Heroin Addiction Treatment

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Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine. Morphine is extracted from the opium poppy seed, which grows in Mexico, South America and Asia. Heroin looks like white powder, brown powder or black tar, and people inject it, snort it or smoke it.

Heroin users often start the drug after they were on an opioid painkiller, such as Vicodin or OxyContin. The two have similar effects, but heroin is cheaper and easier to get ahold of than prescription drugs. Surveys have found that nearly half of young people who started using heroin were first on prescription opioids.

The Effects of Heroin

Like many opioids, heroin targets the brain that controls pleasure. When heroin enters the brain, it turns back into morphine and attaches to the opioid receptors. People who use the drug feel a euphoric high along with dry mouth and warm skin. After the initial high, users go into a state where their breathing and heart rate slows down, and they drift in a state between wakefulness and drowsiness.

Heroin has many dangerous side effects, including:

  • A loss of motivation in school and work
  • Apathy towards interpersonal relationships and hobbies
  • Lack of attention to hygiene/appearance
  • Constricted pupils
  • Constipation and gastrointestinal cramping
  • Collapsed veins and depressed heart rate/breathing that can lead to death
  • Epidermal and vascular infections
  • Miscarriage
  • Liver, kidney or lung disease

Heroin can be very dangerous to use. The drug slows a person’s breathing, which means less oxygen gets to the brain. This condition is known as hypoxia, which has severe short term and long-term effects, such as coma or brain damage. If a person overdoses, it can stop their breathing altogether and they can die.

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Heroin Addiction Treatment

On the surface, heroin addiction treatment seems easy: A person just has to stop using the drug. However, this is easier said than done, as stopping the use of any drug leads to withdrawal, the symptoms of which can be extremely painful and sometimes deadly. Any person who attempts to stop taking a drug often relapses due to withdrawal symptoms. That’s why health professionals discourage people from going “cold turkey” when trying to stop drug use.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe and include:

  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Cold flashes with goose bumps, leading to the phrase “cold turkey”
  • Muscle twisting, leading to the phrase “kicking the habit”
  • Severe craving for the drug during withdrawal, which can precipitate continued abuse and/or relapse

Heroin addiction recovery should be performed with a physician’s help or at heroin addiction treatment centers or heroin detox centers. Due to the severity of the withdrawal symptoms, medical detox is often needed for heroin drug rehab. In detox, an individual lessens or stops using a drug while medical professionals treat their withdrawal symptoms and prevent any life-threatening issues.

However, detox is only the first step. Counseling and therapy are also part of treatment at a heroin drug rehab. This can help address the reasons a person abused heroin, and counselors and therapists can give people the tools and skills they need to regain control of their lives and health. Therapy and counseling may be needed to treat any co-occurring disorders as well. A person who has a co-occurring disorder has two illnesses at once, such as heroin addiction and depression. The co-occurring illness can affect a person’s recovery and make them relapse. It needs to be treated at the same time in order to ensure recovery.

Treatment for Heroin Addicts at Sovereign Health of Florida

Sovereign Health of Florida offers treatment for heroin addicts at both our Fort Myers and Pompano Beach location. The first step in heroin addiction treatment is to first determine if there are any underlying issues, such as a mental health disorder, that could be contributing to the addiction. We start with an intensive physical and psychological evaluation that not only looks at primary symptoms but any underlying ones as well. Since no two patients can receive the same treatment, we create customized heroin addiction treatment plans that work to help an individual regain control of their life and health.

If detox is needed, patients can get treatment at our Fort Myers heroin addiction treatment center. They may choose to stay in our residential facilities, where they can receive 24-7 hour medical and nonmedical care in an environment that promotes healing and recovery.

Once they finish detox, patients can then seek therapy and counseling at both of our Florida locations. Based on their treatment plan, this can involve individual therapy, group therapy, process groups, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Holistic therapies are offered as well, such as yoga or art therapy.

Once their heroin addiction rehab is finished, a person’s recovery is just beginning. Sovereign Health offers continuing care programs, such as 12-step meetings or educational events so our patients can continue to receive support as they work to a drug-free, healthy life.

For more information about our heroin addiction treatment at Sovereign Health, please contact our 24/7 helpline.

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