Heroin addiction has been a major concern in the US since it was first made illegal in 1924. Since then, heroin use has steadily grown at an alarming rate, where today, roughly 0.3% of all American adults are heroin users.
The need for heroin addiction treatment in the US is quite serious as in 2019 alone, 28% of all opioid-related overdose deaths were from heroin addiction. Even with the staggering death toll, the number of heroin users continue to increase, with at least 100,000 new cases each year.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a drug that is derived from the poppy plants that typically grow in portions of Asia, Mexico, and Columbia. As a narcotic, heroin is a fast-acting and powerful drug that is rapidly habit-forming.
It targets the pain receptors of the body, dulling sensations of pain, while chemically inducing sensations of relief and bliss. This illicit street drug is relatively inexpensive compared to other abused substances, so it is unfortunately very accessible for those who suffer from heroin use disorder.
Why Do People Use Heroin?
Individuals who suffer from heroin addiction may find themselves using the drug more and more due to its pleasurable effects. Some of the reasons people use heroin include the following:
With so many people suffering from chronic pain, it is so easy to slip into addiction territory when it comes to using painkillers. Heroin is particularly alluring because it not only relieves pain for a long time, it also produces sensations of euphoria, and for many people, this is the only instance that they are able to experience it.
There are those who also claim using heroin gave them an overwhelming sense of peace, although this could point to the properties of the drug that numbs the senses and some neurological responses.
Many people would actually spend good money to find relief from the chaos and stress that fill almost every waking moment of the day. This is also partly the reason why many people struggle with addiction, as they look for something to help them find a moment’s peace.
Heroin can serve as a heavy relaxant, slowing a person’s breathing and heart rate, forcing relaxation on the body. In the same manner that people use deep breathing techniques to slow their heart rate and regulate breathing patterns, heroin does this to the body without having to spend time on the mental focus needed to bring it naturally.
An untold number of people struggle with weight loss and overeating each day, forcing many to find other solutions for their eating binges. Heroin also happens to suppress a person’s appetite, which is responsible for the dramatic weight loss and malnutrition of heroin users.
Any person trying to resist the urge to binge eat would normally be miserable, but in the case of heroin, the feeling of euphoria that comes with using it helps the appetite suppression immensely, removing any hunger pangs or misery that might come from not eating.
When a person suffers from heroin addiction, specific signs and symptoms can present themselves. Some of the common indications of heroin abuse might include the following:
- Dry mouth
- “Nodding” off
- Excessive itching
- Constant runny nose
- Lack of good hygiene
- Impaired coordination
- Paraphernalia (i.e. rubber tubing, glass pipes, used syringes, etc.)
Individuals who suffer from heroin abuse may have difficulty concentrating. They may become forgetful or lack cognitive clarity. They might also appear disoriented and mentally unstable.
Upon use of heroin, individuals may experience euphoria. As the duration of the euphoria becomes shorter, bouts of melancholy and depression may occur in between “high” periods.
The weight loss that occurs as a result of heroin use is often drastic. Heroin is a potent appetite suppressant. The weight loss also tends to be progressive, so it will continue to occur as long as a person continues using heroin.
The progressive weight loss could lead to complications of malnutrition, where the organs start to shut down because of a lack of nutrients from not eating. This is one of the symptoms immediately addressed during heroin withdrawal treatment (medical detox).
Heroin is typically cut with other substances. Depending upon what other substance is used to cut the heroin, however, many individuals exhibit severe skin lesions and scabbing as a reaction to the added substance.
Severe disorientation, vivid hallucinations, and intense paranoia can all occur when a person uses heroin.
Heroin Addiction Treatment Approaches
When it comes to treating heroin addiction, it is important to note that recovering individuals have unique needs. While some may need detox or residential treatment, others thrive as a result of outpatient rehab.
Here at Tulua Health, we offer outpatient services for those who desire to overcome heroin use disorder. Through our programs, we provide people with an opportunity to find freedom and healing after living with addiction.
Outpatient treatment is a type of addiction rehabilitation program that allows individuals to receive treatment without living at a rehab facility. This enables people to continue living at home or in a sober living environment. It may also allow people to continue tending to responsibilities at home without lacking in the area of addiction treatment.
Addiction Therapy and Counseling
Therapy is one of the most important parts of the addiction treatment process. Individual, group, and family therapy approaches can help individuals to learn more about themselves and others as they recover. Intrapersonal and interpersonal skills often suffer as a result of addiction. But, with the help of counseling, people can learn how to manage their emotions, nurture relationships with others, address triggers, and avoid relapse.
Let Tulua Health Help You Overcome Heroin Addiction
Tulua Health understands that the journey to find freedom from addiction and mental health challenges is quite difficult and personal. This is why we do everything in our power to ensure your journey is not hindered by anything. Our patients’ success is our success as well. Find your safe haven for heroin withdrawal and rehabilitation with us today.