adult children of alcoholics

4 Common Personality Traits in Adult Children of Alcoholics

Screaming, yelling, and fighting.

Imagine waking up in the morning to the sound of your parents fighting. Not just arguing, but screaming, shouting, and maybe even throwing things.

Not sure what’s going on, you stumble downstairs to find out what’s wrong. Peering over the staircase, you can barely make out what your parents are saying. But you know whatever is going on must be serious. Afraid you might be in trouble yourself, you decide to skip breakfast and hide out in your room.

Being the Child of an Alcoholic

Children of alcoholics live in a strange reality. One minute everything is calm and serene. Then suddenly, without warning, a crisis erupts in their living room. The endless cycle of drama and pseudo-resolution may even continue into adulthood.

If you or a loved one is the child of an alcoholic, you're not alone. Almost 28 million children in the U.S. are currently living with an alcoholic parent.

While we can't change the past, learning from it can help us reshape our future. Read on to learn more about the personality traits that are common among children from alcoholic households.

Tips for Children of Alcoholics

Before you start reviewing the ways alcoholism impacts children, you’ll want to prepare yourself for what you might be feeling.

It's normal for survivors of alcoholism to want to defend their parents, especially given the ways that alcoholism has shaped their lives. It's also natural to feel anger, sadness, and even guilt.

We suggest that you write down any negative judgments that arise, whether they are against yourself or another individual, as you learn about the damage alcohol can cause. Research shows that writing down how you feel helps you process your feelings. You don't have to read them, just write them down to get them out of your head.

Once you’re in the right headspace, you're ready to begin looking at some of the darkest parts of alcoholism and the way you or another child might react to them.

1. Children of Alcoholics Expect Excitement

Constant crises and daily dramas can cause children of alcoholics to expect life to be tense. This is because their experience has shown them that anything can go wrong, at any time. As they grow familiar with feelings of panic or fear, they start to expect them all the time.

Usually, when we think of something as exciting, we think of it as fun. However, this type of excitement refers to a more scary feeling stemming from fear.

Rather than feeling joyfully excited, children of alcoholics often feel fearfully excited.

Then, once they become adults, their minds stay stuck in crisis mode. This chaotic outlook on life usually continues in their own lives until they unlearn it.

2. Children of Alcoholics Often Experience Insecure Attachment

During early childhood, it's important for kids to feel secure. It's during this time of their life that the groundwork is being laid for how they will function as adults.

Insecure attachment is one consequence of an unstable, alcoholic household. It is often characterized by the need for things to be surprising or different. However, things don't necessarily have to be exciting (scary or adrenaline-fueled) for an insecure attachment to form in children of alcoholics.

Children of alcoholics may feel that a crisis must always be present in their lives because it is all they have ever known to be true. For instance, adult children of alcoholics might seek out unstable relationships, jobs, and financial situations.

This is because people who struggle with an unhealthy attachment to instability are also prone to behaviors like self-sabotage. As fear and doubt creep in about their future, they'll feel a familiar sense of panic.

Of course, insecure attachment is subliminal behavior. In their own minds, adult children of alcoholics are doing everything possible to be happy. It just so happens that being unhappy is more comfortable and familiar.

3. Children of Alcoholics Are Susceptible to Addiction

Another problem that adult children of alcoholics face is the potential for substance abuse and addiction. The combination of genetics and experiences cause these individuals to have a higher probability of struggling with addiction than the average person.

Studies show that when a parent abuses alcohol before conception, their child is more likely to also have addiction problems. In fact, genetics can increase the risk of having addiction by 40 to 60 percent– or more, in some cases.

4. Children of Alcoholics Are Overwhelmed by Emotions

Alcoholic parents aren't as emotionally available to their children as they should be. Moreover, children may witness their alcoholic parents behaving wildly during active addiction.

While they may think, “I will never act that way,” they are unconsciously learning from their addicted parents. Many adult children experience feelings of disgust when they notice any extreme similarities between their and their addicted parents’ behavior.

Unregulated emotions and feelings of self-hatred can lead to the development of serious mental health issues, like depression. They can also cause high levels of anxiety, anger, and other negative emotions.

Dealing with Adulthood as the Child of an Alcoholic

Children of alcoholics tend to also struggle with small setbacks in their plans. This makes personal relationships and self-discipline especially challenging to maintain.

They may find themselves yelling at their partner for being a few minutes late to a date. They may overly criticize themselves for not being able to complete a personal goal. For these individuals, even being stuck in traffic can feel like a reason to hate themselves- or others.

The Addiction Treatment Services blog provides reliable information to help families recover from addiction. Knowledge and communication are the keys to healing, and being whole again.

Do you know someone who might be struggling with alcoholism? There are things you can do to help without putting yourself at risk. Check out our latest article about how to hold an alcohol intervention.

For any additional information about alcohol detox and treatment options, contact us here or call us at (877) 455-0055.

How to Deal with Difficult People

How to Deal with Difficult People When Recovering from Addiction

Are you in the process of recovery?

Whether you’re recovering from drugs or alcohol, you know firsthand just how challenging the entire process can be. On top of the common challenges that accompany recovery, it can be easy to isolate yourself and feel alone in your struggles.

However, studies have found that more Americans than you might initially think have experienced recovery. In fact, 1 in 10 American adults has been in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction at one point in their lives.

Of these adults, the large majority have struggled with how to deal with difficult people during their recovery. If you find yourself nodding your head, you’re going to want to read this.

We’re uncovering seven proven methods for dealing with the difficult people that may present themselves during your recovery. Not only are these positive tips for life in general, but they’re also bound to help your overall recovery.

1. Modify Your Behavior

In dealing with difficult people, it’s important to remember that you cannot always modify someone else’s behavior.

Even if you feel strongly that their behavior is generally wrong, this doesn’t always translate to them understanding this notion. As a result, it’s likely that their patterns of bad behavior will continue and are unlikely to change.

Rather than focusing on how you can alter their behavior, try shifting your focus to how you can respond to their behavior. This is going to help give you control of the situation and minimize the negative effect that their behavior has on you.

2. Attempt to Understand Their Actions

When this person is showcasing their utmost difficulty, remember that you may be unaware of the current demons they’re facing. These struggles and hardships more than likely have a significant influence on their actions and presence.

It may also be helpful to remind yourself that you, too, may have been difficult at one point throughout your addiction. Before overcoming an addiction, it’s only natural for an addict to experience a range of emotions that lead to difficulty.

Do your best to understand why they may be acting out and appearing difficult. When you put yourself into their shoes, you’ll more than likely gain an appreciation for why they’re projecting themselves in such a poor manner.

3. Have Honest Conversations

When all else fails, why not be upfront and open with this person about how you’re feeling?

Allowing yourself to be honest with this person will provide them with valuable insight as to your thoughts and feelings. From their perspective, it may be surprising to them that you’re struggling with their actions. With this, it’s always possible that they may alter their behavior for the better.

Remember, difficult people, are not always aware as to how their actions impact others. While they may be experiencing struggle on the inside, they’re not always aware that this is being reflected on the outside.

4. Create Boundaries

It may be time to create a physical boundary between yourself and the difficult people in your life.

While this may be a difficult choice, it’s important to remember that boundaries can be very healthy for both parties. If you truly feel that the person nor their actions cannot be corrected, it may be time to slowly distance yourself from that person.

Remember, boundaries don’t have to be lifelong and can instead be temporary. So, this doesn’t mean that your relationship has to come to an official end. Rather, this means that you are taking a break from having this person in your life during the recovery process.

5. Remove Yourself from Toxic Relationships

Of course, not all relationships with difficult people are salvageable or worth saving. Before making any rash decisions, it’s essential to differentiate which relationships are too negative and unhealthy to continue.

If you truly feel that the difficult people in your life are toxic, it might be time to officially cut your ties to this person. While relationships in life are arguably one of the most rewarding and important facets of life, this isn’t the case for each and every relationship.

6. Reach out for Support

There comes a time and place where not all relationships can be saved nor abandoned. For many addicts in recovery, this will come in terms of dealing with a difficult family member such as a parent or a sibling.

While this relationship may feel toxic, it may also feel impossible to remove yourself from such a relationship. This is where it becomes crucial to enlist the help of others in dealing with this person.

This may come in terms of speaking to mutual connections as well as speaking with a therapist or your sponsor. Having honest conversations and allowing for the perspective of others can provide you with the tools necessary for tolerating this person.

7. Give Second Chances

Last but not least, it’s important to remind yourself that some people deserve to be given a second chance.

Remember that the majority of addicts are given a second chance at both life and in their relationships during recovery. Think back to the forgiveness that friends and family paid to you when you were suffering from your addiction.

When you extend your forgiveness to a difficult person in your life, it can help to foster an entirely new relationship. This new relationship can be a second chance at developing a more healthy and positive relationship with that person.

How to Deal with Difficult People During Recovery

Today, nearly 21 million American adults suffer from some form of substance addiction. In an attempt to lead a sober lifestyle, many of these adults will find themselves facing the bumpy road of recovery at some point.

While you may control your own actions in recovery, you may not always control the actions of those around you. When this takes place, you may find yourself wondering how to deal with difficult people that are present throughout your recovery.

Fortunately, these tips will help to provide guidance on how to overcome these difficulties and focus on your recovery. This may be anything from modifying your own behavior and attempting to understand the behavior of others to removing yourself from toxic relationships and establishing boundaries.

If you feel that yourself or a loved one may be facing addiction issues, be sure to contact us today. With a simple phone call, we can discuss the many options that are available to help today.

References

Chan, A. L. (2012, March 07). The Shocking Number Of Americans Who’ve Recovered From Substance Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/07/addiction-recovery-america-drugs-alcohol_n_1327344.html

Hafner, J. (2016, November 17). Surgeon general: 1 in 7 in USA will face substance addiction. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/11/17/surgeon-general-1-7-us-face-substance-addiction/93993474/

prescription abuse

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Painkiller Addiction

It is no secret that painkillers have played a large role in the addiction rates in the U.S.

In fact, there are currently 58 opioid prescriptions every year for every 100 Americans.

If these are prescribed medications, what kind of damage can they do, and what can I do to help?

Let’s talk about prescription painkillers, their risks, and everything you need to know about them.

What Are Prescribed Painkillers?

Prescribed painkillers are drugs that are prescribed by a doctor for the sole purpose of relieving pain.

These drugs are not meant to treat or cure any disease or illness, but simply to mask pain. They can be prescribed for a wide variety of conditions, from a broken hand to alleviating pain after an operation.

prescription abuse

These drugs involve the use of opium, which is a highly addictive compound that can impair judgment and motor functions.

These often lead to a very short-lived euphoria, and many people enjoy the feeling and feel a need to continue to relive it.

There are many risks involved with these types of medications, particularly with substance abuse, leading to other complications. Let’s talk about that.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Painkiller Addiction

Painkiller addictions are a serious problem and should be treated that way. You have likely heard stories of addictions from the media or from loved ones.

Painkillers can lead to serious health risks, especially when taken consistently or with high doses. Here are some of the facts.

1. Painkillers Can Lead To Other Addictions

This may sound obvious, but it is to a much higher extent than you would believe. People who are prescribed opioids are 19 times more likely to start using drugs like heroin.

In fact, urban injection drug users interviewed in 2008 and 2009 found that 86% had used pain relievers either medically or nonmedically prior to their heroin addiction.

2. Withdrawal Symptoms Are No Joke

After you use these medications for a while, the body can become dependant on it. Once the body has adapted to the presence of the substance, a higher dose may be needed to create the same effects.

After a while, once the body is fully dependant on the substance, quitting can cause some serious effects. Including insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and involuntary muscle spasms.

3. Side Effects Can Be Lethal

Overdoses are all too common in the US, and 68% of them involve the use of opioids.

One of the most serious risks with painkillers is the possibility of respiratory depression. High doses can cause breathing to slow down to the point that users die.

Some of the side effects you may encounter with these drugs include constipation, nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and decreased cognitive abilities.

While those are not fatal, they can certainly inhibit one’s ability to perform essential duties for their health. That can lead to malnourishment and other potentially fatal complications.

Not only that, day-to-day operations can be incredibly lethal while using these medications, like driving or operating machinery. If you are using these drugs, driving after use can put many people’s lives at risk.

Another serious risk of death with these medications is when they are mixed with other substances, including alcohol. Taking these medications for medical use should be used exclusively, and in the prescribed dosage, to avoid complications.

4. Symptoms Can Be Spotted

Visiting multiple doctors to get prescriptions for painkillers, social withdrawal, slurring speech, lying about whereabouts and activities, or stealing medication that has been prescribed to someone else.

These are all common indicators of painkiller addiction. If you know somebody who exhibits these behaviors, or if you exhibit them yourself, these are key signs of addiction.

If you are looking for physical symptoms, they will likely include dilated pupils, impaired coordination, and heavy perspiration.

If those symptoms fit the bill, then that person needs treatment. Find out how to do an intervention the right way to help a loved one.

5. These Prescriptions Are On The Rise

Since the year 2000, the number of opioid prescriptions in the US has increased by over 400%.

That is a troubling amount considering the rising addiction rates. If you are able to get through the pain with over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen, it may be a wise choice to choose that alternative.

6. Other Factors Can Influence Addiction

There are many co-occurring illnesses that often pair with substance abuse. People can be more susceptible to addiction when they are facing other mental health issues.

People suffering from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are far more likely to be a victim of substance abuse. People will look for non-medical ways to help ease their suffering.

Be transparent with your doctors about these pre-existing conditions before accepting addictive medications.

However, there is dual diagnosis treatment available for people struggling with addiction and mental illness.

7. Treatment Is Not The End

Unfortunately, many people who receive treatment will relapse, as addiction is very powerful. Between 40% and 60% of patients will abuse the drug again.

That shouldn’t stop you from trying. Yes, many do go back to substance abuse. However, that is only because treatment is not a cure.

Recovery is a lifelong process. The three main steps are seeking treatment, starting recovery, and maintaining abstinence. The latter is the longest and most difficult.

If a loved one has received treatment, do what you can to support them, as they will need a helping hand.

If you are maintaining your abstinence, seek out any support you can get and continue the progress you’ve made.

Next Steps

It is clear that the risks of these medications are incredibly serious, and should be treated with care.

If you have been prescribed a painkiller, make sure that you take the proper steps to avoid addiction.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to painkillers, please check out our admissions page and get the help that is needed today!

References:

what is dabbing

What is Dabbing and is It Addictive?

You may have heard of friends giving up on their green for the new craze. While 22.2 million Americans have used marijuana in the past month, they decided they needed something stronger.

That’s right. Dabbing is making its way into the mainstream for the pot industry, but what is dabbing? Is it safe? Is it addictive?

Let’s talk about dabbing, the risks involved, and what you can do about it.

What Is Dabbing?

Dabs, hash oil, wax, glue, or whatever you want to call it, has been around since the mid-’90s.

As you may know, dabs are a wax comprised of concentrated THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.

The process of extracting THC wax can be as simple as using a hair straightener and some wax paper to remove some of the THC from the cannabis plant.

The term for actual “dabs” refers to butane hash oil (BHO). Yes, the butane used in blow torches is used in the extraction process.

Some people have used more effective and different ways of extracting the THC, but no matter how it is done, the potency can be high.

Marijuana can be as high as 20% THC depending on the strain and how it is grown. However, dabs can range between 70-90% THC, making them a lot stronger.

Methods of Use

Dabs can be used in a number of different ways.

Some people who use them will bake them into food or candies and eat them. Edible dabs are fairly popular, as the effects last much longer and they are easier to cook with than marijuana.

Others use dab pens, vaporizers that are made specifically for wax. These will have either an exposed coil that you put the wax on, or it will be a regular vape pen with thinner dab liquid.

The most popular form of dabbing involves a torch and some glass. This can be damaging for your lungs, as the method of doing this involves heating up a “nail” made of glass or quartz with a blowtorch until it is glowing red from heat. Once it is heated up, a piece of the was is placed onto the nail and inhaled.

Types of Addiction

Addiction does not come in one simple form. It can look different for every different user with every different substance. However, we can break the types of addiction down into two different umbrellas.

Physical Addiction

Physical addiction develops after your body adapts to a new substance. People who smoke cigarettes become physically addicted to nicotine because their brain cannot produce the same compound itself, and it grows a dependence for it.

People who are physically addicted to a substance will suffer withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the substance.

Psychological Addiction

Contrary to what you may believe, psychological addictions are the stronger of the two. If you are physically addicted to something and you choose to stop, you have that ability.

However, if you are psychologically addicted to a substance, you need to change your entire mindset about it to stop.

Psychological addictions also make it more difficult to believe that there is no need to quit. Think about it. If you do not feel any withdrawals after stopping for a couple of days, it’s easier to justify to yourself that you aren’t addicted.

On the flip side, if you believe yourself to be addicted and accept it, that can be a hard sell to fix.

People can struggle with both types of addictions simultaneously, or one without the other. However, it is certain that a combination of the two is the most difficult to overcome.

Find out more about the difference between these types of addictions to better understand them.

Is Dabbing Addictive?

In short, yes. People can become psychologically dependent on it with regular use. It can get to the point of believing that you can’t function normally without it.

This can be dangerous for their health, especially if they are using the torch method, but it is dangerous in other ways as well. Regular and consistent dabbing can be destructive financially, socially, or professionally.

For very frequent users, people can actually become physically addicted to dabbing as well. While physical addiction from THC may not be as strong as some other substances, withdrawal symptoms can occur once the user has stopped using the drug for a while.

Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, depression, loss of appetite and trouble with sleep.

Many people use marijuana as a sleep aid and they become dependent on it, making insomnia one of the most common symptoms of withdrawal.

What Should You Do?

If somebody is using marijuana or hash oil in a way that is negatively affecting their life, or the lives around them, then it should be treated as an addiction.

If you feel as if you cannot function without the drug, it may be time to quit. Those feelings will not go away with more use of the drug, and physical withdrawal symptoms will only become worse with longer, sustained use.

Even though the popular belief is that marijuana is not addictive, it can be for some. If it is hurting them or their loved ones, then it is just as serious of a problem as it would be with any other substance.

If it is time to address the issue, find out how to do an intervention the right way.

What Else?

Ignore anybody who says that marijuana or dabbing is not dangerous, and find out if you or a loved one are addicted to it.

If you feel as if somebody you love is addicted to dabbing, talk to them about it and intervene if necessary.

Now that we’ve answered the question “What is dabbing?”, determine if treatment is necessary and check out our services.

References:

most addictive drugs

The Worst of the Worst: Which of the Most Addictive Drugs Are the Worst for Your Health?

Cocaine, meth, and heroin, oh my! If you ask someone what the most addictive drugs are, they’ll probably site those three (not necessarily in that order).

And we agree – heroin, meth, and cocaine all cause thousands of deaths a year. We have death tolls that tell us which is “worst”, but they’re all life-altering bad.

Learn what two of the most dangerous three can do to a user below.

A Quick Disclaimer

It’s almost impossible to rank which drug is the most dangerous for your health. Why? Because of the way one drug acts on someone is different than the way it acts on another person. At least in subtle ways.

Some people try drugs once and can stop cold turkey. Other people are addicted from the first hit/puff/sniff. It’s all about how your body processes things and if you have addiction in your family.

Or if you’re predisposed to addiction from other factors, like your mental health.

That said – we’re going to use data that shows the number of deaths per drug to rank the dangerous drugs below, but keep in mind there is no real order- at least on an individual basis.

The Most Addictive Drugs: Heroin

Which drug have we seen an uptick of use within the last five years? Unfortunately, it’s not something relatively mild, like Cannabis.

It’s one of the most dangerous drugs (the most deaths), heroin.

Perhaps it’s because the people doing Heroin these days didn’t grow up hearing stories of people overdosing. There hasn’t been a famous death from heroin in quite a while.

At least not one as well-covered as Jim Morrison’s or Sid Vicious’. 

There were over 10,000 deaths from Heroin use in the US, in 2014, and the number goes up every year.

Why is Heroin so Dangerous?

Heroin is very addictive, you can compare it to things we’re seeing now, like fentanyl. In fact, they’re not that chemically different.

Both are depressants, which means they relax your body and create a feeling of euphoria. Both are types of opiates, which are derived from the Poppy plant.

If you’ve ever heard of Opium dens in Asian history – these were the kind of drugs they were doing.

However, heroin is very hard to administer. You can both snort and smoke the powder, but most choose to shoot it up – that is, insert it straight into their bloodstream through their veins.

That involves needles, which aren’t something you want to play with at home. Many heroin addicts care more about getting high than the quality and sterilization of the needle, which is how bloodborne diseases spread.

There are higher rates of hepatitis and HIV-Aids among intravenous drug users.

The Addictive Factor

Heroin is extremely addictive. One addict said that you feel so good on Heroin that you never feel that good again once you’re sober.

If it makes you really feel that good, you can see how quickly it becomes addictive.

But it’s not just that. The body builds up a tolerance to heroin as it does with any other drug. As you build up a tolerance, you have to shoot up more every time, to get the same effect.

And since heroin processes as morphine in your brain, it’s like turning the morphine drip to the highest setting – that’ll shut down your body’s processes and kill you just like that.

Issues with Purity

As if all that wasn’t dangerous enough, it’s rare to get pure heroin anymore. The purest heroin is a white powder, but most of the time it’s seen as tan or brownish. There is some that are black – which you’ve probably heard called black tar heroin.

The problem is, the darker the color, the worse the quality. Drug dealers are famous for “cutting” their drugs, which means that they add in another substance so they have more to sell/

Rat poison is commonly found in heroin, as is fentanyl. Laundry detergent and flour are two other, less harmful ingredients.

Yet- you saw what happened with the Tide Pod challenge. Do you really want to insert those kinds of chemicals into your blood?

Let us answer that for you: you don’t.

Finally, some drug dealers put pure caffeine into the heroin. While this doesn’t sound so dangerous, it can mask the signs of an overdose.

If someone doesn’t feel as high from the drug because of the caffeine, they may take more – and end up administering a lethal dose.

Second Place: Meth

It’s not easy to rank drugs. While there are fewer deaths due to meth use, Meth has a much more visible effect on your body. It’s not a drug anyone who values their looks want to use.

It’s highly addictive as well, probably as addictive (if not more) as heroin. It’s smoked or snorted, so it’s an easier delivery method than shooting up.

Along with the addictive aspect, meth restructures how your brain works – and that can last for up to a week after your last dose.

Drug-Induced Psychosis 

It’s common to experience drug-induced psychosis when coming down from meth. That means that your body experiences some of the symptoms of things like multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia as it tries to regain a sense of normality.

Both of those disorders can create delusions and hallucinations. Delusions can drive people to do dangerous and crazy things, like jump off a bridge if they think someone’s chasing them.

You also see the damage of the teeth, the lungs, the nervous system, and the skin in meth users. They famously have sores all over their body, as one of the common delusions is feeling like you have bugs crawling under your skin.

A lot of the deaths from meth don’t come from the direct use of the drug – but what it causes people to do.

That said, the number of deaths due to meth according to this CDC report was 3,495 in 2014. That’s almost a third of the deaths from heroin, but again, it doesn’t count drug-use-accident related cases.

There are No Good Drugs

When it comes to drugs – you shouldn’t do them unless you’re directed to by a doctor. And if you are directed to by a doctor, only do so in the exact fashion and for the exact amount of time as they direct.

The most addictive drugs are heroin and meth, but benzodiazepines (think, Xanax) and cocaine also make the list.

If you suspect a loved one is using one of these dangerous drugs (or any other!) get them to a rehab center, as soon as possible. Here’s a list of centers nearby, for your convenience. 

References:

facts about heroin

Important Facts About Heroin That All Addicts Should Know

Are you worried a loved one is using heroin? About 948,000 Americans admitted to using heroin in 2016. Heroin overdose deaths increased by almost 20 percent between 2015 to 2016.

The scary part is these numbers keep rising. More and more young adults reported using heroin, which is the largest group to increase usage.

Heroin is one of the most widely abused opiates in the world, with 9.2 million using heroin worldwide. There’s a reason why it’s so addictive. Here are important facts about heroin.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is a type of opioid. It is made from the seed pods of the opium poppy plants from Mexico, Colombia, and Southeast and Southwest Asia. Various forms of heroin include a black sticky substance or brown or white powder.

People either smoke, snort, inject, or sniff heroin. Sometimes they mix heroin with crack cocaine. Common names for heroin include smack, horse, big H, and hell dust.

Why Is Heroin So Addictive?

Heroin has long been known to be a very addictive drug. In fact, about one in four users that try heroin are addicted.

This is because it immediately affects the brain. It causes the brain to release “feel good” chemicals – both endorphins and dopamine. The brain recognizes the activation of these chemicals and begins to link them with heroin almost as a reward to the body.

In addition, the withdrawal symptoms of heroin are extremely uncomfortable, and it is hard for a user to stop on his or her own. The body also begins to require larger amounts of heroin to feel good, so users build up a tolerance. This tolerance causes certain areas of the brain to stop responding without the opioid receptor.

Getting Off Heroin Takes a Long Time

If you are addicted to heroin, it may take you a while to kick this addiction. You will experience withdrawal symptoms that can vary in intensity.

These withdrawal symptoms start around 6 to 12 hours after your last use. You will feel the peak of withdrawal symptoms around 1 to 3 days. They should subside gradually after about 5 to 7 days.

Some users have withdrawal symptoms for weeks or even months. Everyone is different, so it’s hard to say how difficult it will be for each person.

You will have to retrain your body to feel good again naturally. Some users have a hard time getting rid of the urge to take heroin even after they have gone through withdrawal.

Withdrawal Is Difficult

A person addicted to heroin will get withdrawal symptoms around 12 hours after the last time he or she used. Heroin withdrawal can be extremely difficult. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • High anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Intense cravings
  • Uncomfortable leg movements

Some withdrawal symptoms are so intense that users want to take heroin just to get rid of the uncomfortable symptoms and get relief. The user then goes through withdrawal all over again once he or she stops using heroin.

Cravings for heroin can last years after a person has stopped using the drug. These cravings can be triggered by bad memories, places, people, and extreme stress.

Extreme Itching Is a Side Effect of Heroin Use

After heroin enters the brain, the brain changes it to morphine that binds the receptors in the body. This also produces a strong rush and a warm flushing to the skin.

A little-known side effect of heroin use is extreme itchiness. Opiate drugs create histamines that the body uses during allergic reactions. These histamines make the skin itch, which makes users want to scratch.

This side effect means the drug is strong and not contaminated. A lot of users feel that their skin is “crawling” along with being itchy.

Mixing Heroin with Other Drugs Can Be Dangerous

A lot of heroin users take at least one other drug along with it, and some of these combinations can be pretty risky. Many heroin overdoses are from combining heroin with other drugs, most commonly sedatives and alcohol.

Drinking alcohol along with heroin increases the risk of overdose because it causes shallow breathing, lowered heart rate and blood pressure, and can put someone in a deep sedation.

Anxiety medicines such as Valium, Xanax, and Restoril are extremely risky to take with heroin. Both the opioids and these medications slow the rate of breathing, making it highly risky that you could stop breathing altogether.

Using heroin and cocaine together is also a very serious combination. Heroin depresses the nervous system while cocaine revives it. Both of these drugs cause breathing difficulties and can harm your heart.

Mixing opioids together such as hydrocodone, fentanyl, oxycodone, and morphine is dangerous because they intensify the side effects. They work the same as heroin does, so too much of these drugs can suppress the nervous system and heart rate to the point of cardiac arrest and death.

Drowsy-State After First Rush Is Risky

When a person uses heroin, he or she gets a sudden rush or a feeling of euphoria. After that state, the person then enters a phase where he or she alternates between being awake and extreme drowsiness for hours.

To imagine what it looks like, think about a student who is trying to stay awake and school and his or her head keeps nodding when sleepiness takes over. Eventually, the student will jerk awake to try to concentrate. That’s what heroin does to you.

Heroin is a sedative that causes a person to get sleepy but not fall into a deep sleep. This is the phase that most users enjoy because they feel so relaxed.

This can be dangerous because the body can go into a deep sedation. If the person becomes unconscious, he or she could sink into an overdose as the body’s breathing slows too much and may stop.

Babies Can Be Born Addicted to Heroin

Every 25 minutes a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal. The baby was exposed to the drug in the womb and becomes physically addicted, just like heroin users.

A baby can be addicted to any opiate including prescription drugs. When a pregnant woman takes opioids, the growing baby is exposed to this drug regularly. As soon as the baby is born, he or she suddenly does not get this drug anymore.

The baby is dependent on this drug and begins to go through withdrawal. These symptoms include fever, irritability, vomiting, slow weight gain, fever, and excessive crying. A newborn exhibits symptoms about 72 hours after being born.

Addicted babies need treatment. This involves putting the baby back on opiates and gradually reducing dosage to withdraw the newborn over time.

Other Side Effects of Heroin

The immediate side effects of heroin include dry mouth, heavy feeling in extremities, nausea, vomiting, severe itching, and a warm flush of the skin. The user will be drowsy for several hours. Other immediate symptoms include:

  • Clouded mental function
  • Slow heart rate
  • Reduced breathing rate

Reduced breathing can lead to brain damage and a coma. The drug effects the opioid receptors that control the body’s functions such as swallowing, breathing, heart beat, blood pressure, and consciousness.

Because the drug impairs these functions, there can be long-term problems such as:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Collapsed veins
  • Lung complications such as pneumonia
  • Abscesses
  • Heart infections
  • Digestive issues including cramping and constipation

Heroin can also clog blood vessels to main organs like the brain, kidneys, lungs, and liver. These clogs create permanent damage to these vital organs.

Prescription Opioids Can Lead to Heroin Use

Nearly 75 percent of Americans in treatment for heroin have stated they used prescription opioids before heroin. These prescription medications include Vicodin and OxyContin.

This is just one factor leading to heroin use. People switch to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to get than the prescription drugs.

Any Method of Using Heroin Is Addicting

There are different ways to use heroin including injecting, smoking, and snorting. Because all methods enter the brain quickly, all of these ways are addictive contrary to what users think. All three of these methods cause severe health problems.

Can You Overdose on Heroin?

In 2016, more than 15,500 people died from heroin overdose in the U.S. So, yes, a person can definitely overdose on heroin. An overdose happens when the person takes enough of the drug for a life-threatening reaction.

Once the breathing slows or stops, the brain does not get enough oxygen. This is called hypoxia. This can cause short- and long-term effects to the brain including brain damage or a coma.

Signs of an overdose include:

  • Blue tint to the person’s fingers and lips
  • Gasping for air
  • Shallow breathing
  • Extremely pale skin
  • Weak pulse
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confused mental state
  • Spasms
  • Seizures

It’s important to call emergency personnel immediately if you see anyone with these symptoms. The person needs medication to reverse the effects of heroin to get breathing normally again.

How Do You Treat a Heroin Overdose?

Naloxone is given to a person immediately to treat the overdose. This medicine binds to the opioid receptors in the body to minimize the effects of the heroin. A person may need multiple doses to begin breathing again.

This is why a person suspected of an overdose needs immediate medical attention by a trained professional. These medications are available in different forms such as an injectable solution, a nasal spray, and a handheld auto injector.

Because of the increase in opioid overdose deaths in the past years, there is an increase for the public health sector to make naloxone more available to at-risk people and their families. First responders typically have these medications on hand. Some pharmacies dispense naloxone without prescriptions because of this need.

Other Facts About Heroin

It’s important to know that there is no typical heroin user. Most users are teenagers or young adults that come from upper to middle class families, which is not what a person may think of for a typical drug user.

Heroin’s purest form is white. Most heroin is black, brown, or gray because toxic ingredients are added. It’s hard to tell how pure heroin really is when it is not white.

Heroin used to be sold over the counter as a pain reliever in cough drops. People thought it was less addictive than morphine. The name heroin originated because doctors thought it had “heroic” qualities of a strong medicine.

Treatment of Heroin Addiction

There are a variety of treatment options for heroin users. These treatments typically include both medical and behavioral programs. These approaches help the brain to function normally without the drug.

Detoxing from the drug causes withdrawal symptoms that can be severe. This is why a person may need medical help for detoxification. The non-opioid medication helps reduce these withdrawal symptoms.

A person should not detox from heroin alone because it can be extremely dangerous. If a person is alone to detox, there is a good chance they may start using again to help relieve the withdrawal symptoms.

Behavioral treatments can be outpatient or in-home. This approach helps a person to learn to cope with life stressors and learn how to modify expectations. This is important to help a person stay on the road to recovery – if someone can not deal with these stressors correctly, a relapse could happen.

If you have a loved one that is addicted to heroin, you may want to stage an intervention. This lets the person know you care and can help them see there is a problem. It’s important to work with a professional and have a plan before starting an intervention.

Getting Help for Heroin Addiction

Now that you know the facts about heroin, it’s time to get the help you are a loved one need to kick this dangerous addiction. Getting yourself or a loved one help for addiction is an extremely difficult decision.

Don’t wait until your loved one’s addiction gets worse. Contact us today to discuss the best options to get your loved one treatment. We can discuss recovery options, detox, rehab, and even costs including insurance coverage.

know before taking Xanax

An Antidote and a Problem: 11 Things You Need to Know About Xanax

About 5% of American adults suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).  Chronic insomnia, restlessness, irritability, lack of focus and pain from prolonged muscle tension is enough to wear anyone into submission.

If you’re suffering from these symptoms, taking Xanax might seem like a good idea. But, recent scientific findings reveal that Xanax might be worse for your long-term well-being.

In this article, we’ll reveal eleven things you should know about Xanax. We’ll also talk about where you can find relief from addiction.

#11: Xanax Has Short Term Side-Effects

The short-term side effects of Xanax include: decrease or loss of physical coordination, slowed breathing, heart palpitations, stuffy nose, sweating, chest pain, blurred vision, upset stomach, and swelling of hands or feet.

Meanwhile, psychological side effects of Xanax can include irritability, dizziness, loss of focus, sleeping problems, memory loss/difficulty, and fatigue.

These might seem like a fair trade to relieve the symptoms of generalized anxiety. But there’s much more to consider whether Xanax is the best option.

#10: Xanax Can Be Both an Antidote, and a Problem

Taking Xanax People with GAD want to enjoy life again. They want freedom from the creeping worries, the “adrenaline bleed” and the feelings of impending dread. This is perfectly reasonable considering these statistics about Xanax use in America:

  • 77% of Americans regularly experience the physical symptoms of stress.
  • 73% of Americans regularly experience the psychological symptoms of stress.
  • 33% of the American population lives with “extreme stress.”

So, if you’re experiencing extreme stress, you’re not alone. Plenty of people start taking Xanax during a stressful period of their lives, but they stop before the habit becomes an addiction.

But for others, the desire for temporary relief leads to long-term dependency. This is because, while Xanax “turns down the volume,” on GAD symptoms, it doesn’t eliminate the cause.

Instead, it slowly makes your body dependent on the drug, which is the first phase of addiction. The more dependent you become on Xanax, the further you get from learning to cope with the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

In a 2015 study, only 16% of American adults reported that their stress had decreased over the previous year.  Meanwhile, 48% of American adults reported an increase in stress symptoms.

Doctors across America write about 50 million prescriptions for the family of drugs (benzodiazepines, or “benzos”) to which Xanax belongs. Xanax is one of the top ten best-selling (prescription) drugs in America and the 5th most prescribed drug.

Xanax prescriptions have also increased since 2008-averaging about a 9% increase every year. All these statistics reveal two important things about Xanax use in America:

  1. Xanax is becoming more popular.
  2. Stress is becoming more common.

This suggests that Xanax is not the long-term answer to treating America’s growing epidemic of stress and anxiety. But that’s not all.

#9: Xanax Use Has Been Linked to Depression Symptoms

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults (18 or over) in the United States. That’s 18.1% of the population, making anxiety the most common mental health issue in North America.

What most people don’t know is that nearly half those diagnosed with anxiety disorders are also diagnosed with depression. Xanax is a tranquilizer. On the streets, it would be called a “downer.”

It doesn’t take a medical degree to figure out that downers are the last thing a depressed person needs. Of course, you might be one of the 10% of Americans who suffer from anxiety, but not from depression.

But we’ll explain later how taking Xanax over a long enough time period could change that. For now, you should know that 33% of long-term Xanax users report an increase in depression-like symptoms.

#8: Xanax is Highly Addictive

Alprazolam, a member of the benzodiazepines drug family, is the generic name for Xanax.

Like other benzodiazepines, alprazolam calms your brain and central nervous system by enhancing the effect of a naturally occurring neurotransmitter called “GABA” (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid).

Your body releases GABA to calm you when you’re anxious. GABA then binds to receptors, which transmit a “message” to your central nervous system, sending a wave of calm throughout your body.

The problem is, if your GABA receptors are overloaded, they become less sensitive to these “chill out” messages. This means, your brain has to send more GABA neurotransmitters to get the same message across to the rest of your body.

To put this into perspective, imagine trying to shout instructions at a group of people. Every time you shout for new instructions, the people lose a little bit of their hearing. You have to shout louder, and louder, and louder until you can’t shout any louder.

This is essentially what benzodiazepine addiction does to your brain and nervous system. The more Xanax you take, the more you have to take. This is why people who start taking just a few Xanax a day eventually find themselves swallowing them like tic tacs.

#7: Xanax Addiction Literally Rewires Your Brain

Modern neuroscientists have discovered that your brain can “rewire” itself in response to your behaviors and your environment.

Norman Doidge, M.D. (author of “The Brain that Changes Itself”), writes about stroke patients who regained their power of speech and a woman with literally half a brain who lived a perfectly normal life.

How is this possible? Because the neural networks in your brain are not static. They can reorganize themselves to compensate for brain function lost through injury or disease.

This is called “neuroplasticity,” and the brain can perform this function at any stage of life. But, when it comes to addiction, neuroplasticity has a dark side.

To paraphrase a statement from a 2012 addiction study conducted at the Centre for Neuroscience Research at the University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia:

“Addiction is a long-term and recurring brain disorder where compulsive patterns of drug use and drug seeking eclipse other activities. As the behavior goes from casual to compulsive, the potential for relapse is underpinned by neuroadaptations in brain circuitry, similar to those at work during long-term memory formation.”

In other words, drug addiction “programs” your brain for dependency. While the brain can heal by reprograming itself, it takes time, energy and proper conditioning.

People who go to rehab have a fighting chance at making this change. But, since 95% of people who need specialty substance abuse treatment don’t get it, it’s easy to see why so many people become slaves to addiction.

Thankfully, there is a way out of this tangled web of dependency. But it takes more than willpower. We’ll talk about that later.

#6: Xanax Abuse Can Lead to Other Types of Drug Abuse

By now, you know that addiction changes your brain and its interaction with your nervous system. But if your neuro-receptors are “numbed” to one neurotransmitter (such as GABA), you can still get a similar effect by switching to a different drug.

Many of the people who come to us for Xanax addiction treatment are combining it with alcohol or other illicit drugs. Also, since Xanax users report an increase in depression symptoms, some of them use stimulants to treat the depression.

In fact, 86% of people who seek assistance for Xanax problems admit to taking Xanax as a secondary drug. Again, this is because addiction changes your brain’s wiring.

Once these changes happen, addiction becomes less about one particular drug and more about the general use of mood-modifying chemicals.

#5: Taking Xanax Puts Others in Your Life at Risk

About one in twelve high-school seniors self-report to having abused Xanax at some point. Seven out of ten of them admit to getting the pills from their parents’ medicine cabinet.

The same sources reported that half of these teens believe that using prescription drugs for recreation is safer than using illegal drugs. But again, addiction changes your brain in a way that makes you highly vulnerable to other types of drug abuse, including illegal drugs.

In 2009, sixteen million Americans over the age of twelve admitted having used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Nearly half of teens who take Xanax will take it with at least one other drug.

So, if you’re a parent taking Xanax, it’s worth considering whether your teen will become one of these statistics.

#4: Xanax Withdrawal is Physically and Emotionally Stressful

An addict who decides to quit has no choice but to go through withdrawal. Sometimes, the fear and dread of withdrawal is so severe, it stops the addict from getting help.

Friends or family members who call our addiction intervention specialists understand this. They see their loved ones trying to quit, or cut back, only to be beaten into submission by the physical and emotional stress of withdrawal.

Thankfully, Xanax withdrawal is temporary, and there is freedom on the other side. But Xanax detoxification should happen under intense medical supervision.

It’s also best followed up by an intensive drug rehab program to ensure long-term success. But if you, or someone you love, is headed towards Xanax addiction, it’s important to know that Xanax withdrawal can be more stressful than the anxiety it’s supposed to treat.

#3: Xanax Addiction Can Erode Your Relationships

The average person with a Xanax addiction will take between 20 and 30 pills a day. The more Xanax you take, the more likely people are to get worried. If they think you’re losing control, they’ll try to either distance themselves or to help.

In many cases, people who want to help can be the hardest people to deal with. If you have any experience with addiction, you’ve probably heard them say things like:

  • “Why don’t you just stop?”
  • “you’re going to kill yourself.”
  • “You can stop if you really want to.”

If you’re suffering from anxiety and/or depression, you don’t want to be around people who make you feel worse. This is why addicts often distance themselves even from the people who are just trying to help.

People who suffer from depression and anxiety have less frequent social interactions. Considering how hard it is for non-addicts to understand addiction, it’s easy to see why. Addicts also retreat from relationships due to feelings of shame or inadequacy.

#2: Benzodiazepine Related Deaths Are On the Rise in America

Every day, about 115 Americans die from overdosing on opioids. Over 30% of these overdoses involve benzodiazepines. But that’s not all.

Since 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported a consistent rise in opioid deaths involving benzodiazepines.

In 1999, the average death count ranged between 5,000 and 10,000. By 2015, that number had exploded to between 30,000 and 35,000. Other commonly abused benzodiazepines include Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam).

Between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults fulfilling these benzodiazepine prescriptions increased from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. That’s a 67% increase.

Benzodiazepine purchase sizes are also on the rise. The average (out of 100,000 adults) quantity of benzodiazepine obtained has risen from 1.1 kg to 3.6 kg lorazepam-equivalents.

In 2016, the CDC issued new guidelines for opioid prescription in an attempt to slow the rising death toll. The guidelines recommend clinicians to avoid prescribing benzodiazepines along with opioids.

The FDA also issued a “black box” warning to warn of the dangers of using opioids and benzodiazepine together.

However, this growing trend of Xanax addiction and regulatory pressure has also created a black market for Xanax. Underground Xanax dealers sell pills for $1 and $10 a piece (depending on dose size).

This trend has turned Xanax addiction into an expensive habit and Xanax addicts into criminals.

#1: Good News: Xanax Addiction is Treatable

How do you know if your Xanax habit has become an addiction?

The World Health Organization (ICD-10) and the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV), has set six qualification standards for answering that question:

  1. Withdrawal: physical and/or emotional.
  2. Limited control: regrets about dosage size or frequency.
  3. Lifestyle consequences: negative impact on your relationships, career or physical health.
  4. Neglect of activities: putting off or neglecting social, career or recreational activities.
  5. Wasted time and/or energy: excessive time spent hiding or indulging the habit.
  6. The desire to stop: multiple failed attempts to quit or cut back.

If you, or someone you love, meets three or more of these qualifications, it’s time to get help. The good news is that a personalized Xanax addiction treatment plan can be very successful.

The problem is, only one out of ten addicts actually get help. You can make a choice today to escape this grim statistic and find freedom.

Stop Taking Xanax and Start Your Recovery Today

Xanax isn’t the only alternative for treating stress and anxiety. In fact, 90% of patients who take Xanax alternatives claim to do just as well as those taking Xanax.

This is good news. And the sooner you get into a personalized and professional treatment plan, the sooner you can be free of Xanax addiction.

Just call us or fill in our contact form to get started right now.  Our benzodiazepine addiction treatment programs typically start with drug detoxification, followed by intensive inpatient or outpatient rehab programs.  Talking to an intervention specialist is the first step to discovering which program is best for you.

Isn’t it time to break the cycle? Contact us right now, and let’s put you on the road to recovery.

heroin withdrawal symptoms

All About the Heroin Comedown: Withdrawal Symptoms to Recognize

The DEA released a 164-page report on the opioid crisis in 2018 that indicated that prescription drugs and heroin, in particular, were responsible for the most drug-related deaths since 2001 reports USA Today. But at the same time, data contributed to that report by the CDC noted that the years 2017 and 2018 were starting to see a decline in numbers of heroin-related deaths. It’s likely that is due to the fact that more and more people are getting help for their heroin and opioid addiction. Avoid becoming part of the grisly side of those statistics, by learning everything you need to know about the heroin comedown and heroin addiction recovery.

Just because the number of heroin-related deaths may be declining, that doesn’t mean that heroin is no longer a problem. We know that heroin is a quick acting drug, a fast-acting addiction, and a problem with a very long recovery period. that is the opioid crisis.

The Opioid Crisis

The term opioid crisis is on the news almost every single day, and the drug heroin is a very big part of that problem. Today heroin is being mixed with a number of other drugs as well, such as fentanyl. This is contributing to the opioid crisis and leading to more heroin-related overdoses.

While heroin-deaths may be on the decline, heroin issues are still showing up in today’s emergency rooms every single day. The CDC reports that in 2016, nearly 948 thousand Americans admitted to using heroin, which is approximately 0.4 heroin users per 100 Americans.

In the year 2015, 81,326 emergency department visits occurred for poisonings related to heroin. That’s 222 visits a day due to heroin in emergency rooms across the country.

While deaths may be declining, heroin poisoning is still a very big problem.
What happens after those emergency room visits? The heroin comedown.

Heroin addiction is a multi-pronged problem and a large component of the opioid crisis. Addiction happens in one minute, but the recovery is a prolonged process that begins with the heroin comedown.

The heroin comedown and the withdrawal symptoms associated with that may be difficult to recognize.

Why is Heroin so Addictive?

Heroin is so addictive because of its properties and its chemical makeup, and because of the effects on the body that those properties create.

Most people of adult age have heard of the word “heroin.” But many don’t know how complex the heroin problem is. It’s a complex drug that launches a complex and multi-billion-dollar problem in the United States.

The drug is an opioid that is made from the medication known as morphine. Morphine is a drug that comes from the pods of poppy plants.

Those pods from the poppy seeds are then used to create heroin. It’s a powder substance that can be white, brown or black.

It’s sometimes seen as a black sticky substance that is tar-like. It can be known by a number of names such as smack, hell dust, big H, or horse, among many other names.

Because it is an opioid, it creates an almost instant-like pleasure inducing experience in the brain. It reaches the brain rapidly once it is consumed, and binds to receptors in the brain that create instant pleasure.

This “high” is what heroin users are chasing. The pleasure centers in the brain activate a dopamine surge, and it’s almost an instant addiction.

The manner in which the brain absorbs the drug is why it is so addictive. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that heroin use is more common than prescription opioid use in recent years, due to the fact that it is lower in cost and easier to obtain.

That and the manner in why heroin is so addictive is why heroin is such a big part of the opioid crisis. Understanding the risk factors and the heroin comedown is the biggest component in recovery and coming out the other side.

Risk Factors for Heroin Addiction

The CDC reports that prescription drug use is the strongest factor that leads to heroin use, but there are other risk factors. Widespread exposure to prescription opioids is leading to widespread exposure to heroin, once prescription drug users leave that drug of choice to chase a more affordable high.

The CDC reports that nine out of 10 Americans that used heroin in 2013 had a history with prescription drugs, or had at least been treated with one other medication.

Prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and Vicodin are among the medications that are reported to be the most dangerous gateway drugs to heroin. These medications are similar to heroin in their pleasure inducing effects.
Prescription opioids are a significant risk factor for heroin addiction.

The CDC notes that further risk factors are people between the ages of 18 and 25, white, live in urban centers, and making less than $20,000 a year. People addicted to alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine, are also exposing themselves to the risk factors for heroin addiction.

The Mayo Clinic also notes other risk factors. Those include a family history of addiction, mental health problems, peer pressure, disassociation with family, or a history of injecting other drugs.

Those who consume drugs at an early age are also exposing themselves to the risks associated with the gateway to heroin addiction. There are many risk factors that lead to this addiction, and these risk factors are indicating why heroin is more dangerous than it ever was before.

When someone presents at the hospital or emergency room with a heroin addiction, these risk factors can be identified. This is when the heroin comedown begins.

But we can help with addiction recovery by understanding the signs of heroin use, and prevent the emergency room visits in the first place.

Signs of Heroin Addiction

Signs of heroin addiction are similar to what other signs of any addiction include. They are behavioral and family and friends will generally notice changes in normal behavior.

Because heroin is so addictive, users need to take more and more once they start the habit. This is because they develop a tolerance to the initial dosage, and need higher amounts once they become hooked, which happens very quickly.

Once the brain becomes accustomed to it, it needs more to activate those pleasure centers. It is this tolerance that leads to the cravings for that high.

Once someone is addicted in this capacity, the behavior changes begin. The user will do anything to obtain heroin.

The Mayo Clinic notes that some signs of addiction include a preoccupation with needing the drug. They note that additional drug addiction symptoms include:

  • Being consumed with the need to get the drug, not thinking of anything else
  • Taking more amounts of it over longer periods of time
  • Ensuring you have a lot of the drug on hand
  • Spending money on the drug when you can’t afford it
  • Missing work or life responsibilities
  • Withdrawing from social or family responsibilities
  • Continuing to use it even though it is interfering in your life
  • Driving while using
  • Experiencing withdrawal when you stop using it, or, the heroin comedown
  • Physical problems such as weight loss or fatigue
  • Neglect of appearance or losing interest in grooming
  • Secrecy at home or work exaggerated changes with family entering the bedroom or being secretive about their social outings
  • Money problems

These signs of heroin addiction will come up in discussion during the heroin comedown.  Either inpatient or outpatient treatment for recovery will be required. For severe detox situations, what you’ll find in in-patient treatment will help with all of these problems.

Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

After the signs of heroin use appear and are identified, recovery is an important next step. When someone is coming down off of a heroin high, they will experience withdrawal signs and symptoms that are known as a heroin comedown.

Because heroin impacts the body in a physical way, the heroin withdrawal period is a physical one. This includes insomnia, anxiety, tearing of the eyes, aches of the muscles, yawning, sweating, agitation, and a runny nose. These are the early withdrawal signs after heroin use.

Later withdrawal symptoms are more severe and physical, notes the Mayo Clinic. Those include nausea, abdominal problems, diarrhea, dilated pupils, vomiting, and goosebumps.

The Mayo Clinic reports those symptoms can occur within 12 hours of the last heroin use. Users with some of these symptoms should not try to detox at home.

Because there are different levels of detoxification, recovery through the heroin comedown is safest in a clinical or hospital setting.

What is Heroin Comedown?

The American Addiction Center reports that heroin is a short-acting drug. The high is achieved quickly, but heroin also leaves the body quickly and as such, withdrawal symptoms will arrive quickly as well. This is the heroin comedown.

The American Addiction Center cites the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimations that those symptoms can arrive as soon as 6 hours after the last heroin use. They will peak within two or three days, lasting five to 10 days in total.

The American Addiction Center notes that detoxing in a medical setting is the safest way to detox from heroin, in order to avoid a heroin-related overdose death.

A medical detoxification usually starts before heroin is out of the system, and can take up to a week. For someone that is heavily addicted to heroin, it could last a little longer.

Medication can help with heroin comedown treatment, and all vital signs will be monitored. Heroin comedown symptoms will not be the same for everyone.

Factors that impact how long recovery will take include the following:

  • How long the drug was used
  • How long it was abused
  • How much was consumed regularly
  • History of mental illness
  • Previous opioid withdrawal

Heroin use induces a pleasure-like feeling, and heroin withdrawal induces the opposite.  When heroin is being used, euphoric feelings occur, with decreased heart rate and low moods.

Withdrawal symptoms might be the opposite, depending on how severe the addiction is. Problems with breathing may occur, cravings for the drug, rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure may occur, as well as muscle spasms. An inability to feel pleasure is also one of the heroin withdrawal symptoms.

Supporting the Heroin Comedown

The only way to prevent the heroin comedown is to avoid using the drug altogether. It is that dangerous. But withdrawal can be easier, and safer, with support. This support can come from family and friends, as well as the medical community.

Withdrawing from heroin is not necessarily dangerous in and of itself, but due to the number of physical symptoms that occur with a serious heroin withdrawal, recovery is best supported in a clinical setting. As well, there are some complications with a heroin comedown that could be life-threatening.

Heroin withdrawal is associated with depression that could lead to suicidal tendencies. Severe use should not ever be stopped without professional recovery support.

Heroin use activates dopamine in the brain which leads to pleasure feelings that are so high the addiction begins. When use is stopped suddenly, dopamine levels crash in the heroin comedown, and this leads to emotional changes with a sudden dopamine drop.

As such, treating heroin addiction in a safe support setting will be multi-pronged. Medical such as methadone or suboxone can be used to treat the addiction during the heroin comedown.

But mental health support is also recommended. There are different treatments and therapy options for heroin addiction.

Finding Heroin Addiction Support

It is not always possible to prevent a heroin addiction when someone finds a gateway to the drug. But preventing a heroin addiction is the most effective tool in fighting the opioid crisis. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence says that due to the billion-dollar costs of this problem, outreach and education are key in helping the public understand the warning signs of heroin addiction and signs of heroin use, and how to get support.

Addiction recovery support to avoid the heroin comedown is easy to find, and available in every state. If you or someone you love is in danger of finding themselves in heroin withdrawal, Addiction Treatment Services will help you to locate addiction recovery support by state.