heroin withdrawals

Heroin Withdrawals: What to Expect and How to Treat

Heroin withdrawal is a symptom of heroin addiction that lasts from a few days to several weeks. It is the body’s withdrawal response to the physical dependence on the drug. Heroin withdrawal is a medical condition and can be very uncomfortable. It is not something someone should go through alone, especially if they are addicted to heroin. Though the process can be distressing and difficult, withdrawal from heroin is not fatal. With the right support and care, it can be managed to allow the individual to begin their recovery process.

What Causes Heroin Withdrawal?

The effects of heroin can last for hours, days, and even weeks after the last dose. When you stop taking the drug, the body has no way to replenish its supply. This is because heroin is an opioid and occurs naturally in the body in extremely small amounts.  Because heroin is so addictive, many people continue to crave it long after they stop taking the drug. This is known as physical dependence and is a sign that withdrawal is coming.

Signs of Heroin Withdrawal

Some of the most common signs of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Restlessness – This is a sign the brain is trying to get back to normal. Feelings of restlessness and irritability are common occurrences during this time.
  • Cravings – A sign that the brain is in withdrawal, cravings will occur more frequently and intensely as time goes on. 
  • Depression – Another common sign of withdrawal, depression can be intense and can last for several days.

How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?

If a person is physically dependent on heroin, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. This can last between one and two weeks, depending on the person’s level of dependence and overall health. These symptoms are nothing to be ashamed of and are completely normal.  The length of time a person is dependent on heroin will determine how long it takes to go through withdrawal. 

However, it takes longer to withdraw from a higher dose.  It is best to talk to a medical professional or someone who is trained in heroin usage to determine the proper dose to discontinue. It’s also important to note that everyone’s body reacts differently to the same dose. For this reason, it’s a good idea to try a couple of different methods to determine the best way to detox.

Treating Heroin Withdrawal

There is no medication that can make heroin go away, but there are support systems that can help those who are going through withdrawal. It is important to note that this should not be a struggle and there are resources available and people who are ready to offer support. There are many support groups that can provide guidance and help during heroin withdrawal.

 It is not uncommon for someone to feel very isolated during this time, so being able to connect with others experiencing the same thing can be very helpful.  It’s also important to keep in mind that withdrawal is not a permanent condition. It is just a sign that something is not working for your body anymore. With the right support and care, it can be manageable and managed.

Is Heroin Withdrawal Fatal?

Although symptoms of withdrawal can be intense, they are not life-threatening. There are medications that can help with the discomfort and cravings, so they should not be ignored.  Though they usually don’t last long, they can be intense and uncomfortable. It’s important that people don’t feel alone during this time and that there are resources available for support. It’s also important to keep in mind that it will pass, so it’s not something to fear.


Withdrawal from heroin is a symptom of opioid dependence and is not fatal. It can be uncomfortable and take anywhere from one to two weeks to be over. You can ease the process by finding a treatment center, getting clean, and staying clean. If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, there are resources and support systems to help.

Trust Oasis Recovery 

Addiction and mental health disorders can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently living with one of these issues, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services. Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:

  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
  • Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
  • Aftercare Services

Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with this on your own. We are here to help. 

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