Heroin detox


When you are in the clutches of heroin addiction, detoxing from heroin can seem highly difficult, and for some, near impossible. However, a carefully monitored heroin detox in a professional setting will make the process as easy and as trouble-free as possible. Fortunately, heroin detox withdrawal doesn’t last too long and before you know it, you’ll have completed the crucial first step toward recovery. Read on to learn what heroin detox is, how to treat heroin withdrawal symptoms and what the heroin detox programme entails at Sanctuary Lodge.

Detox sign

What is heroin detox?

Heroin detox is the process where the body is deprived of heroin entirely, which means, the body will cleanse itself from all traces of heroin. Heroin detox comes with some unpleasant and possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms, this is because the brain’s chemicals have become accustomed to large doses of the drug, and are disrupted when heroin levels decrease. Although uncomfortable, it’s a necessary process people need to undergo if they are wanting to cease heroin dependence for good.

We highly advise you to seek professional medical assistance for your detox at a heroin detox clinic. Unassisted heroin detox can cause dangerous, or even fatal, health complications.

What are heroin withdrawal symptoms?

Man with anxiety due to heroin detox

When heroin is abused, it can take a significant toll on your physical and mental health. Due to the overwhelming potency of heroin as an opioid, it often induces very strong and unpleasant heroin withdrawal symptoms.

If you are wondering whether you are experiencing heroin withdrawal, here are some of the most common symptoms:

Physical heroin withdrawal symptoms

  • Itching or skin problems
  • Hypertension
  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle spasms or tremors
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fever or flu-like symptoms (runny nose, sweats, chills etc.)
  • Bone or muscle aches
  • Diarrhoea

Mental heroin withdrawal symptoms

  • Severe heroin cravings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Uncontrollable weeping
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulties with focus and concentration
  • Anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure)

What happens during heroin detox?

Here at Sanctuary Lodge, we offer inpatient heroin detox. Our professional medical team delivers many different forms of drug detox, including safe heroin detox.

Heroin detox timeline

Day one: you will experience relatively mild heroin withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, muscle aches, anxiety, and insomnia when you try to sleep on your first night of detox.

Days two-three: your heroin withdrawal will start to become more intense. You may experience symptoms such as body pains, shakes, diarrhoea, and panic attacks.

Days four-seven: the latter half of your first week of heroin detox is when your symptoms are likely to reach their peak. These include vomiting, stomach cramps, perspiration, flu-like symptoms, and severe heroin cravings.

After week one: your withdrawal symptoms should begin to wane as your dependency drops and your body adjusts to living without heroin.

Is heroin detox treatment available in the UK?

Helping hands

Fortunately, there are many options for heroin detox treatment currently offered by healthcare facilities around the UK. Heroin detox is a gradual process which clears heroin from your system. You can receive medically-assisted heroin detox at an outpatient or inpatient centre.

Outpatient heroin detox

Should you choose outpatient treatment, you will attend heroin detox sessions at a heroin detox day centre in your local area. Alternatively, you could travel to a day centre which is further away from home if you want to be removed from your triggers during detox. We recommend consulting your local GP for advice on how to access outpatient heroin detox.

Inpatient heroin detox

Sanctuary Lodge is one of eight UKAT residential treatment centres around England offering inpatient heroin rehab programmes. At the beginning of your programme, you will undergo heroin detox with the assistance of medical professionals. Heroin withdrawal symptoms typically worsen every time you detox, so one of the main benefits of detoxing in an overnight treatment centre is that our team can alleviate your symptoms with prescribed medication and emotional support. The medical team will monitor your dosages to ensure that you do not become dependent on this medication.

However, heroin detox alone is not enough to ‘cure’ your struggle. Long-term heroin recovery requires psychological therapy to address the root causes of your struggle. For this reason, our treatment for heroin dependence teaches you how to cope with your emotional traumas, stressors, and triggers.

Detoxing from heroin at Sanctuary Lodge

Set in the peaceful Surrey countryside, Sanctuary Lodge is an inpatient heroin detox centre. We provide a safe and secure environment in which you can detox from heroin and focus on your recovery. Withdrawing from heroin in this setting helps your body and mind to heal from the negative effects of heroin dependence.

It’s not just our state-of-the-art facilities that set us apart. Many of our highly-trained support workers are in recovery themselves. This allows our staff to truly empathise with your struggle and offer guidance and support during heroin detox.

Can I detox from heroin alone?

Whether you opt for outpatient or inpatient detox, it is vitally important to seek medical attention when you attempt heroin detox. Home detox or detoxing from heroin alone is very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Those who detox from heroin at home are far more susceptible to post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This is a severe reaction to substance withdrawal which can last for weeks or even months if you do not receive assistance from a medical professional during heroin detox. Withdrawing from heroin can be uncomfortable, which can discourage users from attempting heroin detox. This can perpetuate the continuing cycle of heroin abuse.

What to do if you are struggling with heroin withdrawal

The first step toward recovery if you are experiencing withdrawal from heroin is to reach out for help. This can be your family members, friends, or a medical professional such as your GP. Find out which options are available so that you can decide whether you would like to try outpatient or inpatient heroin detox.

At Sanctuary Lodge, many of our clients form friendships during heroin detox as they work through withdrawal symptoms together. Our Alumni programme enables clients to keep in touch and maintain their support network, a vital tool for aftercare and long-term recovery.

Frequently asked questions

Is the heroin withdrawal process the same as opioid withdrawal?
Heroin is a synthetic opioid. Therefore, the process of heroin withdrawal is similar to opioid withdrawal. However, heroin is also a potent and highly addictive drug which can cause adverse withdrawal symptoms if you do not undergo safe detox.
What happens after heroin detox?
If you attend outpatient heroin detox, you may be offered additional treatment on the NHS and advised to attend a support group like Narcotics Anonymous. After heroin detox at Sanctuary Lodge, you will complete a holistic programme of various therapies to give you the best possible chance at making a full recovery.
close help
Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0203 811 7325