Opioids are highly addictive substances. Unfortunately, due to their euphoric effects, many people are choosing to misuse prescription and illegal forms of opioids. The misuse of opioids in America has gotten so bad that the country is currently in an opioid crisis. One illegal opioid that people often misuse is heroin. Individuals that develop an addiction to heroin must attend heroin detox followed by heroin addiction treatment to overcome it.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is an illegal opioid that’s made from morphine. Morphine is a natural substance that’s from the seed pod of different opium poppy plants. Heroin usually comes in the form of white or brown powder.
Like all opioids, heroin causes an intense euphoric effect that numbs physical and emotional pain. Thus, many people choose to misuse this highly addictive substance.
How Do People Use Heroin?
There are many ways to use heroin. People typically snort it, sniff it, smoke it, or shoot up heroin with needles. Some people even choose to mix this dangerous substance with other substances, such as crack cocaine, to enhance the effects.
Regardless of the way that people use heroin, it’s likely that they’ll eventually develop an addiction to the substance. Once that happens, such individuals must attend heroin detox followed by heroin addiction treatment.
There are a wide variety of ways that heroin can negatively affect the health of people that use it. The severity of the effects of heroin use that people will likely experience depends on how much of the substance they’ve abused, and the length of time that they’ve been abusing the substance.
Short-Term Effects of Heroin Use
When people use heroin, they’ll immediately experience a rush of euphoria. While this euphoria may seem pleasurable, the effects of heroin use that come soon after are likely not.
Common short-term effects of heroin use include:
- Dry mouth
- A warm flush of the skin
- Heavy feeling in arms and legs
- Severe itching
- Poor mental function
- Going in and out of consciousness
Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use
Once individuals use heroin for an extended period of time, the severity of the negative effects of the substance increases. Therefore, the long-term effects of heroin use are life-threatening.
Common long-term effects of heroin use include:
- Collapsed veins where heroin is injected
- Damaged tissue inside of the nose
- Infection of heart valves and lining
- Stomach cramping
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Lung complications
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Sexual dysfunction in men
- Irregular menstrual cycles in women
- Contraction of hepatitis or HIV due to shooting up heroin with shared needles
People that use large amounts of heroin can easily overdose (OD) on the substance. This is especially true when individuals mix heroin with other substances.
People who experience a heroin overdose often suffer from breathing irregularities. As a result, the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain decreases, causing hypoxia.
When people suffer from hypoxia, it affects their brains and central nervous systems. This could cause a person to experience a coma and/or permanent brain damage.
Heroin Overdose Treatment
One way to treat a heroin overdose is to inject the person that OD’d with an injectable form of naloxone. Naloxone helps treat heroin overdose by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and blocking the effects of heroin along with all other opioids. Naloxone comes in the form of an injectable such as EVZIO or a nasal spray such as NARCAN nasal spray.
While naloxone injections can help treat a heroin overdose, it’s still important that the person that overdosed on heroin receives emergency help from a
doctor at a hospital. That way the person that overdosed on heroin can receive any additional support that he or she needs.
While using too much heroin can cause a person to overdose, minimizing or discontinuing one’s use of heroin after already having a dependence and addiction to the substance can cause a person to experience heroin withdrawals. Heroin withdrawals are negative symptoms that people experience when their bodies are dependent on heroin and are no longer receiving enough of the substance to function.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours of consuming the drug. Common heroin withdrawal symptoms include:
- Severe muscle and bone pain
- Troubled sleeping
- Cold flashes with goosebumps
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Severe heroin cravings
Individuals that are addicted to substances as strong as heroin need to attend medical detox to get sober. Medical detox is a professional detox at a facility that provides 24/7 supervision and assistance from physicians as well as the medical staff.
During medical heroin detox, individuals must rid the body of all heroin and any other toxic substances. The best way to rid the body of toxins while detoxing is to taper one’s use of heroin. This means slowly decreasing the amount of heroin that a person is using.
It’s best to taper the use of heroin during medical detox because stopping all use of heroin cold turkey could shock the body’s systems. This, in turn, could be harmful to a person’s health and could even lead to death.
Even when individuals taper their use of heroin during heroin detox, they will still experience withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can be severe. To help heroin detox patients manage detox withdrawal symptoms, physicians will prescribe prescription withdrawal medications. The use of medications to help people manage their withdrawal symptoms during detox is called medication-assisted treatment.
Heroin Addiction Treatment
Once individuals complete heroin detox, they should attend heroin addiction treatment. During heroin addiction treatment, patients will receive different forms of addiction therapy.
While attending addiction therapy, patients that are in recovery from heroin addiction will discover what their addiction triggers are. Once individuals in heroin addiction treatment discover what their heroin addiction triggers are, they’ll learn how to manage them without the use of substances.
Inpatient and Residential Heroin Addiction Treatment
There are different levels of addiction treatment. The level of heroin addiction treatment that each person attends depends on the severity of his or her addiction. For example, individuals with severe heroin addictions should attend inpatient or residential addiction treatment. This is because inpatient and residential heroin addiction treatment programs make patients live in rehab facilities while in care so that they can receive 24/7 guidance and supervision.
The only difference between inpatient and residential treatment programs is that residential treatment programs are slightly more casual, and thus give patients more free time. Thus, residential treatment program residents get more time for themselves and more time to participate in fun, holistic treatment sessions than residents of standard inpatient treatment programs.
Outpatient Heroin Addiction Treatment
Individuals that don’t have severe heroin addictions can attend outpatient treatment for heroin use. The most intense form of outpatient treatment is partial hospitalization program (PHP) treatment. PHP requires individuals to attend rehab five to eight hours a day, five to seven days a week. PHP treatments are for individuals with moderate to severe heroin addictions.
Individuals with moderate level heroin addictions should attend intensive outpatient program (IOP) treatment. IOP treatment sessions require people to attend rehab for a few hours a day, a few days a week.
The last form of outpatient treatment is standard outpatient heroin addiction treatment. Standard outpatient treatment programs only require patients to attend rehab a couple of hours a day, once or twice a week. Standard outpatient heroin addiction treatment is for people with mild heroin addictions and is typically for those who have finished a more intense program.
Receive Heroin Addiction Treatment At Little Creek Recovery
At Little Creek Lodge, we know that heroin is a substance that’s commonly misused. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to provide the perfect heroin addiction treatment program.
Here at Little Creek Lodge, we specialize in men’s addiction treatment. Therefore, our inpatient treatment programs are only for our male residents. We still offer outpatient treatment programs for both men and women, though.
Our mission here at Little Creek is to provide a strong foundation while integrating internalized recovery through therapeutic and 12-step models, with a focus on the spiritual paradigm. To accomplish our mission, we here at Little Creek Recovery focus on a 12-step philosophy in conjunction with reality-based therapies. Therefore, we incorporate 12-step philosophy and spirituality in all of our addiction treatment programs, including our heroin addiction treatment program.
To learn more about our heroin addiction treatment program or any of our other addiction treatment programs or therapies, contact us today! We would love to hear from you.