How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your System?

Herion AbuseThere seems to be a real heroin epidemic going on in the United States these days. More and more people are struggling with heroin addiction, or opiate addiction, with many people not knowing where to turn.

Heroin is a drug that comes from the opiate plant, and when taken causes an intense feeling of euphoria and relaxation. There are some people who think they can use heroin recreationally on occasion, but what happens to most of these people is that they become addicted to it. It’s not as if they intended to become addicts, but the reality is that heroin is very addictive and can be talked to stop

Some people wonder how long heroin will stay in their system once they’ve stopped using. While the effects of heroin can last for about 4 or 5 hours, it’s estimated that within 30 minutes after consumption, the concentration of heroin is about half in the blood.

There are various factors that come into play when we’re talking about how long heroin will stay in the system. Such factors include the user’s weight and height. The amount of heroin used by the user, as well as the metabolism of the user. There are various ways to detect heroin in the body, with the most popular being in urine, blood, saliva, or hair follicle test. These tests have been approved by the FDA.

When testing for heroin or other opioids, it’s likely that a saliva test will indicate heroin use within a day or two, urine about up to a week, and can be detectable in the hair follicles up to about 90 days.

With the recent deaths of many heroin users due to overdose, the topic of heroin use has increased significantly. Heroin is actually one of the most common addictions in America among adults, with many loved ones of addicts not recognizing the symptoms of addiction.

Signs of heroin addiction

If someone is high on heroin, they may be extremely calm, but when the high begins to wear off, they become anxious or even sick. Sometimes the only way to be able to tell if someone is struggling with heroin addiction is if you notice their withdrawal symptoms or needle injection marks.

Withdrawal signs

If you or your loved would like to stop using heroin, it will be helpful to enter a detox program so that the withdrawal symptoms can be monitored and you can be in a safe atmosphere. Substance abuse professionals will offer you support while you detox and oftentimes be able to provide you with certain medications that decrease the number of withdrawal symptoms.

You’ll also be able to see a licensed counselor, who can help you begin a journey to uncover any wounds or trauma that perhaps you’ve not really dealt with throughout life. Many addiction specialists believe that underneath any addiction, there is some sort of emotional trauma that has not been dealt with.  It may do you good to go back and evaluate your childhood with a counselor and see if you’ve got any emotional wounds that are in need of healing.

During your detox period, your body will get rid of the chemical toxins and you’ll return to a drug-free state.  Detox is just the first step in treatment, as aftercare treatment such as an inpatient or outpatient rehab is recommended to continue with education and heroin addiction treatment.

Withdrawal symptoms are rarely fatal, but they can be intense.  It will take a firm resolve to endure them in order to break free from heroin addiction. You will find that the symptoms peak usually within 2 to 4 days and disappear altogether after a week to 10 days. Of course, this time frame will differ for each person, as no two people are alike. The withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on how much heroin has been used and for how long.  It can also depend on your support network. Those that try to detox alone tend to far worse than those who have a supportive network.

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, irritability
  • Body ache, particularly in the legs and back
  • Sweating, runny nose, teary eyes
  • Diarrhea, stomach pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fever
  • Restlessness, insomnia

The withdrawal symptoms will subside in time and being in a safe place with substance abuse professionals is quite helpful when going through the withdrawal symptoms.  If you try to do this on your own at home, you are more likely to use heroin again because the cravings and symptoms can seem to be unbearable at times.

Overcoming heroin addiction

There are various treatments available for those who are addicted to heroin.  Methadone is a common treatment because it is a synthetic opiate that blocks the effects of heroin and helps limit withdrawal symptoms.  Another treatment is taking the medication buprenorphine, which is becoming more and more popular because it is less addictive than methadone and a doctor can easily prescribe it.

Three Stages of Heroin Recovery

With the recent deaths of many, talk about heroin has been booming.  In particular, the fact that the use of heroin is increasing is alarming to substance abuse professionals, as well as law enforcement officials.  Many deaths each year are due to heroin overdose, which really is a tragedy because addiction to heroin does not have to control anyone’s life.

If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, know that there is freedom beyond that addiction and the first step is to admit that you need help.  Just about all heroin users will need professional help coming off of the drug, as well as continued support long term, as the drug is quite addictive and produces powerful withdrawal symptoms once stopped.

Once you make a decision to combat heroin addiction and stop using heroin, you will enter a recovery phase that involved various stages. If you understand the recovery process, you’re less likely to be anxious when making the transition to living a life free from heroin.

Here are the three primary stages of heroin addiction recovery:

Stage 1: Withdrawal

You’ve probably heard about withdrawal before and may have even experienced some withdrawal symptoms before when you’ve been without heroin for a time period.  Withdrawal symptoms can be intense so it is recommended that you attend a detox center for the withdrawal period.  Your symptoms will vary depending on how long you’ve been using heroin and how much you’re using.  During detox, you will be able to receive an IV detox therapy that will reduce your withdrawal symptoms, making the process less grueling.  Essentially the IV helps to rapidly flush the toxins out of your body so that you feel better faster. You may also be introduced to methadone, which is a substance that blocks the effects of heroin on the brain.

Stage 2: Happy

The next stage of heroin addiction recovery involves a stage of feeling happy because, for the first time in a while, you begin to feel a sense of freedom and hope.  You find your brain becoming clearer, and a sense of true normalcy appears. Addiction to heroin is likened to putting yourself in a prison cell, so when you decide to detox and begin a life without it, you essentially walk out of your prison cell. You begin to feel your mind clear and experience some positive emotions you might not have felt in a while.  The length of this stage varies for each person and it may be followed by some uncertainty as you wonder if you’ll be able to stay clean long term, especially once you get out of detox and/or rehab. Granted, there are some instances where the happy stage lasts quite a long time, or maybe forever, but usually, the happy stage leads you right into the third stage.

Stage 3: Recovery

Once detox is complete, your stage of recovery begins.  Oftentimes people attend an inpatient or outpatient rehab once they’ve finished detox and there they learn more about recovery and how to stay clean and live a life free from drugs.  Recovery includes learning about the disease of addiction, coping with the underlying factors of addiction, learning new coping skills, receiving counseling, and possibly attending a 12 Step recovery program like Narcotics Anonymous. The recovery stage is one you will be in the rest of your life, as it is a process and each new day is a new opportunity to stay clean and grow.  You will most likely find yourself reaching out to others who need help once you’ve been in the recovery stage for a while.

If you are struggling with addiction to heroin, it’s time to reach out for help and begin a life free from the prison of drugs. It’s time to admit that you need some help and make a commitment to doing whatever it takes to live the kind of life that makes you happy.  It is quite possible to stop using heroin and live a life free from drug use.

Entering treatment via a detox or rehab center for heroin addiction will certainly help you out, as well as attending a 12 Step recovery group.  There you will be able to find other recovering addicts who have been in your shoes and can encourage and support you.  You can get a sponsor/mentor as well, which is quite helpful especially at the beginning of your recovery.  If you are struggling with heroin addiction, make a commitment today to reach out for help so that you can live a happy and peaceful life free from drugs.

Help is ready and waiting for you to take your first recovery step.