Heroin is an opiate drug that’s derived from morphine, and it causes a feeling of intense euphoria. Classified as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency, the substance is considered a highly dangerous and addictive substance; many are subject to heroin addiction.
Heroin addiction is a serious and often-relapsing disease, and even just a single dose of this potent drug can lead to a full-blown heroin addiction. If not treated, the illness can be deadly, therefore it is important to know the signs, effects of abuse, and treatment options, when dealing with this dangerous drug.
If you or someone you love is looking for drug treatment related to an opiate addiction, call Drug Treatment Centers Clearwater at (727) 378-0741.
The receptors for the substance are located in the reward center of the brain; the brain remembers the pleasurable experience felt while under the influence and often, the user immediately craves more of the drug. It’s very difficult to turn back once you try the substance due to its remarkable ability to obliterate pain and discomfort. Heroin addiction can quickly follow experimentation, and heroin addiction treatment is essential for recovery and preventing relapse.
Signs that someone you know may be abusing heroin include:
Heroin is typically injected into the bloodstream, which is the delivery method that produces the most intense high and most quickly leads to addiction. The drug can also be smoked or snorted.
The drug changes the physical structures of the brain. Some of the long-term effects of using heroin include neuronal and hormonal imbalances, a reduced ability to regulate behaviors and make decisions, and an inability to cope with stress.
Serious medical effects resulting from heroin abuse include liver and kidney disease and rheumatologic conditions like arthritis. Injecting heroin may lead to collapsed veins and becoming infected with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C from sharing needles.
The first step in treating a heroin addiction is detoxifying the body from the drug. Medical detoxification involves using medications to help alleviate the intense cravings that accompany withdrawal as well as other uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which include:
Although withdrawing from the drug can be excruciating, it’s not typically life threatening if this process is monitored by medical professionals. Some of the medications commonly used to reduce discomfort during the withdrawal process include:
Detoxification is followed by treatment, which includes various group and individual therapies and behavioral management techniques that help users learn to resist cravings, manage stress, and avoid relapse. These therapies include strategies for developing healthy relationships and becoming involved in healthy activities as well as replacing self-destructive thoughts and behaviors with healthy ways of thinking and behaving. During treatment, any underlying or co-existing mental or physical health problems will be addressed and treated.
An addiction aftercare program is set in place after the treatment phase is complete. Aftercare programs are individualized and include ongoing therapy, support and self-help groups, ongoing evaluation of existing and changing needs, and in some cases, vocational rehabilitation and assistance with finding safe housing.
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