Expect These Withdrawal Symptoms When A Loved One Tries To Quit Heroin

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If one of your loved ones has struggled with an addiction to heroin, you know just how challenging an individual's dependence on this drug can be. It's good news when the addict in your live pledges to quit heroin, but the process of withdrawing from this potent drug can be difficult to go through — and difficult for you to watch. Addicts and their families take a wide range of approaches to sobriety; some addicts will check into a treatment center to detox, while others will attempt to kick the drug on their own at home and then seek a treatment center for care. If your loved one has the latter idea, it's important for you to understand what to expect as the person detoxes.

Flu-Like Symptoms

Many heroin addicts who quit the drug will experience withdrawal symptoms that are similar to having the flu. You can expect that your family member will suffer from the sweats, go through bouts of vomiting, and even shake violently. It can be difficult to forget that the person doesn't actually have the flu, so the methods that you might use to treat the flu won't have any impact on these withdrawal symptoms.

Severe Aches And Pains

As your loved one suffers through the hours and days without heroin, he or she may develop considerable physical pain. The person may complain that he or she aches all over and may feel too uncomfortable to get out of bed. Often, the person won't be able to help moaning, crying, and potentially even screaming as he or she writhes in pain. This withdrawal symptom can be troubling for you to watch, given that you don't want to see your family member in pain. It's important to remember that this phase won't be forever and is part of the normal withdrawal process.


Depression can also coincide with heroin withdrawal. In addition to the physical issues that your loved one is enduring, he or she may feel extremely emotionally distraught. The person may make concerning statements about wanting to be dead, given the intensity of the depression, but you can offer your support by reminding him or her that the depression will lift as the withdrawal process wears on. If your loved one is having an extreme struggle with his or her effort to kick a heroin habit at home, it's worthwhile to call your local heroin addiction treatment center and see about admitting him or her to go through this process under the care of medical professionals.