How to Quit Heroin

Quitting heroin requires courage and dedication. Addiction professionals in a rehab facility can keep you safe and provide medication to relieve withdrawal symptoms.
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Heroin isn’t easy to quit. The illicit drug is two to three times more potent than morphine, a natural opiate used to create heroin. People addicted to heroin compulsively seek the drug despite knowing the health, social and legal consequences.

But those who do not stop using heroin increase their risk of experiencing severe health complications, including breathing problems, depression and other symptoms of heroin use. Heroin use can also lead to death.

Research has shown that quitting heroin can result in a number of health and social benefits. For those who want to overcome heroin addiction, seeking professional support can help ensure a more comfortable detox.

Quitting Heroin Cold Turkey

Addiction experts do not recommend quitting heroin cold turkey. Quitting cold turkey refers to suddenly and completely discontinuing use of a substance you are addicted to. Many people who immediately stop using heroin detox without professional assistance.

Although rarely life-threatening, the abruptly quitting the opioid can lead to a host of painful heroin withdrawal symptoms that can affect a person’s health. These effects include muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia and anxiety.

When quitting cold turkey, heroin withdrawal symptoms typically begin within 12 hours of the last use and can continue for up to 10 days. The longer a person has used heroin, the longer withdrawal symptoms last. And because heroin cravings are so strong, many people who try to deal with the effects of withdrawal without professional assistance go back to using the drug.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Ensures Safety During Detox

To quit heroin safely and comfortably, individuals should seek treatment. Rehab centers across the United States employ trained medical professionals who know how to support people experiencing withdrawal symptoms during heroin detox.

Clients in rehab for heroin addiction often receive Suboxone, a medication comprising buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone, when taken orally, relieves symptoms of withdrawal.

The benefits of Suboxone have been endorsed by many people in recovery, including Madeleine Ludwig. Madeleine is in recovery from cocaine and heroin addiction. When she experienced distressing withdrawal symptoms at the peak of her heroin addiction, she was prescribed Suboxone. Thirty minutes after taking the medication, she felt relief.

“I was no longer in pain, and my cravings lessened,” Madeleine told “The effects were practically immediate.”

Methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine are other prescription drugs often used to relieve withdrawal effects during heroin detox, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. People who detox at home without medical supervision may not have access to these medications and the help they can offer during withdrawal.

Rehab can help people quit heroin in other ways. Treatment facilities provide 24-hour support to those experiencing withdrawal symptoms. They also offer nutritional supplements, such as vitamins B and C, to replenish the body with nutrients lost through sweating or diarrhea. Several different heroin hotlines help people find heroin addiction treatment near them.

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Why You Should Quit Heroin

Heroin addiction affects many aspects of life. It can damage your health, relationships and reputation. Left untreated, substance use disorders can cause permanent damages. Heroin changes the brain, affecting how people think and act. Quitting heroin use and overcoming addiction is associated with a variety of benefits.

Quitting Prevents Addiction, Mental Illness and Overdose

Co-occurring disorders are common among heroin users. Heroin use can cause addiction and may lead to mental illness. As the opioid epidemic continues to affect the United States, heroin has caused thousands of heroin overdoses. Seeking treatment can help people quit and avoid the harmful consequences of heroin abuse.

Quitting Reduces the Chances of Experiencing Legal Trouble

Heroin is an illegal drug in the United States. Possessing or selling the opioid can result in serious legal trouble, including incarceration. Heroin addiction can also cause volatile behavior that could lead to breaking the law.

Quitting Lowers the Risk for Contracting HIV and Other Infectious Diseases

Heroin use increases the chances of acquiring infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis. Through the sharing of needles, intravenous heroin users are at the highest risk for contracting hepatitis C. But other methods of administration, including smoking heroin, can contribute to behavior that can expose people to these infectious diseases.

Quitting Improves Overall Health

Overcoming heroin abuse allows individuals to reap numerous health benefits. People in recovery often have stronger bodies and more clear minds. Quitting heroin can alleviate health issues such as skin problems, cardiovascular complications and depression.

Quitting Strengthens Relationships

While experiencing heroin addiction, many people compromise their personal relationships. Their actions cause stress to loved ones, who may be dealing with mental health problems caused by the individual’s heroin use. However, sobriety allows people to mend those relationships and create new, lasting friendships.

The benefits of heroin treatment far outweigh the health, social and legal costs of addiction. Quitting heroin can be difficult, but rehab can alleviate withdrawal symptoms and teach people to live fulfilling lives without heroin.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Matt Gonzales
Content Writer,
Matt Gonzales is a writer and researcher for He graduated with a degree in journalism from East Carolina University and began his professional writing career in 2011. Matt covers the latest drug trends and shares inspirational stories of people who have overcome addiction. Certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in health literacy, Matt leverages his experience in addiction research to provide hope to those struggling with substance use disorders.

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