Addiction Treatment

Is It Dangerous to Detox from Heroin Without Professional Treatment?

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Last updated: 08/8/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Heroin detox can be very dangerous without the proper, professional treatment. While not everyone needs 24-hour care in a controlled facility, some sort of medical care will usually be necessary to one’s safe, secure recovery from heroin withdrawal.

Why Is Heroin Detox Without Professional Treatment Dangerous?

Opioid withdrawal is not usually life-threatening like some other withdrawal syndromes can be, but “withdrawal from these drugs on your own can be very hard and may be dangerous.” This is true for a number of reasons.

Detox from Heroin

Heroin withdrawal can cause severe depressive symptoms that must be professionally addressed.

  • It is possible that someone going through opioid withdrawal could experience severe depressive symptoms, which can possibly lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.
    • Anyone going through this withdrawal syndrome should be checked for depression, and without professional treatment, one likely won’t be.
    • In addition, a person who is experiencing these issues will need more intensive care and likely shouldn’t be left alone for the early part of their recovery. Whether they choose to attend outpatient care and have a friend stay with them or stay in a residential rehab facility where they can be monitored 24/7, these are both much safer options.
  • The withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin and any type of opioid withdrawal can be extremely painful. It is not recommended that clinicians attempt to manage significant opioid withdrawal symptoms without” the use of medications, and you will not be able to receive these medications without seeking professional treatment for your withdrawal.
  • Those who do not attend detox for their withdrawal symptoms are often much less likely to attend addiction treatment afterward. As most individuals who become dependent on heroin are addicts because the drug is an illegal substance and extremely dangerous, not attending treatment for addiction is a mistake.
  • The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs. But over time, a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised.” A person may think they are capable of going through detox without anyone’s help, but if they are addicted to heroin (and most of those individuals already dependent on the drug are), they will find this extremely difficult to do without anyone’s help. This is why it is much safer to put yourself in the hands of professionals who will know how to help you detox from heroin and fight the temptation to return to substance abuse, however, this needs to be accomplished

Professional Treatment Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes

Perhaps you need to be in a residential facility where you have 24-hour access to care in a controlled environment that eradicates the temptation to use. Perhaps an outpatient facility that allows you to go to work, see your family, and live your life while you slowly detox from heroin is the best option for you. Or perhaps you just need a doctor’s help to slowly wean you off a medication that will minimize your withdrawal symptoms as you go through the process of detox. Whatever option is best for you, it is extremely important to seek professional treatment for heroin detox instead of attempting to go it alone. The latter option is much more dangerous and statistically more likely to lead to relapse.

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