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The Stages of Opioid & Heroin Detox

In America alone, over 23 million people suffer from addiction. That’s one in every ten people. Addiction does not discriminate; it doesn’t matter your age, gender, race, or social class; addiction can affect anyone at any time. Heroin and opioids are some of the most habit-forming drugs, and detoxing from them can be a lengthy and difficult process.  When looking for addiction treatment in Richmond, Virginia,  you may require some assistance because the method isn’t simple. Here are the phases of heroin detox and what to expect at each one.

What is a Heroin and Opioid Detox?

Opioids are a  class of drugs that includes heroin as well as prescription painkillers. Detox from opioids allows the body to rid itself of the drug. This can be done through various methods, but the most common is to go through a medically supervised detox program. This is because withdrawal from heroin and opioids can be extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous. Detox from opioids can take anywhere from a few days to a week.

The Stages of Detox

To start, it’s important to understand that everyone responds to detox differently. The severity of your symptoms will depend on various factors, such as how long you’ve been using, how much you have been using, and your overall health. That being said, there are generally three stages of opioid detox:

Stage One: The Withdrawal Stage

The first and most painful stage is the withdrawal stage. This is where you must deal with most of the symptoms associated with opioids. You must stop taking opioids and let your body adjust to the lack of the drug. This stage can last anywhere from a few days to weeks.

The symptoms you’ll experience during withdrawal are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

These symptoms can be incredibly painful and difficult to deal with. You may feel like you can’t go on, but it’s important to remember that this is only temporary. Most symptoms will peak within the first few days and then start to improve.

Stage Two: The Detox Stage

The second stage is the detox stage. This is where your body starts to cleanse itself of the opioids and other toxins through medication or naturally. You may experience cravings during this stage. Your addiction treatment provider will closely monitor you to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. This stage can last anywhere from a few days to a week. They will most likely use a buprenorphine step down to help mitigate symptoms.

Stage Three: The Recovery Stage

The third and final stage is the recovery stage. This is where you start to rebuild your life and create a new foundation for yourself. You’ll work on things like developing a support system, learning how to cope with triggers, and developing new coping mechanisms. This stage can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and the McShin Foundation’s residential and recovery housing programs help you navigate your recovery. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment

If you’re struggling with heroin addiction, it’s important to know that help is available. One option is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT involves the use of medication, along with counseling and behavioral therapy, to treat addiction. MAT can be an effective treatment for heroin addiction, but it’s important to understand that it’s not a cure. MAT can help you manage your addiction and reduce your cravings, but you will still need to stay committed to recovery.

Some of the medications used to treat heroin addiction include:

  • Methadone: Methadone is a long-acting opioid that can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It’s typically taken once a day.
  • Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It’s available as a pill or a film that dissolves under the tongue.
  • Naltrexone: Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that can help reduce cravings. It’s available as a pill or an injection.

You must talk to your doctor about your options if you’re considering MAT. MAT is not right for everyone, and it’s important to find a treatment that’s right for you.

What are the Benefits of Therapy During Opioid Detox?

There are many benefits of talking therapy during heroin detox. They include:

  • It helps you deal with your emotions: Therapy can help you deal with the emotions and stress that come with withdrawal and detox. It can also help you develop healthy coping mechanisms and learn more about your addiction. 
  • You’ll have someone to talk to: One of the hardest things about detox is feeling alone. Therapy provides you with someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through. This can be a valuable support system during a difficult time.
  • It can help you stay motivated: It can be easy to lose motivation during detox. Therapy can help you stay focused on your goals and remind you why you’re doing this.
  • It can help you avoid reoccurrence of use: Therapy can help you identify your triggers and learn how to avoid them. It can also help you develop a plan for what to do if you have a reoccurrence of use.

If you’re considering therapy, it’s important to find a therapist specializing in addiction. They will be able to provide you with the support and guidance you need during this difficult time.

How can I Find an Addiction Treatment Center?

If you’re struggling with heroin addiction, it’s important to seek help. Many addiction treatment centers can help you through detox and recovery. When looking for an addiction treatment center, it’s important to consider your needs and what you’re looking for in a treatment program. Some things to consider when choosing an addiction treatment center include:

  • The types of treatment offered: Does the center offer detox, inpatient, outpatient, or residential treatment? What kind of treatment do you need?
  • The length of treatment: How long does the program last? Will you be able to stay for the entire length of treatment?
  • The cost of treatment: Can you afford the program? Does the center accept your insurance?
  • The location of the center: Is the center located in a convenient location?
  • The staff: What are the qualifications of the team? Do they have experience treating heroin addiction?

Drug addiction is a serious problem that can lead to many negative consequences. However, it’s important to remember that there is always hope for recovery. If you’re struggling with opioid or heroin addiction, many resources and treatment options are available to help you through detox and rehab. With the help of a treatment center and a commitment to recovery, you can overcome addiction and live a healthy, fulfilling life. Visit for more information.


Mcshin Foundation, 

2300 Dumbarton Road Richmond VA 23228,




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