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.

heroin treatment

A Comprehensive Guide to the Treatments for Heroin Use Disorder

Heroin use generally remains low, but its popularity continues to grow as people addicted to prescription opioids look for a more readily available alternative. Since 2007, the number of people who say they’ve used heroin in the past year or the past month has risen steadily.

Because of its new ties to prescription opioids, heroin no longer discriminates. Men and women, rich and poor, and urban and rural users are all increasing.

Fortunately, heroin is not a new drug. It has hundreds of years of history, and its understanding among scientists and the medical community mean that heroin users have more treatment options than users of drugs like meth.

Still, heroin devastates individuals, families, and communities. It increases the risk of HIV/AIDS as well as hepatitis B and C. Overdose deaths also continue to grow, and the medical consequences of chronic use include bacterial infections, collapsed veins, and abscesses.

Heroin treatment is available for those who need and want it. It includes a combination of psychological and pharmaceutical therapies designed to target the chilling effects of heroin.

Keep reading to learn more about the types of heroin addiction treatment available to you or your loved ones.

Types of Heroin Addiction Treatment

Like many forms of addiction, heroin treatment includes a psychosocial element that provides counseling, therapy, and behavioral changes. However, heroin users may also receive access to pharmacological therapies.

The two are used in combination to serve as a withdrawal method and long-term treatment plan with the ultimate goal of preventing relapse.

Psychosocial Heroin Treatments

Psychosocial treatments are used at both stages of heroin treatment: detoxification and maintenance treatment for opioid dependence.

Studies show that when treatment providers combine both the psychosocial and pharmacological elements, they have more tools for helping users through the initial detoxification phase and preventing chronic relapse.

The four treatments most commonly studied are:

  • Contingency management
  • Community reinforcement
  • Psychotherapeutic counseling
  • Family therapy

Therapists use all four routinely in addiction treatment and the treatment of substance abuse.

Contingency Management

Contingency management (CM) is a behavioral therapy that offers rewards to encourage positive or desired behaviors. It may also use disciplinary actions to handle or prevent undesirable behavior.

Therapists use CM for substance abuse disorders and issues with impulsive behaviors.

The theory suggests that when you reward desirable behaviors, then the subject is more likely to not only continue the action but do so at an increased frequency and over a more extended period. The opposite is true of punished behaviors.

CM also uses a no reinforcement policy to ignore behaviors that aren’t undesirable but aren’t worthy of punishment. Those behaviors, too, should eventually disappear.

Why does CM work in heroin addiction treatment? It tackles the social, biological, and environmental indicators of abuse and gives the patient a tool to manage them.

Community Reinforcement

The Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) is traditionally used among alcohol use disorders. Today, therapists use it to treat abuse and addiction across the spectrum.

CRA helps people rearrange their lives so that living without drugs looks and becomes more rewarding than a life using drugs and alcohol.

During the practice, therapists encourage patients to increasingly engage in enjoyable social activities away from substances. They also receive encouragement to work on their communities of family, friends, and co-workers.

CRA includes two branches including one for adolescents and one for families who want to encourage their loved ones into treatment.

Psychotherapeutic Counseling

A simpler term for psychotherapeutic counseling is talk therapy. Therapists use it across the board for everything from depression to severe mental illness to substance abuse.

The process allows the patient to build a therapeutic relationship with a psychologist. The psychologist, in turn, gets to know the patient and helps identify things like:

  • Comorbid disorders
  • Personality characteristics
  • Unhealthy coping mechanisms
  • Learning disabilities

Psychotherapeutic counseling may begin during the client’s detox phase. This form of counseling is often mandatory, and it does not differ significantly from psychotherapeutic uses in the wider population.

Facilities use psychotherapeutic counseling as a tool to help patients through the detox phase. Research finds that using it during the three-week period helps more patients enter a long-term treatment once their detox is complete.

The goal of talk therapy is to start to resolve some of the problems related to and underlying substance abuse. By approaching these problems, the patient will begin a path of understanding so that they can build both psychological and social tools for resilience. These tools then help them tackle the everyday challenges that come with heroin abuse.

Family Therapy

Family behavior therapy (FBT) is a vital part of treatment for many patients. It has shown to be useful for both adults and adolescents. Like psychotherapy, it aims to deal not only with the substance issue but with co-occurring problems.

FBT doesn’t require the entire extended family. Instead, it typically occurs with a cohabitating partner. For adolescents, FBT usually takes place with one or both parents.

The goal of FBT is to use two people in the behavioral contract for greater success.

For example, parents of an adolescent with a substance abuse disorder may learn goal setting skills that promote positive parenting. Then, the following session includes a review of the goals and the rewards

Pharmacological Heroin Treatments

Pharmacological treatment is the use of medication to help heroin and opioid users kick their habits as safely as possible.

The medication works to help users get through the first and one of the most painful phases of treatment: withdrawal.

Opiate Substitution Therapy

Because withdrawal can be dangerous, some organizations use opiate substitution therapy.

Opiate substitution therapy offers users an alternative to heroin in the form of a legally prescribed opioid taken in a supervised clinical setting. The two most common substitutes include methadone and buprenorphine.

Organizations may use the therapy for several reduces including reducing the risk of death from overdose and reducing illicit opiate use generally. An opiate substitution program may attract users who would otherwise avoid health services or interventions.

Using methadone or buprenorphine doesn’t mean that the patient won’t go through withdrawal. The symptoms of withdrawal largely remain the same, but they may be milder in severity. At the same time, methadone, in particular, takes longer to exit the body than heroin does so that withdrawal may take as long as six weeks.

What Is Heroin Withdrawal Like?

To grasp why both the psychosocial and pharmacological treatments work together so well, it’s essential to get to grips with heroin withdrawal.

Heroin withdrawal may or may not be the first step to recovery. Users may move from the withdrawal/detoxification phase into long-term recovery, or they may relapse.

Withdrawal is both a painful and sometimes fatal experience that requires regular monitoring and often medication. Opioid withdrawal syndrome acts like the flu in the sense that it feels severe to those suffering it but may be mild regarding a threat to life.

When a person goes through opioid withdrawal syndrome, they may experience symptoms like:

  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Dysphoria
  • Pupillary dilation
  • Piloerection

Two particular signs pose a problem for those going through this phase: vomiting and diarrhea.

These two symptoms work together to lead to dehydration when left untreated. They also contribute to hypernatremia, which is an elevated blood sodium level. The combination may result in heart failure, which then becomes fatal.

Opioid withdrawal deaths aren’t part and parcel with recovery. All these deaths are preventable when the patient has access to proper supervision and healthcare.

These deaths are preventable and needless, but the likelihood of death is still high. Because of this, those caring for opioid users who do not provide adequate care for the withdrawal phase may be seen to be violating their human rights.

Several people who passed away as a result of a preventable withdrawal death were at the center of court cases in the United States and Europe. Lawyers successfully argued that the facilities in charge of their care – typically jails and prisons – breached their duty of care in all such cases.

Drugs Used to Ease Withdrawal

Stopping opioid use in one fell swoop is no longer the recommended course of action. Instead, the method of tapering and substituting with drugs like methadone and buprenorphine is now a more common practice.

These drugs may be used to help calm the symptoms of withdrawal and kick the cravings that people experience during those time.

In this way, substitute therapy is often likely intertwined with detoxing and withdrawal.

You might find that a person going through opioid therapy may continue to use methadone or another prescribed drug over the long-term. Research shows that the best success occurs when patients take on plans that include both pharmacological interventions and psychosocial remedies.

Unfortunately, even though opioid users have more treatment options than other drugs, like methamphetamine, none of the current treatments cure addiction.

That’s why the psychosocial element is so crucial in withdrawal. Using substitutes helps the user move away from heroin. Counseling and therapy help them take control of their lives and build up tools and resources to eventually kick the alternative.

Treating a Heroin Overdose

A heroin overdose is a dangerous syndrome that can result in death. Heroin-related deaths grew by a scale of five between the years 2010 and 2016 alone. In 2016 alone, nearly 15,5000 people died from heroin-related overdoses.

Reversing a heroin overdose with medical help is possible. Emergency medical practitioners can provide Naloxone to help eliminate signs of intoxication and reverse the overdose.

Naloxone works to bind to opioid recepts, which prevents activation.

It is possible to use naloxone even if you are not a medical professional. The FDA approved a nasal spray in 2015 than anyone can use to stimy an overdose while you wait for medical help.

The same treatments are used in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities if a person is found to be suffering an overdose.

An overdose may lead to further treatment including detoxification and long-term therapy to overcome opioid addiction. However, not all those who survive an overdose make a choice to enter treatment.

Can I Compel Someone into Heroin Treatment?

Heroin use scares families, and it should. It is a dangerous drug with a high potential for abuse and a growing related-death rate. However, because it is so addictive, it is difficult for heroin abusers to seek help on their own.

Even in the case of an overdose, a person may find it physically more comfortable to go back to using than to go through the detoxification process.

The question many families ask is whether it is possible to force someone into treatment.

The legal answer to that question depends on your state of residence. Some states allow concerned families members to seek a court order to compel a person into rehab under certain conditions.

However, the most success comes from supporting a person’s decision to go on their own rather than forcibly admitting them.

Help Your Loved One Through Treatment

For many, the addiction to heroin is as much physiological as it is psychological and social. Many drug users find that they have environmental, behavioral, and psychological indicators that contribute to their drug use.

Engaging in your loved one’s treatment and supporting your role in it may be essential to the process in some cases.

As their spouse or parent, it may mean participating in therapy with them and creating a safe space that helps everyone focus on their ideal behaviors. It may also mean encouraging new hobbies and holding them accountable.

Although you play an active role in their recovery, remember that you need support, too. Make time for yourself and seek support groups to reach out to people in a similar situation.

Are you concerned about someone you love? Maybe it’s time to seek help. Contact us today to learn more about heroin treatment and recovery services.

heroin addiction treatment

The Advantages of Heroin Treatment for Drug Users

There’s no doubt that we are in the midst of a devastating opioid epidemic. In 2017 alone, 72,000 people died from a drug overdose.

If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin addiction, it’s normal to feel helpless, scared, or confused. It’s also normal to question whether or not sobriety is possible.

Heroin addiction treatment can provide the relief and solutions you need to get your life back on track.

Let’s get into everything you need to know.

What Are The Signs Of Heroin Addiction?

Addiction is not always apparent. In fact, it can be subtle and insidious. Many people struggling with drug problems lie or hide their habits to appear ‘normal’ to the outside world.

With that said, heroin can be incredibly addictive. Typical signs of addiction include:

  • Increased tolerance to heroin (needing to use more to achieve the desired effect)
  • Presence of withdrawal symptoms when attempting to abstain from heroin or other opioids
  • Spending a great deal of time and energy trying to obtain drugs
  • Using heroin despite its interference with other obligations (school, work, relationships)
  • Using heroin despite wanting to cut back or quit
  • Using heroin in hazardous conditions (for example, when driving)

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease. That means it is not merely a phase, and it does not necessarily get better on its own.

If you suspect a loved one may be struggling with heroin addiction, there are a few telltale symptoms to consider.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When an individual stops using heroin, he or she experiences withdrawal symptoms. This can range from moderately uncomfortable to highly distressing depending on the frequency and intensity of drug use.

Your loved one may complain about muscle aches, pains, or burning sensations. You may hear them say they feel like they’re “crawling out of their skin”.

Withdrawal symptoms can also look like the ordinary flu. Your loved one may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and goosebumps.

Signs of Physical IV Drug Use

If your loved one uses heroin intravenously, you may notice physical signs around the injection sites. These can include scars, bruises, scabs, and fresh needle marks.

Many users start injecting in their arm veins, but over time, people will use any vein they can.

Signs of Drug Paraphernalia

Drug injection paraphernalia can include:

  • Lighters
  • Syringes or needles
  • Cotton balls
  • Burnt spoons
  • Belt or rubber tube (used as a tourniquet)

Smoking or snorting paraphernalia can consist of:

  • Burnt aluminum foil
  • Soda straws
  • Pipes
  • Rolled dollar bills
  • Razor blades
  • Powdery residue on a hard surface
  • Hollowed-out pens

You may also spot small, individual baggies, balloons, or foil squares–all of which can be used to transport and store heroin.

Why Not Stop Cold Turkey?

Quitting heroin cold-turkey can be incredibly dangerous. While stopping heroin use is not inherently life-threatening, medical complications can arise.

For example, if you were using other drugs, such as benzodiazepines or alcohol, a sudden detox can result in seizures, which can result in death.

Furthermore, detox is physically unpleasant. Some people describe it as one of the worst sensations in the world. Therefore, tackling this challenge alone may be nearly impossible.

Many people have great intentions to stop heroin use. After a few days of feeling the sickness associated with withdrawal, they often succumb to intense cravings. A vicious cycle of relapse occurs.

For these reasons, most professionals recommend admitting into a professionally monitored detox facility to enter the first stage of recovery successfully.

In a detox facility, individuals receive 24/7 support, monitoring, and evaluation during the intoxication and withdrawal process. They will also receive the encouragement to enter into a long-term treatment program.

What Are The Goals of Heroin Addiction Treatment?

Recovery can be a long and arduous journey. It may be one of the hardest experiences you face in your entire life.

The goals of heroin addiction treatment are to help you:

  • Obtain medical and psychological stability
  • Increase awareness of your addiction and risky patterns
  • Develop a sober support system
  • Learn coping tools to manage difficult cravings and life stressors
  • Reintegrate back into society as a functioning member
  • Feel empowered over staying sober

While all addiction centers have different rules and policies, treatment is designed to help individuals restore their livelihood.

Most treatment centers follow specified schedules offering a variety of therapies and groups. These may include:

  • Relapse prevention classes
  • Life skills (money management, legal issues)
  • Trauma-based therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Yoga and meditation
  • 12-Step meetings
  • Psychoeducational groups
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Nutrition and fitness
  • Specialized therapies (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy).

In these groups and therapies, you will learn to discuss your problems, develop healthy solutions, and create positive relationships with your peers.

You will typically have a treatment team that consists of a case manager, therapist, medical doctor, and one or more substance use counselors.

Each of these individuals will work together to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Together, you will all create a comprehensive recovery plan that will improve your chances of success.

Being Removed From Your Familiar Environment

One of the greatest advantages of attending treatment is the exclusive focus on you and your life. That’s why many people benefit from participating in a treatment program away from their homes.

This is not a punishment. Instead, it’s an opportunity to truly focus on yourself and your recovery without the distractions looming at home. After all, it’s hard to pay attention when you feel distracted by work needs, family, or running into your old dealer.

Developing A Sober Network

Creating a strong sense of community is one of the best advantages of treatment. Many people struggling with addiction feel alone and disconnected from the rest of society. They may feel ashamed or humiliated by their use, and they often feel like they are undeserving of quality relationships.

Proper treatment can squash this myth. You’ll be surrounded by people who get it. In even just a short amount of time, it’s possible to create powerful friendships with your peers.

Introspection and Reflection

In treatment, you will learn tremendously about yourself and your relationships with others. You will learn how and why you have used heroin to cope with life stressors, and you will learn about how to manage your emotions more productively.

Quitting the drug itself is often not enough to stay sober. You need to understand your triggers and your stressors. You need to be able to create a reasonable plan for the future to decrease your risk for a relapse.

Support For Co-Occurring Disorders

7.9 million Americans have a co-occurring disorder. Co-occurring disorders refer to the presence of both a substance use disorder and another mental illness, such as depression or anxiety.

When getting sober, you may struggle with increased mental health symptoms. You may feel more depressed or anxious. You may struggle to cope with the suppressed trauma that you’ve been numbing for years.

Most treatment centers provide on-site medical and psychological support for co-occurring disorders. This can include specific therapies or prescribed medications for mood management. It may also include additional treatment planning with mental health concerns in mind.

After all, if you only target the addiction without addressing other symptoms, you risk the chance for relapse.

Improving Self-Esteem

Completing a treatment program feels incredibly rewarding. Being able to prove to yourself or others that you can stay sober feels terrific.

It’s tough to feel motivated to attempt sobriety when you don’t have good self-esteem. Paradoxically, most people struggling with addiction also struggle with self-esteem.

Treatment provides you with the coping skills, affirmations, and validation you need to see yourself in a better light. Being able to know that you are worth it can make a profound difference in how you live your life.

What About Long-Term Aftercare?

Treatment is only the first step in sobriety. Completing a program doesn’t mean the work is over. In fact, for most people, treatment is the easiest part of staying sober.

Professionals recommend long-term aftercare following treatment completion. This may include a step-down in care, such as transitioning into a lower level of treatment. It may also include moving into a sober living environment.

On a long-term basis, aftercare may include support group attendance and individual therapy. It may include attending weekly yoga classes or committing to praying every morning.

Recovery is something that people work on throughout their lives. Everybody needs to determine what will work best for them. Additionally, it’s normal to make modifications regarding aftercare along the way.

While there is no cure for addiction, there is management, and learning these skills can bring you the happiness and relief you deserve.

What If Relapse Occurs?

Relapse can occur during and after treatment. Some argue that relapse is a necessary part of recovery, that it’s just a routine step in the process.

For heroin addiction, relapse can be severe and life-threatening. Many individuals revert to using the same amount they did before entering treatment. However, because their tolerance has decreased, they face a higher risk for an overdose.

If relapse does occur, it’s essential to reach out for support as soon as possible. Entering back into a safe detox will usually be the safest bet.

If you relapsed, it is crucial to be kind to yourself. Your addiction does not make you a failure. Furthermore, trying again and asking for help is one of the bravest steps you can take.

If your loved one relapsed, it’s vital that you establish the boundaries you want to set. For example, you may not want this person living in your home. You may not want to provide him with money.

Boundaries help you maintain your sense of peace during this difficult time. They are not meant to punish your loved one. Instead, they are meant to promote recovery and help you preserve your emotional needs.

How Do You Convince Someone To Seek Treatment?

It’s devastating to watch addiction destroy the life of someone you love. You may feel angry, confused, or powerless to the situation.

Pleading often doesn’t work. Neither does begging, shaming, or guilt-tripping. In fact, these well-intentioned communication skills often backfire.

If you’re planning to talk for the first time, do it in a safe and controlled manner. Do not attempt to speak to your loved one if he or she is under the influence. Do not put yourself in a physically unsafe situation.

Instead, it’s essential that you voice your concerns in a safe and non-judgmental manner. Consider approaching your loved one with empathy. Let them know that you know they are struggling and that it must be very hard.

Ask questions and maintain a curious stance. Use ‘I-statements’ to verbalize how you feel. Keep a calm and even-keeled tone, even if they don’t.

You should prepare yourself mentally for your loved one to have an adverse reaction. You should prepare for lashing back. Defensiveness and denial go hand-in-hand with addiction.

At that point, you may need to consider staging an intervention. This typically requires gathering everyone into the same room to discuss how the individual’s addiction has impacted each of them.

If you choose to use an interventionist or stage an intervention, you need to be prepared to uphold your boundaries.

Final Thoughts

Seeking heroin addiction treatment can be a profound decision that changes your life. If you or a loved one are struggling, help and relief are available. You can live a meaningful and enjoyable life in sobriety.

Ready to take the next step in locating the best treatment? Contact our addiction intervention specialists today. We are here for you every step of the way.