Heroin Addiction Warning Signs: A look at the heroin withdrawal timeline

The road to sobriety after heroin use is not an easy one. The professionals at White Sands Treatment will help you in the recovery process for heroin addiction. The heroin withdrawal timeline is as follows:

  • Withdrawal begins in the first six to twelve hours (after the last dose);
  • Withdrawal peaks within one to five days;
  • After about a week, the withdrawal symptoms will subside.

Heroin is a dangerous and highly addictive substance. The withdrawal symptoms and severity fluctuate by the individual and how much/how often they use.

The first two days after the last dose are, indeed, the most difficult. Symptoms can be expected to be severe and uncomfortable. Panic attacks are not uncommon during these two days.


Heroin addiction treatment begins with detox. Detoxification begins after the last dose is ingested. During this process, your body cleanses itself – thus, riding itself of the drug.

Withdrawal symptoms and severity differ by individual. Heroin produces a wide-range of symptoms and can be categorized by severity:

  • Mild withdrawal symptoms may include: sweats, chills, runny nose, excessive yawning, muscle and bone aches, and nausea.
  • Moderate withdrawal symptoms may include: diarrhea, tremors, fatigue, vomiting, restlessness, trouble concentrating, and agitation.
  • Severe withdrawal symptoms may include: depression, drug cravings, muscle spasms, hypertension, rapid heart rate, and anxiety.

The heroin withdrawal timeline really does depend upon how much the addict uses, how often they use, and how long they have been using for. If the afflicted individual has only been using heroin for a short time, the heroin withdrawal timeline and symptoms will be shorter and less intense.

In more serious cases, medication is used to soften the symptoms while the patient’s vitals are monitored by medical professionals.


Once detoxification is complete, the individual moves on to the rehab phase. This phase consists of intensive therapy, healthy meals, and a structured daily regimen. The purpose of the therapy is to pin point the root cause of the addiction and try to understand it.

By gaining an understanding of the reasoning behind the addiction, the addict may be able to overcome it and begin living a clean life.

In addition to therapy, addicts learn to identify triggers. Triggers can be anything that causes you to drink. For example, hanging around where you used to get high. This may pose a hurdle to your sobriety – but only if you let it. For this reason, it is important to understand triggers.

Learning what your triggers are and how to avoid them is paramount to maintaining sober. Living a clean lifestyle is possible with the proper tools. At White Sands Treatment the professional staff is well-equipped to help guide you on the right track.

Rehabilitation can take anywhere from thirty days, sixty days, to ninety days. The severity of your addiction will dictate the length of your stay. Heroin addiction treatment is personal and should be tailored to your needs.


Once you complete a rehabilitation program, you enter into recovery. The recovery phase can be tricky without the proper support. Twelve-step programs are a popular choice among recovering addicts because of the sense of comradery it provides. It is important to have a support system that includes other sober people.

Outpatient programs are also a good idea – especially in the beginning. You will continue to receive support if needed.

Family therapy is sometimes wise since addiction does not only effect the addict. Some families have been torn apart by their loved one’s addiction. This is an excellent way to help mend those fences.

If you have additional questions about the heroin withdrawal timeline, please contact White Sands Treatment today. Remember that the recovery process for heroin addiction may seem daunting – but you can do it!

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.