Table of Contents
- How Is Heroin Used?
- Why Are More People Using Heroin?
- Why is Heroin Addictive and Dangerous?
- What Are the Effects of Heroin?
- The Various Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
- Treatment of Heroin Addiction
- Receive Heroin Addiction Treatment at West Valley Detox
Heroin is a powerful drug that belongs to the opiate family and is comparable to morphine and codeine in its chemical composition. This addictive narcotic is created from the resin of the opium poppy and has been utilized as a painkiller for centuries. It can exist as a white to brown powder or a dark sticky substance and is referred to by various street names such as horse, smack, brown sugar, and junk. In the United States, it has been made illegal since 1924.
The rise in heroin consumption is related to the overuse of opioid painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. People dependent on these two medications often switch to heroin as an alternative, as it is more accessible and inexpensive and produces a similar effect. This has triggered an increase in heroin usage and fatalities due to heroin overdoses.
At West Valley Detox, our rehab facilities in California provide treatment programs and other resources to help people recover from addiction.
How Is Heroin Used?
Heroin can be used in several different ways, such as through sniffing, snorting, injecting, smoking, and swallowing. The most common form of consumption is injecting it into a vein (intravenously) with a syringe and needle. In some cases, heroin is mixed with other substances such as cocaine, tranquilizers, or alcohol, making it very hazardous. Some users may inject heroin multiple times a day.
No matter how you take it, heroin can quickly get into your brain, making it easy to become addicted. It can be difficult to stop using it again, even after one or two uses. Find out more about what makes this drug so addictive and the possible heroin addiction treatment in California.
Why Are More People Using Heroin?
The rising usage of prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone, both of which are increasingly abused, has contributed to the increase in heroin. Some people who become addicted to prescription opioids may switch to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain. Heroin is becoming more widely available in many parts of the world.
For some, heroin plays a big role in dealing with anxiety, worries, and other stressors. One study found that 75% of users had mental health issues such as depression, ADHD, or bipolar disorder.
Heroin addiction remains a serious issue in the United States. An estimated 2.2 million Americans, or 8.2% of the population 12 and older, abused marijuana in 2022, according to research released by the California Health Care Foundation. Marijuana is the most widely used substance that is illegal under federal law in the United States, with 48.2 million users, or nearly 18% of the population. In addition, frequent or long-term marijuana use has been associated with a higher risk of psychosis or schizophrenia in some users.
Why is Heroin Addictive and Dangerous?
Heroin is highly addictive and dangerous due to its effects on the brain, body, and behavior. When taken, it frequently causes substance use disorders. It can lead to serious health issues, disabilities, and issues at home, at work, or in school.
Additionally, heroin produces a quick-acting, powerful high that floods the brain with dopamine, a chemical linked to pleasure and reward. This can create a strong desire to repeat the experience, which may develop into addiction.
Heroin is also a powerful central nervous system depressant that can slow breathing and heart rates to dangerous levels. Overdose is a significant risk, especially when the drug is used in combination with other depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines. If you take too much, you could stop breathing and pass away.
It is important to note that each individual’s reasons for using heroin may be unique. If you know someone is overdosing, take action right away. They need the appropriate heroin treatment at the soonest possible time.
What Are the Effects of Heroin?
Heroin addiction is a serious problem that has both short-term and long-term effects. The following are short-term effects:
- Dry mouth
- Constricted pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itchy skin
- Slowed breathing
- Decreased heart rate
- Clouded mental functioning
- Reduced ability to feel pain
The long-term effects of heroin are as follows:
- Addiction. A lot of people who use the substance frequently can easily develop an addiction after becoming reliant on it.
- Many physical health issues, such as liver and kidney damage, pneumonia, and heart infections, can result from long-term heroin use.
- Heroin use can also lead to a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
- Heroin addiction can result in social and economic issues such as job loss, unstable finances, and damaged relationships with family and friends.
- Overdosing on heroin poses a serious risk to users and has the potential to be fatal. An overdose may result in coma, death, or respiratory failure.
Heroin Addiction and Co-occurring Disorders
Heroin addiction frequently co-occurs with other mental health conditions, also known as a dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. Here are a few samples of co-occurring disorders that are frequent in those who are addicted to heroin:
- Depressive conditions
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- disorders of eating
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- psychological problems
- Addictions to additional drugs
It’s essential to treat co-occurring disorders alongside heroin addiction to ensure the best possible outcomes for recovery. Treatment may involve a combination of therapy, medication management, and support groups. Receive top-notch heroin addiction treatment at West Valley Detox!
The Various Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
Depending on a person’s genetic makeup and the quantity, frequency, and dependence of the drug, different indications and symptoms may appear. Some of the most typical indications of heroin addiction include the following:
Physical and Withdrawal Symptoms
- Nodding off
- Slowed breathing
- Constricted pupils
- Sudden weight loss
- Coughing up blood
- Dry mouth
- Extreme itching
- Feeling nausea
- Flushed skin
- Frequent stomach cramps
- Shortness of breath
- Respiratory infections
- Scabs or bruises
- Increased sleeping
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Avoiding loved ones
- Declining work or school performance
- Lack of motivation
- Lying about drug use
- Start to experience financial issues
- Unable to pay bills
- Borrow money
- Sell personal belongings
Changes in Appearance
- Looking unkempt
- Wearing long sleeves to hide injection marks
- Neglecting personal hygiene
- Overdressing in warm weather
- Sudden outbursts of anger
- Periods of exhaustion
- Periods of hyperactivity
- Sharing needles
- Having unprotected sex
- Driving under the influence of the drug
Treatment of Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction treatment typically involves a combination of behavioral therapies, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and support groups. Before starting treatment, you will undergo an assessment to determine the severity of your addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders. This evaluation will help your treatment team develop a personalized treatment plan.
The first essential step in treating heroin addiction is detoxification, which is the process of removing heroin from the body. The detoxification process normally takes approximately a week to complete. It can be done on an inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab basis and is typically managed by a healthcare professional.
During this period, the brain has to adjust to the absence of heroin, causing cravings, vomiting, and nausea. Other withdrawal symptoms include muscle and bone discomfort, chills and cold flashes, jitters, and trouble sleeping. Withdrawal typically starts between 6 and 12 hours after the last dose is taken. Symptoms reach their peak between one and three days and then start to ease off a week later. However, withdrawing from heroin is a tough task for many and may lead to relapse or a return to heroin use following an attempt to stop taking it. Heroin withdrawal symptoms are usually gentler than those of morphine withdrawal
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT, involves the use of medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Drugs like methadone and buprenorphine are given to patients at a facility like West Valley Detox to help with the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. This serves to decrease the severity of the signs and symptoms and decreases the risk of a relapse.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is another treatment option at West Valley Detox. This method enables someone to identify the underlying issues caused by addiction. It aids in preparing oneself to deal with stress and other stressors. Additionally, it makes it possible for someone to be aware of their attitudes and behaviors toward drug use.
Heroin addiction treatment must include aftercare planning to be sure that relapse will be prevented. This means ongoing therapy, attending support groups, and continuing medication management. A comprehensive aftercare plan can help individuals achieve long-term sobriety and successful recovery.
Receive Heroin Addiction Treatment at West Valley Detox
The West Valley Detox staff has extensive experience helping patients stop their heroin dependency and live happy, sober lives. We know how challenging it can be to decide to seek assistance, yet doing so is a positive step. A successful heroin addiction treatment that works best for you will be set up by our outstanding team of specialists. We’ll work with you to achieve the abilities you need to resume higher-level functioning. You can treat heroin addiction. Contact us now!