Heroin addiction is sweeping the nation at an alarming rate. Heroin addiction can begin after the use of other illegal drugs, but it can also begin through the use of doctor-prescribed opioid painkillers.1 As prescription painkillers become increasingly difficult to find, heroin has regained its foothold in American culture, suburban homes, and urban neighborhoods.
“People wonder how addicts end up on heroin. The truth is that it doesn’t usually start with heroin– it starts with pain pills and when you can’t afford them anymore, then you turn to heroin. I spent so much money that I even sold things to the pawnshop, and that is not the woman that I am. …My life is very different now. I look at everything so differently now. Everything is just brighter and happier. I want to go places and be in the moment and meet people. Those are all things that were hard for me before.”–Pamela K., Heroes In Recovery
Heroin is a powerful and deadly drug. Like other opioid use disorders, heroin addiction takes a strong toll on individuals and their families. Lasting recovery is a challenging goal because this drug is so potent, but heroin recovery IS possible, and it becomes much easier with proper support.
Heroin abuse can cause a number of problems, including:
- Lowered self-esteem
- Risk of HIV and other communicable diseases
- Damaged teeth, gum pain, and tooth loss
- Memory and thought problems
- Exposure to traumatic experiences
- Digestive distress and malnutrition
- Inability to fulfill employment or school obligations
- Anxiety over how to obtain drugs
- Financial strain and anxiety
- Intense mood swings, plus anger or frustration that is difficult to control
- Distress over failed or lost relationships
- Guilt over failure to perform normal responsibilities
Heroin addiction causes mental distress. You will not be able to think and reason while addicted to heroin the way you could when you were clean.
The following symptoms are the behavioral changes that a person with heroin addiction manifests, showing how far their mental outlook has fallen:
- Lying and acting deceptively
- Paying little or no attention to appearance and personal hygiene
- Loss of motivation to reach goals
- Stealing or repeatedly borrowing with no ability to give back
- Acting “outofcharacter”,irrationally,orimpulsively
- Isolating or seeking out new social groups that do not seem healthy
Types of Heroin Treatment
Addiction is a brain disorder, and although perhaps a few bad decisions led to heroin use, addiction itself is not a decision. Medical treatment is necessary to get over addiction, so do not be misled by thinking that if you pass through the detox process you will no longer be addicted to heroin. Many people choose inpatient or outpatient treatment after the initial detox phase is complete.
Inpatient care is a good option for those who have fallen victim to heroin addiction. One of the benefits of inpatient treatment is that this illegal drug will not be available or offered at any level during recovery. Rather, medical help can be provided, in a safe location, which will help the addicted person move through the withdrawal process of detoxification.
Outpatient care involves getting treatment for addiction through a series of appointments without actually staying overnight. Outpatient care means that you will have more personal responsibility to follow the instructions of your care program. It can be a wonderful follow-up program after inpatient treatment and before returning to normal working life. Many people choose to live in a supportive sober-living home while attending outpatient treatment.
Integrated Treatment for Heroin Addiction
Mental illness sometimes accompanies heroin addiction. Powerful opiates may trigger latent mental illnesses. In other words, if a person already has a family history of an illness like depression or bipolar disorder, the use of a powerful illegal drug may trigger that illness into action. In other situations, individuals become dependent on drugs or alcohol in an attempt to escape the pain of mental illness. Fortunately, integrated treatment is designed to address both of these issues in one dedicated location.
Physical changes happen with addiction. You might have experienced a change in your weight or heart health. Perhaps muscle strength has diminished or feels like it has diminished, which may give you a posture that makes you look to others like your arms and legs are heavy. There may be scars on your arms from needle injections, and even abscesses or infections that fester at the site where the drug enters your body. You may have felt the disorientation that comes with heroin abuse. Other common symptoms include shortness of breath and cycles of being hyper-alertness followed by sleepiness.2 While these physical symptoms may be alarming, many of them are fully treatable.
Help for Heroin Addiction
Both families and individuals are deeply impacted by heroin addiction. There is a danger of legal repercussions from illegal activity, which might involve loss of freedom, loss of job or family, and even custody issues and the loss of custody of children. Inpatient care is a small price to pay to avoid such a permanent and painful complication.
Take a moment to speak with one of our experienced recovery professionals today at 269-280-4673. We can help you find the right treatment program to fit your needs, and even help you arrange for insurance coverage for treatment. Your life is worth it!
1 DrugFacts: Heroin. NIDA. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Jun 2017. Accessed 21 Jul 2017.
2 Heroin. MedlinePlus. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 21 Jul 2017.