Heroin addiction accounts for over ten thousand overdose fatalities a year by the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s latest count, setting itself apart as not only the most abused, lethal opioid (by far), but also as one of the most destructive drugs in the world. Getting help for a heroin addict, such as at one of our opioid addiction programs in Tennessee, is vital to preserving their health, but many abusers shy away from the thought of painful detox. Recovery isn’t pleasant, but it’s better than the alternative; learning more about the symptoms of heroin detox can help recovering addicts prepare themselves for the process.

The Effects of Acute Heroin Withdrawal and Detox

What Symptoms to Expect During Heroin Detox

Heroin acts faster than most opiates, making it a popular choice for abusers who seek instant gratification, and it leaves the bloodstream just as quickly. While this results in a much shorter withdrawal period (lasting anywhere from five to ten days in total) the symptoms experienced during that time can be more severe than with other opiates. You can’t die from detox, but many former heroin addicts can attest that you might wish you were dead instead.

  • Physiological symptoms during opioid detox are much like the flu and include excessive sweating, fever, muscle spasms, insomnia, nausea, severe aches, and various gastrointestinal issues.
  • Psychological symptoms can be even worse than physical side effects. Debilitating depression, anxiety, mood swings, loss of pleasure, and other mental health issues are present in over 40 percent of heroin addicts and can persist well after detox ends.

Some physicians will prescribe opioid replacement therapy (otherwise known as Medication-Assisted Treatment) during detox, substituting heroin for safer, milder opioids like Suboxone or Naloxone to help minimize symptoms through a tapering detox method. This can make withdrawal easier to go through but will prolong treatment and can’t get rid of the pain altogether. 

In the days, weeks, and months after heroin leaves the body, patients will experience Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptom as their body recovers from the lingering damage that heroin causes. The severity, duration, and type of symptoms experienced vary greatly based on the individual. Inpatient treatment, self-help techniques, and cognitive behavioral therapy can help recovering addicts live a better life and eventually get over these symptoms altogether.

  • Relapse is always a concern while suffering from Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptom. Between cravings, persistent mental issues, and lingering physiological effects like insomnia, many addicts aren’t able to handle the stress and resort to extreme measures. Formerly detoxed abusers might return to heroin or become addicted to a different opiate altogether, such as Methadone or Buprenorphine, especially if they underwent opioid replacement therapy. 

How To Start Heroin Detox

The process of heroin recovery is a long and painful one no matter what treatment plan you decide upon, but the best programs will minimize your discomfort while maximizing your odds of successful, permanent recovery. For heroin users, a 30-day alternative residential treatment program at Discovery Place’s alternative treatment center in Burns, Tennessee can be a comfortable, effective alternative to traditional detox clinics and 12-step programs. If you’re struggling with heroin addiction but want to improve, contact us at 1-800-725-0922 at any time of day to take the first step of the rest of your life.


  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham

    Thinking About Rehab?

    Learn More About Our Alternative Residential Recovery Programs

      Alternative Drug & Alcohol Treatment Rehab
    • Admissions
    • About Us
    • Contact
    • Talk to someone about your options

      Talk to someone about your options

      Blue Pig Media