At Haven House, we have years of experience treating people who struggle with an addiction to heroin. There are many heroin addiction symptoms that can be detrimental to your health. Heroin addiction and abuse can lead to severe health risks, including infections of the heart lining and its valves, skin infections, lung diseases, and IV usage can also lead to collapsed veins and high risks of contracting HIV and hepatitis B & C.
You don’t have to have an “addictive” personality to fall victim to heroin. Its effects on the brain and body are overwhelmingly powerful. For this reason, no one should be ashamed to ask for help, because the best treatment for heroin addiction is support. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction, seeking out a heroin addiction treatment program is the strongest course of action.
Signs and symptoms of heroin abuse and addiction can vary depending on person. But the most common signs of heroin addiction to look out for are:
● Disorientation ● Weight loss ● Mood Swings ● Paranoia ● Extreme itching
Heroin addiction symptoms are usually fairly noticeable because of the profound long-term effects it has on the body. Prolonged users will typically exhibit needle marks or bruising at the point of injection, skin problems including infections and abscesses, heart problems, collapsed veins from intravenous use, and disease of the liver and kidneys.
There are also many behavioral signs to be aware of. When someone is in the clutches of a heroin addiction, their whole world tends to revolve around the drug. Responsibilities and obligations become secondary to getting a fix. Lifestyle changes are usually fairly obvious due to the costs and intense effects of heroin use. Users will often experience and exhibit emotional instability, mood swings, legal troubles, lying, reclusiveness, stealing, and a change in social circles.
● Eating disorders ● Depression ● Bipolar disorder ● PTSD ● Alcoholism
Heroin has an extremely high potential for addiction because of the powerful effects it has on the pleasure centers of the brain. The abundance of dopamine delivered to the brain causes users to “chase the high”. However, because prolonged use leads to increased tolerance, they will likely never find that high. By this time their body has developed a physical dependence, and the absence of heroin in the system causes very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Doing heroin to relieve these symptoms and breach their tolerance is a slippery slope that often leads to overdosing.
The first step of treatment for heroin addiction is detoxing. The reason many people struggle to quit is due to the fear of facing heroin withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the severity of the addiction, this process can be very uncomfortable, especially if you do it without professional care and support. Patients who detox under the care of heroin rehab centers will benefit from the comfort and expertise provided by medical professionals, giving them a much stronger trajectory for success.
Withdrawal symptoms to be aware of include: Anxiety, diarrhea, vomiting, aches and pains, insomnia, cold flashes, sweating, restlessness, flu-like symptoms, and jitters.
Although they can feel insurmountable at times, these symptoms alone are not life threatening. The detox process usually takes around 5 to 7 days. The retention rate is 80% in an inpatient heroin treatment program. The rates are much lower when done without professional care and many people reverting back to heroin use.
Trying to quit heroin alone can be a very daunting task – your social circles may tempt you, managing withdrawal is very challenging, you may not have consistent emotional support, and you may easily lose sight of your incentives for sobriety. Heroin treatment programs are designed to fill these voids and shepard you back to a healthy lifestyle.
After the initial detox phase, priority is placed on therapy sessions that are held in group or one on one settings to discuss addiction and to learn valuable coping strategies. Group therapy sessions play on the human need to belong, which challenges the feelings of isolation that many heroin addicts struggle with. Learning to share your feelings and connect with others empowers people to take control of their addiction.
You will also identify the nature of your addiction and what triggers you to use, because the risk of relapse can continue for years, if not for one’s entire life. Long-term relapse prevention requires getting involved with a community of people who share a similar struggle. Together you will focus on enabling each other to overcome addiction and maintain sobriety by frequently sharing ideas, successes and strategies.
Seeking a medically-managed detox and heroin treatment program is the best option in getting sober and kicking the habit. If you’ve ever tried to quit “cold turkey”, you probably know all too well how miserable heroin withdrawal symptoms can make you feel. Heroin withdrawal symptoms include shaking, nervousness, sweating, and depression. A medically managed detox for heroin withdrawal is important. There is no need to suffer. Our goal is to help you on that journey and make you as safe and comfortable as possible during your treatment for heroin addiction.
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