woman with face in hands experiencing heroin withdrawal symptoms

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Even the toughest people are shaken by heroin withdrawal symptoms. Heroin users experience pain, discomfort, nausea, restlessness, muscle spasms, and more as they attempt to wean themselves off of this opioid. As a result, the process is grueling and can test the will of even the most determined person.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms are a little different for each person but most can expect to experience at least some of the following heroin withdrawal symptoms.

Digestive Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin and other opioids wreak havoc with the digestive system. Constipation is common for those in the throes of active addiction. A person who attempts to get off the drug can expect to experience heroin withdrawal symptoms that include loose bowels and extreme nausea. People going through withdrawal have difficulty retaining fluids and food and will likely lose some weight during this period.

Heroin Cravings

Intense cravings are one of the most common heroin withdrawal symptoms people experience as the drug begins to leave the body. The craving takes hold and remains present for a number of reasons:

  • To relieve the pain caused by withdrawal
  • To again experience the pleasure associated with the use of the drug
  • Force of habit
  • To alleviate boredom (once the acute symptoms of withdrawal have subsided)
  • To relieve depression

Most addiction specialists consider the craving associated with heroin and opioid withdrawal to be extraordinarily powerful. Therefore, similar to the cravings experienced by those withdrawing from cocaine and methamphetamine, heroin craving can consume the minds of people in recovery.

So powerful is the craving for heroin that some people report still feeling desires to consume the drug years after getting clean. Many people have become so used to regulating their emotional states with heroin that they find it difficult to adapt to typical, drug-free life.

Full-Body Discomfort and Pain

Heroin users report experiencing a peculiar “crawling out of their skin” sensation when discontinuing opioid use. The feeling, which can best be described as a full-body aching restlessness, prevents the recovering person from lying still long enough to get to sleep. As a result, many people spend at least three or four sleepless nights fighting heroin withdrawal symptoms. Only then, if they’re lucky, are they granted the relief of sleep.

The discomfort and pain are likely caused by the sudden unavailability in the body of the opioids that attach to opioid receptors. Inside of a healthy person, the body produces sufficient natural opioids to keep these receptors saturated. However, in a heroin user, natural opioid production has been hijacked by heroin. In someone suffering heroin withdrawal symptoms, the receptors remain empty, and pain, discomfort, and restlessness are the result.

Heroin Detox at San Antonio Recovery Center

The San Antonio Recovery Center (SARC) in San Antonio, Texas is a 12-step based, multiple modality treatment center specializing in whole-person rehabilitation from substance abuse. At SARC, we provide affordable heroin and alcohol abuse recovery programs designed to treat men and women with serious addictions, including:

Because heroin withdrawal symptoms can be so traumatic and painful, we at SARC offer state-of-the-art detoxification facilities. You don’t have to go through withdrawal alone. Call us at 866.957.7885 if you or a loved one need our support.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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