Heroin is an illegal drug, commonly abused in the United States. This drug belongs to the opiate family and synthesized from morphine. According to the National Institute of drug abuse(NIDA), the number of people using heroin is steadily rising since 2007. Heroin appears in many forms, it can be brown or white powder and a black sticky substance called black tar heroin. Other names include horse, big H, hell dust, and smack.
How and why do people use Heroin
Heroin comes in many forms and people smoke, sniff, snort, and inject into the muscles, skin, and veins. Regardless of the mode of administration, heroin quickly delivers a potent effect. Due to the easy availability and increased supply, people from many backgrounds use heroin readily. Heroin is abused by many people for immediate pleasure feelings. People experience a surge of comfort feeling called the “rush” and a warm cal feeling all over the body when they use it.
Heroin is highly addictive, as it is derived from the opium poppy referred to as “the joy plant”. Its highly addictive properties instantly give an extremely good feeling at the first use and cause heroin addiction. The brain is hijacked by the heroin addiction the addict will go to any extreme level to get that euphoric feeling. Like other opioids, heroin increases the amount of dopamine to the brain’s limbic reward system. When a person abuse heroin, the dopamine is flushed to the limbic reward system causing the rush of pleasant feeling. This high feeling increases heroin dependency and addiction.
Signs and symptoms of Heroin Abuse
Heroin like other opioids enters the brain rapidly and blocks the ability of the brain to perceive pain. People notice immediate signs and symptoms after using heroin. Here are the short term and long term symptoms of heroin addiction.
Short-term symptoms of Heroin Abuse:
- Dry mouth
- Clouded mental functioning
Long-term symptoms of Heroin Addiction:
With continued use of heroin, the person may have the following signs and symptoms:
- Needle marks on the injected sites.
- Collapsed veins form repeated injections.
- The tissues inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it is damaged.
- Infection in the heart linings and valves.
- Liver and kidney disease
- Sexual dysfunction for men
- Irregular menstrual cycles for women
Other potential effects of Heroin Addiction
Heroin contains starch, sugar, powdered milk which can clog blood vessels. This can lead to permanent damage to kidneys, liver, lungs, and brain. People who inject heroin are at high risk of getting HIV and hepatitis. These infectious diseases are transmitted by sharing needles and other injection equipment. The virus is spread through the blood and other bodily fluids while injecting. In the United States, HCV(Hepatitis C virus) is the most common bloodborne disease. HIV is also transmitted with unprotected sex, which drug use makes it more likely.
How is Heroin Addiction treated?
The treatment options depend upon the severity of addiction and the requirements of the individuals. Behavioral therapies combined with medicines are most effective to treat people with heroin addiction. Medicines like Buprenorphine and Methadone reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These medicines work by binding the opioid receptors in the brain. Another step for the heroin addiction process is detox. Detox programs are offered by various addiction treatment centers providing the best medical and psychological care. Here the addict is stabilized by a pharmaceutical opioid(FDA approved) for treating opioid dependence. Buprenorphine, Suboxone, or Methadone is given for treatment and your body gets stabilized with the new lower level of opioid in the system. Thus making the addict gradually less dependant on the drug.
Apart from detoxification, there are comprehensive addiction treatments like therapy sessions, individual and group counseling 12 step facilitation, opioid replacement therapy, and family therapy. With proper treatment and support recovery from heroin addiction is possible. The right treatment can help people reverse the harmful effects of heroin on the brain and help them live a sober life. Are you looking for the right rehab center for treating heroin addiction? Take a look at our best addiction treatment centers in the United States.