Heroin Addiction Recovery
Heroin is an illegal and extremely addictive drug, and its use is on the rise across the country. According to the CDC, the greatest increases can be found in women, people between the ages of 18 and 25, and non-Hispanic whites. In addition, the number of heroin overdose deaths is also growing. People who abuse heroin can get help from True Recovery’s intensive outpatient treatment program (IOP); however, it is helpful to fully understand what heroin is and the negative toll that it takes to see why help is needed.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is a drug that’s derived from poppy plants and has several street names, including “big H,” “smack,” and “H.” Resin from the flower’s seed pod is first turned into morphine before it is processed into heroin. It is often mixed with additives such as sugar, starch, or poisons such as quinine or strychnine. These substances will dictate the color of the heroin that’s being sold. Often, heroin is gray, black, or brown, but in its pure form, heroin is a white powder. The dangers of heroin are also generally associated with the substances that are used to cut it. People who use heroin either inject, snort, or smoke it. Those who inject or smoke the drug are at the highest risk of heroin addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Use
People who abuse heroin often don’t believe that they have a problem. For successful heroin treatment, those who use the drug must first recognize the need to stop using it. Friends and loved ones can help a heroin user see that there is a problem, but first, they must know what the signs of heroin use are. Drug paraphernalia, such as syringes, foil, and small pipes, are obvious indicators of a problem. In addition to paraphernalia, other signs of heroin abuse may be behavioral or physical. Some of these signs include lying, worsening work or school performance, hostility, or withdrawing from friends and family. Needle tracks on arms and legs are one of the most visible signs that someone is injecting drugs. To conceal these marks, one may start wearing long sleeves regularly. Weight loss, lethargy, skin-picking, and the resulting bruises or scabs may also indicate heroin use.
Health Problems Associated With Long-Term Heroin Use
Long-term heroin abuse can lead to a number of potential health problems. One may develop bacterial infections of the blood vessels, heart valves, and lining. A person who regularly uses heroin may also develop liver or kidney disease. The body’s poor condition can lead to tuberculosis, pneumonia, or other complications associated with the lungs. Blood clots caused by chemicals in heroin may also cause permanent damage to the brain as well as the liver and kidneys. Heroin users who inject the drug may use dirty, shared needles, putting them at risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. And because there is a high risk of overdosing on heroin, there is also the risk of going into a coma or dying.
When someone has a heroin addiction, they become physically dependent on it, as their body has adapted to having the drug in their system. Within a few hours of stopping the drug, one may experience withdrawal symptoms, which typically peak within 24 hours, with the strongest of the symptoms lasting for a week or longer. Withdrawal can be so intense that fear of it may prevent one from seeking heroin treatment. Common symptoms of withdrawal include intense cravings, insomnia, pain in the muscles and bones, uncontrollable leg-kicking, chills, vomiting, and diarrhea.
At True Recovery, our addiction treatment program is designed to help people achieve their recovery goals. Whether it’s one’s first time seeking help or you’ve sought help in the past, we can create a customized plan to help you during your addiction recovery and beyond. Our professional and highly trained staff provides clients with a number of services, including addiction counseling, in a safe and comfortable environment. In addition, we’ll help you to identify and work toward your personal goals. Fill out our contact form or call today to speak with an admissions counselor for more information on how our program can help you recover from heroin abuse or addiction.