Menu Close

Heroin Detox and Withdrawal: What’s It Like and how Long Will it Take?

Heroin Detox and Withdrawal: What’s it Like and How Long Will it Take?

“As the body’s tolerance grows stronger, the need for stronger drugs also grows. Vicodin and Norco lead to Percocet, which leads eventually to Oxy, which (if you survive the Oxy) leads to a much cheaper and easier to get drug than these boutique prescription pills: heroin.”

~ Brian W. Foster

Heroin addiction and the opioid crisis have been hot button topics on and off in the U.S. for years now. Politicians seeking votes will make appearances in the drug-plagued New England suburbs. Journalists will seek out addicts for interviews in dark inner-city alleyways. The surgeon general of the U.S. makes public notices stating the dangers of opioid abuse.

But even when these waves of interest fade, the abuse and addiction and resulting heartbreak and loss remain.

For many people worldwide, heroin addiction is simply a part of life. Despite the dangers associated with use, many find themselves slaves to the drug’s addictive properties.

The good news is that there is help for heroin addicts. There are resources for those who want to recover from heroin use and reclaim their lives from addiction.

The first step to getting help is to understand the drug and the effects it has on the body. The most pivotal part of treatment is detox.

If you’re setting out to recover from heroin addiction, you may have questions. You may be wondering how long heroin detox and withdrawal takes. This is a great question to be asking, as setting the right expectations is important for all stages of recovery. It is perhaps the most important during the first stage of addiction recovery: detox. Once you’ve detoxed from the drug, you’ve completed one of the most difficult parts of the recovery journey.

Below, we’ll cover many of the important things to know about heroin and recovery. These topics include:

  • What is heroin?
  • How does someone get addicted to heroin?
  • What are the signs of a heroin addict?
  • What is the heroin withdrawal process like?
  • How long does it take to detox from heroin?
  • What steps should be taken after detox?
  • How can Northpoint Seattle help me or my loved one?

Do You Have Questions About Addiction? Call Our Recovery Experts Now.

What is Heroin

Heroin: What It Is and What It Does

Heroin is a highly addictive drug. It’s made from morphine, which is a substance found in the seeds of some poppy flowers. It’s usually sold as a white or light brown powder. Heroin takes different forms amongst different regions and users, even within the U.S.

East of the Mississippi River, most heroin use is pure heroin. This is a bitter-tasting white powder. Most of it is manufactured in South America and Southeast Asia. It can be snorted or smoked. Newer drug users may prefer pure heroin because there’s no need to inject it. Injection is usually more highly-stigmatized than other possible methods of using heroin.

Alternatively, west of the Mississippi River, black tar heroin dominates the market. This form of heroin is either hard like coal or sticky like roofing tar. It is usually produced in Mexico. It is darker in color because of the impurities that remain after processing. Users of black tar heroin usually dissolve it, dilute it, and then inject it into their body.

Heroin in its different forms is called by a multitude of different street names, including:

  • White China
  • Smack
  • Thunder
  • Big H
  • Skunk
  • White Horse
  • Chiva
  • Skag
  • Junk
  • Brown Sugar

Heroin use can feel good. Many users believe that the good feelings outweigh the dangers. We know, however, that heroin isn’t the solution, and there are other ways to feel good.

Users report heroin as a drug that decreases anxiety or physical and emotional pain. It provides feelings of warmth and relaxation. It can often make users feel detached from their environment. It is a strong sedative and pain reliever.

We know that heroin is dangerous on its own. However, like many drugs, heroin can also be incredibly dangerous when taken at the same time as other drugs or alcohol. These dangerous interactions between heroin and other substances may include:

  • Heroin and alcohol. Heroin and alcohol are both depressants. Using alcohol along with heroin can increase the effects of both. When each result is more intense than normal, they’re significantly more dangerous. For example, both heroin and alcohol can lower breathing rate. When taken together, it’s possible for the effect to be so increased that breathing is stopped altogether.
  • Heroin and other opioids. Heroin is an opioid drug like Fentanyl, OxyCodone, and others. Taking multiple types of opioids together is a quick and easy way to die of an overdose. When even heroin alone is an overdose risk, mixing opioids is especially deadly.
  • Heroin and marijuana. Like alcohol, marijuana can increase the usual effects of heroin if used simultaneously. This can lead to extreme drowsiness, lowered breathing rate, and other symptoms. These symptoms toe the line between risky and deadly.
  • Heroin and nicotine. Studies show that cravings for nicotine can increase cravings for other illicit drugs as well. This means that smoking cigarettes with nicotine may make it harder to detox from heroin. These cravings may also cause you to use more heroin than you would have otherwise.

One of the greatest dangers of heroin use is the risk of an overdose. While there is often help available for those who overdose on heroin, others don’t get this help in time. Many people die each year by overdosing on heroin or other opioids. These other opioids include Fentanyl and OxyCodone.

There are a few different reasons someone could overdose on heroin. These include:

  • The user accidentally takes the wrong amount of heroin.  Heroine is illegal and unmonitored, so there is no oversight into the quality of heroin. Many makers and dealers “cut” the heroin with other, mostly-harmless powders like starch or powdered milk. If someone has been using this impure form of heroin for some time, they could believe that they know how much heroin their body can handle. However, the amount of the additional substance could change. If it differs by too much, the user could easily overdose. This is because they think that they’re taking the same amount they are accustomed to.
  • The user has been recovering and has relapsed. In many cases, those who relapse during recovery immediately try to take the same amount of heroin that their body could handle before beginning treatment. Even if they haven’t completed detox, their tolerance for the drug could have changed. Because of this, relapses are one of the greatest risks for overdosing.
  • The user is confused. One of the results of drug use, once or over an extended period of time, can be clouded thinking or poor judgment. If a user is under the influence of drugs and begins to use more, it’s very easy for them too use too much and overdose.
  • They’ve been mixing drugs. As we’ve mentioned before, many drugs can cause an adverse reaction when taken with heroin. If someone is using heroin and other substances simultaneously, an overdose is more likely. This is because the body may be able to handle less heroin when it’s also processing another drug.

If someone has overdosed, they will likely be breathing dangerously slowly. They may have a very slow heart rate or lose consciousness. It’s possible that their lips or fingertips will have turned blue because of this lack of blood flow and oxygen. They may also begin to stumble or slur as though very drowsy. Gone untreated for too long, these symptoms could develop further. Eventually, the user could have permanent brain damage, fall into a coma, or die.

There is, however, hope for those who overdose.

There is a drug called Naloxone that can aid in reversing a heroin overdose. Naloxone comes as both a nasal spray and an injectable shot. You can get Naloxone at some pharmacies without a prescription. It’s a good thing to have on hand if you or someone you know regularly uses heroin.

If you think someone has overdosed, administer Naloxone immediately. Then, call 911. Naloxone can temporarily help someone who has overdosed on heroin, but it is not a final solution. You should call emergency personnel to attend to the user as soon as possible. The results of naloxone won’t last forever.

Naloxone can be so important and life-saving. Even the U.S. surgeon general issued this statement about the drug as an official advisory:

“I, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. For patients currently taking high doses of opioids as prescribed for pain, individuals misusing prescription opioids, individuals using illicit opioids such as heroin or fentanyl, health care practitioners, family and friends of people who have an opioid use disorder, and community members who come into contact with people at risk for opioid overdose, knowing how to use naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life.”

Heroin Abuse vs. Heroin Addiction

“I cannot accurately convey to you the efficiency of heroin in neutralizing pain. The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction.” - Russell Brand

Before looking at the treatment for heroin addiction, it’s important to know whether you are truly a heroin addict or simply a heroin abuser. There is a difference, and heroin detox or withdrawal isn’t even necessary if you’re only abusing the drug.

As Brand insinuates, an addict has no control over their addiction. The lack of control should be the first sign that someone needs help.

Drug abuse is simply the act of abusing - or misusing - a drug. That includes any form of using a drug outside of legal or medical guidelines. In a very broad sense, drug abuse can include:

  • Using prescription drugs that weren’t prescribed to you
  • Exceeding the dosage suggestion on an over the counter medication.
  • Taking any medications more frequently than a doctor or medical professional has advised
  • Taking a drug in a manner in which it wasn’t meant to be taken. This could include injecting a drug that should be taken orally, snorting a drug meant to be mixed with water and ingested as a beverage, etc.
  • Taking any illegal substance

Because heroin is illegal, any heroin use is drug abuse. If you do heroin at all, you are abusing the drug and are a drug abuser.

Abuse becomes addiction when the user can no longer easily choose to stop taking a drug. Because heroin is so highly addictive, this can be after the very first use for some people.

“The feeling in my head was, 'I want to feel like this for the rest of my life.' It was the perfect drug for me.”

~ Todd, heroin user

As the quote shows, the feeling itself can make people want to use heroin forever. This is part of the psychological side of addiction. Some users simply enjoy using heroin so much that they couldn’t voluntarily stop.

The other side of addiction, physical dependence, is perhaps harder to note. If you are physically dependent on heroin, your body will start to show signs of withdrawal if you aren’t using. This is why detox is so important. We’ll return to this theme later in more detail.

Physical dependence means that your body has come to rely on the presence of heroin to function. When someone takes heroin or another opioid, the drug attaches to opioid receptors in the brain. This action is what blocks pain and causes feelings of pleasure. Unfortunately, this can cause the body to stop functioning normally. It could stop creating the substance that would normally make us feel pleasure. There’s no need, when the body is receiving a steady supply of heroin.

Over time, this can happen to such a degree that when there’s no heroin, there’s nothing in the body to replace it. This is one of the reasons that withdrawal can be so uncomfortable, harmful, or painful. The body has no way of relieving pain without heroin - at least temporarily.

Perhaps you’re wondering what signs to look for in someone you suspect of being a heroin addict. Well, there are plenty of signs of heroin addiction, and many more of heroin use. It’s important to notice someone using heroin even if they aren’t yet addicted. Iit will be much easier to stop using earlier on in the habit.

If someone has been using consistently over time, they may develop these long-term signs of heroin use:

  • Needle marks or bruising on injection sites (usually arms)
  • Collapsed veins
  • Skin problems, such as infections and abscesses
  • Heart problems
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Often appearing drowsy or nodding off
  • Becoming isolated, or spending time with a new group of friend
  • Often falling through on responsibilities
  • Acting defensive or moody when asked about their drug use
  • Experiencing legal trouble because of drug use
  • Becoming secretive or lying about their location or plans

Obviously, not everyone showing any of these signs of addiction is a heroin addict. However, many of these signs together could be an indication of a loved one’s addiction. Try this addiction quiz if you’re still unsure if your loved one may be an addict.

What Does Heroin Detox and Withdrawal Look Like?

One of the most certain signs of a heroin addict is withdrawal. This happens when the user begins to go through withdrawal if they don’t have the drug. A person who has used heroin at all may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using. For some people, even using the drug once will result in a withdrawal if they don’t use again.

Heroin detox is the process of ridding one’s body of the presence of heroin. Because of that, detox requires going through heroin withdrawal. As soon as your body realizes that the drug is gone, it begins to respond physically. These are the withdrawal symptoms.

"Withdrawal is the onset of a predictable constellation of signs and symptoms following the abrupt discontinuation of, or rapid decrease in, dosage of a psychoactive substance. Such signs and symptoms are generally the opposite of the intoxication effects of the particular substance."

~ The American Society of Addiction Medicine

Common Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Runny nose
  • Aching muscles
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea and abdominal cramping

These symptoms may not occur in everyone who goes through heroin detox. However, everyone who goes through heroin detox will experience at least some of these withdrawal symptoms.

According to the World Health Organization, managing withdrawal is one of the most crucial steps of overcoming heroin addiction. This is because as opioid dependence takes hold on the person using heroin, the drug will be used increasingly to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms rather than as a means to get high. This is true of nearly all opioid drugs, but is particularly true of heroin use since the drug is so fast acting.

Check out this video to see a real life example of heroin withdrawal. The young woman in the video is not undergoing detox. Rather, she is going through the beginning stages of withdrawal because she hasn’t used the drug in some time.

While withdrawal is the adjustment period, eventually the symptoms do taper and stop. At this point, the body has become accustomed to functioning without the drug again.

How Long Heroin Detox Takes

While knowing what heroin detox and withdrawal symptoms look like is definitely important, most people undergoing detox or withdrawal have one specific question: how long does it take to detox from heroin?

Well, there’s no clear and specific answer to this question. It may not be the response you’re looking for, but heroin detox rarely follows the exact same timeline from person to person.

Instead, the length of heroin detox can vary greatly from person to person, depending on many different factors. Some of the factors that affect how long withdrawal symptoms last include:

  • The age of the drug addict
  • How long heroin has been used
  • How much heroin was used on a regular basis
  • The general health of the person taking heroin

In other words, there is no exact number of days that heroin detox and withdrawal will last. Because of this, answering how long heroin detox takes is not necessarily straightforward. Neither the duration nor the intensity of heroin detox can be predicted exactly. However, detox professionals can provide a timeline of the average detox and withdrawal process for those using heroin. It’s simply important to keep in mind that this timeline is only approximate, and will be different for different users.

The most basic timeline can be broken down into two separate steps:

  • Heroin withdrawal symptoms are experienced roughly 6-12 hours after last use of the drug.
  • Withdrawal symptoms (to varying degrees) can last anywhere from four to ten days.

More specifically, those suffering from heroin addiction will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms just a few hours after last taking the drug. At first, these symptoms are mild. Withdrawal symptoms for heroin detox peak in the second or third day - meaning it will take at least a couple of days for an individual in recovery to experience the full force of the negative effects of the drug leaving the body. This will likely be the most challenging part of recovery.

Rough Withdrawal Timeline

The more specifically a user’s addiction history is known, the more detailed the withdrawal timeline can be. Someone who has been dependent on heroin for just a short time may recover in a few days; in contrast, someone who has suffered from long-term addiction to heroin will take closer to two weeks to fully overcome the withdrawal symptoms. In general, heroin detox and withdrawal follows this loose timeline:

  • Day 1 & 2: The individual will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms within the first 12 hours after use. The aches, pains and flu symptoms will likely increase over the course of two days.
  • Day 3: Heroin withdrawal symptoms tend to peak on or around the third day of detox, though do not disappear immediately after.
  • Day 4-6: In the days following this peak, withdrawal symptoms will not have disappeared altogether. The individual will probably continue to experience a great deal of discomfort. At this stage it is crucial to maintain healthy eating habits and to maintain a strong support network to avoid relapse.
  • Day 6 and onward: At some point after the sixth day, symptoms will recede for most people. Some individuals may continue to have difficulty with building up an appetite or getting good sleep, but the majority of flu-like symptoms will disappear altogether.

Heroin is known as a short-acting opioid. This means that the effects of the drug come on quickly, but the negative impact of the drug also tends to disappear more quickly. This is because heroin leaves the bloodstream quickly in comparison to other drugs. This means that withdrawal from heroin is, on average, much shorter than withdrawal from other drugs - even other opioids. This should be encouraging if you’re looking down the road to recovery from heroin addiction.

Here, we’d like to make note of the difference between heroin detox and the time frame in which one can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms. Most cases of addiction follow the patterns already described above. This is called acute withdrawal, though most people would simply call it withdrawal.

Rough Withdrawal Timeline

In contrast, some individuals experience protracted withdrawal. This simply means that an individual suffering from a substance use disorder continues to experience the signs and symptoms of withdrawal for longer than would be expected given the normal timeline. Protracted withdrawal tends to include all of the usual symptoms, but can include extra symptoms as well. These symptoms can sometimes seem completely unrelated to heroin withdrawal.

For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes that some individuals in recovery for heroin addiction show issues in executive control functions (such as controlling impulses and problem solving). Only a minority of those in treatment for heroin dependence experiences protracted withdrawal. Still others will see some of the same withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin detox months after the initial detox stage. This does not happen often, but it is important to have the expectation that it is possible.

These types of withdrawal make clear the fact that recovery isn’t the same for any two addicts.

There is no question that heroin detox is a difficult and uncomfortable process. The symptoms of heroin withdrawal can feel like too much . So how can heroin detox and withdrawal be managed in a way that keeps recovery within reach? Is recovery from heroin addiction even worth it? Here, we provide some practical steps towards making the recovery process easier:

  • Get Support: Whether from friends and family or a professional treatment program, it is important to surround yourself with people that can support you through this process.
  • Set Your Expectations: Be sure to ask questions about what heroin detox looks like. Being prepared for what you will experience can be extremely helpful in getting you through the symptoms. The medical professionals at your detox facility should be willing and able to answer any questions you may have.
  • Celebrate: Getting through days of detox can be grueling. With those around you, celebrate as you reach each new milestone of detoxification - and get that much closer to recovery.

There is no magic solution when it comes to overcoming the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. However, following strategies outlined above can start you out on the right path. Engaging with these tips and finding professional help will ease the transition through one of the most difficult stages of the recovery process.

Rough Withdrawal Timeline

Doctors also choose to help ease withdrawal sometimes with medications. This process is known as medicated detox, and is available at many different detox treatment facilities. Medications are often used during the detox process for any of three purposes:

  • To ease the symptoms of heroin withdrawal
  • To block the effects of the drug or otherwise make a relapse less likely
  • To treat co-occurring disorders (such as anxiety) that could make a relapse more likely.

The symptoms of heroin withdrawal are both uncomfortable and dangerous. Many can cause true health risks, and others just make it increasingly likely that the user will relapse rather than experience the symptoms.

Many common medications are used for this purpose during heroin withdrawal. They can serve as a sedative, so that all physical symptoms seem decreased, or work directly against specific symptoms, such as stomach sickness or aching muscles.

It’s important that, if medications will be used during withdrawal, they are selected by a true  medical professional. Otherwise, these drugs may cause an adverse reaction or mix poorly with the heroin still in the user’s system.

Other drugs used during recovery are those that can decrease cravings for heroin. These usually work by altering brain chemistry so that some other substance is replacing the heroine, and can slowly be taken away.

Sometimes, these drugs are even weaker opioids. These weaker opioids replace heroin in the brain and body and are then slowly tapered down. They are safer than heroin itself, despite having the same base ingredient and causing the same reactions in the brain.

Many times, addiction isn’t the only condition that requires treatment. If a user first began to use heroin to treat mental illness or other disorders, those same conditions may make the withdrawal process more difficult.

For example, many people experience extreme anxiety with going through heroin withdrawal. This may be increased if they already have anxiety. Tailoring this individual’s treatment specifically to keep anxiety in mind can help recovery go more smoothly. This is why it’s important to tell your doctor or other medical professional if you know of any co-occurring disorders.

There are four medications specifically that are often used during treatment for heroin addiction. There is always a chance that a doctor will choose to use other drugs as well, but these four are the most commonly used in this process. They include:

  • Methadone. Methadone is also an opioid drug, but it is legal and significantly safer than heroin. Often, methadone is given in place of heroin, taking the heroin’s place in the mind and body to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Then, the amount of methadone administered is slowly decreased over time. Methadone is not as strong as heroine, so it decreases the cravings and lessens withdrawal symptoms.
  • Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine works by blocking some of the parts of the brain that heroin would usually trigger. That way, the brain believes it has received heroin even when it hasn’t. This causes fewer withdrawal symptoms, or even stop them from occurring altogether. Buprenorphine is not a full opioid like methadone, so it’s less likely that a patient will become addicted. For this reason, many medical professionals prefer it.
  • Clonidine. Clonidine isn’t an opioid at all, but is still used in treatment. Usually, Clonidine is known as a medication that reduces high blood pressure. Additionally, though, Clonidine can act as a sedative. This can decrease the overall effect of the withdrawal symptoms, making it easier to resist using.
  • Naltrexone. Naltrexone isn’t often used during detox, but is often used after. Naltrexone works in the brain to block the effects of heroin. This means that, when taking Naltrexone, you couldn’t get high even if you did relapse and use heroin. The medication can be ingested or injected, and is often given regularly to recovering patients who are at high risk for a relapse. The idea is that if they can’t get high, they have no reason to use in the first place.
Rough Withdrawal Timeline

What Comes After Heroin Detox?

“I accidentally [got] involved in heroin after smoking crack for the first time. It finally tied my shoelaces together. Smoking dope and smoking coke, you are rendered defenseless. The only way out of that hopeless state is intervention.” - Robert Downey Jr.

Of course, it’s important to realize that detox is not the only step in overcoming heroin addiction or any other substance addiction. In fact, detoxification and enduring the withdrawal symptoms associated with this stage are only the first steps in a very long road to recovery.

Instead, every individual beginning the recovery process should be committed to recovering from the physical, psychological and social aspects of addiction. The full recovery process takes much longer than the week or two of heroin detox or withdrawal. After a heroin addict successfully detoxes from the drug, they should be sure to make plans to take part in both rehab and continuing follow-up care.

And, as Robert Downey Jr. says of his own addiction to heroin, users are often completely defenseless. This makes it all the more important that recovering heroin addicts find a support system or professional help. Someone needs to have control when they don’t. The best way to take control of your situation may be to give control to someone else until you’re strong enough to take it back.

While detoxing from heroin is an important step in the recovery process, it’s important to know that it only addresses the physical part of addiction. The psychological and social aspects of addiction must also be treated. This is where rehab comes in.

There are three main types of rehab programs: inpatient, outpatient, and intensive outpatient.

Inpatient rehab is what most people think of when they think of rehab at all. In this form of rehab, the recovering addict stays within the treatment facility for some time. They eat, sleep, receive treatment, and do everything else all within the facility.

Inpatient treatment is usually cited as the most effective form of treatment. This means that of all individuals who undergo treatment for addiction, those who have completed an inpatient program are the least likely to relapse in the future.

Outpatient rehab is a treatment style where the patient continues to live at home. During this time, they attend in-person therapy and treatment regularly. Despite the statistics regarding inpatient treatment, many also find success in outpatient treatment programs.

Intensive outpatient programs, or IOPs, are simply intense outpatient-style treatment programs. They require participants to be present much more often, and for much longer, than traditional outpatient programs. Many recovering addicts also have great success in this type of treatment program.

Despite the fact that many people looking at rehab options have an immediate preference between the types, it’s important to examine the pros and cons of each rehab style to determine what’s truly best for you and your recovery. In the lists below, we’ll consider intensive outpatient rehab simply as an extension of traditional outpatient rehab.

Inpatient addiction treatment can be beneficial because of the:

  • Constant supervision. This supervision decreases the risk of medical emergencies during withdrawal and detox. It also lowers the likelihood of a relapse during recovery, because there is always someone nearby to hold recovering addicts accountable. The supervision takes away the temptation to use by taking away all traces of heroin inside the facility.
  • Structure. Most inpatient rehab facilities provide their patients with a full schedule of activities. These activities include different forms of therapy and activities with other patients. This full schedule means that patients have less time to think about heroin and more time to learn healthy coping strategies. These become helpful for the cravings they will undoubtedly experience.
  • Time away. Often, those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol recover best by removing themselves from their normal life completely. They often recover best away from any activities they did or people they saw regularly. Inpatient rehab allows the patient to focus on themself and not be influenced by friends, family, or environment.
  • Support. Inpatient rehab facilities offer constant support for those going through heroin withdrawal. This decreases the chance of a relapse because someone is always there to encourage recovery. Each person around is also prepared to provide medical assistance, coping activities, or other solutions. All of these options for help can make recovery seem more achievable.

Inpatient treatment can be less than ideal sometimes, due to:

  • Time. Those staying at an inpatient rehab facility while they recover from heroin addiction must have the time to take off of work or school to recover. Those in inpatient programs are not allowed to leave the treatment facility for the duration of the program.
  • Removal from Support System. For many people, being away from their loved ones during treatment can be difficult. In inpatient facilities, patients have limited, supervised contact with anyone outside the facility. Thi is intentional. It helps to cut off all contact with anyone who would encourage the patient to relapse. It decreases the chances of heroin being snuck into the facility or otherwise encouraged.
  • Money. Inpatient treatment is all-inclusive. So, it is usually the most expensive treatment option. The price of an inpatient program does not only include treatment. It also includes room and board, food, and other normal living costs. It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll likely be paying many of these costs regardless, though.

Outpatient treatment, however, can be beneficial due to:

  • Time. It is possible for someone to go through outpatient rehab and continue their normal life. They can still go to work or school while recovering.
  • Money. Outpatient rehab is usually cheaper than inpatient rehab. This is because the patient is paying for treatment only.
  • Support System. For those with a strong support system, outpatient treatment can be a good option. They can continue to be around these supportive people while they recover from their addiction. They aren’t isolated as they recover.

Outpatient treatment can also be detrimental for some due to:

  • Unsupervised Time. Any time spent away from the treatment facility puts the recovering addict at risk for a relapse. This could happen at the slightest provocation. Outpatient treatment means that the patient has a lot of unsupervised time. This could easily turn into seeking out or using heroin again. This is exactly what the patient is trying to avoid. In an inpatient program, there is always supervision.
  • Unenforced Appointments. Sticking to therapy and other treatment appointments can be the difference between relapse and success for recovering addicts. In an outpatient program, patients are on their own to get to appointments in time. This makes a relapse all the more likely when life gets in the way.

It’s possible that after completing detox and rehab, you’ll be good to go and not at risk for a relapse. However, this is unlikely. For most, addiction is a lifelong disease that must be constantly managed.

The good news is that there are many systems in place to help. They're for those who want to be extra sure that they won’t fall prey to a relapse.

One of the most common of these choices is a support group. Groups like Narcotics Anonymous meet regularly (usually weekly). They focus on recovery as a shared experience. Participants make their way through the 12 steps to recovery and learn to live a drug free life. All the while, they’re recovering alongside others who know what they're going through.

For those who want even more accountability and supervision, there are halfway houses. Transitional homes like these facilitate groups of recovering addicts to live all together. Each house is governed by a set of rules, usually including a curfew and a ban on all drugs and alcohol. Residents in such homes often attend group therapy together. They can also hold each other accountable to follow the rules of the house and to stay clean.

Northpoint Seattle

How Northpoint Seattle Could Help You or a Loved One

Have you been picturing yourself or someone you love as you’ve read this page? You may have realized that there’s a problem. Heroin addiction has stolen too many lives too early - don’t let yourself or someone you know be taken too.

If you still aren’t sure whether someone is truly a heroin addict, consider taking this addiction quiz about yourself or someone you know. If you determine that there is indeed a problem., the first step is to decide to seek help.

Here at Northpoint Seattle, we want to help. We believe that you deserve to live a life free from heroin addiction.

At Northpoint Seattle, our mission is to provide a safe, helpful and supportive recovery environment that helps build the foundation for a successful future. We operate with the utmost respect for every individual that passes through our doors. Our commitment to excellence means doing good for others and engaging in innovative, empirically-based treatment. In short, our mission is to help people get their lives back and show them respect and empathy in the process.

Northpoint Seattle is an intensive outpatient program designed with recovery in mind. If you aren’t sure if this treatment option is for you, call for a free addiction assessment now.

If you want to recover from heroin addiction, you’re in luck, because we want to help. Contact us today to start your road to recovery and regain your life from the jaws of heroin addiction.

Talk to a Rehab Specialist

Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

[DirectNumber] Contact Us

Full Infographic

Heroin Detox and Withdrawal Infographic