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Heroin Detox Programme and Withdrawal Symptoms
Successful heroin detox is the first stage of our treatment plan. The detox will prime and prepare you for the consequent therapeutic approach we provide to help you combat your addiction to heroin. Our expert team of addiction and medical professionals will gently guide you through what may seem like a daunting challenge, but rest assured, with round-the-clock appropriate medical care and supervision, together we can make the impossible possible.
Heroin withdrawal syndrome and the symptoms often associated with a heroin detox could be complicated to manage alone; through experience, we have found that this withdrawal process, when left unmanaged, can often lead to relapse.
Once your detox programme has been completed, you would have the opportunity to go through special, personalised therapy. Therapy helps you to address the underlying causes of your addiction, as well as just the current symptoms you are feeling. We understand that each person is different, and their experiences and histories will be different; they need to be treated as such. However, addiction specialists agree that, when facing core issues, it is essential that you are clean of all dangerous substances.
Managing Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
We employ a team of professional addiction specialists who provide round-the-clock assistance and support. Everyone who will be working alongside you towards your recovery, and we have medical staff on standby 24/7. We will provide you with tailored, bespoke treatment to make sure the detoxification works well for you and your circumstances.
During the detoxification from heroin, any withdrawal symptoms would be observed and managed. Sometimes, medication may be necessary to calm down these symptoms or any co-occurring conditions. A licensed psychiatrist will decide, after a careful examination and discussion with you, if you need medical detox or not. Detox medication is not harmful if taken as prescribed and managed by a medical professional. Allow us to guide you through this essential process, and together we can make the first steps on your path of recovery.
Heroin detox medication
In some cases, in order to detox from heroin, we may deem it necessary for you to use an opiate detox medication. Substitutes for heroin will aid with your detox and make the whole process more manageable. When given with the right care, and in an appropriate setting, the withdrawal symptoms can be greatly reduced. Methadone is a heroin substitute that can be used to reduce the immediate symptoms of withdrawal. Buprenorphine (Subutex) is also a common medication used to manage the symptoms of withdrawal. These medications can provide you with both a sense of stability and clarity while undergoing the process of detox. They are both widely recognised as a successful detox tool in the field of addiction (1). A heroin substitute will help you to break the cycle of addiction in early recovery. At our treatment centre provision of medication is overseen by experienced addiction psychiatrists that access and determine the best course of action on individual needs
If you’re taking other drugs
Many people who seek help from our treatment centre are polydrug users, and we are more than adept at meeting all their needs. If you are dependent on more than one substance, an initial assessment with our addiction psychiatrist will enable us to tailor your individual detox plan. Identifying your dependencies asks for a lot on your part; thanks to your being open to us during this stage of your recovery, we will be able to create a more suitable and adequate plan. The more we know at this stage, the better we will be able to help you and consequently the easier your detox will be.
If you’re taking prescription medication
Before you start your detox, please inform your dedicated treatment supervisors of any prescription medications you are currently taking. This is necessary because some medications have what is known as contraindications. This means they could react adversely with the detox medications that may be provided. If you are unsure of which medications you take, your GP can provide you with a printed list.
Common Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
We understand that, very often, it is the heroin withdrawal symptoms that may have kept you from getting clean in the past. You are not alone, most heroin addicts have tried in vain to battle through the symptoms, often failing after a few days or even hours, perhaps you managed a week or two only to fall back again into the cycle of addiction. The most common withdrawal symptoms from heroin include:
Physical withdrawal symptoms
There are a number of physical withdrawal symptoms from heroin, some of which you may be all too familiar with. When craving heroin, you may have noticed that your nose starts to run. Yawning excessively and watering eyes are physical warning signs that your body is beginning to need its medication. You may also struggle with severe cramps in your stomach and battle against a restlessness that begins in the muscles and then seeps into the bones. The longer you manage to keep away from heroin, the more your body will physically crave it, and you could then encounter sleepless, sweating nights where you are nauseous and constantly anxious.
Rest assured that our experts understand addiction, in particular, the acute symptoms associated with heroin withdrawals and our detox medication will lessen these symptoms considerably. All detox clients are effectively managed by professional medical staff aiming to provide the highest standard of care for your stay. Heroin detox can be hazardous, and should not be managed alone. Though rare, some people may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This is when symptoms of withdrawal occur after the detox phase of recovery. Our medical team are highly trained to deal with, and advise you, should this arise.
Psychological withdrawal symptoms
Drugs don’t only induce physical dependence, but after prolonged use of any drug, they also create a psychological dependence on the substance. This is because they affect the chemistry of the brain. When you haven’t taken heroin for longer than usual, you may find yourself becoming extremely agitated and emotionally volatile during the psychological withdrawal stage.
Certain common symptoms of psychological withdrawal may include:
- Anxiety, such as panic attacks.
- Restlessness, finding yourself quick to anger.
- Lowered mood, elements of depression.
- Insomnia, or a desire to sleep all the time.
- A lack of cognitive function; you might find it difficult to remember things, or struggle to concentrate.
Please don’t fear these psychological withdrawal symptoms, because we are here to help. Our medical staff are used to dealing with all these symptoms. Our experience shows us that they don’t last when effectively managed in the right environment and with the right attitude.
How Long Does a Heroin Detox Last?
A heroin detox will usually last between 7 and 14 days. An assessment with an addiction psychiatrist to determine the severity of your addiction will decide the length of your detox and which medications you need if a medicated detox is necessary.
Keep in mind that heroin detox usually involves a tapering process. A heroin substitute will help you first feel stable; then gradually you can be gently and safely weaned off the substitute; which is easier to detox from than heroin itself. Your comfort and care are of the utmost importance to our medical staff who will help, guide and offer support through this early stage of your recovery.
Is a Heroin Detox Enough for Long Term Recovery?
A heroin detox alone is usually not enough to sustain long term recovery. Unfortunately, addiction is often a symptom of an underlaying cause, and without the proper time invested in uncovering the root causes of the addiction, relapse may occur.
The root causes of your addiction can be explored with group therapy, 1-2-1 psychotherapy, DBT, CBT and a whole range of other therapeutic modalities that we offer. You won’t be alone in this process, at our treatment centre, you will be able to walk alongside other people that have suffered from substance and opiate addictions. Together you will strive for a better life, learning about your addiction and the tools needed to beat it.
What Happens after a Heroin Detox?
After your detox, it will be time to enter our state-of-the-art residential rehab. You will most likely encounter a deep comradeship with the other people you are in treatment with, bonding over your shared desire for a better life. It is more than probable that you will find the process of rehabilitation a rewarding and gratifying.
During your stay, in order to treat the various addictions and issues related to heroin dependence, your therapists and the dedicated psychiatrist will use a carefully tailored combination of therapies and treatments, such as the 12-step framework, DBT, CBT, 1-2-1 therapy, group therapy, various holistic therapies such as mindfulness, yoga and meditation. We also explore art, music and other creative therapies.
The 12-step framework
We have taken a more modern approach and adopted this into our programme to use both the ideals which help so many heal through the 12-steps, but without it being imposing, this is part of our integrative programme.
During individual therapies, you will talk with a dedicated therapist. You may discuss with them any and all problems, desires, plans and ideas you have; you can trust them completely to be professional, devoted and honest. Individual therapies include artistic ways to express yourself, discussions and traditional psychotherapies.
When in a group environment, we tend to open up a lot more and discuss things we usually don’t think about during psychotherapy sessions. This is why the main focus during your treatment will be sharing experiences and listening to others’ experiences; mutual support is an essential part of your treatment during your stay.
Aftercare is the last step of the structured detox and rehabilitation process. Once you complete your rehab programme with us, we will help you set up a 12-month plan which includes group and individual counselling sessions, as well as family support ones. In addition to the free aftercare programme, we also have the unique opportunity called UKAT Alumni
Frequently Asked Questions