Heroin Addiction Treatment
Heroin has become an epidemic in the United States. Heroin addiction has skyrocketed as a result of more and more people abusing prescription opiates such as Vicodin, Fentanyl, Morphine, and Oxycodone. Often the person addicted to drugs will start abusing heroin as it is cheaper and more readily available than prescription opiates.
Heroin Addiction – “Dope Sick”
What is being “dope sick”?
If you or your loved one is addicted to heroin, you will notice increase periods of “not feeling well” which is also known as being “dope sick.” This is usually caused when the amount of heroin consistently consumed is significantly reduced or stopped. The body dependent on heroin (dope) withdrawals and the person experiences intense vomiting, diarrhea, nerve pain, cold sweats, and significant sleep disturbances.
The person addicted to heroin will come up with ways to find or obtain more. Usually, the tolerance gets to the point where the person addicted to heroin is using still to stay functional. In other words, their tolerance has gotten to the point that they are just maintaining.
Heroin habits can become very expensive as the tolerance to the drug increase.
Addicts will often lie, manipulate, steal, and come up with elaborate schemes on why they need more money. As loved ones and family members, we often fall into that trap of enabling them as we don’t want to believe that our wife, husband, daughter, or son could be addicted to heroin.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a drug that is illegal; however, despite this fact, it is still abused by many people worldwide and make the users entirely dependent on the heroin. Just like morphine and opium, heroin is made from the resin of poppy plants. To get heroin, the milky sap (dope) is removed from the pod of the poppy flower, refined into morphine, then further refined into heroin of many forms.
How is Heroin abused?
Not many drugs can be taken in such variety as heroin can, as this drug can be abused in a variety of ways. Heroin use is done in the form of smoking, injecting directly into your veins, as well as snorting.
Addicted users typically experience a rush soon after use. This gives the individual an intense high. When injected, they get an instantaneous effect. However, when smoked or snorted, the results take a long time to start taking effect. Injecting through needles is widely known through movies and “street use” because it is factually the fastest and most potent way for heroin users to get their fix.
Heroin users become overly dependent on this drug, thus causing their bodies to experience severe cases of withdrawal symptoms and become violent if they do not use it. This is known as a physical and mental addiction, as they will always crave to have the same euphoric feeling 24/7. Also, a person who is physically addicted to heroin will end up needing to use it regularly to not feel sick, as mentioned above.
Forms of Heroin
This highly deadly drug is often a brown or white powder, but may also be sticky and tar-like. It is usually cut or mixed with other ingredients such as sugar, caffeine, or even combined with poisonous substances which increases the dangers of its effects. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell what ingredients are composed into the mixture when the addict takes this drug, especially in powdered form.
Heroin in its purest form will be white. However, it also comes in colors ranging from rose pink, grey-brown and even black. The colors are different due to the additives that the distributor mixes into the drug.
Since the various additives are not fully dissolvable into the mix nor when it is injected directly into your body, it can cause internal severe damages to your organs. It could potentially cause clogging of blood vessels which leads to your kidneys, brain, and lungs. This may result in infections and other destructions of vital organs.
Heroin Effects on the Body
What are the effects of Heroin on the body?
The starting phase of the addiction stems from the first– and usually most intense– experimentation by the user. First, after injection or consumption, a euphoric rush accompanied by a warm feeling on the skin fills the body. The brain fills with dopamine, the most known pleasure chemical. A sense of well-being floods the user physically and emotionally from within a matter of seconds up to about ten minutes, depending on how the drug enters the system.
After these effects begin to fade, an intense state of drowsiness will occur as well as the malfunctioning of your organs, making you feel short of breath and have dangerously slow heartbeats. Side effects appear as extreme dryness of the mouth, sleepiness, and nausea. This initial phase may also include throwing up or severe itching of the whole body.
Hours after these feelings start to go away completely, the body will begin to crave more and more in substantial amounts. Extreme physical withdrawal symptoms will start to occur if another dose is not supplied on time. Withdrawal of heroin includes aches and pains within the bones and muscles, restlessness, and all the other inconveniences of dope sickness.
The intense high that it gives only lasts a few minutes, thus requiring the addict to consume more massive doses to feel what they think is normal.
Short-Term Effects of Heroin
- An intense rush of elation
- Slowed breathing or shortness of breath
- Clouded mentality
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heavy drowsiness
- Lower body temperature than normal
- Coma / Death
Heroin also causes long-term effects including physical deformities, some of which include:
- Bad teeth and gum inflammation
- Cold sweats and chills
- A weakening of the immune system
- Decreased stamina and impotence
- Inability to achieve orgasm (women and men)
- Memory loss and lowering of your IQ
- Swelling or blisters all over the face
Treatment for Heroin Addiction
Addicts usually require a combination of treatment methods and are advised to start with the detoxing process. Detox is essential and means getting the person completely off the drug before they begin to take more massive doses or find a stronger drug. Though this process may be painful for your addicted loved one and involve phases of withdrawal, it is still entirely dependent on how addicted they have become and how frequent their usage was. Detoxing can begin as soon as 12 hours after their last use. Detox is most safely done with the help of a caring professional.
Medication such as Suboxone and Zubsolv are common prescriptions during detox or medically assisted treatment. However, we recommend that heroin addiction medications such as these with advisory in a residential or inpatient drug treatment facility. Or, these medications can help during controlled intensive outpatient facility. Never should these be used on the addict’s terms, to prevent harmful side effects or overdose.
Heroin addiction requires professional drug intervention and treatment options as this is a complicated and multi faceted disease. Opiate related overdoses is the leading cause of overdose deaths in the United States, aside from alcohol.
CBS News – A Heroin Addict’s Emotional First Day in Drug Rehab
About Prevail Intervention
Our team at Prevail Intervention consists of professionals from all walks of life. Many of us are former addicts and alcoholics ourselves who have dedicated our lives to recovery. We strive to continue our work by helping people and their families in these same situations. We have a proven process to assess the situation and get highly detailed information to come up with options to help your loved one who may be struggling with addiction. Regardless if you believe it to be a disease or a choice, the fact is the final result if left untreated can be deadly.
Our Hope In Recovery
There is a way out, and people do recover from addiction. The road is not easy– it may require the family to give the addict no other choice but to get the help they need. In many cases, this will require an inpatient drug rehab facility or residential drug rehab facility to give the addict time in a controlled environment to recover.
In our experience a simple detox process is not enough and many overdoses occur when an addict stops using drugs for a period of days or weeks and attempts to use the same dose. Detox, rehab centers, and support groups are available in every state. We have many caring professionals who are ready to connect you and your loved ones to the proper help that is best for you on the path to recovery. Experience freedom from addiction now. It is possible and you don’t have to stay stuck in the negative cycle any longer.