Does Vitamin C Aid in Drug Detox and Addiction Treatment?

vitamin c

Drug abuse and addiction is a major health issue in America today. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.9 million adults needed substance abuse treatment; however, only 3.6 million adults received any treatment at all. These numbers indicate just how large the scale of the problem is, but the statistics fail to capture the causes of taking drugs and the and effects of using drugs. Addressing the root causes of addiction and treating the effects can help the individual user rebuild his or her life without substance abuse.

Why Do People Take Drugs?

There is not one simple answer to this question; different people begin abusing drugs for different reasons. However, there are a few main causes behind drug abuse:

  1. Genetics: people with a family history of substance abuse are at higher risk of substance abuse than others. This does not mean that children of addicts are doomed to a life of addiction, but they probably have a genetic predisposition toward addictive behaviors. If you are aware that you have a family history of drug or alcohol abuse, it may be wise to monitor your own behavior.
  2. Poverty: there is a demonstrated correlation between poverty and substance abuse. People who struggle financially often feel the stress of not having enough money, and may use substance abuse as a method of coping with that stress. Sadly, treatment options are limited for people with low incomes, making it less likely that they will recover. Once people become addicts, they often choose to spend their money on drugs or alcohol instead of paying their bills, leading them into further financial disarray.
  3. Trauma: Many studies have shown a connection between prior trauma and current substance abuse. Victims of physical or sexual assault may use substance abuse as a form of self-medication.
  4. Peer pressure: this can be overt, such as teenagers pressuring one another to try drugs or alcohol, knowing it is against the law, but it can take a more subtle form among adults. If a spouse or partner uses drugs or alcohol, that behavior can begin to seem normal to the sober spouse. He or she may begin using at a low level, thinking that it is harmless in comparison, but over time, that low level can develop into an addiction.

How Drugs Affect Your Life

Drug abuse and addiction have a profound and far-reaching impact on the life of the user. These effects can be biological, leading to malnutrition and damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, digestive system, and lungs. Sharing needles or engaging in risky sexual behavior can increase the risk of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Drug use damages a user’s social life, as they alienate friends and family by neglecting commitments, asking for money, and lying or stealing to fuel their use. Substance abuse can lead to financial ruin as users spend their money on drugs instead of paying bills, and users may lose their jobs for poor performance or failure to show up.

Can Vitamin C Help?

Over time, drug abuse may lead to malnutrition. The user may become malnourished because:

  • Drug use reduces the user’s appetite
  • He or she may choose to use drugs instead of eating
  • The body’s nutrition stores may be depleted trying to repair damage to the body

In some studies, it indicates that high-dose vitamin therapy can reverse vitamin deficiencies and improve long-term sobriety rates.

If you or someone you love struggles with substance abuse, call our toll-free number today. We can help you find the treatment approach that best suits your needs.

The 8 Steps America Is Taking to Battle the Opioid Crisis

opioid crisis

What are Opioids?

Opioids and opiates, also known as narcotics, are a class of drugs derived from the poppy plant. They include street drugs, such as heroin, and a variety of prescription painkillers, including:

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin)
  • Hydrocodone with acetaminophen
  • Oxycodone (such as Oxycontin)
  • Oxycodone with acetaminophen
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine

Prescription opioids require a prescription and carry a high potential for addiction, even when used as prescribed. Whether used illegally or with a prescription, all opioid drugs affect the brain in the same way. They work by binding to receptors in the brain and spinal cord to prevent the release of a chemical called GABA, which normally regulates dopamine production. When GABA is blocked, dopamine floods the brain. This combination blocks pain messages to the brain and produces a pleasurable high. Because opioids carry such a strong potential for habit formation, it is critical to take these drugs only when necessary and to follow the doctor’s instructions for timing and dosage.

The Opioid Crisis in America

In recent years, opioid abuse in America has skyrocketed. Since the year 2000, deaths from opioid overdose has tripled; in 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose, and more than 2 million Americans struggled with substance abuse disorders related to prescription painkillers. Clearly, this abuse requires a response as soon as possible in order to prevent more damaged lives and deaths. Here are eight proposed steps to curb this epidemic:

  1. Save lives by reducing deaths from overdose and infectious disease. Overdose deaths can be prevented by increasing the availability of naloxone, a medication that can prevent death in someone who has overdosed on opioids. Needle exchange programs can limit the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
  2. Treat, don’t arrest: allow addicts to ask law enforcement officers for opioid addiction help instead of repeatedly arresting offenders.
  3. Fund treatment: support Medicaid-funded treatment for opioid addiction recovery.
  4. Combat stigma: utilize public education campaigns to dispel myths and promote understanding about opioid addiction so that people will feel more comfortable admitting their problems and seeking treatment.
  5. Support medication-assisted treatment: replacing opioid use with the medically-monitored use of suboxone, methadone, or buprenorphine has been demonstrated to be an effective approach to opiate addiction recovery, yet fewer than one-third of conventional drug treatment centers in America utilize medication-assisted treatment. We should encourage this method of treatment by expanding its availability at federally-funded treatment centers, expanding Medicaid and Medicare coverage, and requiring staff training at federally-funded centers and Veterans Health Administration hospitals.
  6. Enforce mental health parity: strictly enforce the federal mental health parity laws that require insurers who cover behavioral health to offer the same benefits for mental health and addiction as they do for surgery or medical therapies. As many as 50-70% of people with substance abuse problems also suffer from mental health conditions such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
  7. Teach pain management: train doctors in the management of prescription opioids and misuse prevention; sadly, many addicts begin using prescription drugs legitimately but segue into abuse.
  8. Start prevention education at an early age: begin to educate children as young as seventh-grade, not just as to the risks of drug abuse, but with the decision-making skills for their teenage years and beyond.

Addiction Treatment and Recovery

While challenging, opioid addiction recovery is possible. Addicts must undergo the uncomfortable process of detox and withdrawal, which can be eased through the use of appropriate medications. With therapy and support, addicts can learn to navigate life without substance abuse. If you or someone you love struggles with opioid addiction, our trained staff can help. Call our toll-free number today.

Married to an Addicted: How to Know When It’s Time to Leave

drug addict

A marriage can be a beautiful and a rewarding union, and usually, it is. Typically, it is just that. Sometimes, however, things can come up that can create difficult issues and hardships within the marriage, and this is pretty normal. However, sometimes things can get really, really tricky within a marriage and the issues and the struggles that a marriage can face can be too much for it to bear. Certain things can come up in a marriage that can create difficulty and a hardship and a lot of struggles for people, and these can truly create a grueling and big problem situation for the marriage. Things can come up like adultery, serious financial problems, power struggles, and addiction.

A marriage can veritably be ruined by drug and alcohol addiction. When addiction comes into a marriage, people wonder, do drug addicts ever change? Well, as soon as they realize that drug addicts do not change unless they get into a rehab center that can help them kick their addiction habit, those spouses often then wonder how to end a relationship with an addict. Having a drug addict or an alcoholic for a spouse is one of the worst life situations that one could possibly face, and this is the simple and concerning truth of the matter. Though drug and alcohol addiction is a constant and a growing issue for those who have to deal with it, it is also a huge problem and a big worry for the family members and loved ones of those who are connected to that addict too.

How to Know When its Time to Go

How to know when its time to go? Love is not something you can just turn on and off like a switch. It just doesn’t work like that. There are a lot of other factors here to consider. People often wonder when the right time to leave an addicted spouse or loved one is. People often wonder just exactly how they are going to find peace of mind and freedom in their lives when faced with the struggles and difficulties of having an addicted spouse.

The simplicity of it is there are very straightforward signs and indicators that show you when it is time to leave your addicted spouse. For some of these signs, just one indication or happenstance is enough to call it quits. For some of these signs, several of them adding up indicate it is time to leave them:

  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other abused you or the kids physically or verbally?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other used drugs or alcohol in front of you or the kids?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other gotten high or strung out or drunk in front of the kids?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other refused to go seek help at a rehab center?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other ever stolen from you or from anyone else?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other seriously impacted the lives of your kids or your life?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other created constant and permanent turmoil in your life or in the lives of your kids because of their substance abuse?

How to Leave a Drug Addict?

Do you know how to leave a drug addict? The thing with leaving a drug addict or alcoholic spouse, partner, or significant other is that the above situations have gotten so bad that your life or the lives of your kids are now being seriously, negatively impacted by the person’s habits. When this happens, you need to throw in the towel and call it quits with them. When this happens the truth of the matter is that people really do need to stop with what they are doing. They need to just put their foot down and leave the person.

What they don’t realize is that their leaving their spouse will often have a very good effect on their spouse. Realistically, getting away from the spouse is a form of the tough love approach, and this can actually have a very good effect on the person. Suddenly losing their spouse and kids can be enough of a slap in the face to show them that they really do need to make a change and they really do need to do something about their habits.

Getting away from a substance-abusing spouse can give a person the peace of mind and the stability that they need to start rebuilding and stabilizing their lives. This can make a spouse want rehab. Furthermore, getting people off of an addiction and getting them these types of tools can be very helpful and very effective for getting that person to realize the direction their lives are going in. Call Choices Recovery today for more information at 877-692-2313.

Drug Epidemic Forcing Businesses to Confront Employee Drug Abuse

drug epidemic

Every year it is true that drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse, in general, gets progressively worse and worse. At this point, this is a very well understood issue, one of which needs to be addressed on a more sincere scale. There is a legitimate drug epidemic that we are facing in this country today, and this point has been agreed upon by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and countless other official organizations that have also labeled the problem as being a full-on epidemic.

One does not have to look far to see why this issue has been labeled in this way. It is actually pretty obvious. The problem and the crisis difficulties as they stand are very concerning and very incapacitating, and that can be easily proven by going over statistics like the following:

  • In an effort to do something about the addiction problem, a lot of studying has been done on this problem. It was very rapidly realized that if any positive gain was going to be had on the subject of addiction, we needed to understand it better as a nation because far more people were addicted than we thought.
  • Some of the findings have come about from our research and it has been pretty concerning, to say the least. For example, just the sheer number of people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol and what exactly that means is very unpleasant.
  • Case in point, there are currently about 23 million people in this country who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. That might not seem like a lot but that’s actually 14% of the entire country’s population that is over the age of 13.
  • That means that 13 out of every 100 American teenagers and adults is a drug addict or an alcoholic. When you look at it that way it is easy to see how concerning this issue really is.

Working with Addicts

Not a lot of people realize it but workplace addiction is a real concern and something that need to be more thoroughly addressed for all of us. Working with addicts can be a tough thing to do. Addiction in the workplace often results in accidents, injuries, even deaths, and a whole lot of collateral damage!

When people end up working with addicts, they actually risk their own livelihood too. They are taking on a whole lot of unnecessary risk as well, and this is what needs to be addressed. The end result here is that a lot of times businesses will actually have to seriously confront their employees who are using and abusing drugs and alcohol. This is often the only way to effectively and stably address this problem with any kind of efficacy or distinction.

The ultimate solution here, of course, is that the family members and loved ones of the addicted person step in along with the addict’s co-workers and supervisors to all intervene on the addict to try to get him or her to go to rehab. If this is correctly done, then people will be able to take this problem down a notch. For help, call Choices Recovery today at 877-474-7021. Call today to take the first step towards a better life and a more stable future for yourself, your family, and for your place of employment as well. Sobriety is a phone call away!

What is Fueling America’s Opioid Crisis

opioid crisis

There is no doubt at this point that drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse as a general crisis factor in this country is definitely a growing problem of the very worst kind, one of which only seems to grow and gain momentum with each passing year.

What has people probably the most worried about this issue is the simple factor of deaths and prevalence that comes with drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse. Basically, we now have a problem that twenty years ago was manageable. Now it is anything but manageable. Now, it is a huge crisis factor in this country that is a viable fear and concern for our nation.

  • Currently, there are more than twenty-three million Americans who are addicted to drugs and alcohol in this nation. Going forward from that, that is about thirteen percent of the entire American population that is over the age of twelve.
  • With a huge percentage of people in our country addicted to drugs and alcohol, it is not hard to imagine then what drug and alcohol addiction really is doing to our family members and loved ones. As it pans out, people almost always just think about the family members and loved ones of those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol and all of the other problems and crisis issues that come with it. Basically, with twenty-three million people addicted, there are about one hundred million Americans who are closely connected to someone who is seriously connected to someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol.
  • Currently, about eighty thousand to one hundred and twenty thousand Americans who are addicted to drugs and alcohol end up dying from their habits. As it stands, substance abuse is the third leading cause of preventable death in this nation, killing tens of thousands of Americans annually. This has been a skyrocketing problem that has caused nothing but huge difficulties and issues for all who are involved with it. The death toll has now passed all other causes of death other than smoking and obesity.

Why are Opiates Addictive?

An addiction to opiates is definitely a very real thing, yet people wonder why these drugs, pain drugs, that are supposed to help people actually end up hindering people greatly. So why are opiates addictive? When people are addicted to opioids, they get into a situation where they do not know exactly how they are going to kick the habit, and they do not know how they are going to stop using them.

Opiate pain reliever drugs end up creating very devilish and very upsetting and harsh and difficult addiction problems for those who take them, and for those who get into a habit with them. Though beating addiction is definitely a concerning and unpleasant issue, it is something that can and should be worked through in such a way that they can find their freedom from this habit. People become addicted to opiate pain pill drugs in such a way that these individuals end up getting hooked on the pills. The morphine and opium chemical bases of these drugs are addictive as they open opioid receptors in the brain and cause a rush of euphoria and a dulling of pain and the senses. People get addicted to this phenomena.

Choices Recovery can help people to find their peace of mind and their freedom from even the most unpleasant and even the most difficult of substance abuse habits and issues. This is a treatment center that can help anyone who is addicted to anything. For more information on how Choices Recovery can help people, call Choices Recovery today at 877-474-7021.

Delayed Adulthood: Why It’s Putting More Young Adults at Risk for Addiction

addiction and young adults

There is no doubt that adulthood absolutely does have its challenges. When people become adults, they are suddenly thrown into a totally different lifestyle with demands for self-sufficiency, self-sustainability, etc. They are suddenly living a new and different life, one of which is very different, very demanding, and sometimes very scary and even hard to confront for them.

Studies show that the millennial generation is notorious for staying at their parents’ home for longer, or for coming back to live at the home of their parents after they leave college. For some reason, the youth of today has a harder time spreading their wings and leaving the nest, really jumping into adulthood, than generations of previous years. There are a lot of different schools of thought as to why this is, and as to why it is so that young people today seem to have a proclivity for delaying adulthood. The important factor here is that this is happening, and it is happening all too often.

Substance Abuse Drugs and Alcohol

At the same time that young people are experiencing delayed adulthood more then perhaps ever before, we are also seeing skyrocketing statistics of young adults who are starting to use and abuse drugs and alcohol. True enough, young adult substance abuse and drug and alcohol abuse are now at levels never before seen, which makes the whole future of the new generation look even more concerning than it already is. For a substance abuser and their family, life can get very hectic and unpleasant very, very quickly.

When people use and abuse drugs and alcohol, they essentially sign themselves up for failure in all other areas. It is thought that there is a connection between substance abuse and alcohol abuse and all that goes into these problems and difficulties. It is thought that delayed adulthood is actually a strong, leading factor in why young people are abusing drugs and alcohol at rates never before seen.

How to Address the Issue

The way to properly approach and handle this issue is twofold. There are basically two methods of handling young adults and substance abuse and they are prevention and rehabilitation.

  • Prevention. We already know that young adults are statistically speaking a lot more likely to use and abuse drugs and alcohol than other demographics are. Following from logic then it would make the most sense to give these individuals a lot of quality education on the matters of substance abuse and to really get them thinking about drug and alcohol abuse and addiction as being a very serious and a very real problem for them. Really, these individuals need to fully and completely understand all of the factors and issues involved with substance abuse, as it all comes down to their own need to know and better understand these issues and problems.
  • Rehabilitation. For those who are already addicted to drugs and alcohol, there is, of course, the necessary rehabilitation approach that has to be taken at this time. When people use and abuse drugs and alcohol they find themselves in a position where they struggle immensely and intensively with the issue, and they need to kick the habit with the right tools and the right treatment methods and services. This is the approach of rehabilitation. With rehabilitation, anyone who is addicted to anything is able to go free from their habit for life.

With the help of prevention and rehabilitation both, people can actually go free from a habit once and for all. Call Choices Recovery today, 877-474-7025, to get started on the path to recovery and abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

President Makes Proclamation During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

addiction recovery month

The month of September is National Recovery Month. This is the month where recovering individuals and their family numbers and loved ones and support networks all get together and celebrate overall recovery from drugs and alcohol. This is the time of the year where the most effort is done and the most work is put into raising awareness and celebrating those who have made it into recovery but also more than that even mourning those who did not make it and who lost their lives as a result of drug and alcohol abuse.

As is tradition, this September, the President of United States himself gave a speech to the media about drug and alcohol abuse and addiction in this country and what he intends to do about it. As this is his first year in office, this was president Trump’s first official speech about this matter alone and by itself. While President Trump has talked about drug and alcohol abuse and addiction in the United States before, this was the first time where he gave a speech about this subject exclusively. He spoke of his intentions to address the problem and what he wants to do about it.

Addiction Recovery Statistics

When it comes down to it, addiction recovery statistics, whether they be specifically drug addiction recovery statistics or just general statistics on addiction recovery, statistics are what show us how bad addiction is, and President Trump definitely brought up some grim ones in his speech last week. While his speech was passionate and very firm in his stance about substance abuse, he did take the same route that most presidents do take in the discussion of substance abuse in September for National Recovery Month.He basically spoke about the country’s initiative to address substance abuse on two major friends. The first is of course with rehabilitation, which is to say the effort of addiction treatment centers to fully and completely address substance abuse and to actually rehabilitate anyone and everyone who is currently addicted to drugs and alcohol.

The other approach that President Trump also talked about was the preventative approach which is the efforts made within the country to try to stop drug and alcohol abuse and addiction from ever becoming a problem in people who have not yet been affected by it. This is the effort taken to basically stop people from getting addicted to drugs and alcohol in the first place. Education, crime prevention, raising awareness, preventing drug trafficking, and other efforts like that all fall under the category of prevention. All in all, this is a very effective and helpful approach for those who take part in it.

These were the main keynotes and takeaways of President Trump’s speech about substance abuse in this country. While it is true that drug and alcohol abuse and addiction is a growing problem in this country, in his first year of his presidency, Trump has made some pretty bold claims of his intentions to address substance abuse and the growth of addictions in this country. Now more so than perhaps ever before, it would seem like this issue is going to get a lot less concerning and a lot less fearful in the very near future, if the President is able to follow through. This is good too because drug and alcohol addiction is worse now than it ever has been before. With the right initiative and in the right intention, this problem can and must become a thing of the past. For more information on this, contact Choices Recovery today at (877) 474-7025.

Rehab Waiting Lists: Why Delaying Treatment Puts Your Health at Risk

Rehab waiting lists

Alcohol and prescription drugs have a place in our society. Many people enjoy a drink or two, and moderate drinking has health benefits such as reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death and disease. Prescription drugs are used to treat a host of medical conditions, such as diabetes, infection, or chronic pain. However, substance abuse, whether it is binge drinking or using prescription or illegal drugs recreationally, can have a severe impact on a person’s health and may lead to dependence and addiction. If you are struggling with addiction, don’t delay treatment because of rehab waiting lists. Too many people accidentally overdose every day while waiting to receive treatment for their addictions.

Binge Drinking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines binge drinking as drinking enough alcohol to raise the blood alcohol level to 0.08 or higher; for men, this typically involves drinking five or more drinks in two hours, and for women, four or more drinks in two hours. People who binge drink regularly can become dependent on alcohol. Their bodies become so accustomed to alcohol that they feel sick without it. They may use it as a means of coping with stress and forget how to handle stress without drinking. Personal relationships suffer as the person prioritizes drinking over spending time with friends and family.

Over time, heavy drinking damages a person’s health. Adverse consequences of alcohol abuse include:

  • Hepatitis (liver inflammation)
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Damaged heart muscle
  • Increased risk of certain cancers, including mouth, larynx, pharynx, liver, esophagus, breast, rectum, and colon
  • Violent crime
  • Automobile accidents
  • Drowning
  • Falling
  • Alcohol poisoning

Drug Abuse Effects

Many people start out using recreational drugs just to try them out or because they enjoy the high, but that can easily lead to addiction, and with it, the health consequences of addiction. Prescription drugs such as OxyContin or fentanyl, street drugs such as crystal meth, marijuana, heroin, or cocaine—all take a toll on the body. The physical consequences of drug abuse depend on the type of drug used but include:

  • Death from overdose
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • Brain damage
  • Increased risk of infections, including HIV and hepatitis C
  • Collapsed veins
  • Bowel problems
  • Kidney damage or failure
  • Liver damage or failure
  • Increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases

Reasons for Addiction Rehab Waiting Lists

It can be tough for an addict to admit they struggle with substance abuse, reach out for help, and seek placement in a rehab facility. But for those who do so, there may not be a place available when they are ready for treatment. Sadly, many people die from addiction before they can enter treatment. Each day in America, 144 people die from a lethal drug overdose. But unfortunately, rehab waiting lists are very common today. Three main reasons keep people from receiving treatment when they need it:

  • Lack of Space: There are more addicts than beds available in residential rehab programs. Wait times for such facilities can vary from a month and a half to a year. Non-residential programs may also have long waiting lists. Hospitals do not have to admit people to detox because it is not considered a medical emergency.
  • Lack of Money: Not all insurance companies consider addiction to be a medical disease, and so they can easily deny coverage for treatment. Treatment is financially prohibitive for many people.
  • Lack of Specialists: There is a shortage of doctors who specialize in rehab medicine. Only a physician can prescribe medication-assisted treatments such as methadone or buprenorphine.

Waiting to seek treatment can be a death sentence—do not delay if you are ready to enter recovery. If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, let us help you find a rehab facility today.

How Heroin During Pregnancy Affects Both Mother and Baby

heroin during pregnancy

Heroin is an incredibly addictive illegal street drug. It is derived from morphine, which comes from the opium poppy plant. On the street, heroin is sold as either a brown or white powder or black tar heroin that users smoke, inject, or snort. It is incredibly addictive and harmful to the user’s health. Sadly, many women become pregnant while using heroin. While heroin is detrimental to the mother’s health, it is even worse for the developing fetus. Using heroin during pregnancy can indirectly harm the fetus by its negative impact on the mother’s health, or it can directly affect the fetus.

Effects on the Mother When Using Heroin During Pregnancy

Pregnant women using heroin are at greater-than-normal risk for lifestyle problems that can affect the growing baby, such as:

  • Malnutrition
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Infections, such as HIV or hepatitis
  • Depression
  • Domestic violence
  • Relationship problems
  • Self-harm
  • Criminal activity
  • Poor prenatal care

They carry a higher risk for pregnancy complications such as:

  • Bleeding during pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and hepatitis
  • Respiratory failure
  • Preeclampsia

Effects on the Developing Fetus

Heroin passes through the placenta to the unborn child, increasing many health risks to the fetus and raising the possibility of heroin dependence in the fetus. Heroin use during pregnancy can cause:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage: loss of baby before 20 weeks in utero
  • Increased risk of stillbirth: loss of baby after 20 weeks in utero
  • Placental abruption: separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus. This condition can cause massive bleeding and can be fatal for the mother or child.
  • Pre-term birth: birth before 37 weeks in utero
  • Low birth weight: under 5.5 lbs.
  • Birth defects: a change in shape or function in one or more body parts
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): unexplained death of the baby before one year of age
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Infants who become dependent on heroin during pregnancy may experience Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) at birth. NAS is withdrawal for the baby, who no longer receives heroin via the placenta from the mother. The onset of NAS typically takes place in the first 1-3 days after birth but may take place up to one week after delivery. Symptoms include:

  • Excessive crying
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Reduced ability to breastfeed
  • Blotchy, mottled skin
  • Seizures
  • Slow weight gain
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Death

Babies with NAS are hospitalized and treated with medication, usually morphine, to relieve symptoms. The babies are then weaned off of opioids until they are fully detoxified.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin During Pregnancy

Children exposed to heroin in the womb are more likely to have behavioral disorders, difficulties with concentration and attention, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, and a lack of social inhibition.

Treatment When Using Heroin During Pregnancy

While it is critical for a pregnant woman to stop using heroin, it is actually dangerous, and potentially fatal, for her unborn child if she stops cold turkey. Doctors suspect that when the baby is cut off from heroin, it becomes hyperactive, then oxygen-deprived, and that may cause death. For this reason, pregnant mothers using heroin should seek medical help instead of trying to quit heroin on their own. A combination of medication-assisted treatment and counseling can help pregnant women quit heroin. While Methadone and buprenorphine treatments can be used during pregnancy, both carry high risks to the mother and child, and it is important to know these before using this method of therapy.

If you are pregnant and struggling with heroin addiction, or know someone who is, help is available. Call Choices Recovery to stop using heroin now.

The Heroin Addiction Recovery Rate is Better Than You Think

heroin addiction recovery rate

Heroin is an incredibly addictive illegal street drug derived from morphine, which comes from the opium poppy plant. It was originally sold as a painkiller until it became apparent that heroin is highly addictive. It is sold on the street as either a brown or white powder or black tar heroin that users smoke, inject, or snort. More than 2000 people die each year from heroin use. However, contrary to popular belief, the heroin addiction recovery rate is much better than people realize. An individual who is addicted to heroin can recover and live a full, healthy life.

Why is Heroin So Addictive?

Because of the way that heroin affects the brain, it is incredibly addictive. Once heroin enters the body, it is converted to morphine, which quickly attaches to opioid receptors in the brain. Activating these receptors blocks the production of the brain chemical GABA, which regulates dopamine production. Dopamine then floods the brain, producing feelings of pleasure and euphoria. The rush is relatively short-lived, lasting 15-30 minutes, but feels so good that users crave it and will use heroin again and again to reproduce that high.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Over time, the body builds up a tolerance to heroin, requiring more frequent or greater doses to achieve that high. Without heroin, the user will go into withdrawal, which includes unpleasant symptoms such as:

  • Restlessness
  • Severe muscle and bone pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Cold flashes
  • Anxiety
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Racing heartbeat

Statistics on Heroin Addiction

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) estimates that 4.8 million Americans have used heroin, including 681,000 in 2014. Nearly 80% of heroin abusers began by abusing prescription painkillers. In recent years, heroin abuse has been on the rise, resulting in a more than six-fold increase in deaths from an overdose from 2002 to 2015, when more than 14,000 people died.

Can You Really Recover and What is the Heroin Addiction Recovery Rate?

Yes! While these numbers are daunting, and withdrawal from heroin is a challenge, heroin addiction can be overcome. The relapse rate for heroin addicts is high, estimated as high as 80%, but that does not mean it is impossible to recover from heroin addiction. Depending on the approach, the heroin addiction recovery rate ranges from 35-65%. 

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

The first step in kicking heroin addiction is detoxification to remove heroin from the body. This process causes withdrawal, which can be so uncomfortable that the addict may be tempted to use heroin again, just to curb the symptoms. A supportive recovery environment is critical at this time when the risk of relapse is so high. Treatment can be inpatient or outpatient. A combination of counseling and medication-assisted treatment improves rates of recovery.

The medication-assisted treatment uses medicines to ease the discomfort of withdrawal. There are a few options available. Methadone binds to the same receptors as heroin, reducing withdrawal symptoms and preventing the euphoric high heroin produces. It must be prescribed by a doctor and taken in a supervised clinic. Buprenorphine works similarly to methadone but can be prescribed by a physician to be taken at home. Because methadone and buprenorphine bind to opioid receptors, there is potential for abuse. Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors so that if a person uses heroin, it will have no effect. Because it blocks the receptors instead of binding to them, naltrexone has no potential for abuse. Naloxone also blocks opioid receptors. It can be used on its own to prevent overdose, or in combination with buprenorphine to prevent buprenorphine abuse during treatment for heroin addiction.

While medications may help with withdrawal and the risk of relapse, counseling, and support assist the user to deal with the problems behind their substance abuse and prepare for a sober future. Recovery is possible. Call Choices Recovery for more information.