Use of heroin has been on the rise in recent years, in part due to the increase in addiction to prescription opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin. People that become addicted to prescription drugs often switch to heroin because it tends to be cheaper and easier to find. Heroin is an extremely addictive substance that hooks some even after the first use and the only way to recover is with quality heroin addiction treatment.
Heroin is an opiate derived from the seeds of the Asian opium poppy. The drug usually comes in a powder form or a sticky substance known as black tar heroin. It is typically smoked, snorted or injected and all three methods produce a very fast and intense rush known as a “high.”
How Heroin Addiction Develops
Nobody who develops an addiction to heroin does it on purpose. In fact, most people come to heroin entirely by accident. As mentioned above, prescription opioids often lead people to heroin. While people aren’t supposed to use prescription drugs in the long-term, many find themselves hooked to these drugs quickly. They constantly need more in order to relieve their pain or get the same euphoric effects that they originally felt on the drug. Some resort to doctor shopping or stealing prescriptions from others. Eventually, though, many turn to heroin to get a stronger high for less money.
Both prescription painkillers and heroin bind to opioid receptors in the brain. Eventually, the brain and body begin to rely on the drug to fill these receptors and stop making the hormones that usually fill them. This is why when people suddenly stop using heroin or prescription painkillers, they begin to suffer from withdrawal symptoms. In order to avoid these symptoms, most people continue using, which is part of what perpetuates the cycle of addiction. However, a medical detox program can help mitigate these uncomfortable symptoms so people can begin treatment.
Who’s At Risk?
Addiction doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone from any background. However, there are certain groups of people who are at higher risk for developing heroin addictions. When it comes to heroin, painkillers are the number one gateway into heroin abuse. Those who struggle with chronic pain, or the elderly, are at the highest risk.
Additionally, teenagers and young adults who receive painkillers for surgery or find them in their parents homes are also at a higher risk. Since these substances come as prescriptions from trusted medical professionals, many young people don’t realize that they’re dangerous. Anytime you receive prescription painkillers from a doctor, it’s imperative to return or properly dispose of the ones you don’t use.
Effects of Heroin on the Mind and Body
Heroin causes a very fast surge or rush of euphoria. The rush is usually very short, leading the user to crave more of the drug almost immediately.
Other effects of heroin include:
- Slower breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion or cloudy thinking
- Lower body temperature
- Dry mouth and flushed, itchy skin
- Sedation and drowsiness
- Impaired judgment
When heroin is used for an extended period of time, the damage to the mind and body can be extensive. Heroin affects the mouth, resulting in bad teeth and inflamed gums. It can lead to muscle weakness and even temporary paralysis. The only way to prevent more long-term symptoms and overcome addiction is with heroin addiction treatment.
Signs of Heroin Abuse
The signs of heroin abuse or addiction might include:
- Needing more of the drug to get the same effect (tolerance)
- Skin irritation and scarring due to constant itching and picking at the skin
- Unexplained weight loss and signs of malnutrition
- Periods of excessive energy, followed by very long periods of sleeping
- Withdrawal from friends, family, responsibilities, and activities
- Changes to appearance, lack of interest in hygiene
- Delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia
- Erratic mood swings, irritability, and hostility
- Intense, uncontrollable cravings for the drug
- Withdrawal symptoms if the drug is suddenly stopped
Austin Heroin Addiction Treatment
Heroin is a highly addictive substance that usually cannot be stopped without professional help. If you are struggling with a substance abuse problem, the sooner you seek a heroin addiction treatment center, the better your outcome will be. The Last Resort Recovery is a men’s addiction treatment facility in Texas that provides comprehensive addiction support to men of all ages.
Our facility offers a beautiful, temperate climate for addiction along with many premier treatment options. Some of our programs include:
These programs offer a full continuum of care to help you address all aspects of your recovery and discover healthy coping mechanisms for a long-lasting recovery. These programs also help men connect with others, empathize, and develop support networks that they can rely on for the rest of their lives.