Heroin Addiction & Abuse

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What Is Heroin Addiction?

Heroin addiction is a growing problem that is responsible for thousands of preventable deaths every year. The opioid crisis has led many people to develop heroin addictions after using prescription painkillers. However, with the right interventions and holistic therapies, it is possible to live a life free of heroin and to reclaim control over your life. We will help you to define what you want from your life and develop a plan to achieve your life goals. When you are ready to ask for help, we will be here to support you.

Heroin Addiction Symptoms

A heroin addiction produces a wide range of psycho-emotional symptoms and physical side effects, as well as behavioral changes. Physically you may experience frequent flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath, and dry mouth. Skin problems like the formation of bruises and scabs, flushed skin and itchiness are common. Weight loss may occur as a result of malnutrition and gastrointestinal issues and constipation occur frequently. You may be prone to liver and kidney disease with repeated use and experience shortness of breath.

The initial feeling of euphoria you experience induces mood swings that cause depression, anxiety, irritability, and hostile behavior. Some people go through paranoia, hallucinations, disorientation and delusions when under the influence of the drug.

Behaviorally, a heroin addiction causes intense cravings for the drug and increased tolerance as you need to use progressively more to achieve the sense of euphoria that attracted you to it.

Defining Heroin

Heroin is an opioid that has been synthesized from morphine, which is extracted from the seeds of the poppy plant. It can take the form of a brown or white powder or a black sticky substance called black tar heroin.

Extremely high addiction potential

Heroin is so addictive that one in four people who try it for the first time will become addicted. Heroin abuse is often triggered by the abuse of prescription painkillers like codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Many routes of administration

Heroin can be injected, snorted, sniffed, or smoked. It is also frequently combined with alcohol or crack cocaine, something known as speedballing. This practice accounts for an increase in the number of overdose deaths.

Binds to opioid receptors

Heroin enters your brain quickly and binds to your opioid receptors, which are found in different parts of your brain. They are responsible for your ability to feel pleasure and pain, as well as regulating sleeping, breathing, and heart rate.

The Dangers of Heroin Addiction

The risks and side effects of addiction become progressively worse as you use more heroin. The most immediate danger is an increasing tolerance, which causes you to use more and elevates your chance of overdose.

If you continue to use heroin you are at risk of a number of blood-borne viruses like Hepatitis and HIV due to sharing needles. You may also experience infections at the injection sites. Heroin abuse is strongly linked to suicide. There is a cross-over between heroin use and underlying mental health disorders like bipolar and depression and a large number of suicides occur as a result of heroin withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin use causes respiratory problems like pulmonary disease and pneumonia as well as cardiac complications like atherosclerosis, pericarditis, and endocarditis. Blood clots can lead to stroke, heart attack, and pulmonary embolism.

What Is the Difference between Heron Addiction and Abuse?

Some substances can be abused recreationally to the point that you can control your use, however heroin is not one of them. Using heroin just once puts you at risk of developing an addiction. Tolerance to heroin develops quickly as it affects your brain’s reward system, and overdose is an ever-present danger.

Seeking help for heroin abuse is the only way to stop yourself from developing an addiction. If you know you are dependent on it or on opioid painkillers, it’s vital to get professional help as soon as possible.

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How Heroin Affects Us

Substances like heroin affect people in different ways because of the way your body metabolizes them. The amount and purity of the drug, as well as how it is administered affect the way your body and mind respond. Other factors like your gender, age, weight, any co-occuring conditions and medications you take also play a role in your brain and body’s response.

Physiological effects

It can be difficult to spot a heroin addiction from a person’s outward appearance however some people may show signs of weight loss. Using heroin causes pinpoint pupils and slow breathing. Scars, abscesses, and needle marks may form on your skin. You may find yourself ‘nodding off’ frequently, or coming in and out of consciousness. Heroin abuse can make you feel warm but it doesn’t increase your body temperature. When it binds to your opioid receptors it causes an absence of physical pain so it is possible to injure yourself without realizing it.

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Psychological effects

Heroin abuse increases your feelings of positive emotions and people report feeling euphoria, calmness, delirium, and an absence of stress. It causes negative changes in mood and some people experience mood swings between manic and depressive symptoms. Heroin addiction worsens your memory and attention span and it can cause sexual dysfunction in men and women. Withdrawing from heroin can amplify depression and is associated with a high suicide rate.

More on heroin withdrawal >>

Crime-related statistics

There is an association between crime and heroin use, with many users turning to crime to fund their drug habits. The Bureau of Justice’s statistics surveying prior drug use of jail inmates found heroin to be a common factor.

20.7% of inmates admitted to using heroin or other opiates before being incarcerated, and 12.7% were regular users.

7.8% had used heroin or other opiates in the month prior to their arrest and 4.1% were using it at the time they committed their offense.

How Does Heroin Addiction Affect My Family?

While conversations about heroin addiction are usually concerned with the person who has the drug problem, the impact of the disease is felt by everyone in your family. Partners of those who abuse heroin are more likely to experience domestic violence and couples are vulnerable to divorce. Parents need to confront the possibility that they may outlive their child. Children in addicted households are more susceptible to physical and sexual violence.

When a child abuses heroin, parents have to come to terms with them becoming distant and dishonest. Lying and stealing may occur to fund a heroin habit. Children and teens may engage in riskier behaviors and are more likely to experience deficiencies and infectious diseases. When children witness a parent struggle with heroin addiction their needs are not taken care of, neglecting them and isolating them. Children are exposed to trauma and may go on to develop their own substance addictions.

Heroin Overdose

Overdose from heroin requires urgent medical attention. While Naloxone can be administered to reverse an overdose, it must be given quickly to help the person. Please call 911 urgently.

Overdose deaths from heroin have increased progressively since the early 1990s, with 8000 occurring in 2013.

Overdosing causes slow or shallow breathing or can stop it completely. A person overdosing may have cold, damp skin, muscle cramps, and tremors.
They will experience a drop in their heart rate and blood pressure. overdose deaths in relapse happen frequently because your tolerance can drop. Differences in the potency of the drug are also responsible for a large proportion of deaths.

Why Choose URP for Heroin Treatment?

Our treatment centers help you heal from heroin addiction and abuse. Our caring and committed staff will create a tailored treatment plan using an evidence-based approach to heroin rehab so you can take control of your life back.

We will assist you with a tapering schedule and a holistic treatment plan so you can explore the underlying issues that led to your addictive patterns of behavior and fulfil your life goals. You will learn about triggers and relapse prevention so you are equipped to cope with the challenges of life as you move forward.

Heroin Rehab

Why Choose United Recovery CA for Heroin Treatment?

Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid, which means that it is not only affecting our bodies in the same way that opioids do but is also modified to be even more forceful on our system, brain and overall health. We are aware that you are struggling, we know you are here to be helped. This is why we will create a unique set of therapies, treatments and sessions which will be of use to you. Your personalised program will feature:

Comprehensive Assessment

Recovery in a
Luxury Environment

Aftercare &
Lifetime Support

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does Heroin affect my brain?

When you become addicted to heroin your brain makes lower levels of natural opioids. Heroin affects your opioid receptors and your brain’s risk/reward center. It decreases the amount of dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters that it produces.

Is there help for Heroin addiction?

It is possible to change your future if you reach out for help from heroin addiction. Substitute medication is usually required to break a heroin dependence and it can be sustained for months or even years. Trying to quit heoin cold turkey is never recommended.

What is the difference between injecting and smoking Heroin?

There is a misconception that smoking heroin will not lead to addiction, however if you start smoking it, it is highly likely that you will end up injecting. After smoking it for a while, you develop a tolerance and then start to inject it to achieve the level of euphoria you felt when you first starting smoking it.

How to help if someone is overdosing?

Please call 911 immediately. There are drugs available to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose but they must be administered timeously to work. If possible, turn to the person onto their side. If the person has stopped breathing, administer CPR until help arrives.

What are your addiction treatment options?

Each client is unique and requires a tailored treatment plan. Detoxing the drug will eliminate heroin and its toxins from your system and break your physical dependence. A rehab program must be followed so you can address your psycho-emotional reasons for developing the addiction. Aftercare programs provide long term support to help you manage triggers and stay heroin-free. Reaching out for professional help is required to sustain long term recovery.

Do You Need Help?

You can get better with the right support. Don’t hesitate to contact us now so that we can discuss the next steps.