Heroin is a white powdery substance that is an illegal narcotic drug which is typically injected or snorted but can also be smoked. It is a member of the opiate family and the manner in which it is ingested has little or no bearing on whether or not the user gets addicted to the drug. Whether you are ingesting heroin by injecting it with a needle and syringe or by other means, the repeated use of it oftentimes leads to addiction or dependence on the substance.
Any individual who is labeled as being a heroin addict continues using the drug despite the negative consequences of continually using the drug. Usually, the person has no control over whether or not they are going to use heroin. Instead, they lack the control to avoid it or experience severe cravings which makes obtaining more of it their top priority. Tolerance builds up quickly and somewhat unnoticeable so the person typically does not realize that they are addicted until they start to experience the signs that indicate this.
Primary signs of heroin addiction and causes of dependency
Heroin addicts exhibit the same signs of heroin addiction that the person who becomes dependent upon the drug typically experience. This includes:
- cravings in between using the drug
- focusing on when and where they get their next fix
- prioritizing or spending their time thinking when they got high the last time and what it will be like to get high again
- erratic behavior combined with sudden financial difficulties
- track marks indicating where the drug was injected
The question “What causes heroin addiction?” is a common one asked by many individuals who do not have the knowledge of the mechanism behind the addiction or dependency. Heroin is an extremely effective analgesic or painkiller that functions by depressing the central nervous system. Using heroin affects the way in which the nerves in a person’s spinal cord communicate sensations of pain to the brain. Shortly after you inject or snort the drug, an intense feeling of pleasure is created by affecting the brain’s dopamine levels.
Immediate and long-term effects of heroin use
In addition to the euphoric effect or rush that heroin produces, heroin users will usually feel the following effects when using the drug:
- decreased incidence of coughing
- difficulties with breathing
- drowsiness or fatigue
- dry mouth
- heaviness in the feet and hands
- hypothermia (decrease in the body’s core temperature)
- nausea and vomiting
- reduced anxiety
- severe itching
Where the complications and long-term effects of heroin use are concerned, the user is putting themselves in danger of numerous health issues including:
- contracting Hepatitis C or HIV from using needles and syringes
- heroin overdose
- higher risk of miscarriage
- increased tolerance build up over time causing the addict to use more heroin each time in order to achieve the desired effect
The appearance of heroin and signs of use
When the heroin that is being used is impure or containing additional substances besides heroin, it is usually sold and used in the form of a brown powder which indicates that it has been cut with caffeine. It is wrapped in small baggies or plastic packages so this is what you want to look for if you suspect that a family member or loved one is using heroin or has developed an addiction to it.
The fact remains heroin is injected, smoked, or snorted (inhaled), the user has a variety of paraphernalia that they will use in order to ingest the drug. Needles and syringes are the most common type of paraphernalia that heroin addicts use so if you should find these laying around, it is a pretty good indication that the person is using the drug. Additionally, pipes, razor blades, rolled up currency or paper, and straws are normally used in the preparation of the drug in order to administer or inject it.
What are the types of heroin addiction treatment?
There are numerous types of treatment for heroin addiction that are currently available at the many addiction treatment and recovery centers throughout the US. If the addiction is diagnosed or identified early on, immediate treatment is recommended and tends to be much more effective than if the addiction is allowed to progress to extreme severity. The success of the treatment and recovery from heroin addiction is depends on the individual and how they respond to it.
In many cases, the drug Methadone is used to treat the signs and symptoms of heroin addiction by creating the same feeling in the individual that they experience when they get high from injecting, smoking, or snorting it. It is a synthetic opioid that emulates the effects of heroin and blocks its effects while at the same time eliminating or greatly reducing the withdrawal symptoms that occur when taking the drug is stopped. Methadone is recommended because of how effective it is at treating heroin addiction.
The first stage of heroin addiction treatment usually involves detoxification wherein the person stops using the drug and allows their bodies to rid themselves of the toxins that the addiction creates as well as any residues of it. Methadone maintenance or treatment has been the most effective and safest way of treating heroin addiction for over three decades now and when it is properly prescribed it is not intoxicating or sedating. The effects of Methadone maintenance do not interfere with certain activities such as driving a vehicle.
Getting professional help is only a phone call away
If you or a loved one is suffering with heroin addiction and you have been searching for an effective rehab program with a high recovery success rate, the staff members of the Delray Recovery Center would like to discuss their Strength to Change program with you. For more information regarding this addiction treatment and recovery program and our facility, please contact us a the toll-free phone number listed above.