Getting Rid of Heroin Addiction Once and For All
Heroin addiction is arguably the most dangerous drug addiction of all. Even worse, it’s one of the hardest dependencies to break free from. So whether you’re a suffering addict or know a loved one that is showing signs of heroin addiction, it’s imperative that you take immediate action.
While general addictions can be beaten with more basic techniques, only a comprehensive and dedicated heroic addiction treatment will work against this issue. The good news, however, is that it’s never too late to regain control of your life. Here’s all you need to know about finally ridding yourself of those demons.
When Does Heroin Use Become Addiction?
Some drugs, including alcohol, can be consumed safely in small amounts or even used on a semi-frequent basis without it leading to addiction or adverse health impacts. Heroin is not one of those substances.
Heroin is an opiate that has an incredibly powerful impact on the brain’s natural reward system by producing and releasing extreme levels of dopamine and endorphins. These are natural chemicals that are ordinarily produced in smaller levels and associated with human requirements that keep us alive, as well as coping with pain. While the chemical spike caused by heroin usage can produce short-term relief, the problems start when the brain begins to associate heroin as another human requirement.
Essentially, this leaves users in the unenviable position of living in a body that feels as though it cannot live without the next hit. This makes heroin addiction a very powerful and damaging one indeed. The harsh reality is that the brain can start to link heroin consumption to the production of those chemicals very quickly, which is why 1 in 4 people that use heroin once will become addicted to the substance.
Once a person becomes addicted to heroin, it’s likely that the dosage will need to be increased on a regular basis as the body adapts a tolerance level. This creates a very vicious cycle for the suffering addict.
Therefore, even if you’ve only used heroin once, the moment that you find yourself facing the symptoms of addiction, it’s time to seek support.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heroin Addiction?
As if with most drugs and substances, feeling as though you physically need it to get through the day is a serious sign of addiction. However, it’s worth noting that heroin isn’t a social drug either, which means there are many signals to look out for.
Heroin Addiction In Yourself
If you find yourself in any of the following situations, you are very much in the trap of heroin addiction, even if you don’t realize it just yet:
- Wanting heroin because you’re bored.
- Needing heroin to make the day more enjoyable.
- Needing heroin to cope with emotional and physical pain.
- Wanting heroin to forget about your problems – such as money worries.
- Wanting heroin to punish yourself.
The harsh reality is that heroin addiction doesn’t need to be a daily dependence right now for it to have a hold on your life. When left untreated, it’s likely that it will spiral into a serious 24/7 problem – or lead you to an early grave.
In truth, if you are reading this and wondering whether your heroin usage has got out of hands, the fact you are considering help tells you all there is to know. If, however, you are concerned about someone, you need to look for the symptoms. After all, most addicts will do all they can to hide it from you (and avoid having to admit the problem to themselves).
Heroin Addiction In A Loved One
There is a long list of indicators that can be linked to heroin addiction. While many of them are associated with a host of other issues, those physical, mental, and social elements should not be overlooked. If they have come out of the blue, there is a very good chance that a drug addiction is at fault. If it is heroin, this needs to be rectified right away.
So, do be vigilant of the following:
- Absence (physical or mental) from work or college.
- A loss of interest in hobbies and favorite tasks.
- Possession of syringes or other products that could be used to administer heroin.
- Covering up the forearm area with inappropriate clothing.
- Deceptive actions.
- Rapid weight loss.
- Exhaustion and lethargic behavior.
- Flu-like symptoms, including watery eyes and running noses.
- Bruises, scabby skin or continued scratching.
- Confusion or an inability to focus on tasks or conversations.
- Withdrawal from family and friends.
- Attachment to new social groups, particularly those showing drug use and addictive traits.
- Severe mood changes and behavioral changes.
When you do notice these issues, it’s important not to rush in all guns blazing. Follow this with a little research and analysis to confirm that you believe heroin could be at the core of these issues. After this, you’ll want to confront the individual in a private place as public accusations will bring poor reactions irrespective of whether heroin addiction exists or not.
The Dangers Of Continued Heroin Usage
In truth, using heroin just once can lead to serious health problems. However, displaying addictive traits and repeated usage will significantly increase the threats. When you suffer from heroin addiction, the following problems can occur:
- Death due to accidental overdose.
- Hospitalization due to overdose.
- The development of social problems, leading to isolation.
- The development of mental health problems like paranoia.
- Destroyed friendships.
- Ruined relationships due to the secrecy and lies.
- Develop a level of self-loathing while losing any self-worth.
- Job loss and unemployment.
- Suffer from serious organ failures such as the kidneys and liver.
- Run the risk of heart attacks and other problems.
- Become depressed or anxious.
- Increased risk of suicide.
- Suffer from pneumonia and tuberculosis.
- Contract hepatitis C or HIV/Aids from dirty needles.
- Continued flu-like illnesses.
Heroin can lead to a whole host of health and social problems. As such, it is no overstatement to say that the drug can completely destroy the life of the addict as well as those around them. Finding the right heroin addiction treatment is the only productive answer, but it’s not quite as easy as you might think.
The Reason Most People Can’t Quit Heroin Is…
… the withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms are a common side effect of quitting any addictive substance. This is something ex-smokers, drinkers, and even gamblers can be related to in a very strong way. However, the effects of heroin on the brain are so severe that it’s almost impossible to break free through willpower alone.
The harsh reality is that withdrawal symptoms begin just 6 to 12 hours after the last dose is taken, which explains why so many become daily users. As with recovery from most addictions, sobriety is an ongoing battle. However, heroin users will find that they face a particularly tough road ahead during the first week of quitting. This is known as the post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) period.
Very few people manage to get through this difficult first phase of recovery. It is a stage that is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns throughout the night.
- Profuse sweating, nausea, and physical vomiting.
- Headaches and confusion.
- Agitation, anxiety, and panic attention.
- Muscle aches, particularly through stomach cramping.
- Restlessness, mood swings, and hypersensitivity.
- Temporary memory loss.
The strength and duration of the symptoms can be influenced by a host of different contributing elements including how long the addict has used heroin for, the frequency and size of their average dosage, the method of consuming heroin, and other health issues. Nonetheless, most recovering addicts will find that the PAWS phase follows a pattern that’s not too dissimilar to the details below:
Symptoms start to surface from as early as six hours, while stomach cramps, muscle aches, shaking, and diarrhea all likely to occur. They will become more frequent and intense over the course of the first 48 hours, making the user feel as though another dosage is the only solution.
Symptoms are at an almost constant level with shivering, cramps, sweating, and anxiety at almost unbearable strength. Vomiting is most likely during this phase while the fatigue and other issues caused by insomnia are likely to cause a lot of pain too.
Symptoms are still common, but physical pains and nausea should start to fade. This may happen sooner or after a delay depending on the contributing elements mentioned above. This period is still mentally tough, but the desire to use heroin will fall alongside the physical symptoms.
Getting through the PAWS phase doesn’t signal that you’re out of the woods. However, users that successfully navigate this brutal stage of recovery are far more likely to stay on the right pathway.
The Post-PAWS Recovery
Getting clean for a week is a great platform for long-term sobriety, but the withdrawal symptoms could attempt to bring you back to a life of heroin dependency for months (and potentially years) to come. The brighter news is that those temptations may only occur once in a blue moon once you are truly on the straight and narrow. Still, it would be very naïve to underestimate those moments because the element of surprise is probably your biggest danger.
In truth, the mental and emotional withdrawal symptoms are likely to last far longer than the physical ones. Anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia are features that can hit you when it’s least expected. Therefore, any heroin addiction treatment or strategy must take this part of the process into account. Otherwise, the threat of falling back into old problems becomes very strong.
The First Step To Beating Heroin Addiction Is To Accept It
Whether you’re the user or a friend of the user, understanding what heroin addiction looks like is one thing, but accepting that a problem exists is another altogether. Admitting that you are an addict isn’t easy, not least because it comes with a lot of guilt. Still, you cannot possibly overcome an issue if you are unable to take responsibility for your past, present, and future actions.
Similarly, if a loved one has a problem, forcing them to rid themselves of heroin addiction forever is not an option. They have to want a life free of dependence. The source of their motivation can come from internal desires to become a better parent, employee, or friend. Or they may just want to rediscover what it feels like to have a ‘normal’ life. Either way, getting them to realize that they have a heroin addiction and require some support in dealing with it is essential.
Once the addict actively wants to rid themselves of heroin addiction, the hopes of success are dramatically improved.
Why Facing The Addiction Alone Won’t Work
The desire to beat heroin addiction without relying on others is admirable. Unfortunately, it’s very naïve too. While it’s not physically impossible to go cold turkey and come out of the PAWS phase in perfectly good health, the chances of this happening are very slim indeed.
It only takes a short-term break in concentration and motivation for an abuser to relapse. Even if it doesn’t result in using heroin, taking other drugs at this time can be equally dangerous. Conversely, mistakes like trying to wean yourself off of heroin will lead to severe problems – after all, the intense PAWS cycle will start again six months after each hit.
Heroin addiction is one of the hardest to beat, which is why you need to surround yourself with supportive people that know how to combat the cravings and keep you on the right track. Thankfully, there are still several options at your disposal.
How To Beat Heroin Addiction: A Look At The Options That Actually Work
No two addicts are the same. Aside from the severity and duration of the addiction, there are underlying issues and reasons for falling into drug addiction in the first place. This is especially true when dealing with heroin as it isn’t exactly a gateway drug. Therefore, choosing the right type of treatment for your individual situation is undoubtedly one of the most crucial steps en route to sobriety.
Here are some of the most common options that can be utilized.
Assisted Home Detox
While fighting addiction alone isn’t advised, you can still use a home detox heroin treatment. If you are going to take this route, you should follow the four-point plan as follows:
Step 1 | Psychological Preparation
As mentioned above, finding a genuine motivation to beat heroin addiction is paramount to successful recovery. Without it, the temptations and neurological feelings will drag you back in.
The reason for wanting to rid yourself of drug addiction is often borne from lifestyle elements rather than the drug use alone. Precovery is something that has probably built up over a series of months and is the equivalent to a drunk hitting rock bottom. From this point, the only way is up.
It’s highly encouraged that you do not undergo detox alone. Medication-Assisted Treatment exists at treatment centers and rehabs, which are probably your safest option. If you can’t, the last resort would be to have a doctor or trustworthy friend supervise you while you detox. Drastic side effects of heroin addiction detox can sometimes lead to death. To be safe, have another observer throughout the process.
Step 2 | Know The Withdrawal Symptoms
Weighing up the pros and cons of quitting heroin gives you an incentive to quit, but preparing for the PAWS cycle is vital. When you know about them, you can take the right steps to reduce the symptoms.
Hot baths are a good solution for fighting sweats while having positive people around you can relieve depression. Natural supplements can help fight insomnia while antihistamines and Imodium can be used to tackle restless legs and stomach cramps respectively.
Step 3 | Understand Other Maintenance Medications
The harsh reality is that you won’t get through the PAWS period without a little help from prescription drugs. Therefore, equipping yourself with the items that you need is vital. Make sure you follow as directed, preferably working with a medical doctor who has experience with addiction or addictionology credentials!
Buprenorphine somewhat replicates the brain effects of heroin while Suboxone is another option as it combines buprenorphine with naloxone (which repels the effects of heroin and is commonly used to treat overdoses). If you are going to take tablets, though, you must follow instructions as to not misuse it on yourself or overdose!
Step 4 | Have The Right Support
The recovery process from heroin addiction is never easy, particularly when taking on a home detox. Therefore, having a supportive network behind you is essential. Even if it’s just 1-2 people.
Beating the addiction deserves your full attention too, so it’s best to take time off work for this period. It’ll serve you well in the long run. Most importantly, your support network can keep you away from the temptations and threat of relapsing. This will significantly boost your success hopes.
Heroin Addiction Treatment Centers
Seeking professional help from a heroin addiction treatment center is probably the most effective way to beat heroin addiction once and for all. Not only is this the perfect way to get through the PAWS sequence, but it prepares you for the journey to sobriety ahead.
Detoxing from an addiction to heroin is an unpleasant experience, but the 24/7 care of a dedicated residential team can make the process far more bearable. Personalized care is tailored to your individual circumstances and withdrawal symptoms. From coping mechanisms to medication, the treatment centers are designed to give you the very best shot at sustained sobriety.
A full medical detox can get you through the PAWS phase in a more comfortable manner. When using a professional heroin addiction treatment center this is followed by a full rehabilitation program. This is equally imperative for your long-term health and can be the key to avoiding relapse.
Find the Right Treatment and Care
Heroin addiction treatment centers are more affordable than you might imagine, and provide the quickest, safest, and most efficient route to breaking the dependence. This makes it the best heroin addiction treatment of all, but you must know what to look for in a center. Use this checklist, and you won’t go far wrong:
- Located away from temptation.
- Supported by 24/7 staff that understand heroin addiction, and also appreciate you.
- Uses techniques to get to the source of your problems.
- Provides comfortable settings.
- Has access to the best prescription medicines throughout the PAWS phase.
- Gives a full rehabilitation program built to prevent relapses.
- Provides ongoing aftercare, including support on how to avoid temptations – including people.
- Competitively priced and offers good repayment.
- Can provide their services immediately.
The last point is particularly pertinent as every day you’re using heroin has the potential to be fatal. Aside from anything else, being in a center gives you instant access to support should you suffer any severe withdrawal symptoms.
Detox Facilities And Medication Assisted Treatment
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) offer another solution to the detox and will involve getting a full assessment of your situation. This is to ensure that you are prescribed the right medications for battling back against the withdrawal symptoms.
The medications may be used at home or within a detox facility, which will be somewhat like a dedicated center without quite the same level of care. Either way, the medications may be a short-term strategy (particularly for those that aren’t coping well) or as a long-lasting coping technique.
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for heroin addicts are shown to have positive impacts as they are built to reduce the threat of relapsing. However, many recovering addicts find that they work best when supported by ongoing therapy. Aside from helping with heroin addiction treatments, this can be a key step towards rebuilding a healthy and well-rounded lifestyle.
The Final Word
Heroin addiction is a horrible illness, but it is possible to overcome with the right support. While there is no one right solution for heroin addiction recovery and rehabilitation, there are certainly a number of wrong ways to approach the process. Frankly, this is one of the main reasons to choose a heroin addiction treatment center, such as Opus Health in Orange County, CA. Our staff is specialized in treatment of heroin addiction, supervising opiate detox, and Medication-Assisted Treatment. Out facility medical doctor is on site over 40 hours per week, ensuring each of our patients are on the right track and stabilizing onto the path to recovery.
Not only will the right center provide you with the emotional support and medications needed to plow through the horrible first week without relapsing, but they also provide you with the tools needed to leave behind the addiction forever.
Whether you’re fighting heroin addiction or think a loved one is suffering from a dependence, make sure you gain the required help today!
If you or a loved one needs help, call us at 949-625-4019.