Why Heroin Addicts are Afraid of Detox (And Why They Shouldn’t Be)

Although there are many different components of recovery from a substance abuse disorder, drug detoxification is by far the most difficult, and it’s also the stage of recovery that is most feared by addicts, due to the misconceptions about detox that are perpetuated by the movies and media. Because of this, many heroin addicts are afraid of detox, even at rehab facilities like Freedom Drug Rehab, where clients detox in a safe and supportive environment and are monitored by medical professionals who can administer medications to alleviate the physical and psychological symptoms of heroin withdrawal. For more information about the benefits of heroin detox at Freedom Drug Rehab, contact the addiction rehab facility today.

Heroin Addiction Detox

Unless you’ve detoxed yourself, your perception of detox probably comes from the movies, where we typically see drug addicts left in a small room by themselves to tough out the painful and debilitating symptoms of physical and psychological withdrawal. It’s no wonder then, that heroin addicts and other substance abusers would be afraid to go to rehab, largely because of what they assume will be a hellish detox. Fortunately, the actual detox process isn’t anything like the movies, and when you seek treatment for heroin addiction at a professional rehab facility, the detox portion of the treatment program is guided by extensive research and overseen by experienced addiction recovery counselors, to make it a significantly better and safer experience for addicts.

Heroin is an opiate most often used as a recreational drug for the euphoric effects it produces in users, which are related to the impact heroin has on the brain. Heroin binds to opioid receptors in the brain, which causes a surge of pleasure, or euphoria, and over time, it takes more and more of the drug to elicit the same effects, which can lead to heroin tolerance, dependence, and addiction. It is at this stage that withdrawal symptoms begin to occur and that heroin detox becomes more difficult. According to Ashley Lewis, RN, MSN, NP-C, a family nurse practitioner with experience in drug and alcohol detox, “Our patients also seem to worry about the amount of anxiety they may feel through the process. Many are skeptical that the detox medications will control their withdrawal symptoms.” It’s this fear that prevents many heroin addicts from getting the help they need and convinces them to try to quit cold turkey, which can lead to dangerous heroin withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea

Heroin Detox and Addiction Recovery

Another common misconception about drug detox is that it’s a cure-all for addictions when it’s really just the first step in recovering from substance abuse. Drug addiction is a chronic condition and recovery is an ongoing process, made up of many different treatment components. According to a drug addiction treatment guide compiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, for the best chance at long-term sobriety, individuals with substance abuse disorders should receive comprehensive treatment following detox, which can reduce their risk of relapsing, or returning to substance abuse following a period of abstinence. Research shows that, without addiction treatment and aftercare services, individuals addicted to drugs heroin and other opiates have relapse rates of 60% to 80% just one month after rehab.

Contact Freedom Drug Rehab for Help

It’s a matter of fact that detoxing from heroin is extremely difficult, and without the help of a professional rehab facility, it can even be dangerous. Unfortunately, some people with a heroin addiction believe they can quit the drug cold turkey when being treated medically is a much safer and more effective option. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to heroin, and you want to know more about the benefits of medically-supervised heroin detox, contact the addiction recovery experts at Freedom Drug Rehab today to discuss your treatment options.


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