Heroin Addiction

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Drug addiction is a serious problem in our society. One of the most dangerous and addictive drugs abused in America today is heroin. Heroin is a powerful and illegal drug made from morphine. Morphine is a natural substance that comes from certain types of poppy plants. It has been used for its pain-relieving properties around the world for thousands of years.  Heroin addiction is the term we use when someone becomes dependent on heroin.

Heroin is dangerous because it can completely take over a person’s life. People who are addicted to heroin often can’t stop using it even when they want to. It affects their brain and body chemistry, making them feel sick from withdrawal symptoms when they’re not using it. Heroin can cause serious health problems like infections, collapsed veins, and even death from overdose. It can also hurt relationships, jobs, and overall quality of life.

Finding the right help when it comes to heroin addiction and abuse is the best way to turn things around. A certified heroin treatment facility has a professional staff and a wide variety of therapies and treatment options that can help anyone realize a brighter future. Read more about what heroin addiction is, and then make the call that can change your life.

What Is Heroin Addiction?

Heroin is an illegal opiate drug with a high potential for addiction and abuse. Heroin addiction, also known as heroin use disorder, is a chronic and relapsing condition where someone feels a compulsive need to use heroin despite its harmful consequences. Addiction occurs when repeated use of heroin leads to changes in the brain’s structure and function, resulting in uncontrollable drug-seeking behaviors.

Some of the common nicknames for heroin include “smack,” “junk,” and “dope.” These terms may stem from the drug’s method of administration, such as injecting or shooting up, its effects on users’ behavior and appearance, or its association with the subculture of drug use. Other slang terms for heroin include “H,” “horse,” “brown sugar,” and “skag.” Hearing someone use these terms could indicate that they are experimenting with heroin and putting themselves in danger.

People use heroin for many reasons. Stress, trauma, mental health disorders, peer pressure, and social influences can contribute to heroin use. Some may use heroin as a coping mechanism to deal with physical or mental pain or to reduce stress. Some may start using the drug recreationally because of the feelings of euphoria and pleasure that come with it.

Others may turn to heroin after being prescribed opioid pain medication. When someone can’t get pills from their doctor anymore, they may turn to illegal methods to satisfy their drug cravings. Over time, as individuals continue to use heroin, their brains adapt to the drug’s presence by reducing natural neurotransmitter production and altering reward pathways.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction?

There are certain signs and symptoms to look for if you think someone is abusing heroin. How potent the drug is, coupled with the methods of use, means that the user’s behavioral and physical well-being are affected. Understanding what to look for can potentially save the life of someone making the poor decision to use heroin. The signs and symptoms of heroin addiction are physical, behavioral, and psychological. Here are some of the most common effects of heroin abuse.

Physical signs of heroin addiction:

Behavioral signs of heroin addiction:

Psychological signs of heroin addiction:

Noticing one or more of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean someone is using heroin. But, if you do notice them, it may be smart to ask the person if something is wrong. Then, you can begin the process of getting them help if they need it. A professional heroin addiction rehab facility can help someone make it through heroin detox and heroin withdrawal so they can kick the habit for good.

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Heroin Addiction Facts & Statistics

The facts and statistics surrounding heroin addiction are troubling, to say the least. Heroin is deadly. There is no denying that fact. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, around 14,000 Americans die from a heroin overdose each year. Unfortunately, the high risk of overdose isn’t enough to deter Americans from even trying the drug. According to the same data set, more than 900,000 will use heroin at least once in their life.

One statistic that highlights the dangers of doctor-prescribed opioid medication is that 80% of people who try heroin for the first time also abuse pain medicine. Since our bodies build tolerance to opioids, eventually, someone will need to take more and more to feel the same effects. When they run out of pills and cannot get more legally, it’s common to turn to options like heroin to satisfy the drug craving.

The drug heroin itself is dangerous, but the methods by which people use it increase the risks of contracting deadly diseases. When someone is addicted to heroin, they may make the risky decision to use unclean needles in their pursuit of getting high. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people who inject drugs are at the highest risk of contracting hepatitis C through sharing needles. Other diseases that can be transmitted via needles include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and various bacterial infections.

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Heroin Addiction and Mental Health

Drug use is complicated. Some people use drugs to escape their mental health. However, some may find that their mental health continues to deteriorate as a result of drug use. Heroin is a powerful drug that makes changes to the brain on a chemical level. If someone struggled with anxiety and depression before trying heroin, there’s a good chance that those mental health issues will not only remain a problem but could also get worse once addiction takes hold.

Some individuals with untreated or undiagnosed mental health conditions may turn to heroin as a form of self-medication to feel better. Heroin’s euphoric effects may temporarily reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders, but they won’t cure them. It begins a cycle of addiction and mental health issues that is difficult to break free from.

A drug and alcohol treatment center with a dual diagnosis treatment program for heroin addiction is one of the best ways to treat both heroin abuse and mental health issues. Dual diagnosis is a treatment approach that considers both issues for a well-rounded approach to healing.

When Do You Need Heroin Addiction Treatment?

Some may feel like they’re in control of their substance abuse and they don’t need treatment. Casual drinking or legal marijuana use is not the same thing as injecting heroin. Opiate drugs are much more powerful, particularly when injected. No amount of heroin is safe to use, ever. If you are using heroin in any way, it’s time to get help. Time is important when it comes to recovery. The longer someone uses heroin without getting help, the more difficult recovery can be. Getting help right away when heroin begins to take control of your life is the only way to ensure you can successfully turn things around.

In general, here are some of the indicators that someone needs heroin addiction treatment:

How Long Is Heroin Addiction Treatment?

Rehab is different for everyone. At a recovery facility operated by Aliya Health Group, our individualized approach to heroin treatment means that your treatment plan will look different than everyone else’s. There are unique levels of care for heroin addiction treatment that range from detox to aftercare. The length of time someone spends in rehab depends on the unique factors surrounding their situation. For those who need to start with detox and residential care, the process can generally take anywhere from 30 to 45 days of full-time treatment at a facility.

Following detox and residential care, many then move on to one of the levels of outpatient care. Partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and traditional outpatient programs are more flexible than inpatient care. That means those in outpatient programs go home or to a sober living community when not attending programming.

Aftercare is another key component of heroin addiction treatment as it offers continued support and guidance as you take steps to live drug and alcohol-free. Case managers can help you find recovery support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and the Aliya alumni network.

All in all, the process can take up to six months to move through each level of care and back onto your own two feet. However, many who complete treatment say that their sobriety is something they work at every day, even after leaving formal treatment.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Options

There are a few different ways that addiction treatment centers approach recovery from heroin abuse. The two most common practices are evidence-based and holistic treatments.

Evidence-based Therapy for Heroin Addiction

Evidence-based psychotherapy is a tried-and-true practice for overcoming addiction. These therapies were developed by behavioral therapists and proven effective through studies of drug treatment programs.  Some of the most common evidence-based therapies for heroin addiction include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps heroin abusers change any negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with substance abuse. It helps someone develop coping skills, strategies for managing cravings and triggers, and relapse prevention.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT incorporates elements of CBT with mindfulness-based techniques and strategies to help someone develop coping skills, emotion regulation techniques, and interpersonal effectiveness skills.

Motivational Interviewing (MI): MI is a client-centered counseling approach that helps individuals explore and resolve ambivalence about changing their drug use behaviors. MI focuses on enhancing motivation and building confidence to make positive change.

Trauma-Informed Therapy: It’s common for those with a heroin addiction to have experienced trauma in their life. Trauma-informed care approaches recognize the impact of trauma on addiction and incorporate trauma-sensitive practices into treatment to promote safety, empowerment, and healing.

Holistic Therapy for Heroin Addiction

Holistic practices are another common treatment for heroin addiction. They provide a well-rounded treatment approach that considers the issues of someone’s mind, body, and soul. Detox helps heal the body, but holistic practices add an additional aspect of care that can promote healing and self-respect in someone’s thinking and behaviors.

Some of the most popular holistic practices for heroin addiction include:

Holistic therapy for heroin abuse encompasses a wide range of approaches that address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of addiction. The goal is to help someone find a path to recovery that suits their needs. A treatment center network like Aliya Health Group has heroin treatment centers and recovery programs people can use to turn their lives around. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is when clinical professionals use medication to help someone recover from substance abuse. In most cases, these medicines are used to help reduce cravings for drugs, reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms when detoxing, or to deal with protracted withdrawal symptoms like insomnia. Only a licensed medical and recovery professional can prescribe medications during addiction treatment.

MAT for heroin or other opioid use disorders involves medicines such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone. These medicines help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms so people can continue on to the next steps of their recovery.

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Heroin Addiction Treatment at Aliya Health Group

Aliya Health Group is a nationwide network of alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers known for diverse, evidence-based programs for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. With a highly personalized clinical approach to treatment and a full continuum of care, including heroin detox, we provide clients with the tools needed to build a life in recovery that’s happy and drug-free.

Our opioid addiction treatment programs are rooted in dignity and compassion for all. Our unique levels of care for opioid addiction treatment include:

Medical Detox Program: Our medical detox option helps clients get past opioid withdrawal symptoms while preparing them for the next phases of heroin abuse treatment.

Residential Treatment Program: Our inpatient program provides a safe and structured place where people live and focus on getting better. We offer therapy sessions every day, both one-on-one and in groups, and our staff is available around the clock to help.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): PHP offers structured day programs with evidence-based and holistic therapy and support, allowing clients to return home or to sober living homes in the evenings.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): IOP provides an even more flexible treatment option for clients who need ongoing support while reintegrating into daily life. Programming occurs a few times per week.

We’re here to help people on their journey to getting better. Long-term heroin abuse is no way to go through life. If you or someone you know needs opioid treatment or help with pain management, please get in touch with Aliya Health Group today by calling 888-973-2078. We’re here to support you or your loved ones in ending a physical dependence on opioid drugs.

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