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What Is Heroin Addiction Recovery Like?

Heroin addiction recovery in the United States is usually approached through a 12-step program. The programs are modeled after the one used by Alcoholics Anonymous. Heroin addicts would check into an inpatient program for a minimum of 28 days to get treatment for their addiction.

Now that insurance companies have become reluctant to fund this type of treatment for heroin addiction, the focus has changed. Now, a person battling a heroin addiction will likely be admitted to a hospital long enough so that the acute withdrawal symptoms can be medically supervised. After they get past the first few days, they are released and referred to an outpatient counseling program.

During the first few days of being drug-free, the addict may experience the following withdrawal symptoms:


  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Inability to sleep

  • Depression

After that point, a person trying to break free from heroin will start to have some secondary withdrawal symptoms:


  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Leg cramps

  • Body aches

  • Sweating

  • Chills

  • Dehydration

  • Weight loss

When you are thinking about what heroin recovery is like, it's important to have a plan to change your lifestyle so that you avoid situations where you are tempted to use heroin again. You will need to make some new friends and avoid being around people who are using it.

It's important to find new ways to spend your time that don't involve using heroin. You want to fill up your schedule enough that you don't get bored and become tempted to use again. Have a plan in place to cope with times when you will be tempted to use heroin again. Write them down so you have a list to refer to when the cravings strike.

When you are trying to recover from a heroin addiction, it's important to take good care of yourself. Eat a balance diet, exercise regularly, and make sure you get enough sleep at night to help you have a much healthier lifestyle.

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