How long will all of this take? How long after you quit heroin can you expect to feel good again, or to even feel normal?

Heroin detox centers are equipped and staffed to ensure that patients safely make it through the heroin detox process. But the question we hear people ask often is, how long after quitting heroin will it take to feel better, to feel normal again?

The one thing they don’t tell you about quitting heroin is that the detox may be the scariest part, but it’s the beginning. It does take time to get back to normal. This is generally accepted at the heroin withdrawal timeliness. These are the levels involved in quitting heroin. This is how long it takes to feel normal again.

The First 3 to 5 Days

This is the most difficult part physically and something that you have to go through when quitting heroin. Your body is aching, you are nauseous, and you are crawling out of your skin. Technically, the heroin is out of your system within the first 7 days after you quit. That means it will no longer show up on a urine or blood test after the first week. 1

This is known as acute heroin withdrawal and is the most intense. This is a hurdle that you must go through before you journey to heroin rehab. It too shall pass.

The First Month

Just because you made it through the initial phase, doesn’t mean you are out of the woods just yet. At 30 days you will be released from treatment and you will be out in the big bad world. This is such a critical part of your recovery because it’s easy to relapse. You will be over the physical addiction but in the grips of the mental addiction. It will take more than a month to feel normal after quitting heroin.

Month 4

Most people don’t feel normal after quitting heroin until a few months have passed. Some call it the 100 day hang over, though it can last up to 180 days or 6 months. This is the walking zombie phase. Your whole body is trying to readjust to a normal everything. A normal sleep schedule, a normal eating schedule, and normal life without one singular focus.

This known as protracted withdrawal or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).2

The most important aspect of this phase is to remain in treatment, to go to the meetings, and to do your best to stay off of that terrible drug. After this phase, you will start to feel normal again.

2 Years Later

Quitting heroin means changing your life completely. Most will only see the results of a complete life change 2 years after they decide to get clean. Getting clean doesn’t just mean detox and treatment.

When It Gets Difficult Remember:

Don’t give up. Don’t buy the lie that this is just how your body is and you’ll never be well again. You are lying to yourself. That is the heroin talking. It can take up to a year for your body to balance back out. Keep going. You’ll get better. For some people it takes longer than others. But EVERYBODY gets better. Trust and believe that.



[1]: American Addiction Centers – How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

[2]: The Fix – Opiates and The 100-Day Hangover

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