Heroin Withdrawal: Symptoms and Treatment


Heroin is a strong analgesic painkiller used to relieve acute to severe pain conditions such as those caused by severe physical trauma or injury, post surgical pain, myocardial infarction (commonly known as heart attack), and cancer pains. However, the drug’s medical use has been quickly overshadowed by instances of abuse, misuse, and addiction by people aged 15 to 65, in the US as well as in other countries.

While heroin use induces a state of relaxation and euphoria, sudden stop in taking the drug could bring pains and discomfort. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Craving for the drug
  • Restlessness
  • Body achesheroin abuse
  • Cold sweats and chills
  • Constipation
  • Cramps in the body
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Yawning
  • Fever
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased irritability
  • Tears and runny nose

According to the addictionblog.org, one of the reasons that make heroin withdrawal so painful is because the drug is considered one of the strongest opiates that ever existed. Sadly, it also has one of the highest dependency rate in the world. In 2009, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 600,000 million Americans age 12 and older had abused heroin at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.

A number of treatment options are available for heroin abusers to help them deal with withdrawal symptoms. These treatments include counseling, group therapy, medication (pharmacotherapy), and supervised home withdrawal.

With home remedies, it is important to proactively of withdrawal symptoms to successfully wean off heroin. For easing aches and pains, warm showers or bath, massages, and application of heating pads are helpful. Psychological symptoms could be addressed by encouraging the heroin user to practice medication or perform exercise, as well as discover new hobbies to divert their attention from the drug.

Pharmacotherapy-based treatments may often involve taking Methadone which helps reduce the impact of heroin on the drug dependent individual. Other medications used are Buprenorphine and Naltrexone.

Treatment options are most effective when they are tailored according to the person’s specific situation. In some cases, drug specialists or rehab doctors may use a combination of methods to eliminate specific symptoms.

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