In recent years, heroin use has become an epidemic in the United States. According to a recent New York Times article, from 2002 to 2013, heroin deaths nearly quadrupled.
As heroin addiction rises in our country, so does the need for heroin treatment.
What is heroin?
Heroin is an opiate that is estimated to be three times more potent than morphine. Heroin can either be snorted in powder form or injected through a needle. It functions as a central nervous system depressant, causing feelings of euphoria.
Heroin was initially developed as an analgesic (pain reliever) to replace morphine, as it was believed to have less addictive potential. It quickly proved to be equally addictive, and its medical use was severely restricted, eventually being outlawed completely
What effect does heroin have on the user?
In the brain, heroin mimics endorphins, triggering intense euphoric sensations. These “pseudo-endorphins” also trigger physical dependence, often times immediately following the first use.
Heroin is extremely addictive, from both a physical and psychological perspective. Users quickly develop a tolerance to the drug and need higher quantities to achieve the same euphoric feelings.
What are the symptoms of someone under the influence of heroin?
Heroin restricts the user’s respiratory system, impairs mental functioning, causes drowsiness and constricts the pupils. Users are generally lethargic and may have trouble staying awake (also known as “nodding out”). Heroin use can also cause itching, nauseous, vomiting and seizures.
Heroin use also causes extreme withdrawals. Withdrawal symptoms include sweating, muscle and bone aches, diarrhea, intense cravings, insomnia, severe anxiety, itching and depression.
What are the potential dangers of using heroin?
Because production of heroin is not controlled (and sellers frequently “cut” the powder with non-narcotic ingredients), users are unaware of what the substance actually contains and could have a reaction leading to overdose. Even non-fatal overdosing can lead to brain damage, leaving the user in a coma.
Heroin use may also cause:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Collapsed veins
- Bacterial infections
- Organ damage
- Brain damage
IV use of heroin may also lead to hepatitis and HIV transmission if users share needles.”
Withdrawal symptoms and extreme cravings can cause heroin users to relapse or avoid seeking treatment. A medically supervised heroin detox, sometimes using medications such as Subuxone, are revolutionary in reducing relapse and helping users transition from heroin abuse to recovery.
Medically supervised heroin detox programs are designed to help heroin addicts gradually wean off heroin and manage their withdrawal symptoms so they can more fully engage in a program of recovery.
At Turning Point Treatment Center, we offer years of experience in helping clients struggling with heroin addiction with our heroin treatment programs. After detox, clients will meet with a treatment team to develop a highly individualized treatment plan that leverages multiple evidence-based treatment modalities.
During treatment, clients will learn more about their addiction to heroin, how to manage cravings and relapse triggers and how to cope with and begin to heal the emotional damage caused by their addiction. During treatment, clients will engage in individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, 12-step group and alternative therapies.
Following heroin treatment, clients will continue to receive aftercare to help them manage the transition from inpatient treatment back to their day-to-day lives. Aftercare allows clients to reengage with their jobs, friends, families and lives clean and sober while still receiving support from their treatment team and recovery community. This can prevent relapse and help our clients more successfully transition out of treatment.
If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin abuse, treatment might be the answer. At Turning Point Treatment Center, our individualized treatment plans, highly qualified staff and personalized approach to recovery have a proven track record of success. For more information on heroin treatment at Turning Point Treatment Center, please contact us.