Detox From Heroin: Options and Tips

Detox From Heroin: Options and Tips, Heroin was discovered in the late 19th Century purely accidentally by a scientist called Felix Hoffman who worked for a German pharmaceutical company which later became Bayer Pharmaceuticals. When told to create a weaker form of codeine which was part of the opium poppy, he ended up creating a compound which was 1.5 to 2 times more powerful than morphine on its own. Because the person being given the morphine was seen as being “heroic” in putting up with the pain, the name was based on the word ”Heroisch” and so became heroin.

There was no need for any heroin detox those days as very few people knew about it, however by 1970 it was completely outlawed in the USA who made it a crime for anyone to possess heroin itself or compounds containing heroin — of course, this opened the doors to the huge drug trafficking trades that now exists around the world, with Afghanistan now producing 87% of the world’s heroin.

How Does Heroin Make You Feel?

A heroin addict who has been through heroin detox, and who is now in recovery wrote a blog on how he felt when taking heroin: he described it very simply as “just nice”, and how everything looked fine; life was beautiful and humanity was beautiful. So we can get an idea of euphoric feelings of peace, harmony, and contentedness. In addition, heroin made him who he wished he was, and it made his life worth living. But here is where the beauty ends — now, he needs more each day to generate the same feelings, more costs more money, more is difficult to get, more means you need your own dealer, more means your dealer has a gun —and so the whole peaceful scenario deteriorates into a potential disaster and a possible violent end.

From this, you can see how easy it is to get addicted to something so simple and “nice”. They say that heroin addiction will kill you — well, any addiction will eventually kill you – but heroin is supposedly the worst one, does the most damage and is the hardest to come off. The stark truth is that very few people decide to come off heroin on their own — it is only normally when they end up in hospital after an overdose — if they are lucky enough to be found in time — that sometimes, they can be persuaded to get help. Often the anticipation or thought of going into heroin detox can force even the most determined addicts to simply carry on taking the drug rather than struggling through a heroin detox process.

The Process of Heroin Detox

The symptoms of heroin withdrawal can include the following:

  • Sweating
    Loss of appetite
     Vomiting accompanied by nausea
     Tummy ache
     Cramping muscles

If you are lucky enough to have been found and rescued after an overdose, and you have made that hard decision to go through with your heroin detox, be prepared for a long, uphill battle — it is not easy — that is why so many addicts fall off the wagon and go back. You have to keep fighting every step of the way, you have to believe you will get better.

Luckily enough, none of these detox symptoms are as life threatening as actual addiction to heroin. With the right medication — usually one of these is used to take the edge off the stark reality you know have to deal with — Methadone, Buprenorphine or Naltrexone — you will find yourself slowly returning to current reality. These medications all have different degrees of effectiveness in the detox or withdrawal process and help you to cope with the dreadful feelings you have to go through. In addition, the doses are carefully measured to taper off the ”addicted” effects as time passes. They have to be used in a controlled medical environment with proper supervision — remember that all the staff only want you to get well and healthy again. They are there to help and assist you.

Rapid detoxification

There is another form of heroin detox called “rapid detoxification”. This is an extremely fast way of coming off heroin and it is used only under a general anesthetic. The patient is sedated and given injections of opiate blockers — such as naltrexone, naloxone, and nalbuphine – which immediately stop the effects of the heroin in your system. Total detox is reached in about 4 to 8 hours. Obviously, this can be quite a shock to your body, so the patient is also treated with muscle relaxants and anti-nausea medications. There are great risks attached to this rapid heroin detox process and it is usually only used for people who have tried several times to stop and failed. It eases the terrible withdrawal feelings and body aches.

Lastly, there is a process called “stepped rapid detoxification”. It is very similar to the rapid method but is done a bit slower and using oral medications rather than intravenous ones. And it can be controlled slightly easier as the pace of withdrawal can be monitored more effectively. You would be awake and in communication with the staff about how you are feeling during the whole time, so it is a very personal process with particular personal care.


There are one or 2 other processes but they are extremely risky, as well as costly and very painful. Heroin addiction is one of the worst habits to have as it undoubtedly leads to criminal behavior. It is also very easy to become infected with HIV due to the sharing of needles. Sometimes people die of HIV or Pneumonia, but they were actually Heroin addicts whose systems were so weakened they were unable to fight the other diseases.

It is also very important for the person going through the heroin detox process to have the psychiatric backup and to be receiving psychological help in the group or individual therapy. Try to stay away from drugs, do not even try them out — that is the best way, then you never know what you are missing — which actually turns out to be nothing anyway.

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