Quitting Heroin

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Heroin overdose deaths have increased by 500 percent since the turn of the century and the numbers have been steadily rising. If you or someone you love has been suffering from heroin addiction, quitting might feel like the only option — but it might also feel nearly impossible to do. The problem is that so many try to go the route alone and end up repeating the same habits for a variety of reasons. Because of this, quitting heroin is best done with the help of professionals who can assess your individual motivations and clinical needs. The road to recovery is extremely difficult to walk alone. It is a road that requires guidance from a support system of people who understand what you are going through, and who will go to any length necessary to ensure you heal on a mental, emotional, and spiritual basis.

Guardian Recovery has developed a team of compassionate and experienced individuals who are available to help in any way they can. Specializing in addiction recovery, we not only help overcome addiction but look for the root causes an individual might have for turning to the drug to begin with. Through specialized programs, we can help those struggling to not only quit heroin but to build the beautiful and fulfilling lives they deserve. The result is a new day, free of pain and sickness. If you are ready to quit heroin, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how Guardian Recovery can help you begin walking the road of heroin addiction recovery.

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What Is Heroin?

Heroin is a Schedule 1 controlled substance, as defined by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. This means that the drug is not prescribed or used for any medical purposes. It is considered a “recreational drug” in that it is simply done for a high and can become incredibly addictive almost immediately. The physical effects of heroin take effect from the first use.

Not only is the pursuit of the next great feeling of euphoria always luring users in, but the withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit (especially alone) can be enough to dissuade someone from trying. Caught in a seemingly endless cycle, those struggling with heroin can feel trapped and unable to overcome the drug. It’s this feeling that makes quitting alone difficult for some and impossible for most.

Is It Hard to Quit Heroin?

Heroin is considered one of the most difficult drugs in the world to quit. Right away, the user’s brain links the drug to the body’s reward system through the release of pleasure chemicals. It’s this fundamental change in a person’s brain that makes the drug feel indisposable. Pleasure is linked to usage and the hardwired feeling of need attached to heroin quickly eclipses other needs in a person’s life.

For those who might be unsure if they are addicted, certain signs exist that can showcase the dependence they have developed. Those may include:

  • An increased tolerance resulting in higher dosages, which can lead to overdose.
  • An attempt to quit or lower dosage on their own, only to fail.
  • Continuous cravings and desire to take the drug.
  • Using heroin despite developing health or personal issues due to heroin.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Is Quitting Heroin Cold Turkey Safe?

Typically, it is not safe to quit heroin cold turkey. The nature of the drug is to link itself to the user’s brain so that stopping causes a variety of new ailments. It’s the brain’s way of encouraging further usage of the drug, even when the user no longer personally wants it. This paradox creates confusion, on top of the physical effects, as it makes the individual believe that they now “need” the drug. For that reason, stopping on one’s own or simply ending usage without assessing an individual’s personal situation is not recommended.

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Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin withdrawal may vary from person to person, but it is difficult for nearly everyone. For those with heavy usage, symptoms may begin within a day of the last dosage. However, users can experience them earlier or later depending on the depth of their habit. Regardless, quitting heroin on one’s own without a professional to oversee the process is a risk that few users should ever take. These heroin withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Headaches.
  • Nervousness and agitation.
  • Cravings.
  • Muscle pains and spasms.
  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Anxiety and jitters.
  • Runny nose.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Depression.

The worst of withdrawal typically happens within one to two days of symptoms manifesting. For that reason, relapses often happen at that time. Considered a pivotal moment, the peak of withdrawal with the right people around can be the key to getting through it. Experiencing that feeling alone can often force the user to return to the drug in order to alleviate the pain that has been caused by quitting.

How Does Quitting Heroin in a Rehab Facility Help?

Professional centers are just that – professional. The staff is trained to deal with withdrawal symptoms and provide medication to help handle the pain that is felt by recovering users. These FDA-approved medications can often be the difference between crossing through the peak of withdrawal and returning to the habits that brought the user to a place of recovery. These medications often include:

  • Methadone.
  • Clonidine.
  • Methocarbamol.
  • Lofexidine.
  • Methadose.
  • Chlorpromazine.
  • Methadone Diskets.
  • Chlordiazepoxide.
  • Lucera.

The controlled nature of these medications and the training needed in order to assess one’s need and assist in their distribution makes a rehab center the only place they should be used. Under the care and guidance of a trained professional, the pains associated with quitting heroin can be lessened tremendously and make all the difference in long-term recovery.

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Guardian Recovery is staffed by a team of licensed, compassionate professionals ready to help those who are prepared to reclaim their lives. Heroin addiction is not something to be ashamed of or hide.  Heroin use disorder is a medical condition that almost always requires some degree of professional intervention. Turning to rehabilitation for recovery is a vital part of overcoming the hold heroin has on you or your loved one. It is the first step on a journey that can redefine your entire life. For more information on helping you or a loved one take that step, or for a free, no-obligation health insurance benefit check, contact us today.


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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  2. https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/heroin
  3. https://www.drugs.com/condition/opiate-withdrawal.html

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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