Addiction is almost as hard to recover from as it is to be stuck in it. People are not exaggerating when they say that heroin withdrawal treatment is one of the most challenging things anyone can go through, especially if it’s from such a potent and addictive drug like heroin. The American Society of Addiction Medicine believes that there are at least 517,000 people battling heroin addiction in the US alone.
Coming from the seed of the Asian opium poppy plant, morphine is a natural substance that makes up heroin, an opioid drug. Some of its street names include the following: smack, dope and junk. It can either look like a black sticky substance (black tar heroin) or brown or white powder. There are so many ways to take this drug, from injection and smoking to snorting and being mixed with other drugs like cocaine.
Once this drug is ingested, it returns back to morphine form and finds its ways to the opioid receptors in the brain. It targets areas in the brain that control breathing, arousal and feeling of pain and pleasure. At the onset, the effects are limited to a dry mouth, feeling like your hands and feet are too heavy, flushed skin, and going in and out of conscious (which people more commonly call “on the nod”). Some of its long term effects include an infected heart lining or valve, collapsed veins, constant stomach cramps, abscesses, lung complication, kidney problems and liver diseases. Not to mention, injection heroin also makes you more prone to contracting HIV-AIDS and other communicable diseases.
With all those risks, every major medical organization would recommend that you seek out heroin treatment as soon as you can. The earlier you got through this, the less difficult the process is.
What are the most common and effective heroin addiction treatments?
23 percent of heroin users will most likely be dependent on it because your brain has built-in receptors that take this drug in perfectly. That’s why when you inject yourself with the drug, the changes are felt almost instantly. When this process becomes a cycle, your brain craves that substance more and at shorter intervals. The highs are not as powerful, so you’ll have to keep increasing the dose until you’re able to replicate the “high” prior, and this is how addiction happens. Once that happens, you have to undergo programs that will help you fight the addiction, else you open yourself up to all of heroin’s long term and short term harms.
Any successful heroin withdrawal treatment begins with an assisted detox. At this point, medical practitioners recognize that the craving for heroin can be so severe upon withdrawal that they’ve formulated therapies that copy replicate some of the effects of heroin. To clarify, these therapies cannot give you the feeling of a “high”, but they can gradually help your brain lessen the craving for the drug. There are recovering users who want speed through this process, and not take the medication at all. They would rather jump to the next part of the treatment. The problem there is you increase the likelihood of a relapse because your brain, which , at the moment is used to heroin, was not conditioned to slowly give up the craving. In that case, sobriety might be faster, but short-lived.
The treatment for heroin is highly dependent on gradually creating a realistic, drug-free lifestyle in a monitored environment. Because the risk of heroin relapse is high, especially in the beginning of the recovery process, you need to be rid of distractions – like things that remind you of heroin use and bad influence – such as your dealer and peers. That’s why in most cases, recovering heroin addicts are expected to check into a residential drug treatment facility, where there are experts, doctors and staffers that are rooting for these users to get clean. Not only are they able to lend their expertise through this process, but they can also be your support system, giving you the boost to keep with the program.
Therapy programs are often tailor-fitted to the individual, and his days are filled with different activities to help cope with addiction, from art and music to sports and literature. This helps take a user’s mind off of wanting to take heroin or planning how to get it. Some of these sessions will include private discussions with a therapist, which serves as a place to share your insights with an expert and be coached as to the different methods to deal with whatever issues you’re going through.
You will also take part in group sessions, where you’re able to hear how other users are coping with their addiction. Because you are all at different junctures of the therapy program, you will meet people who are at the beginning, and see how much you’ve grown, and success stories that you can aspire to also achieve.