Addicted to Heroin?
Call Today for Insurance Verification
For Immediate Treatment Help
Is Heroin an Opioid?
Heroin belongs to the class of drugs that are known as opioids. Opioids are medications that are derived from opium poppy plants. This substance can be smoked, injected into the skin,or snorted into the nose. Opioids are generally used as pain relievers. However, many people become addicted. Heroin is an illegal opioid drug that is now an epidemic in developed countries. Other examples of opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. Before going into the details of heroin addiction, it’s important to learn more about opioids,.
What Are Opioids?
As earlier mentioned, opioids are narcotic drugs that act on opioid receptors, offering morphine-like effects. They are generally used for the treatment of conditions such as pain, for anesthesia, cough, diarrhea, and constipation. There are different types of opioid drugs and they vary in efficacy. Opioids are effective and powerful, especially when used for the treatment of pain. Unfortunately, they are also associated with many side effects. Some of the adverse effects of opioids include itchiness, respiratory depression, constipation, and so on. It’s very easy for consumers to develop a tolerance for and a dependence on opioid drugs. This is why physicians must monitor their patient when they prescribe this type of drug. Once a patient becomes dependent on these drugs and desire to stop taking them, there are withdrawal symptoms that can make recovery from this addiction difficult. However, with proper treatment, full recovery is possible and life without drugs can be wonderfully lived.
Which Drugs are Opiates?
Opiates are mostly used for the treatment of pain and cough. There are two types of opiates: the opiate agonist and antagonist. An example of opiate antagonists is Clonidine which is generally non-addictive and can be used for the treatment of opiate addiction. On the other hand, opiate agonists include Fentanyl and Morphine, which are the most prescribed and are very addictive. Opiate antagonists are strongest and most abused drugs in this category. Other examples of opiates include oxycodone and codeine.
- Codeine: The drug was produced solely for the treatment of a cough and pain. However, codeine abuse has almost become an epidemic in some parts of the world. Although it’s only available by prescription in some countries, it can be purchased over the counter in some parts of the world. It mostly abused by young people.
- Percocet: This is also a heavily abused drug that was manufactured for the relief of pain. This drug has been responsible for a lot of emergency cases and deaths due to overdose. Although these drugs are no longer prescribed, they are still available via the black market. This drug got so popular that it became part of “pop-culture” at one point.
- Fentanyl: This drug is about a hundred times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is only used for the treatment of severe pain. It can easily be overdosed on, especially when used with other drugs such as heroin. It’s available in patches, so patients don’t have to swallow them orally.
- Methadone: This is an opioid, that is used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. This is the drug administered to people who’re trying to get off an addiction to other drugs such as heroin. Although it’s important for the treatment of heroin addiction, some patients still find a way to get high off these drugs and eventually become addicted to them.
- Morphine: Morphine is used for the treatment of severe and chronic pain. However, it’s very addictive, and also the cause of a lot of addiction cases. This drug has been responsible for a lot of substance abuse-related deaths.
- Heroin: Heroin is a white powder that is made from morphine and is illegal and very potent. Addicts mix it with water, and then inject it with a needle into their body. It can also be smoked or snorted into the nose which transports it to the brain more rapidly. Heroin use has no benefit, and it only destroys lives eventually. It can lead to infections, miscarriages in women, overdose and so on. The rate of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis is very high among heroin addicts.
Call Today for Insurance Verification
What Are The Uses Of Opioids?
Although opioids have many side effects, they do have benefits when used under medical supervision in the correct manner. Below are some of the benefits of opioids;
- Pain: Opioids are mostly used for the treatment of pain are graded according to their efficacy. There are strong, moderate and mild action opioids. Physicians prescribe them according to the pain requirement of the patient. Less potent opioids can be gotten over the counter for the treatment of mild pain and do not require a prescription. Other opioids that can be used for the treatment of moderate and severe pain can only be aquired with a prescription. Pain is classified into two parts. They are an acute and chronic pain.
- Acute pain: Opioids are used for the treatment of acute pain. Examples of this include pain suffered by patients after surgery. Opioids can offer immediate relief to this kind of pain. They have also been useful for the palliative care to people suffering from chronic and severe pain. Opioids are also useful for patients suffering from terminal diseases such as pain related to cancers, and degenerative diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and so on.
- Chronic non-cancer pain: A lot of studies have suggested that the side effects of opioid drugs are more than its benefits, especially when used for no-cancer chronic conditions such as headaches, fibromyalgia and so on. Opioids should be used after other less potent drugs have been used. Examples of less potent pain relievers include paracetamol, ibuprofen and so on. Opioids are not to be used as a first-line treatment option for conditions like a headache. This is because of the potential to cause tolerance and dependence. Opioids are used more for the treatment of non-malignant chronic pain
- Suppression of a cough: An example of an opioid that is used for this purpose is codeine, which is an effective medication that can suppress a cough. However, codeine addiction has also become an epidemic, especially in third world countries. This is because patients do not require a doctor’s prescription to get it.
- Constipation and diarrhea: Opioids are effective for the treatment of diarrhea. An example of a drug used for the treatment of diarrhea is loperamide, a peripheral selective opioid, that can also be gotten over the counter.
- Improved breathing: People affected by diseases such as cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder can benefit from opioids, as they improve shortness of breath.
What Is Opioid Addiction?
As earlier mentioned, opioid use can lead to the development of addiction. This has become an epidemic and is responsible for too many deaths in the developed world. Some of the most commonly abused drugs in the world include morphine and heroin. The first thing to understand is that anyone that takes opioids can develop an addiction. However, it is important to be aware of other factors that also play important roles in the development of this disease, including the length of time the individual has used the drug and the personal history of the patient. Patients with a past history of addiction have a higher probability of developing an addiction to opioids. Addiction can be pleasurable, initially, until it becomes something the individual can’t live without. Addiction can be defined as an irresistible craving for a drug, and the continued and persistent use of the drug despite its adverse effects. This group of drugs is very addictive largely because they trigger the reward center of the brain, which releases the feel-good hormones, also known as endorphins. However, the feelings go away as the effect of the drug fades which is why addicts become addicts. To keep that euphoric feeling going day after day requires stronger and heavier use as the body builds up tolerance for the drug. This addictive property also applies to heroin, an illegal opioid drug.
Call Today for Insurance Verification
How Bad Is Opiate Abuse?
Addiction usually starts when an individual has been given a prescription for painkillers. In most cases, these patients become used to the way the drug makes them feel, therefore developing a dependency on the prescribed drug. Over time, the person might start feeling that the drug isn’t as effective as when they started using it. This can be attributed to a condition known as tolerance, which occurs when the substance has built up in the body, no longer offering the euphoric feeling. Some people then tend to consume more dosages of the drug in order to achieve a favorable effect. Doing so might eventually lead to a complete physical dependence, keeping the patient doing whatever they have to do to get their hands on the dug,regardless of the side effects or other ramifications. This is how addiction starts. Addiction is not just the desire to take drugs, but it’s a neurological disease that patients that is difficult to escape.
Addicted to Heroin and Want to get Your Life Back?
We Can Help!
What Are The Short-Term And Long-Term Effects Of Opioid Abuse?
The body reacts to repeated use of opioid drugs by reducing the production of endorphins. People affected by this will tend to boost their endorphin levels by increasing the dose of opioids they use. This condition is known as tolerance. This is why physicians always hesitate to increase the dose of opioids when managing a patient. Many patients will lie to their doctors under the pretext of needing a higher dose so they can stockpile the drugs. Not only is this illegal, it’s dangerous to the well being of the person. It’s important to ask for the help of your physician if you realize you’ve developed tolerance, or have become dependent on the drug. It’s important not to stop taking opioids by yourself. Your doctor needs to help you wean slowly in order to prevent another medical condition known as withdrawal syndrome. This syndrome can be very severe and can present with seizures, anxiety, anger and so on. Physicians can help you get off these drugs gradually while managing any symptoms that might occur with other types of medications.
Why Do People Abuse Drugs?
People take drugs for different reasons. Below are some of them;
- For euphoria: There are some drugs that give consumers intense feelings of pleasure. However, this good feeling is temporary. The side effects of the drug kick in when the good feeling fades away. For drugs like cocaine, users feel more powerful, confident and more energized after consuming it, while opiates cause patients to feel relaxed and satisfied.
- To feel better: People who suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, and stress start to use drugs that would make them feel better. The relief they get from using these medications makes them want to take more, putting them in danger of becoming addicted. No one intends to become a drug addict, but this is how easily it can happen to anyone.
- Social pressure: Another reason people consume drugs is to feel accepted. This is more common in teens, especially when they belong to a clique of friends that indulges in drugs and other illicit substances. Young adults trying to impress their friends, and in the process, become addicted.
Studies have shown that the most abused drugs are opioids, including heroin, morphine, Percocet, and codeine.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Opioid Abuse?
There are some factors that increase the risk of developing an addiction to opioid drugs. As earlier mentioned, the duration of time that the patient uses the drug has a role to play. Patients that use opioids for a long time have a high risk of developing an addiction. Below are the other factors that could increase the chances of developing an addiction to opioids;
- Poverty: Some people resort to using drugs to feel good in order to escape their reality. However, the more they rely on opioids, the worse they feel when they’re sober.
- Previous medical history: People with a history of addiction have a high risk of also developing an addiction to heroin and other opiates.
- A family history of substance abuse: An individual that comes from a family that has a history of substance abuse has a high risk of also developing an opioid dependancy.
- Age: Statistics have shown that opioid and substance abuse is more prevalent in teenagers and young adults.
- Stress: People that are under a lot of stress have a high risk of also developing an opioid addiction.
- Heavy tobacco use: People that consume a lot of tobacco have a high risk of developing an opioid addiction.
- History of criminal activities: People with a history of criminal activities tend to develop an addiction to drugs, such as heroin.
What Is Heroin Addiction?
Heroin addiction, like other types of opioid addiction, is a condition in which an individual can’t do or live without heroin. Heroin is a white powder that is made from morphine. It is illegal and very potent. Addicts mix it with water, and then inject it with a needle. It can also be smoked or snorted into the nose, allowing it to travel to the brain more rapidly. Heroin use has no benefit. It only destroys lives. It can lead to infections, miscarriages in women, overdose and so on.
Heroin Addiction Rehab Centers Near Me
Addicted to Heroin?
We Can Help!
What Causes Heroin Addiction?
Heroin is an opioid substance that is very addictive. This illegal drug binds to opioid receptors in the brain, releasing chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins. However, the “feel good” chemicals, also known as endorphins, do not last long, which is why addicts tend to consume until they develop a tolerance for the drug. The excessive consumption of heroin will eventually stop the brain from naturally releasing endorphins. The majority of heroin addicts start by becoming addicted to prescribed drugs, eventually switching to heroin when they can’t get prescription drugs anymore. Heroin is illegal, but it gives them the euphoric feeling they crave. However, it’s important to know that not all consumers of opioid drugs become addicted. Some people do just fine. However if you have any of the risk factors listed above, it’d be good to be more careful when using opioid medications. Tell your doctor of any risk factors you may have.
What Are the Signs And Symptoms Of Heroin Addiction?
Individuals affected by heroin addiction might not present with any signs and symptoms initially. It’s usually more difficult to notice, especially when the addict is putting effort into hiding the symptoms. However, over time it becomes impossible to conceal the signs and symptoms of heroin addiction. Below are some of the symptoms you might notice if an addict is in your life.
- Constipation: People addicted to heroin tend to have gastrointestinal problems such as constipation
- Memory impairment: Heroin addicts do have impairments with their memory. They may find it difficult remembering a recent occurrence.
- Slurred speech
- Needle marks: This is one of the most prominent signs you’d notice in an addict.
- A runny nose: This occurs especially when the individual snorts the heroin.
- Reduced sensitivity: Addicts tend to have reduced sensation.
- Aggressive behavior: Addicts tend to exhibit aggressive behavior. This becomes worse when they’re in need of heroin and can’t get some.
- Poor personal hygiene: Heroin addicts find it difficult to look after themselves. Their personal hygiene is poor.
- Deterioration in socializing: Addicts usually find it difficult to socialize with other people.
- Stealing: The quest of getting more heroin might lead people into stealing and/or selling off their property.
How Is Heroin Addiction Diagnosed?
Heroin addiction is diagnosed by a physician, usually a psychiatrist or a psychologist, who conducts a thorough examination and evaluation. It’s important to encourage your friend or relative that is addicted to heroin to go see a psychiatrist, and even check him/herself into rehabilitation for heroin addiction treatment and recovery.
How Is Heroin Addiction Treated?
There is no specific medication for the treatment of heroin addiction. However, there are effective treatment methods to assist the individual through recovery. The type of treatment that would be given to a patient depends largely on different factors such as:
- The circumstance of the patient
- The duration the patient has been on drugs
- Other diseases the patient might have
- How cooperative the patient is with the medical team.
Treatment For Drug Addiction
As earlier mentioned, the most effective way of getting off heroin is by checking into a rehabilitation center where counselors, nurses and doctors are expertly trained to take patients through a recovery process. The duration depends on the outcome of the process and the effort and commitment put in by the patient. Below are the phases involved in the recovery program for drug addiction;
- Assessment: The first step in this program is to assess the medical and psychological status of the patient as well as the extent and severity of the addiction. This is determined based on tests and the history obtained from him/her. A treatment plan is made for the patient based on the information provided.
- Detoxification: The patient is cleansed from any form of the opioid, in this case, heroin. This process can be dangerous, as patients generally do present with withdrawal syndrome. This is why it’s done gradually until the patient can live totally without the drugs.
- Rehabilitation: The rehab center will create a plan that is specific for the patient by helping him/her recover. This includes counseling, therapies, support groups, and even alternative therapies.
- Aftercare: This is done before the patient completes his/her rehabilitation and is meant to help prevent a relapse from occurring. The aftercare usually involves doctor/nurse appointments along with periodic testing for the presence of heroin. A counsellor might also be dedicated to the patient for regular consultations.
What’s The Possible Outcome For An Heroin Addict?
Opioid addiction, including heroin, is a serious condition. However, this condition is treatable as long as the individual cooperates with the medical staff. If you have a friend or a relative that is addicted to heroin, it’s important to speak to a physician or a healthcare provider for help. The best and most effective way of getting anyone off heroin is by checking them into a rehabilitation center.
Heroin Addiction Rehab Centers Near Me
Addicted to Heroin?
We Can Help!
Dethmers, M. (2010). Ambulante opiatendetox met Suboxone®. Verslaving, 6(2), pp.50-54.
HUNTER, W. (2007). Suboxone for Opiate Withdrawal in the Hospital. Clinical Psychiatry News, 35(1), p.54.
Platt, A. (2014). Suboxone: A Harm Reduction Approach. Journal of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence, 02(05).
Sander, G. (2007). Suboxone® im Alltag – Erste Erfahrungen. Suchttherapie, 8(4), pp.162-163.