become discouraged with their efforts to quit drinking and using drugs and relapse within a short time. Without adequate support and education during the detox process, the road to recovery can become more complex.

5 Reasons to Consider Medical Detox for Heroin Abuse

1. Medical detox eliminates the risk of heroin withdrawal complications.

The severity of withdrawal symptoms and danger of quitting heroin is shaped by the level of dependence and the duration of the abuse. Medical detox removes the risk of the most severe consequences through the use of combined therapies and medications such as Suboxone. In addition, a patient avoids experiencing the worst of the withdrawal outcomes while in a safe and comfortable setting.

2. Medical detox for heroin abuse includes round-the-clock care.

From a person’s last use of the drug, heroin withdrawal symptoms don’t subside for about a week. That can feel like a long time for someone experiencing those symptoms. For example, at a medical detox, a team monitors the patient, so new symptoms can be detected immediately and treated promptly, whether they happen in the middle of the day or the middle of the night.

3. Medical detox for heroin abuse can address co-occurring physical and mental health conditions.

A person abusing heroin may already have unmet physical and mental health needs related to drug use. They may appear as injuries, chronic conditions, or lack of hygiene and self-care. Patients may be aware that they suffer from anxiety, depression, or trauma. Medical detox can address these unmet needs and respond to them to help a patient prepare for the comprehensive recovery work ahead.

4. Medical detox for heroin abuse can provide a diagnosis of underlying conditions.

For some people, a mental health disorder diagnosis may have already happened. Other people abusing heroin may be unaware they’ve been living with anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns. However, a medically-supervised heroin detox setting is a place where this type of co-occurring disorder can be discovered. In doing so, a patient can learn why they have struggled in the past to quit abusing heroin or relapsed quickly after detox.

5. Medical detox for heroin abuse informs a patient of the next steps in the recovery work.

Patients who complete a medical detox for heroin abuse become more informed about options to direct their recovery journey proactively. In addition, a personalized treatment plan helps patients make informed choices about what type of treatment resources are available and which are most aligned with their needs.

Restored Path’s Solution

Restored Path Detox is DFW’s premier location for sophisticated medical detox. Conveniently located in Frisco, we provide a safe sanctuary for healing that is also a state-of-the-art detoxification facility for a wide range of substances. Our compassionate physicians and therapists want you to get well and are committed to removing any existing barriers to your care. Restored Path’s team of board-certified physicians and highly qualified nursing team have extensive critical care experience and are available to monitor your detox program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol use, call us today and take your first step towards recovery: 469-827-0000.

If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol use, call us today and take your first step towards recovery: (469) 827-0000.

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