Tag Archives: Detox

Frequently Asked Questions About Suboxone and Heroin Detox

FAQs On Suboxone And Heroin Detox - Fight Addiction Now

At Fight Addiction Now, we’ve written quite a bit about recovering from heroin and Suboxone, but there are still several frequently asked questions about both substances that we’d like to address.

In specific, we would like to address questions people have about detoxing from heroin and Suboxone (which usually happens separately, of course). Get answers to all of the pressing heroin and Suboxone detox FAQs here.

What Are the Similarities Between Heroin and Suboxone?

Heroin and Suboxone (generic name buprenorphine) both come from the opioid family of drugs, and you could argue that both are rather exclusive. Heroin is exclusive in the sense that it is illegal. You can’t just go to the doctor and get a prescription for it; you have to know where to look and whom to ask (not that we recommend you do).

So even though heroin is exclusive in this sense, hundreds of thousands of Americans have figured out how to get their hands on it. The drug causes 10,000 or more overdose deaths each year (at least since 2014), ruins the lives of countless others, and sends tens of thousands to rehab every year.

Suboxone is exclusive because it’s a prescription drug that’s usually only prescribed for a very specific reason: detox from other opioids. Even though this drug is supposed to help cease your addition to opioids, some patients end up being dependent on it.

Thus, heroin and Suboxone both carry addiction risks (and overdose risks, as well). Both also create feelings of euphoria when taken. However, the way each reacts in the brain is quite distinct.

What Are the Differences Between Heroin and Suboxone?

People use heroin not only to numb pain, especially when their prescription for a legal opioid has run out, but also to experience feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Higher doses of this illegal drug can induce a floating, dream-like state.

Suboxone does has some pain-relieving properties, but not as strong as heroin does. People with low opioid tolerances may experience some euphoria when taking Suboxone, but it’s not one of the drug’s primary characteristics. Instead, as previously mentioned, Suboxone’s main intent is to help people overcome their physical dependence on other opioids, such as heroin.

The main difference between these two drugs in question is that heroin is a full agonist, while buprenorphine is a partial agonist. Full agonists such as heroin, morphine and oxycodone activate the opioid receptors in the brain and release the full opioid effect. Partial agonist activates the same receptors, but to a much lesser extent.

Suboxone also has antagonist properties, meaning it blocks the effects of other opioids. This is thanks to the substance naloxone that is present in Suboxone. Classifying buprenorphine solely as an opioid blocker would be misleading, however. It’s in its own category and is not a replacement or substitution for any other opioid.

Are There Similar Withdrawal Symptoms Between Heroin and Suboxone?

Heroin and Suboxone certainly share some of the some withdrawal symptoms. But instead of only listing the common symptoms between the two, we will give the full lists of withdrawal symptoms for each, with the similar ones in bold.

Potential withdrawal symptoms of heroin include:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Irritability and/or aggression
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Muscles spasms and aches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tremors and convulsions
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Potential Suboxone/buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia or drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues (indigestion)
  • Fever or chills
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Irritability
  • Drug cravings

As you can see, there is great overlap between the two forms of withdrawal. The primary difference is that the more extreme symptoms of heroin withdrawal (hallucinations, seizures, convulsions, etc.) aren’t typically seen in Suboxone withdrawal.

What Is the Heroin Withdrawal Timeline Like?

The heroin withdrawal timeline will differ according to the severity of the addiction, but here is the average timeline to expect in detox:

  • 6 to 24 hours after the last dose: Acute withdrawal begins.
  • 2 to 3 days in: Symptoms peak.
  • 5 to 10 days in: Heroin completely leaves the system, and acute withdrawal concludes.

After acute withdrawal, you still have to watch for recurring symptoms, known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which can last months or years.

We’ve written an entire article if you would like to know more about what to expect in heroin withdrawal:

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline Guide

How Long Is the Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline?

The withdrawal timeline of Suboxone is similar to that of heroin, but Suboxone has slightly more noticeable mental health effects after the acute withdrawal period. Much of this is because buprenorphine has quite a long half-time, meaning it stays in the system longer.

The Suboxone withdrawal timeline will vary for each user, but the average timeline looks like:

  • First 24 hours after the last dose: Acute withdrawal will begin at some point during day one.
  • 3 days in: Symptoms reach their highest intensity.
  • 1 week in: Acute withdrawal begins to subside, but body aches, mood swings and insomnia linger.
  • 2 weeks in: Physical symptoms subside as depression begins to take over.
  • 1 month in: Depression may persist, and drug cravings start to return.

Since Suboxone withdrawal tends to drag out before finally going away, it’s best to seek professional detox and long-term care to overcome this addiction. It’s especially crucial since the cravings for Suboxone are a threat to return after the traditional 30-day treatment period.

Will I Be Given Suboxone to Detox from Suboxone?

Many detox programs will try to find natural ways to help you overcome Suboxone withdrawal. However, the medical professionals may deem that the best way to get you off Suboxone is with a tapered Suboxone regimen, ironically.

That’s why it’s best to look for a certified medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program to help you get off Suboxone. Such a program will start you with a manageable dose of Suboxone and then strategically wean you off the drug for good, in a way that minimizes the withdrawal symptoms.

What Is Suboxone Detox Tapering Like?

If you enter a MAT-certified drug rehab center where you’re planning to stay from detox to inpatient and even to the outpatient stage, the staff can taper you off Suboxone more slowly. For example, the medical providers might taper your dose down by 25 percent every 10 days.

But if you enter a standalone detox facility and need to be off Suboxone before you move on to the next stage of recovery, the detox team may deploy an emergency buprenorphine taper. This means they will wait until the onset of withdrawal, and then administer small doses of buprenorphine (e.g. 1 milligram or smaller) every hour until withdrawal is tolerable. Withdrawal still won’t be easy, but you will be stable and ready to come off Suboxone by the time you leave the facility.

For long-term buprenorphine tapering, it’s best to take your full dose at the beginning of the day and not spread it out over every few hours. This way, there is no need to think about it for the rest of the day, and you won’t be sitting around waiting anxiously for the next dose. This protocol is also beneficial because it will be harder to adjust to eventually taking Suboxone zero times per day when you were used to taking it two to four times each day.

Can I Use Kratom Instead of Suboxone to Detox from Opioids?

Kratom is an herbal substance that has some pain-relieving, stimulant and psychotropic (mind-altering) properties. This substance has been banned in a handful of states and certain counties within states, but it is legal in a majority of the U.S.

We’ve heard stories of people turning to kratom instead of Suboxone to help them beat opioid addiction, including from our own readers. There has even been some talk about using kratom as a supplement to Suboxone.

It’s hard for us to attest to the effectiveness of using kratom during opioid detox, as the evidence is all anecdotal at this point, and kratom is not federally approved for detox treatment. All we can say is that if you want to read more about the kratom vs. Suboxone conversation, you can go here:

Kratom vs. Suboxone in Detox

Can I Detox from Either Heroin or Suboxone at Home?

If you’ve only been on small doses of heroin or Suboxone for a short time, that’s one thing. But if you have a full-blown addiction to either one of these drugs, definitely do not try to detox at home. Why?

  • Heroin withdrawal can be fatal. If you’re at the point of withdrawal where you start experiencing seizures, death is a legitimate risk if you’re not under medical supervision.
  • Suboxone detox is tricky and should be handled by professionals. Although Suboxone withdrawal is rarely deadly, relapse is a big risk because the drug takes a long time to get out of your system, and the symptoms linger for months. This makes people want to stop the withdrawal symptoms by taking more buprenorphine.

If you need help for yourself or a loved one in finding Suboxone or heroin treatment, Fight Addiction Now can help guide your search for the right program. Click on “Start Chat Now” or use our contact form to get in touch with an expert.

See Our Heroin Fact Sheet

Alcohol Detox Side Effects: Am I Really Going to Die If I Detox Alone?

Alcohol Detox Side Effects Can You Die From Alcohol Detox - Fight Addiction Now

Alcoholics know that if they go too long without having a drink, they’ll be hit with some seriously unpleasant side effects. However, far fewer realize that if their dependence on alcohol is strong enough, trying to quit cold turkey can be deadly.

The risk of death during alcohol withdrawal is very real. In fact, withdrawal is more dangerous with alcohol than any other drug of abuse, including both heroin and methamphetamine. So, if you’re asking the question, “Can you die from alcohol detox?” know that the answer is an emphatic yes.

Going through alcohol detox at home without medical support greatly increases the risk of potentially lethal complications and long-term health issues. By entering a medically assisted alcohol detox program, patients can get the help they need in a safe and controlled environment.

What Is Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detox is the process of purging all of the toxins from the body that have accumulated through the abuse of alcohol. The symptoms of alcohol detoxification can range from mild to severe, depending on variables like age, medical history and level of alcohol dependence.

Individuals with a history of prolonged and heavy alcohol abuse are at the greatest risk for serious complications and should seek help at a certificated detox facility.

The Importance of Medically Assisted Detox

Although many people assume that the only goal of medically assisted alcohol detox is to provide patients with rapid treatment of their physical withdrawal symptoms, there are actually a number of important reasons to consider medically supervised alcohol detox.

The benefits of medically assisted detox include:

Stable Environment

Patients entering a substance abuse detox facility are usually in a state of both emotional and physical turmoil. Before the process of detoxification begins, patients need to feel as calm and comfortable as possible. The stable environment of a medical detox facility can help put the patient’s mind at ease, which is crucial for completing detox successfully.

Around-the-Clock Medical Supervision

It’s important that patients have medical help close at hand during the detoxification process. At a medically assisted detox center, physicians can intervene immediately to treat any unwelcome side effects of withdrawal.

Doctors can also screen patients for preexisting medical conditions. If left untreated, co-occurring medical issues can lead to severe complications during detox.

Effective When Combined with Psychological Treatment

The top priority of any alcohol detox program is managing a patient’s physical health, but it’s important to address the patient’s mental health as well. Emotional counseling during detox greatly reduces the risk of relapse and helps to set the stage for a lifetime of sobriety.

Medications that May Be Used During Detox

Depending on a patient’s level of alcohol dependence, physicians may prescribe medications to combat alcohol withdrawal symptoms while detoxing. Benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax are commonly used during withdrawal to ease symptoms and prevent withdrawal-induced seizures.

However, those medications are becoming less and less popular for treating alcohol withdrawal, as they are highly addictive in their own right. Doctors are instead turning to non-addictive anti-seizure drugs, such as Dilantin, Tegretol and Neurontin.

Other drugs a doctor might prescribe to prevent relapse during alcohol detox include:


Sold under the brand name Vivitrol, naltrexone can block the effects of alcohol on the brain. It’s much easier to fight the urge to drink when alcohol no longer provides a pleasurable buzz, which is why naltrexone works so well for maintaining long-term sobriety.


The medication disulfiram is essentially the opposite of an addictive drug: If a patient drinks alcohol while taking disulfiram, they will experience an instant hangover, as their body won’t be able to break down the acetaldehyde in their blood.


Marketed under the brand name Campral, acamprosate helps to treat the chemical imbalances in the brain that result from alcoholism, allowing patients to work toward sobriety with a clearer mind.

The Stages of Alcohol Detox

There are three stages of detoxification from alcohol, with the first withdrawal symptoms appearing anywhere between six and 24 hours after having the last drink. Click on any of the following stages to learn more:

Stage 1 Detox

The first stage of alcohol detox side effects usually begins around eight hours after the last drink. Symptoms of stage one alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

This is usually how a severe alcoholic feels after waking up in the morning. Their relief only comes after downing the first drink of the day. Patients at an alcohol detox facility, however, move on to the second stage of detox.

Stage 2 Detox

In addition to many of the same symptoms one might experience during the first stage of alcohol withdrawal, the symptoms of stage two withdrawal include:

  • Increased blood pressure and body temperature
  • Mental confusion
  • Quick or shallow breathing
  • Anxiety and irritability

Stage two symptoms set in around 24 hours after the last drink. Depending on the patient’s level of alcohol dependence, the symptoms can last from anywhere from one to three days.

Stage 3 Detox

This stage of alcohol detox is the most dangerous time for patients, with potential symptoms including:

  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness
  • Severe trembling
  • Delirium tremens

If you’re going through this stage of alcohol detox, hopefully you’re receiving medical supervision as it happens. Why? Delirium tremens can be deadly if left untreated. These symptoms are much too severe to try to face on one’s own at home.

Alcohol Detox Side Effects: Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens (the DTs) is the reason why the alcohol detox death rate is so high. In fact, an estimated 5 percent of people who get the DTs die as a result. If left untreated, the DTs can also lead to the persistent alcohol withdrawal syndrome known as “PAWS.” This is a condition involving recurrent alcohol withdrawal symptoms years after the person has finished detoxing.

Not everyone who goes through alcohol withdrawal will experience the DTs. The National Institutes of Health has reported that delirium tremens are most common in long-term, heavy drinkers. This group is defined as those who drink on average at least eight drinks a day over a period of several years.

The symptoms of delirium tremens typically develop two to three days after a person’s last drink and reach peak intensity by day five. In some cases, however, more than a week may pass before symptoms develop.

Symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Fever
  • Vivid nightmares
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations

One particularly disturbing side effect of delirium tremens is the sensation of having small insects crawling either across or just under one’s skin. This condition is known as formication and has been known to trigger long-term psychological problems.

Never underestimate the risk of developing delirium tremens during withdrawal. For severe alcoholics, medically assisted detox is the only way to safely make it through the process of acute withdrawal.

Is Medically Assisted Detox Right for You?

Alcohol Detox Death Rate Seizure Delirium Tremens Stat - Fight Addiction NowIf you feel that your drinking has gotten out of control, or if you experience any of the withdrawal symptoms discussed in this article, it’s best to seek professional help before beginning the process of alcohol detoxification.

Overcoming an addiction to alcohol is not just a matter of mustering up the willpower to go cold turkey. Alcohol withdrawal is serious business, and trying to go it alone can be deadly.

Even if you have a less-severe case of alcoholism, you should still look for a medically supervised detox program. Serious complications can arise at any time, and it’s possible for the stress of withdrawal to trigger an undiagnosed co-occurring disorder. And for many, the intense alcohol cravings and various physical discomforts experienced during detox are simply too much to handle alone.

Beating an addiction to alcohol is hard enough, as is trying to be your own doctor at the same time. If you’re serious about achieving a life of sobriety, there’s no safer way to begin your journey than with medically assisted detox. See our alcohol addiction fact sheet, or take an online quiz to gauge if you’re actually addicted to alcohol.

Take the ‘Am I Addicted’ Quiz

Cocaine Detox: Do I Really Need to Go to Detox for Cocaine?

Cocaine Detox Process Do I Need Detox for Cocaine - Fight Addiction Now

Detox for Cocaine?

Yes, is the short answer. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are not as severe or life threatening as can in the case of alcohol, benzodiazepines and opioids. However, while cocaine detox is typically not life threatening, if a patient has underlying medical issues, it can be fatal. For example, patients may not know they have a heart condition until withdrawal symptoms begin and result in cardiac arrest.

If you are a healthy adult, chances are good that cocaine withdrawal will be safe and non-life threatening. Still, there are other reasons to seek inpatient detox when going through cocaine withdrawal.

Cocaine Withdrawal

Withdrawal from cocaine is awful, physically and mentally. It has been likened to the worst hangover of your life, times 10. For this reason alone, many people choose to detox in a medical setting.

Detox centers can provide patients with medication for anxiety and other miserable side effects of withdrawal. These medications can make the process more tolerable for the patient. Typically, cocaine withdrawal is not dangerous, but for the best chance of recovery, most medical experts recommend inpatient treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Cocaine Detox Process

We’re just getting starting on the complex topic of cocaine detox. Continue learning more about it by reading our responses to several of the most frequently asked questions:

What are the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal?

Cocaine produces an extreme sense of euphoria during use. When a person stops using the drug, there will be a crash. Negative feelings become extremely strong, and cravings for the drug begins.

Most of the withdrawal effects are psychological. Once the body begins to withdraw, the following symptoms will occur:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Difficulty feeling pleasure
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Severe restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • General sad feelings
  • Depression or thoughts of hurting yourself

How bad is cocaine withdrawal?

It will depend on the duration, frequency and amount of cocaine your body is used to. The psychological effects of withdrawal are always more prominent than physical effects during cocaine detox. So, it may only be slightly physically uncomfortable, but extremely difficult mentally.

How long do symptoms of withdrawal last? 

Cocaine stays in your body for about 72 hours. During this time, the drug is dwindling throughout your system and withdrawal symptoms will begin. For patients who were habitual heavy users, the withdrawal period can last from one to three weeks.

If someone has used cocaine heavily for many years, withdrawal symptoms can last weeks or months. Once withdrawal symptoms have ceased, cocaine will still be found in urine for up to 12 weeks.

What are the stages of cocaine withdrawal?

  • Days One Through Three: The body will begin withdrawal. Mood will drop, and remorse or depression begins. During this stage, hunger and restlessness are common. As symptoms begin, many users must fight using the drug to make their symptoms go away.
  • Days Four Through Seven: Psychological symptoms worsen during this period. Cravings for the drug will increase and many patients begin to sleep longer periods of time. Strong withdrawal symptoms during these days include severe anxiety, apathy, paranoia, depression and irritability.
  • Days Eight Through 14: Around day eight, patients begin to feel better mentally, and physically if there were physical symptoms. The general mood can be misleading, as negative psychological symptoms come in waves. One minute, the individual will feel as though he or she can conquer the world. The next minute, he or she may feel as low as ever. Cravings for cocaine will occur randomly.
  • Days 15 Through 21: During week two of withdrawal, symptoms remain steady. Psychologically, patients have mood swings and can be unstable. Physically, patients often still experience strong hunger. Cravings for the drug will still vary.
  • Day 22 And Onward: If may take months for psychological effects to go away completely, but they level off around this time. Patients may still have cravings for cocaine, and sometimes give into temptation.

How dangerous is cocaine withdrawal?

If you do not have any underlying medical conditions, cocaine withdrawal is non-life threatening. Many patients still obtain medical care during this time to receive help with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. A formal detox environment can also help prevent relapse.

Can I withdraw from cocaine at home?

It’s possible, but most professionals and recovering patients recommend finding professional care to help ease psychological symptoms. Especially morose and helpless moods can lead to relapse or failure to withdraw. 

Are there any methods to make cocaine withdrawal easier?

While there are no drugs specific to treating cocaine withdrawal, detox centers can prescribe medications to help treat the psychological effects of the process. Anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants may be administered to help control mood swings.

What are the signs of cocaine overdose?

Cocaine overdoses are a medical emergency and can easily be fatal. If you suspect someone has overdosed on cocaine, do not take any risks, and call 911 immediately.

Symptoms of cocaine overdose include:

  • Extremely high energy levels (more than typical of the person while on cocaine)
  • Talking incessantly
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Involuntary limb tremors or twitches

Are there any long-term effects of cocaine use?

Cocaine has been called the “heart attack drug,” as heart attack is the No. 1 cause of death in those who abuse cocaine. Cardiac problems can occur immediately after use while the user is high, but also occur after long-term use. The heart is severely damaged over time and can suffer cardiac arrest down the road. If you have a known heart condition, stop using cocaine immediately.

Other symptoms of long-term cocaine use include:

  • Respiratory problems leading to decreased oxygen flow
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Brain shrinkage
  • Neurotransmitter deficiencies
  • Gastrointestinal damage
  • Infectious diseases from poor decision making
  • Chronic nosebleeds
  • Constant headaches

What happens after detox?

Cocaine has a high abuse potential and can result in long-term addiction. Thus, we advise continuing with a reputable substance abuse program after detox.

Inpatient, outpatient and support groups can all help a patient cope with their addiction. Detox is not enough to stop addiction, as you will need long-term support and treatment to be successful and avoid relapse. 

How is cocaine addiction treated?

Cocaine addiction is treated differently for everyone. There is no one-size-fits-all method for treatment. Depending on the patient, the length of addiction and previous relapse, treatment types and lengths will vary. Some patients seek intensive inpatient therapy, while others choose outpatient and group support therapies.

Importance of Professional Cocaine Detox

Choosing to detox from cocaine in a treatment facility can significantly ease the process of withdrawal. Although cocaine withdrawal is typically not physically dangerous, patients need psychological support and treatment during the process. If you or a loved one is suffering from cocaine addiction, consider an inpatient detox program for treatment.

Learn More About Detox Programs

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms and Detox

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline Symptoms And Detox - Fight Addiction Now

What to Expect from Heroin Withdrawals and Detox

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 15,000 people died of overdoses related to heroin in 2016. In the United States, there are 467,000 people who are regular users of heroin, and an estimated 600,000-plus people need treatment for addiction to heroin.

During a one-year period (2014-15) the overdose death rate from heroin use rose by more than 20 period from the previous cycle. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, it’s crucial that you get help. Here is what to expect in a withdrawal timeline from heroin.

What Is Withdrawal?

Although no two people will have identical experiences on their journey to sobriety, knowing that what you are going through is a normal part of the process can help you get through it and to the other side.

Addiction happens when the body and the brain become so accustomed to the presence of a substance that they rely on the substance to feel normal. There are physical and psychological reactions to the removal of something that the body believes it needs for survival.

Withdrawal refers to the symptoms experienced when the body is deprived of something that it has come to depend on. Each experience with heroin withdrawal symptoms is as unique as the person experiencing it. However, there are some general similarities and feelings you can expect when you go through the process.

What to Expect from Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin affects the central nervous system. It suppresses certain functions related to heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and the regulation of the body’s temperature. It also causes the brain to increase the production of chemicals that allow people to experience pleasure.

When the drug that is responsible for the body and brain behaving in a certain way is removed, it can have a devastating impact on the body. The severity of the symptoms experienced depends on how long the person has been using the drug, how much they have been using and their body’s unique reaction to the cessation of use.

Common symptoms of heroin withdrawal may initially include:

  • Mood swings, irritability, and/or aggression
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Uncontrollable yawning
  • Excessive sweating
  • A runny nose or excessive tears
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle spasms, aches and/or chills
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Abdominal pain

Beyond the initial detoxification of the body, there are long-term symptoms that people may experience as they are going through their recovery process. These may include anxiety, depression, paranoia, high blood pressure, hyperactivity and cravings.

Some people feel that this period of time is the most difficult part of the recovery process. It’s important to keep in mind that the symptoms of withdrawal are temporary.

The Average Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

Break The Silence Get Help Quote - FANHow long is heroin withdrawal? How long does heroin withdrawal last? These are common questions from the people addicted and those who love them.

The process of withdrawal is a gradual progression of detoxification. It won’t start all at once or stop all at once. When the drug use is first stopped, symptoms may begin within a few hours or, for some people, it may take as long as 24 hours for the withdrawal symptoms to begin.

During the first few days, the most acute symptoms begin to subside and decrease gradually through the second half of the week.

Because heroin is a short-acting opioid, effects are brought on quickly when the drug is used. This also means that it rids itself from the bloodstream rapidly.

This is good news. It means that, for most people, the worst of the withdrawal symptoms during recovery from heroin addiction last approximately a week. Some people may get through the worst of it more quickly, and some people may take a bit longer.

An average heroin withdrawal timeline may include the onset of symptoms within six to 12 hours of the final dose of heroin, with symptoms peaking in the first three days and subsiding by the end of the first week.

The Detoxification Process

When someone stops using the drug all at once, sometimes referred to as “going cold turkey,” the withdrawal symptoms will be the most severe. This can actually be dangerous, because the brain and nervous system have become dependent on the drug.

Stopping it all at once can cause the body to go into shock. Some people experience:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Dehydration

With such severe withdrawal symptoms, the risk of relapse is very high. It’s common to overdose when relapsing because people often relapse by using the same amount of the drug they used before stopping.

How to Ensure Safe Detoxification

The safest way to detoxify the body from heroin addiction is in a facility that specializes in drug rehabilitation. Not only is it safer in the short term as the body goes through the most severe symptoms of detoxification, but research has shown that detoxification that’s medically assisted has the highest rate of success.

Medically assisted detoxification addresses the physical aspects of safe withdrawal along with the behavioral and psychological issues related to detoxification. A worthwhile program will also include therapies to address the issues that may have been a factor in the initial addiction.

A detoxification process that’s medically assisted can lessen the pain by using sedation and supervision while the body is going through the cleansing process. There are medications approved to use for heroin addiction withdrawal:

  • Naltrexone
  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone/Subutex)

These are commonly used to curb the discomfort of removing heroin from the system.

Throughout the detoxification process, the treatment team will medically monitor the patient. This means the staff will monitor their heart rate and blood pressure along with their body temperature and respiration. This allows for any medical interventions necessary before a situation becomes life threatening.

Long-Term Success

Medical detoxification offers the best chance for long-term recovery from heroin addiction because it addresses the physical, psychological and behavioral components of the addiction.

At Fight Addiction Now, we want you to know that recovery is possible, and we can guide you there. Overcoming heroin addiction without medical supervision is dangerous, and it’s not realistic to try to do it on your own. Arm yourself with the right tools and the right support system, and you will be well on your way to a new life.

See Our Heroin Addiction Fact Sheet

Alcohol Withdrawal Timelines: PAWS & Protracted Withdrawal Lengths Are Unique to Individuals

What Is the Average Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline - Fight Addiction Now

Alcohol Withdrawal Signs, Symptoms and Warnings

Alcohol withdrawal occurs when a body’s natural detoxification process eliminates alcohol from the system. If a person is an extremely heavy drinker, as soon as his or her body begins to sense a lack of alcohol, physical symptoms will begin.

Acute alcohol withdrawal is the first stage in the detoxification process and involves mostly physical symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of acute alcohol detox include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritability, anxiety, restlessness and confusion
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Seizures
  • Fever and sweating

It is important to note that alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and produce severe symptoms. When going through alcohol withdrawal, it is best to be under some sort of professional addiction recovery support, because it is impossible to tell how severe withdrawal symptoms might become.

When a person’s symptoms become severe, withdrawal is referred to as delirium tremens and can cause:

  • Altered mental functions, disorientation
  • Deep sleep
  • Extreme fear or excitement
  • Sudden mood changes

These types of symptoms are much more dangerous than the effects listed previously. If a person goes through withdrawal too quickly, it can be extremely detrimental, which is why it is advisable to be under the care of a licensed physician or rehabilitation facility.

How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?

The alcohol withdrawal timeline varies from five days to many months. The acute phase typically lasts five to seven days. Once those symptoms have run their course, different symptoms can appear at any time. The range is dependent on many different factors, including length and amount of alcohol use, medical history and addiction history.

The Physiological Aspects of Withdrawal

Excessive alcohol use interferes with brain function by disrupting neurotransmitters. One neurotransmitter in particular, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), helps produce endorphins. When you drink alcohol in excess, it causes a GABA imbalance.

Dopamine, the “feel good” chemical, stops its production when a heavy drinker suddenly stops drinking. These imbalances cause physiological differences in your system, which in turn give you unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol withdrawal can also induce anhedonia, a term for the brain’s lack of production of feel-good chemicals. Once the brain has stopped producing these chemicals, it takes a while for production to begin again. The brain works to fix the imbalance, but in the meantime, anhedonia will cause a severe lack of interest in most aspects of the person’s life. This can cause deeper depression and emotional issues.

In many instances, withdrawal symptoms only last five to seven days. Other times, people experience alcohol withdrawal months after they stop drinking. These long-lasting withdrawal syndromes are known as protracted or post-acute withdrawal.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline for Protracted/Post-Acute Withdrawal

Once the initial effects of acute withdrawal wear off, a person may experience post-acute or protracted withdrawal symptoms, typically two months or more after alcohol cessation. Other names for this withdrawal stage include chronic withdrawal, extended withdrawal, late withdrawal and long-term withdrawal. PAWS is a common acronym for post-acute withdrawal syndrome.
In contrast to acute withdrawal’s physical symptoms, these symptoms involve mood-altering episodes such as:

  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Emotional overreactions (crying, laughing, anger)
  • Generalized anxiety, panic disorders
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Alcohol cravings

Depression is common during the post-acute withdrawal period and many times causes a person to relapse. Symptoms in this stage can last several weeks or months. Without help from a therapist, group support or ongoing rehabilitation, this period can be exceptionally difficult to manage successfully.

How to Actively Manage Protracted/Post-Acute Syndrome

Unconditional support is needed from others during the first few months of recovery. It is important to find guidance from group therapies, rehabilitation facilities and individual therapy and counseling.
Many people struggle during this stage of the process, and understandably so. A heavy drinker has typically become accustomed to feeling numb and not having to deal with his or her feelings. Once the person is clean, the feelings come flooding back. These feelings, coupled with the lack of feel-good chemicals being produced in the brain, are a dangerous combination.
Recovery is difficult, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The first few months of recovery are the most challenging and will need to be actively managed. With help from friends, family and professionals, your recovery can be a success. If you feel depressed, listless, suicidal or hopeless, seek the help of a licensed professional.

Discuss Alcohol Recovery

What have your experiences been with recovery, detox, withdrawal or alcohol abuse? Do you have valuable advice or insight that would be helpful to others? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment section below, or head on over to on our community forum to discuss alcoholism recovery.

See Our Alcohol Addiction Fact Sheet

Overcoming Addiction: Can You Stop Using Drugs and Alcohol by Yourself?

Overcoming Addiction Can You Stop Using Drugs and Alcohol Yourself - FAN

If you’ve been wondering, “Can I quit using drugs and alcohol by myself?” the answer really depends on your particular situation.

Data suggests that about half of people who recover do so with some sort of help, while about half do so on their own. Many of the people who recover on their own do so with the help of community support, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, instead of going to formal rehab.

So what path is right for you? Let’s explore what you need to know before making this important decision.

Detox vs. Rehabilitation: What You Need to Know Before Quitting Drugs Without Rehab

Although the majority of the recovery process can be managed by the addict, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional help for the first stage of recovery: detox.

The acute withdrawal symptoms that occur when you first stop using a substance can be severe – not only unpleasant to experience, but also life-threatening in some cases, especially when coming off alcohol or benzos.

At a detox center or other medical facility, you will have physicians checking your vital signs on a regular basis to ensure your safety and to intervene if your symptoms become dangerous. They may also be able to prescribe medication to help ease the severity of the symptoms, making withdrawal less painful.

For heroin and opioid addiction, it’s not the physical withdrawal symptoms that can kill you, but rather the state of mind it puts you in. Withdrawal is known to cause suicidal behavior is some cases, so medical supervision during detox helps keep patients from hurting themselves in a low moment.

If you do decide to detox from opiate addiction at home, make sure there’s someone else there to watch over you and that all dangerous items have been removed from the house.

Overcoming Addiction Without Rehab

Percentage People Who Got Help for Addiction Recovery Statistical Image - Fight Addiction NowRehabilitation – which is staying off drugs and alcohol after the initial acute withdrawal period is over – can definitely be done on your own, as many people have proven through their own experiences.

In fact, whether you choose to recover on your own or in a rehab program, it is always you that is rehabilitating yourself. No one can make you get sober; you have to want it on a deep level.

You have to be willing to do what it takes to make the necessary changes in your life. You have to embrace the trial by fire. Without that, no treatment program or AA process will be able to help you.

What everyone does usually need is some support along the way. Recovery is hard enough; doing it with the help of others eases the burden.

However and wherever you choose to recover, you may need some or all of these things:

  • Support from people like you who’ve been through this and understand what you’re going through, and can provide advice on what worked for them
  • Tips and training on how to prevent relapse
  • Counseling or therapy
  • Medication to ease post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS)
  • Help with establishing a new life – work, living arrangements, etc.
  • Ongoing encouragement during this months-long (or even years-long) process

Why People Relapse

The question to ask yourself is, “What support do I need to prevent relapse?” The most common reasons why people relapse are:

  • Motivation wasn’t strong enough
  • Not enough changes to environment or habits
  • Strong PAWS symptoms (physical addiction still at play)
  • Other contributing factors such as trauma, mental illness, etc. haven’t been properly addressed

You may find success in recovering on your own if:

  • You have an intense motivation to quit using substances and recreate your life.
  • You’re typically good at exercising willpower (i.e., “mind over matter” works for you).
  • You’re willing to make changes throughout your life to support your commitment to sobriety, including saying goodbye to old relationships and other situations that you used to enjoy but which may tempt you into relapse.
  • You don’t have a mental illness or psychological issue that is contributing to your drug use.

When It’s a Good Idea to Get Professional Addiction Treatment Services

In addition to professional detox, opting for a formal treatment program may be a good idea for you if you have one of these situations:

Dual Diagnosis

If you have an underlying mental health issue, then having a psychiatrist’s help is very important because both the substance use disorder and mental health disorder need to be treated at the same time. The methods and/or medications that will be used to treat these two conditions will vary, depending on the specific circumstances.

More On Mental Health

History of Relapse

If you’ve tried to quit on your before and keep relapsing, then there’s no shame in getting professional help. Everyone is different, and just because someone else recovered without going to rehab doesn’t mean the same strategy will work for you.

Find The Right Treatment

Relapse Prevention

Motivation Problems

If you’re having difficulty really committing to sobriety, maybe because you fear that life without your substance of choice wouldn’t be any better, or some other reason, then seek out an option with one-on-one therapy to help you get to the bottom of your motivation issue.

Services for these types of issues are available in inpatient and outpatient rehab programs, and from psychiatric practices.

There Are Many Ways to Beat Drug Addiction

Each person caught up in addiction has a unique situation. The type of drug being used, how severe the physical addiction is, the underlying psychological and lifestyle factors that support the addiction – all these things and more play into how a person experiences addiction and what they need to do to quit.

Some people are able to quit on their own without enrolling in a rehab program. Others benefit greatly from the support that a formal program provides, either at a treatment center or in a community based program like AA.

It Comes Down to You

Regardless of whom you turn to for help, the No. 1 factor that will determine your success is your internal level of commitment. You have to truly want to live a sober life, deep down, in order to have the motivation necessary to weather the changes ahead.

Once you’ve made that commitment and your resolve is firm, seeking out support in the community, from AA and NA programs, from rehab programs or other medical professionals should give you tools to beat addiction, as well as resources to make the changes that will save your life.

If you’re confident you can do this on your own with free support in the community, go for it. If you’re pretty sure that you’ll back out when things get tough (maybe because this has happened before), don’t feel bad about this.

Acknowledge the reality of your situation and opt for a rehab program where there will be people to help you find the motivation to tough it out. If you’re afraid that beating addiction alone isn’t possible for you, then don’t hesitate to seek out support.

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