Heroin is a potent opioid narcotic that is considered one of the most addictive drugs in the world. Chronic use of heroin leads to physical dependence on the drug because the body adapts to the drugs presence. Once addicted to heroin, the user may experience withdrawal symptoms if the drug is reduced or stopped.
Research shows that heroin causes deterioration of the white matter of the brain. This deterioration may affect a person’s ability to properly regulate thoughts and behavior. Heroin addiction also causes suppression of the respiratory system which can lead to hypoxia, causing neurological and psychological damage and coma. Other adverse effects of heroin addiction are: depression, infections, liver disease, agitation, blood clots, mood swings, gastrointestinal cramping, collapsed veins, paranoia, muscle spasms, disorientation, abscesses and inflammation of the heart lining and valves.
Anyone suffering from heroin drug addiction should seek professional help at a drug rehab facility. Recovery requires a holistic approach to heal the person physically, psychologically and spiritually.
Detox from Heroin
Achieving a successful recovery involves the supervision of experienced medical professionals during and after detox. When the patient starts the detox process they will slowly be weaned off the heroin. Symptoms can start within a few hours after the last dose was taken. The symptoms usually peak by the third day, but symptoms are dependent upon how severe the drug addiction is. After one week the symptoms should begin to decline, but they may last longer.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms include severe heroin cravings, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, restlessness, severe depression, sweating, fever, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, arm and leg cramps and the shakes. Because the severity of the pain and intense cravings are so overwhelming, many heroin addicts that try to detox on their own often relapse. Medications are available to the patient at the drug rehab facility to help minimize or eliminate many withdrawal symptoms.
The drug rehab facility staff is fully educated and equipped to help the patient through the detox process. Most recovery centers have a medication compliant treatment program to assist the patient during the detox process. The medications that are usually given are Methadone or Buprenorphine combined with Naloxone. These drugs bind to the opioid receptors in the brain and act as agonists, antagonists or both. The Methadone medication produces the same effects as the heroin, while the heroin is gradually being reduced in the body. The Methadone treatment program is also effective on an outpatient basis. The antagonist drugs block or reverse the effects of the heroin as it is being reduced from the body. Both medically compliant treatments are commonly used in drug addiction recovery and are highly effective.
For the addict in recovery who has had multiple relapses, an inpatient setting provides the most effective drug addiction recovery. During the patient’s stay at the drug rehab facility, they are being monitored and treated in a safe, drug-free environment. They will not be tempted or allowed to relapse, and this provides them with the time they need to heal and learn relapse prevention techniques.
Many diverse drug addiction recovery treatment programs are used at the drug rehab facility. Psychological therapies are used to identify and treat underlying thoughts, emotions, traumas and behaviors that led to the drug addiction. Co-occurring mental disorders are also treated and cognitive behavior therapy is used to help change destructive thoughts and behaviors. Other therapies include family counseling to restore relationships within the patient’s family. Group therapy offers a social outlet for the patient to share thoughts and ideas with other patients in recovery. Health related therapies such as nutrition and exercise will add strength, and practicing one’s faith will ground and center the spirit, mind and body. The drug rehab facility provides all the necessary components to help the patient achieve wholeness again in their life.
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.