Menu Close
Zelus Recovery logo

Recovery is a team effort

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin is a powerful opiate, popularized in movies such as Midnight Cowboy and Trainspotting. Heroin affects the reward system in the brain, making it very addictive with intense withdrawal symptoms. Detox requires an inpatient setting at a heroin addiction treatment center in Boise Idaho to manage the heroin withdrawal symptoms and to set the patient on a path of sobriety.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms: What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opiate, in the same class of drugs like morphine and opium. Opium, morphine, and heroin are all derived from the opium poppy plant. Heroin is derived by extracting morphine from opium using acid, then adding additional chemicals to it. Heroin was originally used as a pain medication and in cough medicine but was outlawed in 1924 due to its addictive nature and intensive heroin withdrawal symptoms.

Additionally, although heroin is illegal, a 2017 study shows that nearly 494,000 people in the United States currently use heroin and as many as 15,000 people die from a Heroin overdose every year.

How Heroin Works:

As an opiate, heroin binds to the opiate receptors. When bound, the opiate receptors reduce the transmission of neurotransmitters associated with pain. The result is reduced pain and a sense of euphoria. Heroin also interacts with the reward system in the brain. Over time, the body develops a tolerance to heroin, requiring a stronger dosage to achieve the same high. The combination of pleasure associated with the reward center and tolerance make heroin a highly addictive drug.

In fact, the heroin withdrawal symptoms include a variety of physical, emotional and psychological issues.


  • Depression
  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings, hostility, and irritability
  • Paranoia


  • Lying to others to hide drug use
  • Avoiding social interactions with family and friends.
  • Decreased attention to personal hygiene
  • Stashing drugs at various locations.
  • Apathy and lack of motivation


  • Track marks on the arms and legs
  • Itching
  • Constricted pupils
  • Forced, quick speech
  • Scabs on the skin from frequent itching

Additionally, patients frequently end up in the hospital as the victim of a heroin overdose. If you see the following symptoms seek immediate medical attention:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Awake but unable to talk
  • Bluish, purple skin, for light-skinned people or grayish skin for darker-toned people
  • Slow, shallow, erratic breathing
  • Blue fingernails or lips
  • Slow, erratic heartbeat or no heartbeat at all

Heroin Withdrawal Treatment

In fact, the signs of heroin withdrawal typically begin within 12 hours after the last dose. The symptoms can be quite harsh and include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle Aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

In conclusion, heroin withdrawal symptoms are treated with a mild opiate like methadone or buprenorphine. The doctor will prescribe one of these drugs and then slowly wean the patient off. If you are suffering from heroin addiction in the Boise, Idaho area, consider the heroin addiction treatment center in Boise, Idaho at Zelus Recovery. Call us today at [Dirct] to end the nightmare of addiction.