Heroin Addiction Treatment

April 2, 2014

A woman sitting with her head against a window

Heroin is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs, but most people who use it don’t think about the inherent dangers, because drug use makes them feel better. However, when the drug’s short-term high wears off, users are likely to crash and seek more drugs to recreate the high. The problem is that, because heroin is so addictive, many people cannot stop using it. This means that heroin addicts who want to get clean need professional help both to stop using the drug and to avoid relapse.

Heroin Side Effects

Heroin is an opiate that depresses the nervous system to decrease pain. Users can inject, smoke or snort it, which leads to intense feelings of euphoria that can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), heroin abuse can also cause the following issues:

  • Gastro-intestinal problems, such as nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Physical dependence
  • Respiratory problems, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Infections from needle use
  • Death
Seek help to avoid these dangerous problems.

Heroin Abuse in the US

The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that almost 24 million Americans aged 12 years old and over abused some illegal drug in the previous month. Of these people, around 335,000 of them had used heroin, and roughly 669,000 people reported heroin abuse the previous year. Since heroin is so addictive, this survey suggests that thousands of people struggle with heroin addiction every year.

Heroin Addiction Treatment

When people realize they are heroin addicts, they should immediately seek help from a rehab center. Since heroin addiction is so strong and potentially life-threatening, users must quit using this substance in professional treatment. Usually, the first step of addiction treatment is detox, which has users get clean under medical supervision. This allows users to address their withdrawal symptoms in a safe and healthy way; this is vital for heroin addicts, as detox from this drug could be fatal in extreme cases. The next step of treatment is learning to stay clean. In the weeks following detox, some healthcare professionals address cravings by prescribing medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine. As the NIDA states, these two medications help users deal with heroin cravings without feel intoxicated.

Perhaps the most essential step in heroin addiction treatment is therapy. This type of treatment, which is often combined with the prescription medications listed above, can help users understand the reasons behind their drug use, which will help them manage cravings in the future. Many recovering addicts attend both individual and group therapy, as both forms offer unique help throughout treatment.

Find Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin addicts may think their situations are hopeless due to financial, social and health problems that resulted from drug abuse. However, help is available, and recovery is possible. If you or a loved one struggles with heroin addiction, call us today at 615-490-9376 for guidance on how we can help.

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