Heroin is a type of opiate, derived from the medicinal drug morphine. Morphine is created from the opium poppy plant’s seed pods. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has explained that heroin can be ingested by the body in various ways, including smoking, snorting and injecting. Regardless of the method used, however, heroin addiction tends to occur very quickly after first use.
Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
A number of signs and symptoms are commonly experienced by those who are addicted to heroin. However, each addict is an individual, which is why responses to the drug are different as well. At the same time, however, there are a number of behaviors and symptoms that can be indicative of an addiction. These include:
- Changes in behavior
- Periods of hyperactivity, followed by periods of extreme fatigue
- Irresponsibility at home, work or school
- Increased sleeping
- Wearing covering clothing regardless of the weather (this is particular to those who inject heroin)
- Track marks on legs and arms
- Slurred speech
- Runny nose
- Weight loss
- Bruises and scabs as a result of picking the skin
Effects of Heroin Use
Heroin is a horrible drug that can have a permanent negative effect on the life and body of an individual. As soon as someone ingests heroin, they tend to feel a sensation generally described as a “rush”, which is a sign of the chemical entering the brain. This happens very quickly, which is one of the reasons why the drug is so addictive. Other commonly associated feelings with taking heroin include:
- Dry mouth
- Heavy extremities
- Severe itching
It is also common to experience a range of side effects when taking heroin. These side effects usually only become apparent after prolonged use, or when someone has been able to beat a heroin addiction. Many of these problems are life limiting and can remain present even after the user stops taking the drug. Some of these issues include:
- Liver disease
- Infection of the lining and valves of the hear
- Collapsed veins
- Skin infections and abscesses
- Kidney disease
- Scarred veins
Furthermore, when a user is intravenously injecting, they have an increased chance of contracting viruses like Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases. There is also a real chance of overdosing, which can lead to death. This really emphasizes how important it is for someone who has a heroin problem to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Treatment for Heroin Addiction
If you or a loved one has a heroin problem, there are a number of different treatment options available. Heroin addiction is classed as a chronic brain disease according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As a brain disease, it requires specific types of treatment and experts are continuing to do research into this. As research progresses, new and more effective treatment options are also made available. At Creative Care, we are committed to being at the forefront of these developments, so we always offer the most up to date and effective treatment methods available.
The best option is known to be an alcohol and drug rehab residential treatment program, that offers both detoxification and a continued continuum of care which we offer at Creative Care. This is designed to help you overcome not just the physical dependency to the drug, but also the psychological dependency. We also know that heroin addiction often leads to a dual diagnosis, as most patients also have a mental health issue. This could have been present before the addiction, leading to the behavior, or is a result of the addiction.
The first step on the program is a period of detoxification. The type of detox offered depends entirely on your personal circumstances and on how badly you have abused the drugs. Short or long term medical detox is generally the best option. However, our programs are also designed to help you or your loved one understand what caused the addiction in the first place, and give you the tools to reintegrate into society as a contributing member of the community.
Once you have completed your treatment program, we will continue to support you to reduce the chances of relapse occurring. This is done through individual and group therapy and you can also take advantage of the holistic and alternative therapies offered at our center. However, only once you are ready will this be right for you, as you will no longer be in a controlled environment.
Statistics on Heroin Addiction and Abuse
Heroin use is a real problem in our society, with an alarming number of people using the drug. Other statistics on the drug are no less frightening. For instance:
- 3.8 million people have tried heroin once or more in their lifetime.
- 13.6% of all those admitted to treatment facilities are there due to a heroin addiction.
- Around $150 per day is spend by each addict on drugs, which is often obtained through theft.
- 164,000 emergency room visits each year are due to a heroin overdose.
Heroin Abuse Amongst Teens
One very alarming statistic is that more and more teens are experimenting with drugs. Contrary to popular belief, it is very easy for teenagers to access drugs on the street. In a recent survey by the National Criminal Justice Record Service, some 600,000 people in this country are addicted to heroin. Too many of these are below the age of 18.
Heroin is incredibly accessible, which is why it is so commonly abused by younger people. Furthermore, they are often not educated about the harmful effects of these drugs. Very often, teens have a range of other emotional or social problems that lead to them turning to the drug. Luckily, treatment options exist regardless of the age of the patient, which means teens are able to get help as well. Usually, this involves not just group and individual therapy, but also family counseling.
If you or a loved one is currently dealing with a heroin addiction or abuse problem, please contact Creative Care today. We are there to help you overcome this issue in a non-judgmental way. Our goal is to make sure that you are given the tools to take back control over your own life.