How to Detox From Heroin in South Africa

Heroin detoxification in South Africa can be a difficult and scary process. Heroin is one of the most physically addictive drugs available and the withdrawal symptoms during detoxification can be severe.

Unfortunately, most hospitals in South Africa are not well equipped to provide treatment and support for heroin addicts going through detox. Because the chance of a relapse during heroin detoxification is high, you can greatly increase your chances of success by seeking help at a professional addictions rehab clinic. provides free & impartial advice on the best PRIVATE addiction rehab clinics. With 30 years experience in South Africa and the UK we know all the best run professional addiction clinics in SA and are ideally placed to give you expert advice on treatment for any addiction.

Seeking help for your heroin detoxification through a registered and experienced addiction treatment centre in South Africa will go a long way towards making the detox more comfortable as well as giving you the best chance at a long term recovery from heroin addiction.

Detox is the initial and essential step in any drug addiction recovery programme and knowing what to expect during your withdrawal symptoms at the addiction rehab centre can prepare you for the Detox and rehab to follow.

All the clinics we work with provide first class medical attention and are very experienced at detoxifying our heroin addicted patients. I think the fear of detoxifying can prevent heroin addicts from looking for help. Please understand that our medical professionals will make the detox as comfortable as possible.

If the detoxification is gradual and provided by a clinician experienced in heroin treatment, you’ll be in safe hands and renormalise your sleeping and eating patterns soon.

What Does Heroin Detoxification Mean?

To detoxify means to completely remove a substance from your body for a period of time. During a heroin detox you will need to remove all traces of heroin and any other toxins from your body. To prevent “cold turkey” our medical professionals will provide you with substitute drugs like methadone and subutex to ease you through the withdrawals. There are five steps that need to be completed for a successful detox at a rehab clinic:

1. Evaluation of the patient

2. Withdrawal

3. Stabilisation of the patient

4. Removal of toxins

5. Helping the patient get ready for continued treatment and addiction therapy

It is key to understand that heroin detoxification is only one step in the recovery process, continued treatment and addiction therapy is essential for a successful recovery.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Heroin Detox

Withdrawing from heroin need not be a painful experience. The withdrawal symptoms will be managed by a medical professional used to dealing with addicted people. Some of our South African doctors have treated 1000’s, yes thousands, of heroin addicted individuals and there is hope for a life after being addicted to Smack.

Whether you were “chasing the dragon”, snorting or shooting (injecting) it we’ll help you to get off.

If you’ve been addicted to heroin you’ll be all too familiar with the following withdrawal symptoms. It is very important to remember that we can go a long way towards alleviating the withdrawals and you need not suffer alone.

First stage: withdrawal symptoms can start 4-8 hours after the last dose, depending on just how much you’ve been using and for how long you’ve been addicted to heroin. Many people experience a peak of withdrawals around days 3 and 7 but after 7-10 days you’ll be in the clear.

The good news is that we can make the detoxification process easier than you trying to battle through alone.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • runny eyes and nose
  • yawning
  • sweating and chills
  • loss of appetite, nausea, vomitting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea
  • restlessness, weakness
  • muscle and bone pain especially in legs and back, muscle spasms
  • insomnia
  • fever, headache and a seriously flu-like feeling

Psychological symptoms include:

  • irritability
  • obsession around getting and using more heroin
  • anxiety

Second stage: these withdrawal symptoms can last for up to six months.

Physical symptoms include:

  • insomnia, tiredness, weakness
  • poor appetite
  • muscle aches

Psychological symptoms include:

  • inability to handle stress
  • over-concern about physical comfort

In many cases, the doctor attending to you at the addiction rehab clinic will prescribe medication to make the withdrawal symptoms more manageable. The dose of medication will be decreased as you move along in your detox to ensure that you are weaned off both drugs at the same time.

Is It Safe To Detox from Heroin At Home in South Africa?

While heroin withdrawal symptoms are not necessarily life-threatening, the overall health of each individual needs to be taken into consideration. Some people may be better equipped to handle the detox than others and so it is key to be monitored by a South African addiction specialist.

Heroin detox may not be dangerous but it is more than uncomfortable and you are less likely to relapse if you are properly supported and motivated by the right addiction rehab centre. Many of our clinics have superb after-care programmes that will facilitate your re-entry into a drug free life.

Living in South Africa where your only decent option for addiction treatment seems to be a private rehab clinic, the idea of detoxifying within the comfort of your own home seems appealing. The reality is that a heroin detox, while being challenging and unpleasant, is one hundred per cent necessary for recovery and you will need support.

Medical aid schemes make the rehab clinics a lifesaver for many heroin addicts in South Africa and We Do Recover will help you to find the best opiate rehabilitation centre for your needs whether you’re paying for it privately or topping up the funds paid by your medical aid scheme.


Step 1.

Make The Call

Whether you are ready for treatment or not. Our helpline is 100% confidential and we are here to chat.

Step 2.

Medical Detox

Step 2 consists of the detoxification process. All you need to do is show up and we will help with the rest.

Step 3.

Residential Treatment

Step 3 begins when detox is completed. During this phase, you can expect intensive residential treatment.

Step 4.

Outpatient & Aftercare

Step 4 is when you begin to re-enter society, armed with the tools needed for lifelong recovery from addiction.

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