Is it safe to detox from heroin at home? If you’re free of chronic health problems, such as heart diseases and epilepsy, detox from heroin and other opioids is generally not life-threatening. So yes, most people can safely detox from heroin at home. However, just how much they can take of withdrawal is a whole other matter.
One of the main reasons people stay addicted to heroin is because they fear withdrawal and with good reason. Heroin withdrawal is awful and can last for several weeks. The insomnia is the worst. It’s typically one of the first symptoms to appear and the last to leave. You will toss and turn all night long. Getting comfortable is impossible. If you sleep at all, it will be for short periods of perhaps 20 to 45 minutes, and this sleep is full of strange, disturbing, vivid dreams. Your brain’s temperature center is affected, so you may sweat even though it’s not hot in the room. Shortly after that, you’re freezing even though it’s not that cold. It’s highly annoying and further interferes with sleep. Other withdrawal symptoms include:
- Restless leg syndrome
- Drug cravings
- Loss of appetite
- Sneezing and other flu-like symptoms
- Stomach pain and extreme weakness
- Bone and muscle pain
It’s bad. It’s really bad. Although the worst symptoms, especially with heroin withdrawal, tend to abate within the first week, lethargy and insomnia and just feeling crummy can persist for weeks. The diarrhea can be severe enough to interfere with rest and also cause dehydration.
Heroin Withdrawal at Home
Unmedicated heroin withdrawal: I don’t recommend it. I sure don’t, and most people won’t make it through. It makes much more sense to use methadone or Suboxone to help you gradually withdraw from heroin. If you want to be totally drug-free, that’s okay. You can take either one temporarily. Many outpatient opioid detox facilities will prescribe gradually reducing doses of Suboxone for you to take at home along with other comfort medications to make your withdrawal experience doable. After all, if your goal is to be drug-free, does it really matter how you got to that goal?
Methadone clinics also offer an opioid detox. This usually lasts about three weeks, depending on your level of heroin use. This will also result in being drug-free at the end of the detox. However, methadone cannot legally be prescribed by a doctor for opioid withdrawal unless he or she is affiliated with a licensed and approved methadone clinic. This means you must go to the clinic daily to get your dose. However, methadone will keep you very comfortable as you slowly withdraw, and the clinic visits are only temporary. Clinic staff will question you about your heroin use. Always tell the truth. No one will judge you, and they need this information to calculate your beginning methadone dose. Both methadone and Suboxone can be used for any kind of opioid addiction, although Suboxone may not work very well for extremely high usage of more powerful opioids like fentanyl or even oxycodone.
There is no need for an unmedicated heroin detox at home, and your chances of making it all the way through it alone at home are small. You will feel too rotten to work, so you will need to have at least a week off. If your job is very physically demanding, a week won’t likely be enough. However, people have definitely done a heroin detox at home, and it can be done. It just doesn’t make much sense.
The Thomas Recipe
This is available online and uses various supplements to help get you through withdrawal. Be sure to drink plenty of water. If you throw it up, drink more. You’ll need it to prevent dehydration. Try sipping the water slowly and always at room temperature. Avoid milk and dairy products until the vomiting has completely stopped. Your appetite will typically return at about the fifth to seventh day. It’s also important to stop any severe diarrhea. Loperamide works great for this. It’s available over the counter and is pretty cheap. Follow label directions carefully and do not take more than is recommended. No matter what anyone tells you, loperamide, although an opioid, cannot activate the brain’s opioid receptors and will not relieve withdrawal symptoms other than diarrhea.
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