When Does Heroin Withdrawal Start?

When someone abuses drugs, they will often develop a physical dependence, which is different from an addiction. When you’re physically dependent on a drug like heroin, your body has readjusted to the presence of the drug, so it’s not having it that actually leads you to feel ill.

Heroin dependence can start very quickly—for many people after just a few times of doing the drug.  Opioid withdrawal can be particularly difficult for people because it’s uncomfortable, but it’s a necessary part of not using drugs anymore.

The severity of heroin withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the individual as well as their level of drug abuse, but generally when you’re addicted to heroin and physically dependent on it, the symptoms and timetable follow a standard path.

So, when does heroin withdrawal start and when do heroin withdrawals peak will be covered below.

When Does Heroin Withdrawal Start?
People often feel fearful and apprehensive about not using heroin anymore for many reasons, including their fear of what withdrawal will feel like.

When your body is dependent on heroin, and you suddenly stop using, it can feel like what some people call the “super flu.”

General signs of heroin withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Achiness and pains
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Excessive yawning
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tearing of the eyes
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Concentration problems

As mentioned, these signs of withdrawal can vary among individuals, particularly based on how long they’ve used heroin and how much they regularly used.

While most symptoms of heroin withdrawal go away after a relatively short period, there can be longer-lasting symptoms that stick around as well. These longer lasting symptoms can include fatigue, paranoia, high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat.

So, when does heroin withdrawal start and when do heroin withdrawals peak?

For some people heroin withdrawal can start as soon as four hours after the last dose of the drug is taken. However, for people who are long-time chronic users of heroin or have used large amounts of the drug, heroin withdrawal may take longer to start because they have the drug built up in their system.

Most people who are addicted to heroin answer the question of when does heroin withdrawal start with anywhere from 6 to 12 hours after they take their last dose.

As far as when do heroin withdrawals peak, it’s usually within 1 to 3 days after taking the last dose. Then, withdrawal symptoms usually start subsiding after five to seven days, although it can take longer for some people. If you’re a chronic heroin user, for example, it may take three or four weeks or withdrawal symptoms to subside.

Also to go along with the answers to when does heroin withdrawal start and when do heroin withdrawals peak is the following estimated timeline:

  • Phase 1: This is usually days 1-3, and this is when the first signs of heroin withdrawal start. Symptoms can be uncomfortable, but this is the time when relapse is most likely to occur, so it’s important for people to participate in a medically supervised heroin detox. Symptoms in phase one can include aggression and irritation, headaches, muscle aches and pains, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, stomach aches and sweating.
  • Phase 2: When do heroin withdrawals peak? It’s usually at the end of phase one or the start of phase two. Symptoms of phase two include cramping, muscle aches, shivering, and fatigue.

Following phase one and two some people may have symptoms of acute withdrawal that last longer, or they may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms, which are usually related to mental health and emotional symptoms. These can occur because of how heroin use has impacted the brain, and it takes time for these symptoms to go away and the brain effects to reverse themselves.

It’s essential that people who want to stop using heroin not just research answers to questions like “when does heroin withdrawal start” and “when do heroin withdrawals peak,” but also that they find a recovery solution that will help them navigate this difficult period and avoid relapse.

When Does Heroin Withdrawal Start?
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