Heroin Tolerance and
With regular heroin use, tolerance develops. This means the abuser must use more heroin to achieve the same intensity of effect. As higher doses are used over time, physical dependence and addiction develop. With physical dependence, the body has adapted to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms may occur if use is reduced or stopped.
Withdrawal, which in regular abusers may occur as early as a few hours after the last administration, produces drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey"), kicking movements ("kicking the habit"), and other symptoms. Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose and subside after about a week. Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health is occasionally fatal, although heroin withdrawal is considered less dangerous than alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal.
What's it like
It's difficult to say exactly what it will be like for each individual detoxing from heroin as the experience varies widely. However, it is the experience of detoxing that keeps many people who want off heroin from being successful. Detoxing off heroin you are likely to:
Many people confuse detox with treatment. Detox should be seen only as the beginning of a longer process. Typically, inpatient detox lasts for five to seven days. Treatment, which may be done on an outpatient or inpatient basis will likely last up to 90 days.
There is a broad range of treatment options for heroin addiction, including medications as well as behavioral therapies. Science has taught us that when medication treatment is integrated with other supportive services, patients are often able to stop heroin (or other opiate) use and return to more stable and productive lives.