Heroin is an opioid that is illegal in the United States. While some countries use the drug as a painkiller in hospitals, the United States banned the highly addictive drug in the 1920s. Many people who use heroin have abused some other kind of opioid that was originally prescribed to them in the past. Several countries do use heroin today as a painkiller or for opioid replacement therapy.
Heroin Addiction and Recovery
Heroin, which is highly addictive, comes from a flower called the opium poppy. It comes in several forms, black tar, white powder, or brown powder. It gets into the brain quickly, so addiction can occur quickly after one or two uses. It can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Immediately after ingesting heroin, the individual will have a euphoric rush followed by feeling like the world slowed down for several hours. Many who use heroin said they feel as if they are living in a dream and have left reality behind.
There are several side effects that an individual might suffer from heroin use. Many users suffer from terrible itching. Some users suffer from nausea and vomiting. It blocks pain messages, so it will reduce pain while also slowing the heart rate and breathing. If an individual takes too much heroin and overdoses, he or she could stop breathing and die.
Recovering from heroin use is challenging and requires professional medical guidance. There is always the risk of relapse. You will go through withdrawals, which include several different symptoms. You should understand the heroin addiction recovery process and what to expect.
Recovering from Heroin Addiction
Those who suffer from heroin addiction should seek help at a professional drug rehab center. Here are 7 things you need to know about recovering from heroin addiction:
- If a family member is facing heroin addiction, you should make sure the problem is accurately assessed. Make sure heroin is the only drug being taken. Also, have the medical staff check for any underlying conditions because more than three-fourths of individuals who have an addiction have a mental health issue, such as depression, anxiety, or so forth that also needs treatment.
- Interventions aren’t helpful and often backfire. Don’t use legal consequences to help them, and if they are arrested you should try to bail them out. Using tough love isn’t effective and is usually counterproductive. Instead of treating the individual cruel and being disrespectful and not understanding, be compassionate and supportive.
- An individual suffering from heroin addiction or recovering from heroin addiction will not benefit from jail and the criminal justice system. While they are incarcerated, they aren’t away from drugs and they are interacting with criminals and the criminal system, which can be very harmful and have a negative influence.
- Understand that the withdrawal symptoms vary significantly from one person to another. While some users just suffer from nausea and vomiting, others will hallucinate and suffer from tremors. Usually, the withdrawals aren’t life-threatening, but medical intervention might be necessary. So, being in a drug rehab facility during withdrawal is beneficial.
- Most opioid users will suffer at least one relapse. Remember that relapse isn’t a failure. Don’t shame someone for relapsing. It takes time to unlearn addictions. Sometimes improvement might be slow, and there should be continual maintenance even for repetitive relapses.
- There is a high risk of overdose death. This is especially true during a relapse because an addicted individual will need to keep increasing doses to get the same euphoric feelings. There is a drug called naloxone, which is an opioid antidote, that is available to reduce the risk of death from an overdose. It is suggested to keep some of the antidote on standby. Family members can get training on how to use the antidote and learn where to get it.
- The odds of recovery from heroin addiction are very high. A study involving more than 500 people who suffered from opioid addiction discovered that more than half the addictions were for five years or less. There was a 96% chance of recovery – with about 80% attaining recovery within 10 years. Heroin addiction is one of the more serious addictions, so it will last longer. However, users can and will get better over time and treatment.
Seeking Treatment for Heroin Addiction
If a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, seek help from an experienced drug rehab facility. Check up on the facility and their success records. Take the time to ask questions and understand the programs available before choosing a facility for care and treatment.