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Dangers of Heroin Abuse

Heroin, created from modifying Morphine, is one of the most addictive illegal drugs on the streets today. Because of this, the first and foremost danger of Heroin use is its very high potential for abuse and addiction. In fact, quitting a Heroin addiction leads to dope sickness and may require detoxing in a medical facility. Heroin has become the drug of choice for those who have already formed a dependency to other opioid painkillers, like Hydrocodone, due to Heroin being cheaper.

The main problem with Heroin, aside from its rising incidence around the world, is that it can cause a myriad of health problems when abused. The list is long and ranges from a low sex drive, miscarriage, to hepatitis, skin infections, liver and kidney disease, and HIV.

Because Heroin can be smoked, snorted or injected, there is a large potential for overdose and death, together with psychological and physical dependence. This is because Heroin causes the deterioration of white matter in the brain. This can cause erratic behavior, reduced impulse control and a loss of the ability to deal with stress. The inability to handle stress creates can increase the possibility of relapse.

Street Names for Heroin

On the streets, Heroin is known by a variety of names, which vary depending on the mode of delivery and the culture of the user, with a majority of the nicknames coming from English speaking and Hispanic populations. A few of the nicknames include

  • Smack
  • Dope
  • Mud
  • Horse
  • Skag
  • Junk
  • H
  • Black tar
  • Black pearl
  • Brown sugar
  • Witch hazel
  • Birdie powder
  • Dragon
  • Hero
  • White stuff
  • China white
  • Mexican horse
  • Pluto
  • Skunk
  • Number 2

Effects of Heroin

Heroin is normally injected, snorted or smoked, and because it reaches the brain quickly, it is highly addictive. It clouds mental functions, impairing the ability to think and react, slowing down reaction times and diminishing the ability to make decisions, all while hindering the user’s memory.

Because heroin can be injected, and reusing dirty needles is common, the risk of contracting AIDS, hepatitis and other deadly blood-borne diseases. As well Heroin is linked to violence and crime due to its effects on the user’s brain.

Other effects include nausea and vomiting, the inability to feel pain, leading to related injuries. Miscarriage is also a common effect of heroin use, as well as the reduction of heart functions and breathing, which can cause death.

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Heroin Rehab Treatment

Heroin addiction treatment requires a lot more than simply stopping; because of how it works on the brain, doing so can lead to a high failure rate. Heroin users require a rehabilitation program, one which provides specialized therapy in an individual as well as a group setting. Rehab will employ cognitive and behavioral therapy that seeks to reduce the behavior that caused addiction while promoting positive behaviors, which lead to recovery of the patient’s health and sobriety.

Depending on the case, a patient and his family can choose between two types of facilities in which treatment can be provided: Inpatient and Outpatient clinics. An inpatient clinic allows patients to live within the premises and have round-the-clock care. Specialized therapists interact with the patients both in individual as well as a group setting, to determine the underlying cause for their addiction, as well as any triggers that can cause a relapse.

Outpatient clinics allow patients to live at home and attend work while attending a rehab center. Sessions are normally scheduled according to a patient’s needs and he or she must attend a determined amount of group sessions during the week for as long as treatment lasts. Unfortunately, outpatient treatment is not as successful as inpatient, due to the continued exposure to triggers, leading to a greater risk of relapse.

Heroin Detox Treatment

Heroin withdrawal can be painful and last several days, with the first symptoms appearing as early as 6 hours after the last dose. As well, complications can arise if medical supervision is not available, making the withdrawal period dangerous, and even fatal. It is because of this that Heroin detox has been designed to provide a safe space in which these symptoms can be handled appropriately by medical personnel.

At an inpatient clinic, the doctors will watch for psychological symptoms of withdrawal, which include anxiety and depression. It is at this point that self-harm and relapse are most common, which is why the appropriate supervision is required. Detox treatment at a professional facility will reduce the risk of this happening, while providing a safe and comfortable environment that allows the patient to feel more relaxed during this critical period.

Doctors at a detox facility might prescribe certain medications to help the patient through the process of recovery while minimizing the symptoms of withdrawal and keeping cravings at bay. Some of the more common medications provided are Methadone, Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Each of these medication is used to help ease the pain and cravings that are associated with withdrawals. Heroin is dangerous to detox alone, which is why it’s important to go through detox at a professional facility.

Addiction to Heroin

It is important to note that addiction is a disease, not a character flaw. Most times, Heroin users are not looking to become addicted, but rather, are seeking relief from a wide variety of issues; an escape from a life that can be extremely painful. Suffering from an addiction does not make someone a bad person, but rather, it means that a person needs help to overcome a condition that consumes countless lives.

One of the reasons why people become addicted to Heroin is because a dependency on other Opiates present in many modern painkillers has already been established. These medications are usually a gateway to a larger problem. Many hospitals find it easy to prescribe narcotics to ease pain in any form, patients are more easily introduced to Opiates. The problem arises when prescriptions run out or the health-care industry refuses to continue providing these medications. It is at this point where a patient will look for a cheap substitute, and Heroin is available and cheaper than other Opiates on any street in the country.

Heroin addiction is tricky, as it has such a firm grasp on the abuser that it can be hard to begin recovering. Even so, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Heroin addicted sufferers, and that is that recovery is possible for everyone; no one is too far gone. Call and break free from the chains of addiction today.

Heroin Dependency

Heroin dependency is what happens to the body and brain when a you, or your loved one, keep using the drug regardless of the negative impact it has on you or your loved one’s life. It usually manifests with an increased physical desire to use the drug. Each time the patient uses Heroin, a tolerance is built, requiring more and more to be used for it to have an effect, altering chemicals in the brain. The body will demand a higher dose every time and if it is not provided, withdrawal symptoms will ensue.

On the other hand, psychological dependence is the name given to the emotional and mental need for the drug. The patient will start to live to satisfy the need. Getting the next fix will become the motivating force behind every action, regardless of consequence. Nothing will matter except for finding the next dose.

How each patient’s body reacts to Heroin will depend almost exclusively on the individual; factors such as age, weight, and health affect the level of dependency. The human body is known to be able to adapt to a variety of circumstances, and Heroin use is one of them. When this happens, the body will demand larger doses of Heroin to continue feeling satisfied after continued use. This is known as tolerance, the drug has become something the body needs to continue functioning, which is why withdrawal can be so painful and dangerous.

Seeking help for a loved one

  • What Do I Say in A Heroin Intervention?
    You will speak directly to your loved one, only speaking in love and concern while leaving out judgment or anger. Let him or her know the negative impact their Heroin addiction causes you.
  • What If My Loved One Does Not Go To Heroin Rehab?
    If your loved one does not accept Heroin treatment, he or she will know there is help when he or she is ready. Keep showing them support without enabling your loved ones’ behavior.

Intervention for Heroin Abuse

Very rarely will someone suffering from an addiction ask for help on his or her own. It usually takes the combined efforts of friends and family to make him or her realize that help is needed. The best way to direct these efforts is to stage an intervention, where all those involved sit down with the addicted person and lovingly explain the effects the drug is having on them. It is necessary for him or her to acknowledge that Heroin can be damaging to all, even those who don’t use the drug.

Most interventions are planned without the addicted person’s knowledge. This prevents him or her from skipping out before it even begins. In most cases, an intervention might be the only way for a loved one can get help, which is why it should be set in a positive light, focusing on the love of those around the individual, showing that a path to sobriety is not only possible, but also available. It should be performed in a neutral area with no emotional attachments. As well, a professional interventionist can help keep the process running smoothly.

An intervention must highlight the love those involved feel for the individual, but it must also establish consequences if he or she continues to use Heroin. Interventions require a commitment from both sides, which is why at times they can be emotionally taxing and hard to perform. Interventions are a good first step down the road to sobriety. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you would like us to help you set up an intervention for your loved one.

Recovery from Heroin Abuse

To those who have been hurt by a loved one’s Heroin abuse, it may seem as if recovery is impossible. But it’s not; there is hope for sobriety, and even though the road can seem long and complicated, a happy and healthy life after addiction is quite possible.

A recovery program for Heroin abusers can be difficult, but it can also show the joys of life. While it does include individual and group therapy, recovery can be dynamic and fun, as it includes a long list of activities designed to promote a healthy and sober lifestyle. Most patients establish friendships that will last a lifetime with people who are also on the same path to recovery. Your loved one will begin to develop a

Recovery from Heroin abuse will start off by detoxing from the drug, with withdrawal symptoms that can become present as early as six hours after the last dose. Some of the symptoms include intense cravings, sweating, muscle and bone pain, nausea, vomiting, cramping, insomnia, chills, diarrhea and fever. These symptoms can be severe, which is why detox should be medically supervised in a specialized facility.

If you or your loved one are affected by Heroin abuse, there are several detoxification and rehabilitation treatment options you can choose from. Electing the best one for your individual case can be an arduous task which requires a working knowledge of each one and the benefits they can offer. We can help you decide which option is best for your individual case, and the benefits you can garner from each one.

  • How Do I Recover from Heroin Addiction?
    Inpatient treatment is possibly the best way to recover from an Heroin addiction, followed up with support groups like the 12-step program.
  • Will I Be Bored in Heroin Recovery?
    If you attend Heroin support groups, you will connect with many people, attend various events and participate in numerous activities.
  • Can I Die from a Heroin Overdose?
    Yes. Heroin overdose has the potential to kill you. If you see someone showing signs of overdose, call emergency services immediately.
  • Can I Overdose on Heroin?
    You can honestly overdose on any drug if it is being abused.

Dangers of Heroin Overdose 

Because of the way Heroin is cut prior to its sale on the streets, and because the user can never really know the exact amount of the drug in any given dose, the danger of an overdose is always present and incredibly high. This is especially true when the patient has been abusing Heroin for long periods of time, as the toxic chemicals can cause havoc in the brain and body.

In a few words, a Heroin overdose is a toxic reaction of the body to a large dose of the drug. It can produce devastating effects on the brain and body, which can result in death. When an overdose occurs, your breathing becomes shallow and start to slow, resulting in a condition known as hypoxia. Hypoxia is when you brain and tissues are not receiving enough oxygen to survive. It is extremely dangerous, and in the best of cases can cause brain damage, but unfortunately, usually causes either coma or death.

A Heroin overdose presents with very specific symptoms, which can signal the need for help. The first, and most dangerous symptoms are the slowing down of a person’s breathing and heart rate, which can cause a host of heart issues including respiratory and cardiac arrest and cardiovascular collapse. An overdose can also cause delirium, changes in the mental status of a patient and coma. Once a patient has overdosed, he or she must receive immediate medical attention with the assistance of a drug called Naloxone, which blocks the effects of heroin. Otherwise, death becomes a real and present danger to the patient.

Heroin Use, Abuse and Dependency 

Heroin is the third most abused drug in the world. There are several reasons for this, but the main reason being is because of the relative ease with which it can be obtained on the street, as well as the cost provided per dose. Heroin abuse usually stems from an already existing dependency on Opioids created by the use and abuse of prescription painkillers, which are freely prescribed by a wide range of medical instances for the treatment of everything from a simple headache to a fractured bone. Because of this, by the time most patients turn to Heroin, a certain degree of tolerance has already been developed.

One of the main problems presented by the use of Heroin is that the person suffering from an addiction rarely, if ever, knows how much of the drug is being consumed. This is because Heroin is mixed, or cut, with different substances prior to it reaching the streets. These substances can be anything from table sugar to chemicals that can produce a higher level of toxicity of the drug.

Heroin, which can be injected, snorted or smoked, is a “downer,” which means that it affects the pleasure centers of the brain, causing a sensation of relaxation and euphoria or happiness. As with other Opiates, including those which are prescribed medically, Heroin affects the body’s ability to feel pain, which is why its use is so common amongst those who have already become dependent on painkillers such as Morphine, Hydrocodone and other such Opiates.

The symptoms of Heroin abuse in a loved one are usually quite noticeable, although they can sometimes be explained away by other conditions. Some of these symptoms include a shortness of breath, which is common in all stages of dependency and can be the main cause of death during an overdose; a dry mouth, and pinpoint pupils, which is when the pupils of the patient’s eyes become constricted due to the hypersensitivity to light produced by the drug. When a person is high on Heroin, he or she can present with sudden and unexpected changes in behavior, sometimes becoming violent and able to commit a crime. The patient will also appear to be disoriented and will present with cycles of heightened alertness which are alternated with sudden periods of sleep. The person suffering from a Heroin addiction might also seem as if his or her limbs have suddenly become very heavy, appearing very sluggish and lethargic.

As mentioned, these symptoms can also be present in a plethora of other health issues, which is why, when looking for a definitive answer to a loved one’s Heroin abuse, other signs should be considered, such as the possession of syringes used to inject the drug, together with baggies containing unknown powders. Finding silver spoons, tin foil, straws and other items with burn marks can also point towards a person abusing Heroin, together with a number of behavioral changes.

The abuse of Heroin is almost always noticeable in a person’s behavior. People which have otherwise always been straightforward and honest will suddenly start lying and avoiding direct eye contact to cover any traces of abuse and other activities. An increase in the hours of sleep and slurred speech, together with a sudden drop in grades or a mediocre performance at work which can lead to expulsion or being fired, can also be a sign of abuse. People who abuse Heroin will also find themselves withdrawing from friends and family, while avoiding contact with any new people in their lives. The person suffering from an addiction will steal and borrow money from friends and family to support his or her habit while also presenting hostile, and, at times, violent behavior towards those same exact people. Finally, the loss of interest in previously favorite activities that the individual used to enjoy, together with a change in attire and hygiene that includes the use of long sleeves to cover up injection marks or bruises, can be surefire signs of a problem.

Heroin dependency is the worst form of addiction. It means the body has already built up a tolerance to the drug and will demand higher and higher doses, more and more often, to achieve even a basic level of functioning, leading to an acceleration of damage to the body and mind of the addict. Even so, there are treatment options that will lead to sobriety and a more positive outlook on. The first step towards recovery is detox, a process in which the person suffering from an addiction will have to endure the symptoms of withdrawal. It is imperative this process takes place under medical supervision, otherwise complications can and will, arise, placing the patient’s life in danger.

Instinct will play a significant role in determining if your loved one has a problem with Heroin abuse. In reality, by the time friends and family start suspecting there is a problem, it is highly likely the problem has already taken root. This is why the family of the loved one should intervene in helping the addicted person receive the most appropriate treatment.

  • Why Should I Go to Group Therapy for Heroin Treatment?
    Group therapy will show you that you are not alone in fighting Heroin addiction.
  • Is Group Therapy for Heroin Addiction Helpful?
    Group therapy with will not only help you learn how to express your feelings on Heroin addiction, but it will also help you form lasting and healthy friendships.

Short-term effects

The immediate effects of Heroin use can vary a bit depending on how the drug is delivered into the system. Other factors included are the drugs’ purity, amount and physical health of the user. The fastest method of delivery is intravenous injection, followed by snorting, and lastly by smoking. The first short term effect of Heroin use is what is known as “the rush,” a sensation of well-being in which the brain’s ability to feel pain disappears. This analgesic effect normally leads to a stage of euphoria, in which the patient will present with a feeling of sedation that can last for several hours, and which will diminish over time with continued use, leading to the patient requiring higher doses each time.

While the euphoric and sedation stages take place, other short term effects will become visible. These effects can include a dry mouth, flushed skin, vomiting, nausea, itching, a sensation of heaviness in both upper and lower limbs, a clouding of mental function, and an alternating state of consciousness and unconsciousness. Sometimes, extreme behavioral changes will also become apparent during a heroin high, but because of the very nature of the drug, there is a real possibility they will not appear until afterwards.

If you or your loved one are having a problem with Heroin abuse, the best chances of recovery are when only these short-term effects appear. Be on the look-out and make sure to give us a call we will be happy to help you find your way back to a normal, more positive life.

Long-term effects

Once Heroin has taken a hold on your body and mind, due to continued use, a wide range of long term effects can appear. This happens because the body builds up a tolerance to the initial pleasurable effects of Heroin, which means your body has changed and adapted to the drug being in your system and starts demanding more to replicate the initial feelings of euphoria.

As this happens, you will start noticing an increase in specific health issues as a consequence of the increased toxicity of the drug, such as a lower than normal body temperature, bluish hands, feet, lips, nails and other body parts. This is because of a decreased amount of oxygen traveling through your blood to the parts of your body. Your heart rate will also slow down, together with your breathing, due to damage to your blood vessels and circulatory system in general.

Some of the milder long-term effects, are nausea, vomiting, confusion, itchy skin, sensitivity to light and constricted pupils. But the real damage comes from other effects, including exposure to blood borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis from using dirty syringes, together with skin infections and abscesses at the site of the injection, scarring, irreversible damage to the liver and kidneys, heart infections, miscarriage, malnutrition and sexual dysfunction. Pregnant women who abuse Heroin also expose their unborn children to these same effects as well as fetal addiction, which is when the child presents withdrawal symptoms shortly after birth.

  • Why Should I Attend Family Therapy?
    You will build a stronger bond with your family and repair any damage caused from Heroin addiction.
  • What Will Family Therapy Help?
    When you abuse Heroin, you may have caused your family great harm. Going to therapy can help your family see you are changing and they will give you their full support.

It’s What They Need

Your loved one feels isolated and alone in their fight against their addiction. Give them the backup that they need. Holding an intervention for a loved one not only brings their problem to the surface, but shows them that people still care about them. They might be in denial with other people, but most people who have a substance abuse problem are not in denial with themselves. Deep down inside, they know they need help. If you show them that they have support if they decide to get that help, they will be more willing to go to rehab. Let them know that you are not giving up on them.

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Seeking help for a loved one

  • Will Inpatient Treatment Help my Heroin Addiction?
    Inpatient treatment is one of the most effective ways to recover from Heroin addiction.
  • How Long is Heroin Inpatient Treatment?
    The length of your stay in an inpatient program depends on your Heroin addiction and the program you choose to go to.

Inpatient Heroin Rehab 

Inpatient clinics for the rehabilitation and treatment of heroin dependency allow the patient to live at the facility during the period of time in which said treatment takes place. This treatment option offers a large number of advantages to both the patient and his or her family, including the availability of therapists and clinicians around the clock who will help supervise the patient during detox and can offer assistance at any time it is required.

Inpatient treatment also ensures the patient maximizes his or her road to recovery and guarantees his presence in both individual and group therapy session. Patients at residential facilities also tend to form bonds and friendships with others living similar situations, which can help them through the process, as well as take place in a number of fun and exciting activities designed to help the patient learn to have a more positive outlook on life.

Inpatient clinics also offer the added benefit of being neutral ground where the stresses of daily life are not present, and the patient can learn how to deal with them on a one by one basis, without having to continue living in a world that might have caused his or her initial downfall. This is the most desirable scenario for those going through recovery and sobriety. Because Heroin dependency changes the chemical balance of the brain, it is best to learn coping techniques on favorable ground, where the patient can practice dealing with his or her daily life before being exposed to it once again.

Outpatient Heroin Rehab

Another form of treatment for Heroin dependency is known as outpatient rehab. In this program, the patient lives at home and continues with his or her daily life, while attending individual and group therapy sessions that are scheduled previously throughout the week. This, while it may seem to be a more convenient option, is not always the most beneficial thing to do.

Outpatient facilities do not remove the patient from the life and world that caused the addiction in the first place. The temptation to start using drugs again is always present and can be very hard to avoid. Stress, another large cause of addiction, is also not removed, which leaves the patient little room to fight it as he or she learns new methods for coping with it. These facilities also rely on the continued good will and commitment of the patient, something that can disappear without notice, causing treatment to be interrupted. Although certain clinics do require the patient to check in daily, as well as participate in a plethora of workshops, classes, activities, and other programs designed at helping him recover his sobriety.

Outpatient facilities are quite successful with patients who have been abusing Heroin for a lesser period, those in which the drug has not taken complete control, and those which have only started using it. But, for those patients who have abused Heroin for longer periods of time, and who have already tried, and failed, on previous occasions, it is best to adhere to a strict inpatient program.

  • Will Outpatient Help my Heroin Addiction?
    Yes. Outpatient will help your Heroin addiction, but works best if you attend inpatient rehab first.
  • When Should I go to Outpatient Rehab?
    When you are ready to recover from your Heroin addiction, you should go to inpatient treatment and follow it up with outpatient rehab.

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