Heroin Withdrawal Timeline: From First Symptoms to Recovery

heroin withdrawal timeline
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An Overview of Heroin Recovery Treatment

Are you or someone you care about considering entering treatment for heroin addiction, but feel anxious about withdrawal symptoms? This is a completely normal hesitation, but with the right level of compassionate medical and mental health care, these symptoms can be closely monitored and better managed to ensure a successful recovery. 

Today, we are going to look at the heroin withdrawal timeline and what it might look like. If you have any questions about getting help for opioid addiction, please call us at (844) 999-0874. 

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal 

Opioid withdrawal symptoms are divided into two main categories. According to the National Library of Medicine, these are designated as early symptoms of withdrawal and late symptoms of withdrawal. 

Early Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms 

Early withdrawal can manifest as both mental and physical symptoms. As everyone experiences their own unique recovery journey, the symptoms can present them in any combination. 

Early mental symptoms can include: 

  • Increased levels of agitation 
  • Heightened anxiety 
  • Insomnia 

Early-stage physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal that one might experience are: 

  • Muscle aches
  • Increased tearing in the eyes
  • Increased nasal discharge/runny nose
  • More frequent perspiration 
  • Yawning 

Late Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms 

As a person experiencing addiction progresses through the heroin withdrawal timeline, they may experience symptoms that differ from those in the early stages. Unlike the symptoms above, late-stage signs are often more physical in nature. 

Late-stage withdrawal symptoms most commonly include: 

  • Cramping in the abdomen 
  • Episodes of diarrhea 
  • Dilated (larger) pupils 
  • Goosebumps on the skin 
  • Feelings of nausea 
  • Vomiting 

Managing Symptoms with a Doctor’s Help 

Unfortunately, some people who do not receive proper medical care during recovery can and do die from opioid withdrawal. This is often due to dehydration, elevated blood pressure, or cardiac failure caused by the symptoms listed above. 

This highlights the importance of seeking professional treatment with close medical supervision as part of one’s journey. Throughout the withdrawal timeline, a doctor can prescribe medications to help lessen the impact of symptoms and provide guidance to the patient for a safer recovery. 

During treatment for heroin or other opioid addiction, a patient should closely monitor physical and/or mental symptoms and communicate them quickly to their doctor. This will ensure that the person receives the medication necessary to help manage the pain or discomfort. 

Treatment for Opioid Addiction 

Each treatment center will take its own approach to helping people overcome their addiction. At Compassion, our results-driven philosophy centers around providing a person with therapies specific to their needs. This could include a combination of therapeutic treatments that might include: 


If deemed necessary, a doctor will recommend medication to help you manage physical or mental symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Taking the prescribed medication can help ease discomfort while your body adjusts to the absence of opioids. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral thearpy, or CBT, is one of the most widely used therapeutic frameworks. It is founded on the belief that thoughts, feelings, and actions are interconnected and can be negatively impacted by maladaptive mental or behavioral patterns that a person develops in their life. The goal of CBT is to, identify personal narratives in one’s life that influence these maladaptive patterns, challenge them, and help the change their perspective. 

Group Therapy 

Group therapy involves one or more mental health specialists providing treatment to a small number of clients together in a group setting. Through interactive dialogues among peers, people feel less alone in coping with struggles of addiction and recovery as well as other life events. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy 

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a modified form of CBT that emphasizes four key components: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation. The end-goal of DBT treatment is to assist a person with: 

  • Living with more presence and awareness in the moment 
  • Coping successfully within stressful environments or situations
  • Developing healthy communication and boundary-setting skills while maintaining positive relationships with other people 
  • Better control and change negative emotions that you desire to change 

Motivational Interviewing 

Motivational interviewing is a counseling technique that helps a person develop a greater motivation to change maladaptive thoughts or behaviors. The focus of these sessions is to provide the patient with a greater sense of empowerment to actualize these desires and create a positive difference in their lives. 

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy 

Solution-focused brief therapy focuses on future goals and developing motivational strategies to help the person achieve them. Rather than addressing issues in a person’s life, SFBT focuses on creating solutions. 


EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This evidence-based, thoroughly researched treatment method involves the use of guided eye movements to help an individual reprocess painful memories and experiences. This is conducted in a safe environment with the aid of a trained therapist. 

Individual Therapy  

Individual therapy refers to one-on-one treatment by a licensed counselor or other therapist. In the context of substance abuse treatment, these sessions can and often do incorporate multiple therapeutic approaches to help a person address their specific struggles with addiction and other underlying factors. 

Get Treatment for Heroin and Opioid Addiction in South Florida 

At Compassion Behavioral Health, we provide caring substance abuse treatment for heroin and other similar addictions in South Florida. If you are looking for help, please reach out to us anytime at (844) 999-0870 or contact us online today.