How Long Does Heroin Detox Take?

Heroin is one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs on today’s market. A person that abuses heroin for even a short period of time can find themselves addicted and requiring treatment in one of the heroin rehab centers. In the state of Pennsylvania, many people die from heroin overdose each year (5,168 in 2021), averaging almost 15 overdose deaths per day. Most of these deaths could have easily been prevented through proper heroin detox. The reason why it is extremely dangerous to try heroin detox at home is the fact that heroin withdrawal symptoms are extremely difficult to face on your own. In this article, we will explain all about heroin detox and how long does heroin detox take, as well as provide you with all the information about heroin detox insurance coverage.

What is heroin detox?

To put it simply, if you suddenly stop using heroin, you will inevitably feel adverse side effects. This is due to the fact that your body has accustomed itself to heroin and now requires the substance for its “proper” functioning. Until your body learns to function without heroin again, you will need to contend with various physical symptoms such as muscle spasms and nausea. Furthermore, you will also need to deal with mental health issues, as it is quite common to experience severe anxiety and depression during the withdrawal period. The period between the onset of withdrawal symptoms and their absence is called detox.

person thinking about How Long Does Heroin Detox Take
Heroin withdrawal is uncomfortable at first, but it quickly becomes all but unmanageable.

For most people, the combination of these withdrawal symptoms is more than they can handle. This is what actually causes most heroin overdoses, as many people use more heroin than “necessary” to quell their withdrawal symptoms. This is why it is always the best idea to visit a detox center Pennsylvania as soon as you stop using heroin. A professional detox facility will be able to provide you with all that you require to keep the withdrawal symptoms at a manageable level. You simply cannot do that on your own.

The importance of seeking treatment for heroin addiction

When you are on your own, trying to detox from heroin, you are extremely susceptible to impulsive behavior. What this means is that you will have you deal with knowing that there is something you can do about them (take heroin again). While this might not be exceptionally difficult if the withdrawal symptoms were mild, heroin withdrawal symptoms make detoxing at home all but impossible for most people. In other words, most people will succumb to the physical and mental pressure before their withdrawal symptoms vanish. Furthermore, even if you manage to stay strong and purge heroin from your system for good, you will still have to deal with the mental health issues of your addiction.

If you choose to undergo heroin addiction treatment in a professional medical facility, however, things radically change. First of all, you will have access to professional monitoring, ensuring that your health is never compromised throughout the process. Before your treatment even begins, you will complete a full physical and psychological assessment to determine the best course of treatment. At Little Creek Recovery, we place extreme emphasis on this part, as everyone has unique physical and mental needs. Furthermore, you will have access to medications that might be necessary to keep the withdrawal symptoms (as well as cravings) in check.

Lastly, a professional treatment center will be able to provide you with numerous therapy options for your mental health issues. This might be even more important than getting help for the physical part of the heroin addiction, as solving your mental health issues is essential for making a long-lasting recovery.

person talking about How Long Does Heroin Detox Take
Getting help for your mental health issues is an integral part of the recovery process.

Different types of heroin detox programs

There are three main types of heroin detox programs:

Aside from these programs, you can also choose to undertake suboxone treatment. This form of treatment can be prescribed by a doctor that is certified in Suboxone dispensing. However, this is usually reserved only for those that have a very mild addiction to heroin. Otherwise, choosing one of the above-mentioned types of heroin detox programs will be your best choice. It is also important to note that each of these programs can involve medication-assisted therapy, depending on the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what each program entails.

Outpatient detox programs

If your heroin addiction is mild to moderate, an outpatient detox program might be best for you. This program is ideal for people that do not wish to stay within the treatment facility for the duration of their treatment. At our Scranton drug rehab center, you can choose from several types of outpatient detox programs, ranging from low-intensity ones to partial hospitalization programs. Outpatient programs allow you to remain at your home for the duration of detox, with several visits to your treatment center. Of course, since most of your treatment will be conducted at your home, these programs are considerably less expensive than inpatient programs.

person drinking from a mug and thinking about How Long Does Heroin Detox Take
Outpatient treatment will allow you to spend most of your time at home.

Going through an outpatient detox program will require you to visit your treatment facility a few times during the detox process. If your addiction requires you to make more visits than that, you may wish to look into IOP and PHP programs instead.

Intensive outpatient detox programs

The only difference between an outpatient detox program and an intensive outpatient one is the number of visits to your treatment center. IOP programs are best used by people who do not need around-the-clock care but whose withdrawal symptoms warrant extra medical care. Furthermore, IOP programs will allow you to spend extra time focusing on your coping skills and relapse prevention. If you attend an IOP program in our drug rehab center Wilkes Barre PA, for example, you will also have access to a variety of therapy types that can help you achieve long-lasting recovery. Basically, the more time you spend at a treatment center, the easier it will be to conquer any addiction issues you may have.

Partial hospitalization programs

The most intensive type of outpatient treatment is partial hospitalization programs. PHP programs will have you spending most of your time within the treatment facility. In most cases, you will be required to stay within the facility from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Of course, this varies from one program to another and there is some “wiggle” room involved. Basically, you will spend most of the day at the treatment center but you will still sleep at your home. At our drug rehab Allentown PA center, we are extremely flexible when it comes to scheduling, allowing our patients a great degree of freedom even when they are attending a PHP program.

PHP heroin detox programs are best for people that have significant difficulties managing their withdrawal symptoms. However, if your heroin addiction is particularly severe, you may want to consider the most intensive heroin detox program available to you: Residential treatment.

Residential treatment programs

Residential heroin detox programs will have you living within a facility for the duration of the detox. You will have the advantage of 24/7 medical supervision, as well as the care and attention of a dedicated medical team. Furthermore, you will have the benefit of a controlled environment. The last part is, perhaps, the most significant one, as it will allow you to manage your withdrawal in the most comfortable way. At Little Creek Recovery, we do our best to provide you with a setting that is both safe and comfortable. At times, you might even think you’ve checked into a luxury hotel!

a doctor
Residential treatment will provide you with 24/7 medical supervision.

Do note, however, that residential treatment is the most expensive form of heroin detox. Therefore, one of the first questions that people ask when considering residential heroin detox treatment is: How long does heroin detox take?

How long does heroin detox take?

Unfortunately, there is no set answer to this question. The duration of heroin detox depends on a variety of factors. However, most people go through heroin detox in about a week or so.

An outline of the detox process

Heroin detox at a professional medical facility always involves a degree of medically supervised withdrawal. Throughout the process, your clinical staff will provide medication, monitoring, and other medical interventions as necessary. Furthermore, you will also have access to a variety of other therapy types during your time at the facility, all of which can help you overcome your heroin addiction.

The entire process largely depends on your withdrawal symptoms, however. No two people go through heroin detox in the exact same way.

Possible withdrawal symptoms

There are two types of heroin withdrawal symptoms: Short-term symptoms and long-term symptoms. Short-term symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bone pain
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps/spasms
  • Increased body temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Dilated pupils

Not everyone will experience the same symptoms, of course, and their intensity varies from one person to another. The combination of these symptoms is what makes heroin withdrawal so difficult to deal with. One symptom from the above list might be challenging to deal with, but six or seven of them make detox at home all but impossible.

person in pain
Most people will not be able to handle heroin withdrawal symptoms on their own.

The good news is that all these symptoms will vanish after your heroin detox is over. However, there can be other, long-term, symptoms that you may need to deal with, including:

  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities
  • Short-term memory issues
  • Sleep disturbances

These symptoms are the reason why heroin detox is usually only the first part of heroin addiction treatment. To make these symptoms go away, you will most likely have to undergo additional therapy. If you choose your treatment center right, however, you can get all the therapy you need at the same place.

Heroin detox timeline

For most people, the heroin detox timeline looks as follows:

First 24 hours – This is when your initial withdrawal symptoms start to show. Their intensity depends on your heroin abuse history and the severity of your addiction.

24-46 hours – Your withdrawal symptoms will peak during this period. For most people, this is the most dangerous part of the process. Without professional help, most people relapse during this time.

Days 4-6 – After you reach day 4, most of your acute withdrawal symptoms will subside, as heroin will be completely out of your system. Do note, however, that people who have a severe addiction might still struggle during this time.

After a week – For most people, the 7-day mark heralds the restoration of their normal biological functions. However, you may also start feeling some of the long-term withdrawal symptoms.

a calendar
One week is usually enough to remove all traces of heroin from your body.

It is very important to note that this timeline will be different for each individual. As mentioned previously, there are numerous factors that may influence the duration of heroin detox. Now, let’s take a look at what they are.

Factors that influence the duration of heroin detox

Since every individual is fully unique, there are literally thousands of different factors that may influence the heroin detox timeline. However, some factors are more common than others and have a greater influence as well.

The first factor is your substance use history. The more time you’ve spent abusing the drug, the longer it will take to detox from it. Furthermore, the usage frequency also plays a large role, as well as the amount of heroin consumed. Of course, the way you’ve consumed heroin plays a large part in determining the detox duration, as well.

Aside from your drug use history, your mental and physical health is also a huge factor. Any chronic health conditions (either physical or mental) can heavily influence the detox duration. Your gender and age are also a factor.

Considering that each factor can considerably influence the duration of the treatment, it is practically impossible to determine the duration of heroin detox before taking all of them into account. That being said, you will not be completely clueless when going into detox. Your professional medical staff will carry out various tests to help determine the exact timeline.

If we were to speak about averages, however, you can expect heroin detox to take anywhere between 3 and 14 days. Even if your heroin addiction is quite mild and it only takes you three days, heroin detox can be quite expensive. Therefore, you might want to make sure that you utilize your insurance coverage to its fullest.

Heroin detox insurance coverage

Good news first: Most health insurance plans will provide coverage for heroin detox. The bad news is that the exact coverage may not be what you expect. Unless you have a premium health insurance plan, you can expect considerable out-of-pocket costs for your heroin detox. Furthermore, your insurance coverage may be limited to specific treatment providers, complicating the entire matter even further.

blocks spelling "health insuance"
Your health insurance plan can help you pay for your heroin detox.

For example, it is usually not enough to simply inquire about Anthem rehab coverage. What you need to do, instead, is figure out the rules and limitations of your specific plan. To do so more easily, you will want to know about the various types of insurance plans first.

Types of insurance plans that cover heroin detox

There are three common health insurance plans that cover heroin detox:

  • HMO plans
  • PPO plans
  • POS plans

However, these are not the only types of plans that you may have available to you. Each state may have additional plans that you may qualify for, as well. Furthermore, these plans usually come in metal tiers such as Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The metal tier of the plan will also determine your insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield drug rehab coverage can greatly vary between the tiers. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how these plans differ from one another.

HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) plans

Most people have a variant of an HMO plan. These plans will require you to choose a PCP (Primary Care Physician), who will be your go-to person for most of your medical needs. This comes with the advantage of being able to form a close relationship with your doctor but it limits you in other ways. The primary disadvantage is that you will need to get a referral from your PCP whenever you need to seek a specialist or a physician outside of your insurance provider’s network.

a doctor in her office
You will have to choose a PCP before you can benefit from an HMO plan.

However, HMO plans have almost no deductibles to speak of, and their coverage is usually cheaper than other plans, provided that you stay in-network for your medical needs. If you have an HMO plan, it is in your best interest to ensure that your heroin detox facility is within the network. Otherwise, you may be facing considerable out-of-pocket costs.

PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans

PPO plans are different than HMO plans in a way that they do not force you to choose a PCP. Instead, you can visit any healthcare provider, whether in-network or out-of-network, without a referral. You will still pay less if you choose an in-network provider, however. This comes at a higher monthly premium, of course, and you might need to deal with higher copays. Furthermore, PPO plans usually have larger deductibles than HMO plans.

Basically, if you are looking for flexibility, go with a PPO plan. If you are fine with staying always in-network, HMO plans are usually a better idea.

POS (Point of Sale) plans

POS plans are somewhat of a “middle ground” option between HMO and PPO plans. For most intents and purposes, they are the same as HMO plans but you can see healthcare providers outside of your network in specific cases. Needless to say, “specific cases” is rather vague and each health insurance company has its own rules about them. If you are planning to purchase (or have already purchased) a POS plan, you will want to talk to your health insurance provider at length before choosing a heroin detox treatment facility.

two doctors talking about How Long Does Heroin Detox Take
POS plans will allow you to visit out-of-network specialists in certain cases.

Possible out-of-pocket costs

Regardless of what health insurance plan you might have (in almost every case), you will incur some out-of-pocket costs for your heroin detox. Here are the most common costs that you might need to finance out of your own pocket:

  • Deductibles – This is the amount of money you will need to pay before your health insurance coverage “kicks in”.
  • Prescription drugs – If your health insurance plan does not cover a specific prescription drug, you will have to pay for it.
  • Copays – Depending on your plan, you may need to pay for visits to your PCP or a specialist.
  • Coinsurance – Your plan will usually not cover the full treatment cost. Coinsurance basically means that you will be paying a percentage of the overall cost. The exact percentage depends on your particular plan.

Of course, you will also have to pay a monthly premium for your plan. Do note that if you are in a low-income household, you may be able to get tax credits that can help reduce your monthly premium.

If you want to minimize both the out-of-pocket costs and maximize your insurance coverage, the best thing is to get in touch with your treatment center first.

Heroin detox at Little Creek Recovery

At Little Creek, we fully understand that heroin detox can be quite expensive for most. That is why we do everything in our power to help you get the most out of your health insurance plan. During our admissions process, our staff will help determine the best options for your treatment, allowing you to focus on what matters most – overcoming your heroin addiction. We work with all the major health insurance providers, both in Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S.

What we want to do is allow you not to think about how long heroin detox takes from a financial standpoint, but from your wellness standpoint. The worst thing you can do is to try and detox at home just because you can’t afford professional detox! Even if you believe that your finances are not adequate, give us a call. There is always a viable option for people who want to overcome heroin addiction and we will help you find it! Above all, we want you to become fully sober and lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

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