Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Narcotics Treatment and other Substance Abuse topics.
Detoxification -- the process of getting drugs out of the patient's system -- can last several days in the case of heroin and other opiates. Physical effects include sweating, muscle cramps, chills, fever, unrelenting cough, diarrhea, and a combination of insomnia and extreme fatigue. Blood pressure can skyrocket, and there is even a risk of death, particularly if the patient's system has been weakened by infection. For this reason, heroin detox requires medical supervision and a controlled setting.
Some clinics are offering a process of "rapid detox," which is assisted by drugs and takes place in a couple of days under general anesthesia. This may be worth pursuing for addicts whose fear of withdrawal symptoms is keeping them from entering recovery, but it is not medically proven.
Whatever method is used, opiate detox is only the beginning of the process. Addictions to drugs such as heroin require time in drug rehab and treatment over several months, during which the addict will likely experience strong cravings for the drug. Many addicts enter treatment and suffer relapse multiple times.