Focused Treatment
Medically Assisted Heroin Detoxification

At Immersion Recovery we understand how difficult heroin withdrawal can be. Many times withdrawal symptoms are so severe that those struggling with heroin addiction return to using within 24 hours. The key to overcoming this obstacle is a medically supervised detox where withdrawal symptoms can be identified and treated immediately. At Immersion Recovery Center we perform an in-depth initial evaluation and tailor a treatment plan unique to each clients needs and recovery goals. Immersion Recovery Center provides 24 hour medical supervision and comfort care for our detox clients. Our medical and client support team’s goal is to make sure all clients have a safe and comfortable detox so they can begin the next phase in their recovery journey. 

Heroin Withdrawal

In most instances, acute symptoms of heroin withdrawal will last a week or more – however, post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last for several months (and in extreme cases, even up to a year). What’s the difference between acute and post-acute withdrawal? Acute withdrawal symptoms will usually begin within 6 to 12 hours of the last use. For example, if an addict has been using heroin daily and suddenly stops use (either because he or she is attempting to detox or because his or her supply becomes unavailable), physical symptoms of withdrawal will begin within several hours. These symptoms include abdominal cramping, extremely sore muscles, nausea, diarrhea, shakiness, cold sweats, agitation, and extreme cravings. While these symptoms aren’t generally life-threatening, they are uncomfortable enough to send an addict right back to using before the detox process is complete (unless he or she enters a detox facility). Acute symptoms often need to be medically monitored, to prevent relapse and to ensure that there are no physical complications. While the symptoms themselves aren’t life-threatening, complications can be. Some individuals detoxing off of heroin will experience seizures, for example, and if they are detoxing alone in a non-medical environment, seizures can be deadly.

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Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Extremely sore muscles
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Shakiness
  • Cold sweats
  • Agitation
  • Extreme Cravings

Post-Acute Heroin Withdrawal

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms, on the other hand, can last up to a year. These symptoms involve ongoing physical and psychological abnormalities, based on extensive damage that was done to the body and the mind during active addiction. It is important to remember that recovery is a lifelong process and that while all symptoms of withdrawal will eventually subside, the more extensive the damage done the more time it will take to heal. Heroin works to suppress the central nervous system and it might take awhile for the body to return to a state of regular functioning. Post-acute withdrawal might include difficulty sleeping, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, and mood swings. These symptoms can be managed and some psychological symptoms might be temporarily medicated. If an individual has a personal history of mental health disorders post-acute withdrawal symptoms may be more severe. If this is the case, during inpatient treatment our psychiatric staff will make sure that the right combination of medications is being used to alleviate symptoms of mental health disorders and symptoms of withdrawal concurrently.

Pharmaceutical Intervention for Heroin Withdrawal

In many cases pharmaceutical intervention will be used to help alleviate symptoms of withdrawal – usually, certain prescription medications will help with cravings and reduce the severity of symptoms altogether. Some of these medications include Naltrexone (Vivitrol), Buprenorphine (Suboxone), Mirtazapine (Remeron), Bupropion (Wellbutrin), and Disulfiram (Antabuse). Suboxone, one of the most common prescriptions when it comes to treating opioid addiction of all kinds, contains two active ingredients – naloxone and buprenorphine. Suboxone is commonly used in detox facilities and during the start of treatment at an inpatient treatment center. The two drugs work together to minimize cravings and reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone helps to reverse the effects of heroin, while buprenorphine – a partial opioid agonist – blocks opiate receptors within the brain. The use of Suboxone will reduce cravings, making the overall withdrawal process easier and less uncomfortable.

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At Immersion Recovery we utilize pharmaceutical intervention when necessary for those who have been struggling with severe heroin addiction for an extended period of time. Our addiction counselors will help each client develop an individualized recovery plan which may or may not include prescription medications depending on personal needs and treatment goals. When it comes to Suboxone there are two main therapeutic stages: the withdrawal stage, and the maintenance stage. When Suboxone is used for detoxification, it is mainly used to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal. When Suboxone is used for maintenance it is used to reduce cravings and prevent relapse. When taken properly and as prescribed Suboxone eliminates urges to use while preventing the client from feeling “high” – and while some believe that the use of Suboxone compromises treatment, it has been proven to be highly successful as an integral part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Why We Use Suboxone

At Immersion Recover Center we have found that when coupled with intensive therapy, involvement in a 12-step program, and regular follow-up appointments with a prescribing physician, Suboxone helps immensely. It allows recovering heroin addicts to focus on their recovery and their treatment, rather than focusing on cravings to use. Because Suboxone is a narcotic use will always be closely monitored by an on-site staff member. The Suboxone medication can either be administered as a tablet or as an orally ingested film. Suboxone is not a long-term solution, it is simply a treatment tool used to enhance the overall early recovery experience. The goal is to slowly and safely taper off the medication once treatment progresses. This process is entirely overseen by a prescribing physician.

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How Immersion Recovery Center Can Help

In most cases of heroin withdrawal, symptoms will peak at between two and three days and they will begin to completely subside in two weeks time. At Immersion Recovery Center we keep our Heroin detox patients for a bare minimum of three days, not only to ensure that the worst of the withdrawal symptoms are over, but to develop an in-depth treatment plan and introduce patients to the long-term process of addiction recovery. We have extensive experience treating those who have been struggling with heroin addiction and our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to doing all they can to ensure that the withdrawal period is as painless and comfortable as possible.