Heroin addiction is a serious substance use disorder that is often characterized by intense psychological and physical dependence. Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid made using extracts from the poppy plant. While heroin is illegal, many other opioids are obtained legally when prescribed by a doctor. Regardless of how an individual obtains opioids, it is important to know that they are highly addictive and can lead to a severe addiction.
Opioids relieve pain by blocking or reducing the number of pain signals sent to the brain. They also cause the brain to release endorphins, causing the user to feel happy, euphoric, or high. These characteristics make heroin and other illicit opioids highly addictive.
If you or someone you love are struggling with a heroin addiction, it’s important to seek professional treatment as soon as possible. High Focus Centers offers holistic and evidence-based substance use treatment programs in Connecticut, Georgia, New Jersey, and North Carolina.
Risk Factors of Heroin Addiction
Addiction to heroin and other substances can be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Known risk factors of drug addiction include:
It’s important to remember that having one or more of these risk factors does not mean someone will succumb to addiction. Studies and research indicate that a person may be at increased risk of developing a substance use problem if these risk factors are present.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 494,000 people in the United States reported using heroin in 2017. Heroin use in the United States has steadily increased due to the country’s opioid epidemic.
Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
Symptoms of heroin addiction can be physical, behavioral, or psychological. Here are some warning signs to look for:
Psychological and Behavioral
Similar to other drugs and substances, heroin can cause a myriad of long-term, negative health consequences. Chronic heroin use may result in:
It’s important to keep in mind that these health consequences are not a requirement for an opioid use disorder. Drug addiction can occur before these health consequences manifest.
Signs of Heroin Overdose
If you fear that someone has overdosed on heroin, it’s important to call 9-1-1 right away.
Drug overdose occurs when a person intakes more of a substance (or substances) than their body can handle. Every year, thousands of people in the United States die as a result of heroin overdose. Here are some signs to look for:
Withdrawal occurs when a person stops using heroin or other drugs, typically after heavy or regular use. A person in withdrawal may experience a number of unpleasant physical and mental reactions as their body tries to filter out the drug. Withdrawal symptoms usually increase in intensity over time until the process is complete.
Short-term heroin withdrawal symptoms (within first 24 hours) include:
Long-term heroin withdrawal symptoms (after 24 hours) include:
Treating Heroin Addiction
The effects of heroin withdrawal are intense. Some drug rehab providers, such as High Focus Centers, offer Medication Assisted Treatment to help individuals safely detox under medical supervision. This type of therapy uses approved medications such as Buprenorphine and Naltrexone to mitigate the effects of withdrawal while reducing cravings for the drug. MAT is shown to be most effective when combined with supplemental therapy and addiction counseling.
How High Focus Centers Can Help
In many cases, heroin addiction requires professional help to overcome. If you or someone you love are struggling with heroin use disorder, High Focus Centers is here to help. Our treatment staff takes a holistic, integrated approach that helps clients overcome drug addiction and achieve long-term wellness. Speak with a High Focus Centers treatment specialist today and start your journey to recovery.