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Heroin Addiction Treatment and Symptoms

Heroin has been illegal in the U.S. since 1924, but that hasn’t stopped the rate of heroin addiction from increasing steadily.

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid that comes from the seeds of the Opium poppy. Its popularity is due to how quickly the substance travels to the brain, giving the user a high at a faster rate than some other drugs.

What Are the Signs of Heroin Addiction?

People who are addicted to heroin will often display erratic behavior that may seem to be completely out of character for them. They may seem sleepy, lose interest in activities they’ve previously enjoyed, and may stop taking care of their personal hygiene.

Other signs that someone you know may be addicted to heroin is the appearance of certain items around their home. Heroin can be snorted, injected or smoked, so you may notice pipes, needles, and lighters that seem to be out of place. Plastic tubing may also be lying around and when questioned, the person may struggle to tell you what it is used for.

How Do Heroin Addiction Symptoms Present?

Symptoms of heroin addiction can vary between users, but there are some symptoms that are more common than others, including:

  • Dry Mouth
  • Constricted Pupils
  • Flushed skin
  • Slowed Breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itchiness
  • Scratching
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Heaviness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty Making Decisions
  • Memory Loss
  • Blackouts

What Are the Long-term Effects of Smoking Heroin?

Injecting, smoking, or snorting heroin can lead to several long-term conditions – many of which are fatal. Overdoses are common among Heroin users, as is the use of shared needles, which can often lead to HIV/Aids, or Hepatitis.

Over time, Heroin damages your immune system, which leads to infections as your body isn’t able to fight off bacteria. It can lead to liver, kidney, or heart disease and it increases your risk of having a stroke.

Heroin is often mixed with other additives (that you may not even be aware) of by dealers looking to save money. Because of this, emergency staff in an ambulance or the emergency room may not know the best way to treat you if you need help.

What Are the Signs of a Heroin Overdose?

If you know someone who is using heroin – you need to be aware of the symptoms of a heroin overdose.  An overdose from heroin may present as slow breathing, a lowered heart rate, and loss of consciousness. If you suspect an overdose is occurring, dial 911 immediately.

Family members of known, or suspected, heroin users are able to obtain prescriptions for a drug called Evzio (naloxone hydrochloride injection).

Evzio is carried as a single dose in a hand-held auto-injector. And, if used quickly, it can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose within minutes. However, medical attention is still needed and should be sought as soon as possible.

What Are the Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal?

The most common symptoms of heroin withdrawal are cravings for the drug. These can range from mild to severe, and they can last anywhere from 6 hours after final use to 7 days. However, some people have experienced cravings for several months after their last use.

Other symptoms include stomach pain, diarrhea, and loose watery stools. Frequent bowel motions are also common. Nausea and vomiting can occur. All of these symptoms drain your energy and mean that your body has little defense against infection and bacteria at this time.

Other bodily functions may increase as your body attempts to restore balance and return to its normal functions. For example – you may have a runny nose, find yourself sweating, or even crying without any apparent reason or trigger.

Depression, anxiety, and fatigue are very common during the withdrawal phase. Memories and feelings can become intense, but they will reduce as time passes and the withdrawal symptoms abate.

You may also be more sensitive to physical pain during this time, particularly in the back and legs.

Insomnia, restlessness, or other sleep problems are also to be expected while withdrawing from heroin.

Attempting heroin withdrawal without medical supervision is not advised. Our staff at Revive Detox are experienced in helping people manage withdrawal symptoms and can provide the extra emotional, physical, and psychological support that is needed during this time.

What Are the Heroin Addiction Treatment Options?

Detoxification must occur before a residential recovery program is begun.

The clinical support staff at Revive Detox are all registered nurses and emergency medical technicians. As we only take 6 patients at a time – we are able to provide personal, individualized care, in a peaceful yet professional setting.

At Revive we believe a holistic approach is the best way to manage detoxification and recovery. And as a leader in the field of addiction treatment we’ve helped many people to begin and maintain a life of sobriety.

Treatment at Revive Detox consists of medically assisted withdrawal when appropriate – as well as acupuncture, therapeutic massage, and aromatherapy. Chef-prepared meals are accompanied by nutrition therapy and education. And, counseling and group therapy are also important aspects of treatment as we help you to develop new coping strategies and address any issues that may have led to your heroin use.

Continuation planning and ongoing support is something we do very well at Revive Detox. We understand that recovery continues after you have left our facility and we do our best to set you up to succeed and achieve your long-term sobriety goals.

What Is the Next Step?

Our staff are available by phone or email, 24/7 and we can answer any further questions you may have about our heroin addiction detoxification and recovery programs.

Alternatively, you can fill out an online contact form and a member of our medical team will be in touch as soon as possible.

We look forward to helping you chart your path to recovery.Most PPO Health