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Heroin is a powerful opiate that produces intense dependence and complex changes in the way the brain’s reward system works. Users report becoming addicted after a single dose of this powerful narcotic.
Heroin, like other opiates, signals the brain to produce additional endorphins and dopamine resulting in a “feel good” feeling, but these feelings are short lived. As soon as the feel good sensation wears off, symptoms of withdrawal can quickly set in.
If you suspect heroin abuse or addiction in yourself or someone you care about, call our helpline at 800-836-4134 Who Answers? for help. Our admissions coordinators can help you find treatment that’s right for your individual needs.
Recognizing Heroin Abuse
It can be difficult to detect heroin use, especially if a user is good at hiding his or her substance abuse. New users rarely inject heroin, so if you want to spot a potential case of heroin addiction, you’re going to have to pay close attention to more than just the telltale signs of track marks on their arms or legs.
Some of the initial signs of heroin abuse may include:
- Constricted pupils that look like “pinpoints”
- Lack of personal appearance or changes in personal appearance
- Lack of motivation or changes in energy levels
- Borrowing money
- Acting secretive or hiding from people
- Changes in weight, especially sudden weight loss
- Excessive drowsiness or periods of dozing or “nodding” off
- Heavy limbs or saggy posture
Dangers of Heroin Abuse
Most people realize that heroin is a highly addictive substance that is extremely dangerous. Even most addicts are aware of this prior to their use of the drug. But for some reason, people still fall victim to the dangers of this substance, people still abuse the drug despite known consequences, and people still forgo the risks and dangers in exchange for the high.
Immediate dangers associated with heroin abuse include:
- Overdose which could be life-threatening
- Risks of contracting STDs such as HIV or hepatitis
- Risks of contracting other serious viruses or infections
- Risk of spontaneous abortion for pregnant women
- Increased risk of suicide if underlying mental health conditions are present
Recognizing Heroin Addiction
Various symptoms of heroin addiction may begin to develop as a user continues to abuse this drug. Some signs of heroin addiction are only evident to the user him or herself, others may be very prominently noticed by an outsider such as a loved one or friend.
If you suspect heroin addiction, and have seen the following signs in yourself or in someone you care about, call our helpline at 800-836-4134 Who Answers? for immediate care:
- Shortness of breath or labored or shallow breathing
- Itching all over or twitching
- Slurred speech
- Collapsed veins
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of interest in activities
- Lack of interest in family or friends
- Changes in groups of friends
- Secretive behavior, hiding things or lying about money
- Track marks on the arms, legs, neck, or other areas of the body
- Infections or boils on the skin
- Lung infections, sinus infections or other respiratory problems
- Drug-seeking behavior in which the entire thought process of the individual revolves around getting high or around finding their next fix
Heroin Addiction Treatment
Treating an addiction to heroin requires a multifaceted approach to care which includes healing the individual holistically. Most heroin addiction treatment programs will focus recovery programs on healing the mind, body and spirit of the individual by offering an array of treatment options including:
- Medical care
- Psychological counseling
- Family counseling
- Support groups
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Holistic options such as acupuncture or massage therapy
The initial phase of treating a heroin addict begins in detox where the symptoms of heroin withdrawal are addressed in a controlled, medical grade setting that ensures the safety of the individual. Because heroin detox can be painful and potentially dangerous, it’s best to detox in a professional setting with the help of a treatment specialist. Call our helpline toll-free at 800-836-4134 Who Answers? to talk with a treatment provider.
Once detox is complete, the psychological elements of the addiction must be faced. While there are numerous treatment centers located throughout the country, not all treatment is created equal. Treatment Helpline connects you with treatment programs that have a proven track record of treating people who suffer from opiate addiction. Call our helpline at 800-836-4134 Who Answers? for a treatment referral.
Inpatient Treatment for Heroin Addiction
Residential or inpatient treatment is likely the safest and most effective option for you if you’re addicted to heroin. These programs eliminate the “noise” of outside environmental and social factors that could otherwise hinder your ability to focus on your recovery.
During inpatient treatment, you will live in a residential treatment unit where you can receive around-the-clock care, therapy and support as needed. You can focus all of your energy and efforts on healing because you are not faced with the everyday stressors or triggers that otherwise were part of your life.
Generally, 30 to 90 days of residential treatment will be required in order to fully prepare you for life outside of a residential treatment setting. In some cases, especially those of severe heroin addiction, you may need more time in rehab. If you find that 30 days of recovery is simply not enough, or even that 90 days isn’t enough, you can work with your treatment provider for extended care services that are more suitable to your recovery needs.
Ready to Get Help Now?
Call our helpline at 800-836-4134 Who Answers? to talk with a treatment specialist that can refer you to a residential treatment program that’s right for your individual needs. Heroin addiction is not the end of your life—professional help can restore stability into your life and put you back in control.