Drug abuse and addiction can be difficult to overcome on your own, particularly with heroin. Becoming addicted to opiates or participating in frequent use are hard habits to break, which cause you to experience harmful effects on your physical and mental health. The goal of heroin addiction treatment is to lessen discomfort and set you on the path to lasting recovery.
If you are struggling with any form of substance abuse or addiction, then you deserve to have accessible treatment options to make your recovery process as comfortable as possible.
Keep reading to find out about the methods of treatment for heroin at Icarus Behavioral Health, and how they can help assist with addiction today!
Today, many people struggle with improper use or overuse of street drugs and prescription drugs, including opioids known as heroin. One of the first steps to preventing and treating substance abuse or addiction is to be informed about their effects, symptoms, and possible treatment methods.
Icarus Behavioral Health is committed to preventing heroin addiction and abuse by giving accurate information about the drug and offering high-quality and supportive care to clients on their road to recovery.
Keep reading to find out more about heroin use and dependence, and the most effective ways of quitting and staying quit!
What Is Heroin?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin is a type of opioid drug made from prescription painkillers like morphine. Heroin often comes as a fine white or brown powder that is administered into a user’s body by snorting it, smoking it, sniffing it, or injecting it via a syringe.
As mentioned above, heroin originally comes from morphine. Morphine is sourced from opium poppy plants, which explains its euphoric and painkilling properties.
Black Tar Heroin
Black tar heroin is a type of heroin that has been left in a more raw or impure form. Black tar is made by chemically removing the opium from poppies until it eventually turns into a brown sticky substance. The use of black tar was quite widespread until recently, as users began diverting their attention to a cheaper and more accessible option called fentanyl.
Pure black tar, unadulterated with fentanyl, may be harder to obtain today due to this shift and the flood of fentanyl in New Mexico and throughout the US.
If you or your loved one are dealing with black tar abuse or addiction, please contact us at Icarus Behavioral Health. We are ready and waiting to provide the care and assistance you deserve.
Heroin Abuse vs Heroin Addiction
Substance abuse and substance addiction may seem similar at a glance. However, they are two different things that offer various effects and consequences. In simple terms, heroin abuse makes you feel as if you are after the euphoric effects of the drug and need it to enjoy yourself and unwind.
Meanwhile, suffering from heroin addiction will make you feel as if you cannot function properly without consuming the drug. In short, heroin abuse mainly involves the overuse or misuse of the drug for recreational purposes. You can stop using the drug, but it would be a difficult process to perform on your own.
On the other hand, heroin addiction prevents you from living your life without the drug, as it is a necessity. Your physical and mental health may eventually reach a point where the heroin cravings are too much to handle on your own.
You reach a point where you are willing to go through extreme measures to satisfy the cravings. In turn, you could cause harm to yourself and those around you.
Heroin addiction and abuse are difficult hurdles that many people cannot jump over on their own. Once a person’s body becomes accustomed to consuming the drug, it’s hard to stop without experiencing unpleasant side effects and symptoms.
If you or a loved one are experiencing the behavioral signs we’ve mentioned, then we highly urge you to seek treatment. Our team at Icarus Behavioral Health is always ready to help anyone who may be struggling with any form of substance use disorder or opioid use disorder.
If you are struggling with abuse, don’t let it become an addiction, seek help now!
What are the Risk Factors for Heroin Addiction?
Opioid use disorders are directly developed by using the drug frequently and without regulation. However, there are external factors that may affect the process.
Some individuals may be more prone to heroin addiction compared to the average person due to certain factors that may be influencing their decisions, current condition, and physical or mental health. Some of these factors include the following.
Those who are often surrounded by heroin users are more likely to end up using heroin themselves. Peer pressure is one of the main environmental factors behind heroin use, as individuals feel pressured to use the drug to fit in with their friends or companions.
Children who lack proper guidance or supervision from their parents or guardians are also more prone to substance abuse and heroin addiction, as well as troubled individuals who are looking for a way to cope with their problems.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that heroin addiction can also be influenced heavily by genetics. Based on their studies, individuals are also prone to becoming addicted or overusing other substances like nicotine, alcohol, and other opioids due to their genetics.
This means that if someone else in your family has a history of heroin addiction, alcohol addiction, nicotine addiction, or other substance abuse disorders, then it increases the likelihood of you developing a substance or opioid use disorder as well.
Everyone has their fair share of challenges and issues in life. However, we want to help you find healthier and more fulfilling ways to cope with your struggles. The doors of our treatment center are always open if you need help.
Existing Conditions and Life Circumstances
Individuals with existing physical or mental health issues may experience an increased risk of heroin addiction. People who have mental health conditions like depression may continuously seek the euphoric effects that using heroin provides.
Using heroin and other opioids may help them relieve the symptoms of their condition and cope with their emotional or mental health issues, which causes them to overuse the drug in an attempt to maximize its effects.
Similarly, those who have physical conditions that cause pain or chronic injuries may also be more prone to heroin addiction. Since heroin is made from opioid drugs, it can relieve pain. People who struggle with chronic pain may develop opioid dependence, which could eventually turn into addiction if left without effective treatment or self-regulation.
What are the Signs of Heroin Abuse?
Substance abuse often displays various physical and mental symptoms, depending on the drug being used.
For example, heroin is considered a depressant drug because it is made from opioid medications. If you use heroin frequently, then you may experience the following mental and physical symptoms:
- Feeling extremely tired, sluggish, or fatigued
- Losing appetite or neglecting meals
- Having an irregular eating or sleeping pattern
- Sudden change in behavior, personality, or attitude
- Losing motivation for responsibilities
- Procrastinating excessively or avoiding duties
- Tiny or overly large pupils (pupils are smaller when high on the drug but become larger once the effects begin to wear off)
- Puffy eyes with dark circles
- Marks and bruises formed as you inject heroin into the body
- Loud, hacking cough
- A sudden drop in weight
The Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
The symptoms displayed with heroin addiction are similar to those who are abusing the drug.
However, the mental and physical dependence on the drug has caused these symptoms to intensify and cause life-changing results for an individual.
If you or your loved one are currently experiencing the following symptoms, kindly seek effective and compassionate heroin treatment by contacting us at Icarus Behavioral Health today.
- Completely neglecting personal hygiene
- Ignoring home, school, or work responsibilities for drug use
- Performing risky and possibly illegal acts to obtain more heroin
- Being defensive or possibly aggressive when confronted about drug use
- Borrowing or stealing money to buy more drugs
- Neglecting interpersonal relationships with family and friends
- Slowed or irregular breathing
- Runny nose
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slowed or slurred speech
- Sexual dysfunction
- Constant confusion or disorientation
- Increased symptoms of anxiety and depression
What are the Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms?
Heroin addiction cannot be stopped by simply ceasing heroin use. One of the main reasons why people check themselves or their loved ones into addiction treatment centers or treatment programs is because of the withdrawal symptoms that they will experience.
Once the body becomes accustomed to heroin use, it is likely that it will have a hard time functioning without it. Once you stop using heroin, you will likely experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Muscle pain
- Mood swings, including irritation, agitation, depression, or anxiety
- Digestive or gastrointestinal issues
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Increased sweating
- Irregular heart rate
- Nausea or vomiting
Withdrawal is one of the most difficult parts of recovery. You can receive high-quality care during the detox process by checking into an addiction treatment center such as ours.
At our facilities, you (and your loved ones) will have access to experienced medical professionals and other individuals you can relate with as you continue with your recovery.
Contact us at Icarus Behavioral Health today for more information about our addiction treatment center offerings, staff, and any questions you may have.
The Typical Stages of Heroin Withdrawal
The symptoms of heroin withdrawal will typically kick in once any traces of the drug have been completely eliminated from your bloodstream. This process should take about 12 hours from the initial administration of the drug.
Once the 12-hour-mark has passed, and sometimes even sooner for heavy users, you will begin to experience the symptoms. Therefore, many people tend to overuse the drug; it provides an escape from the withdrawal symptoms caused by using it. Thus, the process leads rather quickly to outright addiction.
There are three stages of heroin withdrawal. They include the following:
Experiencing heroin withdrawal is a necessary part of the medical detox. The first part of withdrawal includes a lot of anticipation. This stage occurs at least 12 to 24 hours after the most recent heroin use.
Minor symptoms such as muscle aches, watery eyes, or yawning may appear during this time. You may also feel anxious or nervous due to the possible events that await you in the medical detox process.
The second stage is where most of the unpleasant symptoms begin to kick in. You will begin to experience increasingly unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or heightened emotions of aggression or irritability. This period will last for approximately two to four days.
During this time, you will inevitably experience an intense craving for the drug. It’s vital that you are kept in a well-monitored and safe environment so that instances of heroin relapse or other harmful incidents may be prevented.
The third stage of withdrawal may last for around three to four days, ranging from day four until day seven of the detox process. You will most likely experience insomnia at this time and may find it difficult to sleep.
You may also feel restless, which could heighten your fatigue and irritability until the medical detox process has concluded.
What are the Signs of Heroin Overdose?
Heroin overdose will occur once the individual’s heroin use becomes too much for their body to handle.
Once the amount of heroin in the body surpasses its limit, you will begin experiencing symptoms that could lead to harmful effects on your mental and physical health or even death. The warning signs of an opioid overdose include:
- Breathing issues or shallow breathing
- Change in complexion; the person becomes pale
- Lips start to become blue
- Increased or intensified symptoms of heroin intoxication
- Individual becomes unresponsive
- The person seems overly disoriented
- Slurred speech
- Speech is unintelligible or does not make any sense
- Head lolling when sitting down
- Unable to prevent yourself from falling asleep or losing consciousness
When is Rehab Needed for Heroin?
Heroin addiction and abuse are two serious problems that must be addressed before they can worsen or cause further damage to you and your loved ones. If you or someone you know are experiencing any signs or symptoms of addiction or abuse, seek appropriate care to treat heroin addiction immediately.
Getting heroin addiction treatment during the earlier stages of abuse or addiction reduces the risk of overdose and increases the likelihood of recovering from opioid dependence.
Overdose deaths are one of the leading causes of fatalities for people struggling with substance abuse.
If you or your loved one are displaying any signs of overdose, seek medical treatment immediately by contacting emergency services via 911.
Additionally, if you or your loved one are commonly using heroin, the presence of naloxone (more often referred to by the brand name Narcan) can help reverse the effects of the opiate and give more time for emergency care providers to arrive.
Naloxone can be purchased over the counter nationwide without prescription and is also available free from many harm reduction groups and even state agencies.
Addiction Treatment for Heroin
There are various treatment methods available for heroin addiction. However, two of the most commonly recommended and effective treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment.
Both these forms of therapy are fully utilized at Icarus Behavioral Health in both our inpatient treatment program as well our IOP and other outpatient services.
Behavioral therapy is a form of substance abuse treatment that aims to support individuals during their road to recovery from heroin abuse. This type of therapy is executed by allowing a client to go through enriching activities in a supportive and safe environment.
Through CBT, you are invited to attend individual counseling sessions, support groups for fellow clients, family counseling, or other forms of heroin addiction treatment to help you recover from your challenges. It also helps you address other aspects of your life that may have caused you to fall so deep into your addiction.
Behavioral therapy is immersive and often personalized, depending on the client being treated. It can help you discover healthier and more meaningful methods to cope with your struggles, turning away from drugs to encourage a better lifestyle.
Medication Assisted Treatment
The medication used in the treatment of heroin addiction must have FDA approval and must be prescribed by a medical provider before consumption. For the best results, the consumption of several medications must be carefully monitored and regulated by the treatment providers to ensure that the clients will not be putting themselves at risk for drug dependence or overuse once again.
There are three common medications prescribed under heroin addiction treatment. All of these drugs were recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as shown to be effective in recent studies.
They are all preferred because they go through the same opioid receptors as heroin. However, these drugs have a lower risk for addiction because of their nature. These drugs are agonists (activate opioid receptors), partial opiate agonists (also activate opioid receptors but with lower response), and antagonists (block the opioid receptors).
Methadone works as a slow-acting medication that gradually travels to the brain. Its slow pace reduces the intensity of the medication and prevents any withdrawal symptoms from occurring. It is one of the top options used in heroin addiction treatment and is most often prescribed to outpatient treatment programs.
Methadone has been a common addiction medicine used by treatment centers since the 1960s and is still considered an effective treatment today. At the time of this writing, methadone can only be obtained in New Mexico if the individual is a program that offers it as inclusion under their treatment methods and often requires daily outpatient visits.
Buprenorphine is a partial opiate agonist that aims to reduce heroin cravings. It is the ideal treatment for people who are currently undergoing a detox, as they can reduce the cravings without producing any of the harmful effects brought by actual heroin.
The effects of this drug are possible because it also contains naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist that was designed to combat the euphoric high that people experience whenever they use opioids or other drugs.
Buprenorphine is available upon the prescription of a medical physician. It can be administered through injections or a subdermal implant which must be replaced every six months.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. The drug is long-acting and is only administered once a month. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids in the body and is considered a safe treatment option because it does not cause any sedative or addictive effects.
With that, the chances of clients becoming physically dependent on Naltrexone are quite low. NIDA states that most individuals have trouble complying with this heroin treatment, which is why its efficacy has certain limitations and why it is combined with buprenorphine in the most effective forms of therapy. Regardless, it is still a valid treatment option and has been approved for use in heroin treatment facilities.
Heroin Relapse Prevention and Treatment
Recovery is a long process. For many individuals, staying sober is a challenge that they must overcome each day through support networks and reminders of the damage done by past drug addiction. If you are currently struggling with heroin, then please feel free to try these simple treatments or coping methods to help prevent relapse.
- Attend support groups, such as AA or SMART Recovery
- Practice regular meditation
- Practice self-care
- Practice breathing exercises
- Immerse yourself in a supportive environment
- Have loved ones on speed dial in case of emergencies
- Seek professional help at a treatment center
Although some individuals are capable of recovering from addiction without professional treatment, we highly encourage those who are dealing with substance addiction or abuse to seek help from professional addiction treatment providers.
Our treatment center at Icarus Behavioral Help is always open to everyone who wishes to improve themselves, jump over their hurdles, and continue down a more meaningful path in life.
Get Effective Heroin Addiction Treatment at Icarus Today
Icarus Behavioral Health is one of the most trusted addiction treatment providers in New Mexico. We specialize in long-term recovery through our inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment programs.
We also offer heroin detox treatment, carefully monitored and managed by our team of clinicians and addiction treatment professionals.
To get started (or restarted) on a path to a life free from drugs, please give yourself a break and reach out to our warm and welcoming Admissions team… Your life and your recovery are worth it, and we are waiting to hear from you!