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At-Home Heroin Detox: Is It Safe? Effective?

Millions of Americans use prescription painkillers for recreational use. Some of them report “upgrading” their drug use to heroin – an illegal opioid. These people are most likely addicted to the drug and feel like they cannot function without it. 

Individuals who struggle with opioid use disorder and suddenly stop taking opioids will begin to feel the discomforting and painful withdrawal symptoms opioids bring. When the symptoms are felt, many people feel like they can’t take them, so they go back to using heroin or another opioid. 

Heroin withdrawal is not usually a life-threatening situation. It can, however, cause a person to experience some really uncomfortable physical symptoms. Many people who have gone through heroin or opioid withdrawal at home have said it is like having the flu multiplied three times. 

There are things you can do at home to make detoxing from heroin safe. Keep reading to find out what you need to do.

Heroin Detox at Home

Withdrawal symptoms from heroin usually being six to 12 hours after the last use and can peak between one to three days. Generally, the symptoms will subside in five to seven days. Heavy heroin users could experience longer withdrawal in what is called Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome or PAWS. 

Withdrawal Symptoms and Home Remedies

Sometimes, you just want to be in your own home when you’re feeling the effects of heroin detox or what some users call being “dope sick.”

Below are the withdrawal symptoms you could expect and how to prepare and/or deal with them.

  • Fever: Temperature is more than 99 degrees F. If your temperature is above 103 F, seek medical assistance. At home, use a cold compress on your face, neck, or chest to ease the heat from a fever. Keep some ice packs and frozen ice treats in the freezer to use when needed.  
  • Muscle aches: Use a heating pad or a microwavable heat pad to ease aches and pains.
  • Restlessness, agitation, anxiety: Write down a list of home projects that need to be done, and start working your day down the list. Start with small projects because getting them done first will help you to feel like you have accomplished something. Turn on some of your favorite music to boost the natural endorphins in your brain. Snack on something you love while you’re at it.
  • Tearing eyes: Use a soft cloth or soft tissues to dab at tearing eyes. Be careful not to rub them, or they will become sore and start tearing again.
  • Runny nose: Use soft tissues or a soft handkerchief to “mop up” a runny nose and keep it from becoming too sore. An antihistamine can also stop the drips. It will also help ease the “creepy crawlies” feeling.
  • Excessive sweating: A damp, cool cloth on your forehead, neck, or chest can ease this symptom. Also, keep some dry towels close to use when sitting on furniture or sleeping. Wear old T-shirts or something that you won’t mind getting all sweaty.
  • Sleeplessness: A cup of warm chamomile or Sleepy Time tea can help naturally ease you into sleep. A warm shower is also a good idea. It’s comforting and relaxing. 
  • Low energy: This is a natural effect of all of the above symptoms. Go with the flow and don’t try to push it.
  • Abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting: Dramine and Antivert are good products to have on hand if you are vomiting and feeling sick. Imodium is good for diarrhea. Sports drinks or Pedialyte are beneficial to keeping hydrated. Ginger chews, ginger ales, or ginger teas can ease upset stomachs.

If you don’t have these things and have started to detox, use one of the shopping and delivery services available in your area.

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What’s Next After Home Heroin Detox?

After you have gone through the arduous heroin detox at home safely, what’s next?

You might want to meet with other heroin users who kicked the addiction. Narcotics Anonymous is a group that uses the 12-step model of self-help. You might also want to consider alternative methods to stay sober and comfortable. 

Heroin in a syringe and a spoon

Detoxing is not an easy process to go through, and it can be dangerous to go it alone. The risk of becoming severely dehydrated is probable because of the symptoms of sweating, vomiting, and having diarrhea. 

If, after reading all of the above, you decide not to detox from heroin at home, it is best to reach out to a reputable detox center. These centers provide all of the medical and psychological support you will need as you fight your way through the process. If a medical emergency should occur, all the help you need is right there already. 

In conclusion, you can detox from heroin at home safely. But why would you? Professional, medical and psychological support are at your side if you go to an accredited detox center. A professional treatment facility has evidenced-based data to prove its detox successes. 

The support these facilities offer helps keep users on the right path to recovery. When engaged in this program, you will not be in the same environment where drug use was prevalent.

It may seem more comfortable to stay home during this time, but if you really want to get clean and kick heroin addiction, you should check into around-the-clock care. It is critical to have all the help and support you will need – medically and psychologically.

Sources

Verywellmind. How Long Does Withdrawal From Heroin Last? Hartney, E., Ph.D. Gans, Steven, MD. October 8, 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-to-expect-from-heroin-withdrawal-22049

Kaiser Health News. What ‘Dope Sick’ Really Feels Like. Rinker. Brian. February 8, 2019 from https://khn.org/news/what-dope-sick-really-feels-like/

Medical News Today. Can you treat opiate withdrawal symptoms at home? Written by-Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, CCRN Reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT. July 19, 2018 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322521.php

Healthline. Home Remedies to Ease Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms. Written by- Christine Case-Lo, Reviewed by -Rogers, Graham, MD. August 5, 2016 from https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-opiate-withdrawal#tips

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