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To Stop Using Heroin is Hard, Heavy Withdrawal Symptoms

Abstract: It is hard to stopp using heroin, with heavy withdrawal symptoms for 7-10 days. Methadone can replace heroin and allow a better life than using heroin, but methadone is itself an opiate. Some people first switch to methadone, then gradually reduce the amount to finally get rid of their addiction.

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To Stop Using Heroin is Hard, Heavy Withdrawal Symptoms

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Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 15 Dec 2009.

Is it possible to stop using heroin? What are the withdrawal symptoms? How can they be handled?


For addicts it is hard to stop using heroin. If they try to stop at once, meaning without any medication, the physical withdrawal symptoms can be very heavy and last anywhere between 7-10 days. It is also possible to kick the habit with the help of a doctor, by giving decreasing doses of Methadone. However, Methadone is mostly given in a constant maintenance dose. Methadone is an artificial opiate and compared to heroin, is more effective and has a longer duration time (24 hours). The advantage is that the body doesn't ask for another dose very quickly. The user can live a normal day and nightlife without constantly looking for heroin. This regularity can improve the user's situation physically, mentally and socially. Other advantages are that Methadone is pure and ingested orally.

The risks of Methadone are the same as with heroin: it is and will always be a heavily sedative drug and therefore hard to kick the habit definitely. The risk of an overdose is larger with metadon because of the long duration time. Mental dependence is the hardest thing; the underlying problems still exist and starting a new life is difficult and hard. And in the mean time, the need for heroin stays and may cause a relapse.

Physical exercise, like long walks, can make withdrawal easier.

Subutex and Subuxone are other medicines similar to Methadone.

All these drugs, Subutex, Subuxone and Methadone, will partially pr whooly block the effect of heroin, if taken at the same time.

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