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What is the Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

What is the Heroin Withdrawal Timeline
Updated on 1/13/2020

Heroin is an opioid that is highly addictive.

As people continue to use this drug, their body develops a tolerance and they need to take more to feel the same euphoric effects. Unfortunately, as people continue to abuse heroin regularly, they can develop a dependence on this drug. When they attempt to stop, their body will experience heroin withdrawal symptoms that can range from being inconvenient to life-threatening.

At our heroin treatment center in Chicago, we work with people addicted to heroin and are familiar with the recovery process. The heroin detox time can be scary and overwhelming, so we want to provide you with a better understanding of both the heroin withdrawal timeline and symptoms.

How long does heroin withdrawal last?

The length of heroin withdrawal varies for each person. This timeline will change depending on how severely the person is addicted to the drug, if the person suffers from other addictions in conjunction with heroin, and the person’s overall health.

The First 6 to 24 Hours

Typically, withdrawal symptoms will first appear as soon as 6 to 12 hours after the last dose. These symptoms are often uncomfortable but still manageable.

1 to 3 Days

During this part of heroin withdrawal, symptoms tend to be the most intense and peak. If major complications are going to arise, it will probably be at this point. For people trying to detox on their own, this time may not only be dangerous for their health but also overwhelming. This portion of the heroin withdrawal timeline is also what leads many people to use again.

Up to 1 Week

After three days, the symptoms should start to decrease and become less intense. After this time, the physical symptoms usually become much more manageable or stop altogether. A person who makes it this far in the detox process will want to focus on building a foundation for long-term recovery like with PHP treatment.


Unfortunately, some effects of heroin withdrawal can linger or reappear. Specifically, the psychological effects of heroin abuse such as depression or drug cravings can occur even years after being sober. If you already have mental health issues before you start withdrawal, it may be best to enter dual diagnosis treatment to help you combat these problems as you also battle your addiction.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Although the timeline of heroin withdrawal is short, the symptoms during this time can be severe, so it is important that you go through a proper detox. Some of the most common signs of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Restlessness and sleep problems
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Chills
  • Intense heroin cravings [1]

If you want to move beyond your heroin addiction or you have a loved one struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, do not hesitate to get help. At Banyan Chicago, we provide various therapies and levels of care to help our patients on the road to a better, sober life. Contact us at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our substance abuse treatment in Naperville.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse – Drug Facts- Heroin
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
What is the Heroin Withdrawal Timeline
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