Drug addiction is one of the hot topics in today’s field of medicine and science. Addicts are dependent on various types of drugs. Today, one of the most common, as well as devastating in nature, is heroin.
Nearly all aspects of drug addiction treatment apply to that of heroin. However, the unique aspects of recovery from heroin are what we will look into.
Heroin is essentially an opioid. It mimics certain chemicals already present in the brain. These include endorphins and enkephalins - the body’s “internal morphine”. These chemicals are produced naturally in the body and block pain while inducing pleasure. No wonder people return to it again and again in order to recreate these pleasurable experiences.
No heroin drug user actively decides to enter into drug addiction. For most users, the process is gradual. There are emotional, cognitive and behaviourial changes. They soon realize that they are waking up with tremors and in a cold sweat. This phenomenon is known as withdrawal. This happens because the user’s body has become accustomed to the presence of heroin and without which the body reacts negatively.
Withdrawal from heroin
Early withdrawal symptoms include diarrhea, runny nose, cold/hot flashes, sweating, nausea and vomiting, tremors, muscle spasms, cramping of GI tract.
Later withdrawal symptoms may include high blood pressure, restlessness and insomnia. Craving is common during both stages. Pure heroin drug withdrawal may not be medically complicated. However if other substances have also been abused simultaneously, the withdrawal could be more protracted and complex.
For most users, avoiding withdrawal keeps the cycle of addiction alive. In order to avoid the unpleasant experiences and cravings heroin drug users will do anything in order to get the next ‘fix’. This takes up a lot of the addict’s time and energy and often puts them at risk. William S Burroughs has described in his book Junky: “I have learned a great deal from using junk: I have seen life measured out in eye droppers of morphine solution. I have experienced the agonizing deprivation of junk sickness, and the pleasure of relief when junk-thirsty cells drink from the needle.”
Heroin, Sex and HIV
Maintaining a heroin drug habit is expensive. Many addicts turn to prostitution to support their habit. They also often do not follow safe sex practices. Further, sharing and using dirty needles also poses a great risk for contracting the HV infection. This greatly increases the chances of HIV infection.
Treatment of heroin addiction
Treatment starts with detoxification. Simply put, heroin is stopped and the resultant withdrawal is medically managed. Withdrawal may last 2 – 4 weeks, depending on the history of drug abuse and the physically condition of the addict. A safe and friendly environment helps in dealing with the craving.
It is important to assess the addict for any co-occurring psychiatric issues.
The addict needs to be supported in the initial stages by a professional and empathetic therapy team. The individual’s unique issues – from childhood to active addiction – need to be processed by using a mix of effective therapy tools such as CBT, 12 Steps, interventions, Yoga and mindfulness. The family too needs to be involved in the therapy process.
Contact us for immediate help
Heroin addiction can be fatal. There are several reports of overdose. If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin addiction, call Hope Trust rehab in Hyderabad, India.
Hope Trust has vast experience in treatment of heroin addiction. From detox to relapse prevention, the rehab has helped hundreds of addicts from all over the world.
Get help now – before it’s too late