What to do if Your Loved One is Addicted to Heroin
What is Heroin?
Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive opioid narcotic. It blocks the neurotransmission of pain and induces relaxation and feelings of euphoria. Heroin is most often sniffed, smoked or injected and can produce a quick rush (high), occurring within just a few seconds if injected or within ten minutes if smoked or sniffed. When taken repeatedly, the user will build up a tolerance to heroin and will require more intake of it to achieve the desired results.
Opioids are also very strong antidepressives used to treat disorders such as anxiety, OCD, chronic and neuropathic pain, ADHD, migraines and more. They are anti-psychotic and also used in the treatment of psychosis, hallucinations, bi-polar, schizophrenia and other disorders. Many people seeking relief from physical and psychological disorders will use heroin because of its ability to mask pain, promote relaxation and produce a euphoric state.
If you have discovered that your loved one is addicted to heroin you will need the correct information to help them. Most addicts will have a “list” of reasons why they need to take heroin, from having a painful illness, to employment or relationship problems etc. Heroin addicts are very adept at deception and may lie about many things to gain your confidence to loan them money for their next fix. Some addicts have already committed crimes such as robbery, theft, drug dealing or trafficking to support their heroin habit.
Some family members or close friends will become sympathetic to the cries of the addict and will give them food, shelter and drug money. These people are known as negative enablers who are actually increasing the risk of death or incarceration of the addict. Their main concerns are usually what will happen if the addict starts to go through withdrawal symptoms, becomes homeless or incarcerated. Their fears lead to enabling the addict to continue down the path of self-destruction. That being said, it is important to remember that your behavior, whether positive or negative, will have a direct impact on the addict.
Recovery and Healing
To truly help a heroin addict you must remain strong and rational. You should seek the help of experienced and qualified medical professionals and support groups such as Al-Anon. A rehabilitation facility will give your loved one the healing environment they need to get well. Physicians and therapists can offer your loved one the proper guidance and medical support needed to recover from addiction.
The family and friends of a heroin addict must realize that their negative enabling behavior must stop or the addict will relapse. Family and friends can learn how to support the addict with positive feedback. By encouraging the addict to change his or her way of thinking and alter behavior patterns is of utmost importance. By learning how to cope with triggers that encourage drug abuse, the addict will be able to remain strong when temptation strikes.
Let your loved one know that you cannot continue to negatively enable them because you love them and want them to get well. Do not judge your loved one or set unrealistic goals. Gather together educational materials on heroin addiction and recovery and review it with your loved one. Remember to continually offer your love and support and keep the dialogue going.
Drugs affect each person differently, and success of recovery is dependent on many factors. Continued counseling, support and accountability groups will have a beneficial effect on the addict. Also remember that recovery is not a quick fix. Long-term medically based treatments offer the best recovery rates. In addition, long-term care is the best prevention against relapse and encourages your loved one to seek a bright and healthy future.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.