The global opioid crisis has steadily increased over the past decade and is estimated to continue in upcoming years. Heroin is classified as an opiate and is one of the most addictive drugs used today. One in four people who try heroin for the first time becomes addicted.
It is the leading drug in the opiate epidemic today, with 20% of overdoses being caused by heroin, according to the CDC. Once someone is addicted to heroin, stopping can prove very challenging. However, continuous drug use’s effects are detrimental to one’s health and well-being. Understanding heroin drug addiction is an important step in seeking the proper heroin addiction treatment programs and substance abuse treatment. Seeking help in a professional setting and heroin rehab center is necessary for recovering from this type of substance abuse disorder.
Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from chemically processed morphine. Morphine is extracted from the poppy plant and acts as an intense painkiller. Although these are the technical ingredients of the drug, today, more than ever, heroin is being combined with other lethal drugs and chemicals to produce an even more dangerous and addictive version.
The most commonly found additive is the synthetic drug “fentanyl,” which is a highly lethal synthetic alternative to heroin. The highest rates of drug overdose in the United States have been linked to fentanyl mixed with heroin. In its purest form, heroin is a powder-like substance and is white.
It is rare for heroin to be sold on the street in pure form, and it is usually cut with other drugs.
When heroin is mixed with additives, it will still be in powder form but will look more brown or black. In most cases, the darker the powder, the less pure the drug is.
Regardless of the version being used, each heroin proves to be extremely dangerous to human health. For this reason, drug abuse must be conquered. At Miracles Recovery Center, we can help you or a loved one gain an understanding of heroin through heroin addiction treatment programs and how to overcome it. To overcome heroin addiction, come attend our heroin rehab program to combat opioid drugs.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Is Heroin Used?
- 2 What Are The Immediate Effects Of Heroin?
- 3 What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Heroin Addiction?
- 4 Heroin Addiction Treatment
- 5 Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)
- 6 What Services Are Offered In Opioid Rehabilitation?
- 7 Miracles Recovery Center Can Help You Understand Heroin Addiction And Recover
How Is Heroin Used?
Heroin is typically mixed with water and injected with a needle through the veins. It can also be smoked or snorted. In some cases, it is mixed with alcohol, but more commonly with other powder substances such as fentanyl and cocaine.
With injecting being the most common form of heroin use, there are more health risks associated with heroin use than some other drugs. Using needles to inject heroin increases the chances of catching bacterial viruses, HIV, Hep-C, and other blood-related conditions through heroin abuse. Heroin’s effects take place soon after injecting the drug, usually within five to twenty seconds, depending on individual tolerance levels. It is quickly absorbed and metabolized by the body, resulting in a high that lasts only a few hours tops. For this reason, most people who engage in heroin abuse have to use it multiple times a day to feel the effects and avoid heroin withdrawal.
What Are The Immediate Effects Of Heroin?
As soon as heroin is ingested into the body, the intense and euphoric effect immediately rushes through the body. Heroin is an opioid, meaning it belongs to a class of drugs that create pain-reducing effects and numbing sensations. These sensations are not limited to physical receptors.
Emotional anguish is also diminished while the individual is experiencing a heroin “high.” Similar to other painkillers such as pure morphine or oxycodone, heroin creates short-term feelings of bliss followed by post-high feelings of drowsiness. Most users report an immediate feeling of intense pleasure known as a “rush.”
This is due to the opioid receptors in the spinal cord and slowing down breathing by changing neurochemical activity in the brain. Body functions such as breathing and heart rate has a direct effect on mood and pain levels, thus creating a decrease in negative feelings when slowed down. Once the initial rush has passed, most users experience, to some degree, the following mental and physical symptoms:
- Brain Fog
These symptoms may linger or continue until the heroin is used again by heroin users.
What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Heroin Addiction?
Long-term heroin addiction causes changes to the chemical makeup of the brain. When a chemical such as heroin is entered into the brain repeatedly, the body adjusts accordingly and alters its functionality to work with the drug. This means it changes the way signals are sent from the brain to the body to accommodate the presence and effects of heroin in heroin users. Over time, these changes become more permanent, and normal body functions are impaired. The changes to the brain from long-term opioid exposure can result in the following symptoms:
- Deteriorated White matter in the brain
- Mood swings
- Chronic Anxiety and Depression
- Memory issues
- Lack of stress control skills
- Brain fog
Heroin affects every organ in the body, not just the brain. The energy and stress it takes to process this harsh drug and try to detoxify the body takes a toll on individuals over time. Since heroin is addictive and is often used heavily every day over long periods of time, damage can be extreme. Long-term exposure to heroin can cause the following effects on the physical body:
- Kidney disease
- Heart failure/disease
- Facial deformities
- Skin discoloration/ulcers
- Bowel disease
- Decreased sex drive
These are just some of the many consequences possible when exposed to heroin over long periods of time. With a proper treatment plan and rehabilitation at a heroin addiction rehab center, it is possible to bring the body back to a state of well-being after a period of addiction and drug abuse.
Heroin Addiction Treatment
Heroin addiction treatment due to heroin overdose and dependency is a type of treatment that encompasses multiple services and therapy interventions to ensure a full recovery process and improve its health problems and side effects. The most important step in recovery is medical detoxification (detox), also known as a medication-assisted treatment or heroin detox. This is the initial stage of addiction rehabilitation, where the body is detoxified and cleared of any toxic substances.
This period is also the time when individuals experience intense withdrawal symptoms. Although a medically supervised detox may prove to be difficult, in a professional setting, it can be managed and intervened when necessary. Some withdrawal symptoms likely to be experienced during detox for heroin include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Intense Sweating
- Agitation/Uncontrollable Anger
- Muscle Spasms
- Intense Cravings
The initial withdrawal and detox recovery process only lasts about a week. From there, individuals will participate in a long-term recovery program to address their heroin addiction through a heroin addiction treatment program.
Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are used to treat opioid use disorders (OUD) caused by short-acting opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. These medications are safe to take for months, years, or even a lifetime.
Types Of Heroin Rehab Programs Offered At Miracles Recovery
There are two main types of long-term care for a heroin addiction treatment program. They both serve a shared purpose but offer flexibility for the different lifestyle needs of every individual. Speak with a professional about your addiction to determine which drug addiction treatment program might best suit you. This will help foster individuals an understanding of heroin addiction and their recovery process.
Inpatient or residential treatment care is when the individual lives at the addiction treatment center and stays for the entire duration of their heroin addiction treatment program. These types of programs offer a fully immersive experience with no external distractions or triggers. Inpatient treatment programs for heroin addiction are recommended for those with more intense addictions or those attending rehab for the first time.
Intensive Outpatient Rehabilitation/ Partial Hospitalization Programs
Intensive outpatient treatment programs and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) still require a lot of participation but allow individuals to return home at the end of the night. They offer a fully supportive community and a team of professionals but will enable you to maintain your independence. These types of addiction treatment programs are best suited for those who have already completed a detox program or are living in a sober living facility.
What Services Are Offered In Opioid Rehabilitation?
Treatment for substance abuse disorder should include a combination of services that address both mental health disorders and the physical aspects of the addiction. Many factors are involved in heroin addiction, and the treatment process addresses these by including a combination of the following:
- Depression medications
- Talk therapy
- Nutritional therapy
- Meditation & yoga
- Behavioral modification therapy
- Relapse prevention
Our professionals at Miracles Recovery are trained to handle any unforeseen bumps in the recovery road. They can give you long-term care beyond detox that will ensure you find and maintain sobriety. Counseling sessions with clinical psychiatrists and counselors will be able to address the roots of your addiction in behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. To offer coping skills that can be taken with you after your heroin addiction treatment program is complete.
Until both the body and mind are healed, diseases such as addiction and mental health issues are not fully treatable. For this reason, dual diagnosis treatment is so crucial. Dual diagnosis treatment is the diagnosis of two diseases treatment for when a person is diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. Another term for dual diagnosis is co-occurring disorders. During dual diagnosis treatment, there will be the following:
- Psychiatric assessment
- Medical detox process
- Evaluation and management of medication
- Group therapy
- Nutrition consultation
- Recreational therapy
- Programs with a 12-step approach
- Community-based service links
Each day of treatment will have a combination of the above-mentioned services, paying special attention to those services that will help you treat an individual’s specific needs.
Miracles Recovery Center Can Help You Understand Heroin Addiction And Recover
Heroin addiction is a serious disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Today, more than ever, we have the knowledge and resources to help people from all walks of life recover from their addiction. If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid dependence or addiction, speak to one of our representatives to find out more about our effective treatment options at our treatment centers. Our staff at Miracles Recovery Center is passionate and ready to help you on your addiction recovery and healing journey.