By far one of the most addictive and dangerous substances in the world, heroin use has skyrocketed in recent years. Worldwide, millions have fallen into its clutches, forever changing the lives of its users, their families and their communities. When somebody is ready to get help for their heroin addiction, it can be difficult to know where to turn or what to expect. While everybody’s journey is different, many of the experiences and struggles anybody in recovery will face are quite similar. Here, we’ll review what to expect before, during and after the recovery process begins.
The Mental and Emotional Preparation
Before anybody takes their first steps toward recovery, a sound assessment of the situation is crucial. This pre-recovery process involves users realizing that no additional benefit can come from using the substance and that there is no viable alternative pathway to freedom. It is also a period of time for individuals to come to terms with what the recovery process will entail. Regardless of the type of heroin addiction treatment program pursued, it is necessary to prepare mentally and emotionally for the journey.
The Initial Withdrawal
Anybody who hasn’t experienced heroin withdrawals can have a difficult time understanding the pain and discomfort. Many compare it to the worst flu or cold imaginable, with cold chills, hot sweats, restless limbs, depression, anxiety and upset digestive tracts – just to name a few symptoms. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the severity and length of the addiction. There are a variety of things people in this phase of the withdrawal process can do to ease the side-effects, but eliminating them entirely is not feasible. Many suggest avoiding caffeine and alcohol while also consuming plenty of water, electrolytes and non-sugary juices.
Staying Clean Afterwards
Even after the acute physical and emotional side-effects have waned, the mind has an uncanny ability to undermine our progress. Those who have made it to the one week mark or longer will want to ensure their progress is maintained by joining a support group. Additionally, sharing your progress with friends and family who are aware of your struggles can help further enhance the progress you’re making and incentivize you to continue. Many people take up meditation as one way to keep the latent urges to use heroin at bay. Above all else, it’s important to stay busy in the short-to-medium term, as the more time you spend idle, the greater the chances are of relapse.
The Types of Heroin Detox Available
There are several methods that various people use to end their addiction to heroin. Perhaps the most common approach is cold-turkey: despite its prevalence, it is often the least successful due to its abrupt shock to the system. Another form of quitting is warm-turkey, which involves downgrading from heroin to other, less powerful substances in order to minimize inevitable withdrawals. Various detox solutions are also available, in conjunction with over the counter medications, that attempts to minimize most, or all, of the withdrawal symptoms. Last but not least, there are inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services that ensure your withdrawal is handled by medical professionals and takes the burden off of you for managing everything during this struggle.
Ultimately, heroin is one of the most difficult addictions to quit. If you are firmly committed to ditching the habit, then you have plenty of resources, information, support and overall pathways to consider. While the struggle may be great, the end result is definitely worth the effort.