Can I Quit Heroin Cold Turkey?

One of the many hallmarks of drug or alcohol addiction is the inability to stop or slow down use. Chances are, you have tried before to control your heroin use, only to later be met with a binge session. It can be very disheartening when you try to control your use, only to realize that you cannot. The important thing to understand is that addiction is not a matter of free will. Your brain is chemically dependent on heroin at this point, which makes it extremely difficult to quit heroin cold turkey. In addition to your body’s dependency on heroin, there are many other reasons why quitting heroin cold turkey is near impossible.

Understanding Heroin

First, it is important to understand heroin and how it works with your body. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas. They work especially on those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.

Dangers of Detoxing Alone

The first step to getting over a heroin addiction is, of course, to stop using heroin. Giving your body the time it needs to detox and rewire itself is essential, however, that is nearly impossible to do alone. There are uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, intense cravings and work that needs to be done in order to overcome your triggers to avoid a relapse.

Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the most uncomfortable things that someone suffering from addiction can experience are withdrawal symptoms. Chances are, you have already experienced some form of withdrawal symptoms when you haven’t been able to use in a while. It can also be known as the “come down” or being “dope sick”. Going through withdrawal symptoms can be a very uncomfortable and unpleasant experience, and is one of the main reasons that people resist getting help for their addiction.

According to Medline, withdrawal symptoms from heroin can include:

Early symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased tearing
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

Late symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Cravings at an All Time High

During the period of time your body is withdrawing from heroin and you experience those uncomfortable symptoms, you will also experience intense cravings. This is because your body knows that if you were to use heroin again, the withdrawal symptoms would immediately subside. This causes your brain to act irrationally and do whatever it needs to do in order to get heroin back into your system. The detox period is the time when most people suffering from addiction turn back to drug use, and they end up binging heavily in order to fulfill this need.

Not Learning Your Triggers

Addiction is much more than abstaining from heroin. It’s about learning your triggers, as well as finding the root cause of your addiction. You may be able to find a short period of time where you are sober, but because you haven’t learned how to deal with your triggers, a relapse is almost guaranteed. This makes quitting heroin cold turkey at home extremely risky, because chances are, you are completely surrounded by your triggers. You also know exactly how and where to obtain heroin, and that fact often proves to be all too tempting for someone suffering from addiction.

Medical Detox

The only way to comfortably quit heroin cold turkey is to do so in a residential rehabilitation center under the supervision of medical professionals. Medical detox can offer you medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms and stop cravings so that you can focus on learning how to deal with your triggers.

Depending on the length and severity of your addiction, there are also medication options to help you slowly wean off of heroin. This makes it much less of a shock to your system, and you are able to be much more comfortable during the detox process.

About Pinelands Recovery Center

Safely and comfortably quitting heroin is possible. If you don’t have to experience any of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms or intense cravings by doing medical detox, why not try it? There are inpatient options as well as outpatient options, depending on your specific needs. If you’re ready to safely quit heroin, give our admissions specialists a call. They are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have about safely quitting heroin cold turkey.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and a 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs and continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

At Pinelands, we ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit