Heroin Addiction Treatment
Addiction to any drug isn't simply a "bad habit" that you can overcome with willpower. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines drug addiction as a chronic illness that can manifest in a compulsive need to seek and use drugs – even if the actions that bring you to those drugs are dangerous or come with harmful consequences.
Heroin is an especially dangerous drug to abuse for many reasons, not the least of which is its extremely addicting properties. Like all opiates, heroin interacts with your body's functionality and chemistry. In effect, it alters the way your brain communicates with the body, and ongoing use of the drug can result in your body needing it to function at all. That need is what drives withdrawal symptoms when you stop using heroin, making it even harder to seek sobriety.
Signs of Heroin Use
If you think someone you love is a heroin addict, helping them seek proper treatment can be an enormous responsibility. Many people don't take the first step to help someone they love because they feel uncertain that person is truly addicted to or abusing drugs. While some signs of drug abuse are similar to signs of other issues, such as medical conditions or just being over stressed, there are unique signs of heroin use you can watch for. A single symptom doesn't necessarily mean someone is abusing drugs, but if you see several of these signs together or within a short period of each other, consider reaching out to your friend or family member or talking with a professional to see what help you can provide.
- Small sores or bruises on the arms, legs, neck, or between fingers or toes
- Flushed skin and dry mouth occur when someone is using heroin and they can be an ongoing symptom for someone who is addicted to the drug and abusing it regularly.
- Constricted pupils – pupils that are much smaller than normal, even in darker lighting conditions, are another tale-tell sign of opiate use. Remember that small pupils on their own don't mean drug abuse, though – usually you'll want to look for this sign along with a change in mood or habits.
- When high or coming down from a heroin high, individuals might fade in and out of consciousness, appear sleepy or act sluggishly.
- Individuals who are using heroin typically display unclear thinking. They might have problems with memory or concentration or might simply make illogical connections or act on ideas with little merit in reality.
- Heroin use also comes with physical side effects, including nausea and vomiting. Users might also have unexplained itchiness or scratch their skin a lot.
- Euphoric surges can be a sign that someone just used heroin. Heroin is fast acting, and injecting it can lead to an immediate upswing in mood.
- Finally, regular users of heroin may experience constipation, which is associated with opiate use. If someone is seeking laxatives on a regular basis, this can be a sign of drug use.
- Lying, especially about how money is being spent
- Increased sleeping and frequent vomiting, scratching and/or slurred speech
- Continued drug use despite negative consequences
- Needing to take more heroin each time to feel the same effects (i.e. tolerance)
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants year round
- Neglecting work and other responsibilities
- Frequent muscle aches and other flu-like symptoms
- Nodding off at strange times (e.g. while standing)
In addition to the signs listed above, the presence of paraphernalia is a red flag for heroin abuse or addiction. This includes syringes, razor blades, cut up pieces of drinking straws and burnt foil and/or spoons.
Do I Need Heroin Detox?
The opiate, Heroin used to make you feel intensely euphoric and relaxed. Now, you snort, inject, or smoke the drug just to feel normal — you simply rely on it just to get through the day.
Even if you want to stop, you can't because your body betrays you. As soon as you stop long enough for the drug to start leaving your system, you experience unmanageable heroin withdrawal symptoms that lead you back to using. Your need for the drug might even drive you to make risky decisions or engage in dangerous behavior.
If you can relate to the statements above, then you might be both physically and psychologically addicted to heroin. This isn't something to be ashamed of and it doesn't make you a bad person. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin is extremely addictive and you are not alone in your dependence on the drug. As many as 669,000 people across the nation try the drug each year, and many of them become caught up in addiction.
If this sounds like you, chances are you are both physically and psychologically addicted to heroin and require detoxification. At The Treatment Center Outpatient Services, you don’t have to fear heroin withdrawal symptoms. Our medically supervised heroin detox can safely and comfortably remove the drug from your body.
Dangers of Ongoing Heroin Abuse
The NIDA notes that heroin is often a secondary drug – approximately half of young people in a recent survey said they started abusing prescription opiates before moving on to heroin. Once you get caught up in the cycle of opiate use and end up using heroin, you open yourself up to all types of risks and dangers. The dangers of ongoing abuse range from legal to physical.
Heroin is an illegal drug and is classified high enough to involve felony charges if you are caught with a certain amount. Using heroin means that you put yourself at risk for legal charges. It also means that you regularly interact with some part of a black market drug world, putting yourself in physical danger in what can be a rough and crime-ridden transaction. While the long term effects of heroin can cause health issues, the short term effects of violent crime can be just as devastating.
Even if you manage to avoid issues with crime, heroin has a long-term impact on your health and your social status. Heroin can lead to lung damage, inability for your brain to function properly, heart damage and cardiac arrest and kidney failure. On the social side of your life, abusing heroin can cause you to be erratic, take risks and behave in an irresponsible way with friends, family and coworkers. The results can include loss of friends, seemingly irreparable emotional wounds in relationships and loss of your job.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Heroin
When your body and mind become dependent upon heroin, many changes take place. Your brain’s reward center becomes accustomed to feelings of extreme pleasure, and your body becomes accustomed to numbness, warmth and a lack of tension.
Abruptly quitting the drug or quitting without medical supervision often results in severe withdrawal symptoms. Listed below are some of the most common mild to severe heroin withdrawal symptoms:
- Feelings of depression, anxiety, and irritability
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Strong cravings for more heroin
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Excessive sweating
- Runny nose
Trying to detox from heroin on your own can seem impossible because of these withdrawal symptoms. At The Treatment Center Outpatient Services though, you can rest assured that our trained medical staff will do everything in their power to help you detox from heroin addiction safely and comfortably.
How to Quit Using Heroin
Heroin is one of the most powerful and addictive drugs on the planet. Unfortunately, these qualities make quitting on your own almost impossible. That is why a medically supervised heroin detox is necessary to remove heroin from your system safely and effectively.
After this process, your body will no longer be physically dependent upon the drug. However, heroin addiction treatment will be necessary in order to address the psychological dependence that remains and to increase your chances of long-term recovery.
One thing that makes it so difficult to break heroin use habits is the withdrawal symptoms. These unbearable symptoms make it seemingly impossible to stop using heroin on your own.
What Should I Expect During Detox?
Once you have been approved for treatment and make it safely to our facility, our addiction specialists will assess your current needs. Your opiate detox plan will be unique to you, taking into consideration how much heroin you use and how long you have been using it.
Board-certified doctors will help you detoxify from heroin without the intensity and discomfort of quitting “cold turkey.” This is achieved by gradually weaning you off of opiates instead of taking you off of them abruptly.
Our medical staff will monitor your health and provide you with around-the-clock care for the entire duration of your heroin detox. You will never be left alone or shown “tough love”. At The Treatment Center Outpatient Services, we will treat you with respect and compassion.
The Next Step
Creating a unique treatment plan is a critical foundation for the overall success of your heroin detox and recovery. We know that treating everyone the same ends in poor results, because everyone's journey into heroin use is not the same. If your journey into use is unique, then your journey out of it must also be personal and custom tailored to your needs.
The result is that you are better able to concentrate on your recovery, which can involve working with behavioral staff to understand why you use drugs, what triggers might cause you to return to use, and how to cope with those triggers to remain sober.
Even after treatment in the facility, you'll need to continue with outpatient measures to maintain your sobriety. You wouldn't leave a hospital after major surgery without planning for physical therapy or checking in with your doctors to ensure everything is going well with recovery. The same is true when you leave an inpatient facility after detoxing from heroin. Some common aftercare plans include individual and group therapy or participation in Narcotics Anonymous.
Heroin Relapse Prevention
Staying off heroin isn't going to be easy, but with the right tools and professional guidance, you can avoid heroin relapse. We start by detoxing your body so you can think clearly and begin to work on your addiction. Treatment might include individual therapy, group therapy, nutritional guidance, activities, career development and even assistance with legal matters related to previous drug use.
After you are discharged from an inpatient program, ongoing treatment might include group or individual therapy. One of the benefits of professional heroin addiction treatment is that you are not left alone. Facing heroin addiction is one of the hardest and scariest things a person can do, and we know that. Even after you win the first battle in inpatient treatment, the war against addiction continues in and around you.
If you want to equip yourself with the best tools to face those battles, call (844)211-7944 now. Our admissions counselors provide confidential, free consultations to help you understand what the best steps are for you to seek sobriety. Call now and begin to equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to live heroin free.