Some people may not understand why heroin is so dangerous, because they don’t realize that it’s derived from the same opium poppy plant as other opioids. As such, it acts fast, once administered, affecting the user’s brain pathways almost instantly. In addition to attaching to pain receptors and affecting the user’s ability to feel pain, heroin also inhibits mood and emotions. It also causes changes to the heart rate, sleeping patterns, and the respiratory system.
While these factors may be enough to frighten away inexperienced drug users, others may seek out the euphoric sensations that the drug creates. Once use becomes regular, the individual develops an addiction to heroin, requiring them to use the drug more frequently and in higher doses. This particular opium derivative is powerfully addictive and, once the habit has been formed, it’s usually impossible to quit the drug cold turkey. In most cases, the assistance of professionals at a heroin rehab center is required.
Attempting to quit heroin on your own can be a mistake. The effects of the addiction can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that can become life-threatening, depending on the severity and duration of your addiction. A facility equipped to handle these types of addictions can guide you through a medical detox process, while also providing therapy to help you confront the triggers for your drug use. A comprehensive program gives addicts their best chances for recovering and staying clean.
Fixing Your Need for a Fix
Many people often want to know is there a cure to heroin addiction, but there’s no easy answer to that question. There isn’t a shot you can take to instantly free yourself of the addiction, so, in that sense, no, there isn’t a cure. However, once you commit to getting clean and staying that way, an intensive program can help you recover from your addiction. It will require hard work and courage, but it is possible to get clean.
In order to help you get clean, professional caregivers must administer moderated doses of buprenorphine or methadone. These are also addictive drugs, but they help control the withdrawal symptoms, allowing the patient to gradually decrease their dependency on drugs. The addictive nature of these drugs, along with the possible health dangers that withdrawal may cause, makes it necessary for individuals to submit to an inpatient program. This type of program also affords an opportunity for caregivers to help patients through counseling, lifestyle changes, and spiritual enlightenment.
The Signs of Heroin Addiction
If you’re not using heroin, but you fear someone you love has been addicted, it may be helpful to learn more about how the drug affects the mind and body. Even before an addiction has developed, there are telltale signs that an individual is experimenting with the drug. as with any opiate, use causes a euphoric sensation, which can be identified by observing confusion or inhibited mental functioning. The individual may also fall asleep frequently, which is commonly referred to as the “opiate nod” by rehab caregivers.
Physically, the user will feel a heaviness in his or her limbs and there may be a flushing of the skin. Heroin use also causes a dry mouth or excessive thirst to occur. There may be skin conditions, especially an itchy feeling. Users commonly feel nauseous as well, which may be accompanied by unexplained vomiting.
Prolonged heroin addiction causes a number of symptoms to develop. While some of these symptoms may not be easy to recognize, or may not suggest a problem in themselves, the development of multiple or severe symptoms do suggest an addiction may be the cause. These symptoms include:
- Collapsed veins from IV drug injections
- Damaged nasal tissue from snorting powdered heroin
- Infected heart valves and lining
- Swollen skin lesions, which may leak pus
- Kidney or liver disease
- Depression, antisocial behavior, or other mental illnesses
- Erectile dysfunction in males
- Changes to the menstrual cycle in female users
While you or your loved one may be motivated to quit using heroin, doing it without help may be impossible. In addition to restlessness, sleep disorders, and nausea or vomiting, withdrawal symptoms can include more severe conditions. The individual may feel extreme muscle and bone pain, severe cold flashes, and uncontrollable muscle spasms. Additionally, heroin cravings will become stronger and, lacking supervision by properly trained caregivers, the user may relapse. For these reasons, you’re encouraged to contact a properly equipped rehab facility to help you or your loved one get clean and start down a path to recovery.