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How Long Does it Take to Detox from Heroin?

Heroin detox is a necessary part of addiction treatment that helps you overcome physical dependence on this potent opioid. When you or your loved one is ready to quit heroin, it’s normal to wonder how long the detox process takes, especially if you’re concerned about suffering cravings and withdrawal. In truth, the amount of time it takes to detox from heroin is different for everyone based on factors such as age, length of addiction, and amount of heroin used.

If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin addiction, understand it’s never too late and that help is available and nearby.

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Average Length of Heroin Detox

On average, detoxing from heroin takes about seven days. Detox may be shorter for individuals who used small doses of heroin for brief periods of time, and longer for those who used high doses for extended periods of time.

Other factors that play a role in the heroin detox timeframe include an individual’s overall health status and age. For instance, heroin detox may take more than seven days for senior adults whose immune systems have been compromised by long-term heroin use. On the other hand, heroin detox may take less than seven days for teens who have only been using heroin for a few weeks or months.

Days 1 and 2 of Heroin Detox

Detox from Heroin

Insomnia is common during the first two days of heroin detox.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms typically begin within 12 hours of quitting heroin, and are at their most severe for the first two days of detox. Common heroin withdrawal symptoms during this time period are muscle aches, insomnia, and anxiety. You may also experience diarrhea, loss of appetite, and shaking.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on how your body responds to detox. A top benefit to detoxing at a heroin detox center is having access to medications and therapies that can reduce or eliminate most withdrawal symptoms.

Days 3 to 5 of Heroin Detox

Most heroin withdrawal symptoms subside between days three and five of detox treatment. By this time, your body will be working hard to recover from heroin withdrawal, and you may experience vomiting, chills, and abdominal cramping. Good nutrition is vital for recovery during this stage, since vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can help strengthen your immune system and accelerate recovery.

Day 6 and Beyond

By day six of heroin detox, you may still experience problems with insomnia and loss of appetite, but the worst of your symptoms will most likely be over. Since heroin interferes with receptors in your brain that control feelings of pleasure and reward, you may suffer from anxiety and/or depression after quitting. However, most heroin detox centers offer counseling services that help you overcome these psychological challenges so you can leave detox or rehab completely free of heroin addiction.

If you’ve been struggling with heroin addiction, understand you’re not alone in your fight to get clean. Call  800-996-6135(Who Answers?) to learn more about your options for heroin detox and addiction treatment.


  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)- Types of Treatment Programs.
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