Heroin is an illegal narcotic drug derived from morphine. Morphine, a form of opium, occurs naturally in the seed pods of specific varieties of poppy, from which it is extracted. While morphine has therapeutic applications as an analgesic (painkiller) when administered by medical personnel, heroin is illegal, highly addictive and dangerous.
Heroin addiction is one of the most serious forms of drug addiction. In the early stages, people suffering from heroin addiction will report experiences of euphoria and relaxation while taking the drug. However, heroin addiction can occur very quickly because of the way that the drug works in the body. Withdrawal symptoms can be very painful and disturbing. One of the key symptoms of advanced heroin addiction in the total loss of interest in anything but obtaining the next “fix” whatever the cost physically, psychologically or socially.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to heroin, call Alcohol Treatment Centers Hoboken at (201) 620-9144.
Many people start out using heroin recreationally because of peer pressure, underlying mental health issues, or ignorance about the harmful effects of substance abuse. Others may begin by taking medically prescribed opiates but then develop an addiction.
Heroin use changes the way the brain functions, altering the balance of chemicals and neurotransmitters and causing a powerful physical dependence on the drug. With a proper medical detox and therapy program this can be remedied. If the addiction is not treated, then rapid deterioration of health, leading ultimately to death by respiratory collapse or heart failure, is a real danger.
Heroin addiction frequently leads to diminished responsibility as the search for the next dose overrides all other considerations. This can lead to loss of work, family, friends and health. Crimes statistics show that addicts in the advanced stages of heroin addiction may resort to criminal activities to support their habit.
Admission to a drug rehabilitation and treatment center is vital to effective recovery from heroin addiction. An initial residential stay while a full, supervised medical detoxification program, or “detox,” is carried out will be the first step. This will be followed by a consultation with medical staff to determine a personalized program of ongoing therapy to support recovery and help the addict to avoid relapse.
Several kinds of therapy may be offered, including various forms of psychotherapy, group therapy, individual counseling and occupational therapies such as art, music and restorative yoga or mindfulness meditation.
In addition to detox and supportive therapies, medication may also be prescribed to support the recovering addict through the physical and psychological discomforts associated with withdrawal and to address any underlying mental health issues coexistent with the addiction.
Treatments offered may include any of the following medications:
This is a drug which acts on the same receptors as heroin and so diminishes feelings of craving without causing the associated “high.”
This medication acts in a similar way to methadone, reducing cravings and anxiety but without any noticeable “high” or addictive qualities. It is useful for people who do not respond well to other treatments.
This medication can be taken orally or as a long-lasting injection by a trained member of the medical team. It works by neutralizing the effects of opiates, making the drug less attractive.
Withdrawal from heroin is potentially dangerous is carried out without medical supervision. To sustain long-term recovery, ongoing professional support is usually required.