Heroin is an illegal drug and opiate that works on the opioid receptors in the brain to produce a euphoric high, followed by feelings of fatigue, when used. Heroin addiction can occur after only a few uses.
Because the opioid receptors block the body's abilities to feel pain, a growing number of people suffer from heroin addiction when they can no longer obtain prescription pain pills. This drug may be sold as a white or brown powder or as a sticky substance known as black tar.
Heroin addiction is a continued problem that requires extensive treatment. For recovery help, contact Milwaukee Drug Treatment Centers at (414) 921-7038.
There are two reason that heroin is addictive. The first is physiologic and the second is psychological. The physiology of addiction is relatively straightforward. The drug binds to opiate receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) producing feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief.
The effect is so intense that withdrawal of the drug, even after just a few uses, can lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, nausea, pain, and depression. Chronic opioid users will often describe what they call "junk sickness," which occurs after going too long without a hit of the drug. "Junk sickness" is characterized by pain, fatigue, nausea, and sever cravings for the drug.
Heroin abuse and addiction can affect nearly every aspect of a person's life. Symptoms a person may be using this drug include:
A person abusing opiates/opioids may also have drug paraphernalia around his or her home. Examples may include:
A person may begin to engage in illegal activities, such as stealing valuables or money from loved ones, in order to obtain drugs. Anyone displaying these habits and symptoms should be taken to a treatment center.
Opioid use causes not only short-term symptoms that are noticeable, but also long-term health effects. These include pneumonia and tuberculosis due to prolonged respiratory depression that heroin causes. Injecting heroin and sharing needles can also increase a person's risk for contracting conditions such as HIV and hepatitis. Overdose can also prove deadly and lead to brain damage if a person is able to survive.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, using medications to treat opiate addiction has been shown to improve completion rates in drug treatment programs and reduce drug use, transmission of infectious diseases and criminal activity.
A drug treatment facility can provide these medications, such as methadone or Suboxone, on an inpatient basis while a person detoxes from opioid use. This can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid use, such as pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and intense drug cravings. Without this support, the physical symptoms of withdrawal may lead a person to relapse.
Other therapies that can help a person beat an addiction include cognitive-behavioral therapies, which help to enhance a person's abilities to cope with life stresses that could tempt a person to use drugs again. Motivational incentives are another method used to reward people for negative drug tests and participation in rehab and recovery therapies.