Heroin is one of the most widely abused and highly addictive drugs in the nation. Currently, more than 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol. About 1.5 million people are chronic heroin users. Chronic users are people who use the drug every day for an extended time such as several years. Heroin is an opiate drug, which means it affects the opioid receptors in the brain. The opioid receptors can cause feelings of wellness and euphoria if such a drug affects them. The euphoric and relaxed feelings are the reasons that many people become addicted to heroin.
How Heroin Habits Begin
Unlike with prescription medications, heroin exposure is never innocent. A high school friend or social friend may expose a person to heroin to share the experience with him or her. A curious person may ask an addicted boyfriend or girlfriend if he or she can try heroin to see what it feels like. In some criminal cases, one person may inject another person with heroin to force the individual to become hooked on the substance.
Usually, a person will become nauseous when he or she tries heroin for the first time. The person may even vomit from the initial effects of heroin. The second dose of heroin may produce euphoric and relaxed feelings without the feeling of nausea. The euphoria that comes from heroin is a powerfully addicting feeling. The person may feel as if he or she does not have a care in the world. The individual may feel so relaxed that he or she may start to fall asleep. All muscles in the person’s body will be completely relaxed as the person’s neurological system will be slow. Positive thoughts may flow through the person’s mind, and sexual desires may or may not heighten. The feeling that comes from heroin use may be extremely difficult to forsake.
When a person uses a drug every day, his or her body will eventually build up a tolerance for it. The person will need to consume more of the drug to become high. For example, a person may need two bags of heroin to feel high after he or she uses it for six months. The longer a person uses heroin, the more that person will need to use greater amounts of heroin. Eventually, a physical, psychological, and emotional dependence develops for the drug. The physical part of addiction is perhaps the worst aspect of the entire process as it includes painful withdrawal symptoms.
How Is Heroin Taken?
People commonly snort heroin through the nose, but they can use other methods of consuming heroin. People can cook heroin and place it inside of a syringe to inject into the veins. Injecting heroin accelerates the effects. Alternatively, people can smoke heroin. Smoking heroin may also have a faster effect on the mind and body than snorting heroin has. Injection is the most dangerous method of using heroin. Injecting is dangerous because of disease and overdose.
What Are the Symptoms of Heroin Abuse?
A family member or friend can usually tell if someone is using heroin by several symptoms. One common symptom is nodding. Nodding is when a person starts falling asleep while he or she is awake. Heroin has that effect on almost every person who uses it. A person who is addicted to heroin may become preoccupied with drug-seeking activities. He or she may miss school and work to conduct activities that will lead to additional heroin abuse. Additionally, the person may spend a majority of the day sleeping, and his or her appetite may decrease. The person could become withdrawn and suffer mood swings, as well.
What Are the Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal?
Heroin withdrawal can have physical, psychological and emotional symptoms. Emotional symptoms may include crying and yelling. Psychological symptoms may include depression, anxiety, rage and frequent dreams about the drugs. The physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal are highly unpleasant, which makes quitting extremely difficult. Some of the most common symptoms of heroin withdrawal are profuse sweating, diarrhea, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and flu-like symptoms. The addicted person may not be able to get out of bed without a dose of heroin. Withdrawal symptoms usually start within 48 hours after cessation of the drug.
Who Can Become Addicted to Heroin?
Heroin addiction can fall upon any person, but some people are more susceptible to addiction than others. For example, people who have suffered childhood abuse or adult abuse can easily become addicted to heroin. The heroin may make them temporarily forget the damages that they suffered throughout life. Persons with mental illnesses that affect their moods may be vulnerable to heroin addiction. For example, a person with depression may become addicted to using heroin to feel happier.
How to Get Help for Heroin Addiction
Thousands of organizations are available to help people who suffer from heroin addiction. The key is to get the addicted person to admit that he or she has a problem. That part of treatment is often easier said than done. Convincing the person to admit that he or she has a problem with heroin may take an intervention. An intervention is a special meeting between an addicted person and the members of his or her family. Some friends and co-workers may come, as well. All parties try to convince the addicted person seek help at an inpatient treatment facility.
An inpatient treatment facility is the best facility for heroin addiction because it provides the addicted person with a clean and safe environment where he or she can detoxify and obtain education about heroin addiction. In this type of program, addicts gain valuable skills training and will benefit from improved physical and emotional health. The person will have an opportunity to speak with a specialist about the causes of the addiction, as well. This part of treatment is crucial because a addict needs to understand the underlying reasons that contributed to their drug abuse before they can develop a workable plan for avoiding this behavior in the future. Furthermore, the addicted person can meet other people who have been affected by heroin and share tips and advice on staying clean. The members often form friendships, and they can help each other to avoid relapses.
Anyone interested in treatment for heroin addiction can begin by calling some of the facilities in their area and learn about the programs available. Another option is to call the number provided here, and one of our staff members will be available to offer assistance in choosing the best program for your, or your loved one’s needs.