Quitting Lowers The Risk For Contracting Hiv And Other Infectious Diseases
Heroin use increases the chances of acquiring infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis. Through the sharing of needles, intravenous heroin users are at the highest risk for contracting hepatitis C. But other methods of administration, including smoking heroin, can contribute to behavior that can expose people to these infectious diseases.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms And Timeline
Heroin has a very short half-life, so withdrawals can begin as soon as 6 hours after the last dose was taken. The severity and length of withdrawal symptoms vary due to a variety of factors such as
- Length of time the person has been abusing heroin
- Quantity and potency of heroin they have been using
- Administration method
- History of previous addictions, relapse, or withdrawal symptoms
- Presence of mental illness or other co-occurring disorders
- Quality of health or other health conditions
- Whether or not they have been abusing other substances in addition to heroin
While heroin withdrawal is usually not life-threatening, it can certainly feel like it as the symptoms are similar to a severe case of the flu. The first symptoms you can expect to feel during the early stages of heroin withdrawal include:
- Muscle aches
- Confused thinking
Heroin withdrawal symptoms will typically subside after 5-7 days, however, some less severe symptoms, such as fatigue, depression, cravings, and some minor discomfort, may persist for up to one month. Attempting to manage these symptoms alone can be extremely difficult, making it ideal to detox in a medical setting under supervision.
Making A Decision To Stop Using Drugs
With addiction to drugs its important to understand something about conflicting desires and motivation.
Its often assumed that because addicted people are struggling to stop using drugs, and may even talk and talk about stopping, but never seem to make any real changes that they are not really willing or ready to make the change. In reality though there is an awful amount of conflict around stopping and continuing to use drugs when addicted.
It is a condition of active addiction that the patient has a decreased awareness and therefore it is most often the family that has to step in and bring about a crisis that can result in an admission to an addiction treatment centre and the possibility of some much needed real change.
Only once the addicted person is in an effective drug rehab and the addictions counselling team has managed to reduce the patients level of delusion will they have a more accurate awareness of the severity of their problem.
Once the addicted patients awareness of their reality is increased, theres the potential for a deeper motivation sufficient to bring about the required changes that would enable them to get well and to stay well.
Enhancing motivation for change and the environmental conditions are the responsibility of the focal addictions counsellor and the overall treatment programme. Family, friends, employers, court orders etc can provide critical external pressure and help to maintain the movement towards addiction recovery.
Also Check: How To Help Someone Recovering From Addiction
Ongoing Treatment And Relapse Prevention
Some people addicted to Heroin turn to outpatient rehab for help. Outpatient rehab is generally recommended for people with mild addictions. It allows people in recovery to get therapy and medications while continuing to maintain their work and personal lives. All individuals seeking treatment should first meet with a Substance Abuse Professional for an evaluation to determine the appropriate level of care that meets their needs.
After Heroin rehab, ongoing treatment is crucial to staying sober long-term. Making regular visits to a therapist helps many recovering Heroin addicts stay focused on sobriety. Therapists can help recovering addicts identify and overcome triggers and weaknesses. They can also provide methods to cope with Heroin cravings.
Top 10 Rehab Questions
Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Heroin Anonymous are also effective ways to prevent relapse for many people.
Once you decide to live sober, you need to change your people, places and things. Dont keep hanging out with the same old people. Go to meetings, meet new sober friends. Im not the guy that makes new friends that well but I gave it a shot and my life has only gotten better. I have my son and a great job.
– Victor W., sober and in recovery from Heroin and other drugs
Tips To Prevent Heroin Relapse
Get Help During COVID-19
How Do I Know Im Addicted To Heroin
If youre using heroin frequently, you are most likely addicted to it. You have a diagnosable opioid use disorder once you begin to use heroin frequently and develop tolerance or physical dependence. This means when you cant get heroin, your body suffers the physical effects of withdrawal, like:
- Severe pain
There are many health problems associated with heroin abuse. Some physical effects of heroin include:
- Finding you need more heroin to get the effects you once felt with smaller doses
- Experiencing the early stages of heroin withdrawal when you stop taking the drug: headaches, shakiness, irritability, and achiness
- Frequent runny noses or nosebleeds
- Respiratory issues People who smoke heroin often have more chronic respiratory problems.
- Teary eyes and pinpoint pupils
- Needle marks or track marks where the drug is injected
- Skin abscesses at the injection sites
- Have problems controlling your drug use
- Continue to use heroin even though it causes you significant problems
- Experience declining performance at school or work
- Experience financial difficulty due to spending large amounts of money on heroin
- Neglect your personal hygiene and responsibilities
- Notice your relationships are affected by anger and abuse, trust issues, secrecy, and codependency.
If you want to break free from your drug addiction but feel like you cant, its time to seek help. Recovery takes work, but it is possible. At Footprints to Recovery, we are ready to support you.
Don’t Miss: Am I An Addict Test
Third Step: Educate Yourself On Drug Addiction
Assisting your loved one in overcoming their drug addiction is a huge undertaking. It requires you to dedicate a lot of your own time. Unfortunately, a successful recovery does not mean that you no longer need to be part of the process.
Recovery can take years and you will need to commit to the entire process. You should learn the signs of a relapse and what triggers them, and find ways to prevent and handle depression, a common side effect.
Drug addiction can do severe damage and drug addicts may never return to their former selves. However, you cant just sit and watch as your loved one is destroyed by drug abuse.
If you would like to help them, contact an addiction treatment centre like us.
Heroin Withdrawal Signs And Symptoms
Those who are addicted to heroin not only become physically dependent on the substance, but are also afraid to stop using for fear of the symptoms they may experience when they stop using. Withdrawal symptoms from heroin can develop as soon as a few hours after sustained use. Someone who is withdrawing from longtime heroin abuse and dependence is at risk of serious medical complications and should seek professional medical personnel for help. Some effects of withdrawal include:
- Intense craving for heroin
- Severe muscle aches and pains
- Cramping in the limbs
- Feelings of heaviness of the body
- Extreme pain in muscles and bones
- Crying jags
- Death can occur when other medical conditions are present
Don’t Miss: How To Solve Video Game Addiction
Heroin Research Reportwhat Are The Treatments For Heroin Use Disorder
A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin use disorder, including both behavioral and pharmacological . Both approaches help to restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior, resulting in increased employment rates and lower risk of HIV and other diseases and criminal behavior. Although behavioral and pharmacologic treatments can be extremely useful when utilized alone, research shows that for many people, integrating both types of treatments is the most effective approach.
Tips For Helping Someone Recover From Heroin Addiction
Sitting down to figure out how to deal with someone going through withdrawal symptoms and then helping someone through their detox from heroin is just the beginning. Helping someone with their addiction doesnt mean that you stop helping them when their withdrawal symptoms fade away. Dope addiction isnt cured by going through withdrawal and detox. It must be managed for the rest of the persons life. Your help should continue past the detox and withdrawal phase. You can continue helping in the following ways.
Recommended Reading: Is An Alcoholic An Addict
Why You Should Quit Heroin
Heroin addiction affects many aspects of life. It can damage your health, relationships and reputation. Left untreated, substance use disorders can cause permanent damages. Heroin changes the brain, affecting how people think and act. Quitting heroin use and overcoming addiction is associated with a variety of benefits.
Choice Of Primary Drug
As mentioned above, withdrawal symptoms differ depending on the type of drug. Weed is not as addictive as heroin, for example. So if your pot consumption is excessive, you could realistically quit or reduce your intake without treatment.
But quitting drinking and benzos âcold turkeyâ can kill you. Rehabs offer safe detoxes where medication can reduce discomfort. A medical setting is also optimal if multiple substances are at play.
Also Check: How To Break Phone Addiction
Is Quitting Heroin Cold Turkey A Right Choice
No matter how sincerely you try to quit heroin, cold turkey, detoxing, ones self is not an easy process. That is why addiction experts dont recommend self-detoxification or quitting heroin cold turkey on your own. The sudden discontinuation of heroin may lead to detrimental physical issues in which dehydration is the most common. That means you need professional medical assistance when you want heroin detoxification.
Moreover, abruptly quitting the drug can cause painful withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, insomnia, diarrhea, anxiety, and muscle aches. This discontinuation may also have emotional side effects that lead to compulsive behavioral issues.
In addition to that, it is extremely easy for an individual to overdose if they relapse. The results of a heroin relapse can be life-threatening. It happens because your dependence level is affected when you quit heroin cold turkey. The withdrawal symptoms begin within twelve hours when you stop using drugs. The symptoms begin with a strong craving for an opioid. The intensity of the craving can get more severe if they dont receive medical assistance on time.
Therefore, quitting heroin cold turkey is not considered ideal.
Effects Of Heroin Addiction
The effects of heroin abuse will differ from person to person, depending upon the length of abuse, amount of heroin used, the presence of other substances, and individual makeup. Severity of symptoms tend to get worse the longer the drug is abused. The most common effects of heroin addiction may include:
- Liver disease
- Skin disease and abscesses around injection sites
- Infections of the valves and lining of the heart
- HIV or Hepatitis B and C
- Chronic pneumonia
- Blood clots, leading to stroke, pulmonary embolism, and heart attack
- Kidney disease
- Risks of contracting chronic illnesses
- Risks for blood-borne pathogens
Don’t Miss: How To Rid Of Addiction
Psychosocial Treatment For Heroin Dependence
The most widely available treatment options for heroin dependence are psychosocial treatments provided at specialty substance use treatment facilities. These treatments are delivered by a state-licensed or credential treatment provider such as a mental health therapist, social worker, psychologist or substance abuse counselor. They can be provided through individual, group, couples or family counseling sessions. Sessions can vary in frequency so people may attend them daily, a few times a week or weekly, based on clinical need.
The quality of these treatments vary widely depending on their underlying principles, the skill of the practitioner offering them, and whether or not they are evidence-based. They are generally abstinence-based, although there are a growing number of facilities across the country that are focused on reducing the harms associated with drug use and misuse.
While psychosocial treatments can be a promising approach for treating heroin dependence, relapse can still be a common occurrence and many find that combining treatment with MAT is most effective.
Take Our Substance Abuse Self
Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. The evaluation consists of 10 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
Also Check: How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Heroin
Heroin Withdrawal Treatment & Medications
The American Society of Addiction Medicine estimates that 517,000 Americans battle heroin addiction. Heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration , which means that it is considered to have a high rate of abuse and potential for addiction, and no medicinal uses in this country.
There are several medications approved to treat heroin dependency, some of which may be used during detox to control the more uncomfortable physical and emotional withdrawal side effects, as well as to keep cravings to a minimum. Ideally, this process is undertaken at a professional heroin detox center.
Heroin may be replaced with a longer-acting opioid to relieve withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, and adjunct medications may also be used to treat specific symptoms. Anti-nausea medications, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants are some examples of symptom-specific medications.
During medical detox, mental health professionals are also on hand to offer support and assistance. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that about half of all drug abusers also suffer from mental illness, which can also affect duration and treatment methods during the stay at a heroin detox program as well as throughout substance abuse recovery.
How Heroin Is Used
Many people smoke or snort heroin. Most users inject it into their veins. Thatâs the most dangerous way to take it, because itâs easier to overdose and you can catch a disease from a dirty needle.
No matter how you take it, heroin gets to your brain quickly. Itâs also easy to get addicted. Even after you use it just one or two times, it can be hard to stop yourself from using again. Learn more about why heroin is so addictive.
Right after you take heroin, you get a rush of good feelings and happiness. Then, for several hours, you feel as if the world has slowed down. You think slowly and may walk slowly. Some users say you feel like you’re in a dream.
Heroin blocks your body from getting pain messages and slows your heart rate and breathing. If you overdose, you may stop breathing and die.
Also Check: Who Is Addiction Network Guy
Causes And Risk Factors For Heroin Addiction
While researchers have yet to pinpoint a single root cause for heroin addiction, it is thought to be the result of several factors working together that lead to the development of addiction. Some of the most common causes for heroin addiction may include:
Genetic: While genetics will not cause you to start using heroin, once you have started using the drug, your genes may cause you to become addicted. Individuals who have a family member, especially a first-degree relative, with addiction disorders are more prone to develop an addiction themselves.
Brain Chemistry: Repeated drug use changes the way in which your brain feels pleasure and may also cause physical changes to nerve cells in the brain. These nerve cells use neurons to communicate, and when an individual is addicted to a substance such as heroin it disrupts communication in the brain. This causes an individual to use more of the drug to make up for the lack of neurotransmitters.
Environmental: Environmental factors such as family beliefs, peer group attitudes, and friends that encourage drug use all play a role in an individuals choice to begin using drugs. For example, individuals who grew up in home environments where drug abuse was accepted as a means to deal with negative emotions are more desensitized to the use of drugs. They may learn that drug abuse is a proper way of handling negative life events.
How To Stop Enabling The Addict Or Alcoholic In Your Life
Putting an end to enabling behavior can be scary for those who have been caught up in the negative cycle of enabling and codependency. When you enable an addict or alcoholic, you have the illusion of control. You think you are preventing things from getting worse, so you continue to participate in unhealthy, enabling behaviors.
Now that you know that enabling will only make the situation more serious, you have to make the brave decision to start making different choices. You have to shatter your illusion of control. The reality is, you have absolutely no control over someone elses substance abuse problem. The only thing you do have control over are your own choices.
Here are a few suggestions for you to stop enabling addiction and start empowering recovery:
Don’t Miss: How Do You Know If You Have An Addiction