Heroin addiction is incredibly common in the United States, but effective treatment at a rehabilitation center can provide hope for those seeking long-term sobriety.
If you are seeking drug treatment for an opiate/opioid abuse problem, call Alcohol Treatment Centers Babylon at (516) 283-5664.
Heroin is an opioid that is synthesized from morphine. Heroin addiction begins with injecting, snorting or smoking the white or brown powder, though black tar heroin is also available. Some of this drug’s most popular street names include smack, snow, dragon, white nurse and junk.
Over 20% of those who use heroin will become addicted to the drug, and studies show that people can become addicted after using the drug only one time. The neurological explanation for heroin’s high potential for addiction is that the drug is delivered to the brain very quickly. The body changes heroin into morphine, producing an intense high along with characteristic drowsiness.
The signs and symptoms of drug abuse are usually overt, as those taking this drug are often close to unresponsive when high. In addition, loved ones may notice that when the addict is not high, there are signs of addiction like secretiveness, decreased interest in former hobbies, mood swings (especially in the direction of depression), and financial difficulties caused by spending money on the drug.
Dealers often cut this drug with numerous other dangerous substances that can cause everything from heart attacks to paranoid delusions. In addition, heroin radically impairs judgement, so a user will often undermine their own safety due to a lack of awareness of their surroundings.
Accidental overdoses are common, causing respiratory distress and the risk of death. Users may share needles and subsequently develop a communicable disease like Hepatitis C or HIV. Meanwhile, those who use heroin for long enough are more likely to develop kidney disease, liver disease, and heart muscle infections. Women using this drug while pregnant may terminate their pregnancy or cause serious birth defects.
Once someone is addicted to heroin, it is almost impossible to stop using it without professional help. It is mentally and physically agonizing to endure the withdrawal symptoms alone, so inpatient medical detox is the gold standard for treatment. Medications like Suboxone (a synthetic opioid) may be administered by the treatment team in order to make withdrawal less unpleasant, and all patients are carefully monitored to ensure that dangerous side effects are promptly handled.
Once the inpatient medical detox is complete, long-term sobriety depends on the recovering addict’s willingness to submit to further treatment. Relapse rates are high in those who simply leave the treatment facility without going through a therapy program, as these addicts have little to no understanding of why their problem developed or how they can cope with cravings and stressors. Through individual and group therapy, addicts are encouraged to explore the reasons why they came to depend on substance abuse and to make solid plans for avoiding relapses.
After inpatient therapy, there is the option to transition to outpatient treatment (visiting the facility a few times a week) or move to a sober living community where increased autonomy is enjoyed but accountability is emphasized. Further, all heroin addicts are strongly recommended to be lifelong members of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) so that they always have a support network in place when the temptation to relapse occurs.
Get help for a heroin addiction when you call Alcohol Treatment Centers Babylon at (516) 283-5664.