Everyone’s journey out of addiction is different and personal. It does not matter how a person suffers from their substance abuse, what matters is how a person recovers from it. Alcohol, drugs, and other forms of addiction can cause problems that not only affect your physical and mental health but also your freedom and your very life itself. But you may be personally familiar with these facts already, so how can you stop this vicious cycle?
Our services here at Icarus Behavioral Health can give you the proper treatment you need to cope with heroin withdrawal symptoms. We can guarantee you proper care with the right foundation for lasting recovery, provided you are willing and ready to get clean.
Find out more now about the different treatment options available for you at Icarus!
What Is Heroin Addiction?
Before understanding the withdrawal symptoms of heroin, we must first understand how addiction begins in the first place.
Addiction is a neuropsychiatric disorder. It is hard for someone to stop something despite it being harmful to them physically or mentally, or both. Just like other medical conditions, this can cause chemical damage to the brain that results in severe health consequences.
Addiction is such a common and severe chronic condition that in 2019, in the United States alone, nearly 50,000 deaths were caused due to substance misuse and drug misuse. This number has risen dramatically since this data was gathered, and most recently, over 100,000 Americans died from overdose over a 12-month period. Crisis does not fully do justice to the situation we are facing in America and New Mexico in particular.
But simply knowing the risks does not make recovery from heroin and fentanyl use possible.
The more heroin someone consumes and the longer one consumes it, the harder it is to recover. Opioid withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable, a fact you may be familiar with by now.
Luckily, although it can be tough, heroin addiction treatment is available, and our drug facilities at Icarus Behavioral Health can give you the help you need. It is essential to know that you are not alone and that it is never too late to ask for help.
The Effects of Heroin on Brain Chemistry and Function
Those suffering from heroin addiction and abuse can suffer numerous health concerns. One of these health concerns is related to brain chemistry and function.
The brain has receptors that help our body function and provide feedback for our actions. This can be things as simple as breathing and can lead to more complicated emotions and perceptions of feelings. When one takes opioids, the brain’s receptors interact with the drug.
So, naturally, when one consumes heroin, the brain interacts with it as well and activates these receptors, leading to numerous effects. The effects of heroin and its interaction with the brain’s receptors cause it to release so much dopamine that it begins to expect this load of pleasure-producing chemicals and goes through withdrawal when it does not.
Dopamine is in charge of making a person feel happy and is also responsible for other positive feelings, so an unusual amount of dopamine flooding in on a regular basis can lead to negative effects.
Heroin and Pleasure Centers in Your Brain
One of these negative effects includes the decrease in the amount of active opioid receptors in one’s brain and also its sensitivity. This decreased sensitivity leads to the person being reliant on heroin as he or she will want to achieve the same effect. The worst part about this is that the person suffering from substance use disorder needs to consume more of this substance to achieve the effect.
When you consume foreign chemicals such as heroin, it makes the brain release dopamine, causing the brain to release dopamine on its own. Thus, the brain is now reliant on heroin to release dopamine.
Because the brain is now reliant on this new source, when you stop taking the substance, there will be a deficit of dopamine and there will be symptoms of withdrawal.
Heroin: Abuse vs Addiction
Drug abuse is different than drug addiction. Many people who suffer from drug abuse can quit or change their unhealthy behavior while it is harder for those suffering from addiction.
This happens when you use medication, alcohol, or illegal drugs too much or in the wrong way. This causes a person to experience significant problems or distress in their personal life. It may lead to legal problems or interference with their relationship with families or friends, or both. This is recognized as a medical brain disorder. Legal substances can also be abused and lead to addiction, such as alcohol, nicotine, or prescriptions.
As mentioned, people can also abuse heroin. People use heroin in multiple ways, such as injecting and smoking. This can give them different levels of intensity, with injection being the highest. Black tar heroin, though commonly smoked, can also be abuse via intravenous use and comes with additional side effects due to its methods of production and processing.
Heroin abuse, just like other drugs and substances, is a serious concern and should not be looked over as there are numerous negative risk factors involved. Heroin produces different chemicals that make a person feel relaxed. Thus, some people might want to increase the doses of heroin consumed, which leads to increased risk.
And each use of heroin also comes with the possibility of overdose, as the strength of any given amount purchased illegally is hard to determine. With a surge of fentanyl in America being used to adulterate much of the heroin, this risk has risen dramatically in recent years and led to the previously mentioned record number of overdose deaths.
Searching for Help Out of Desperation
Because of these negative consequences, it is normal to want a drug-free life. However, there can be negative effects on a person suffering from addiction when he or she stops taking the substance or stops engaging in the drug-seeking behavior. These negative effects are called withdrawal symptoms. In the case of heroin, these are known as heroin withdrawal symptoms.
People suffering from substance use disorders have become physically dependent on their substances. This makes their recovery process a lot harder as the symptoms people feel are very unpleasant.
Discontinuation of these substances can provoke these withdrawal symptoms and in some cases, it can even be fatal, though with heroin this is usually due to co-existing medical conditions.
What Is Heroin Withdrawal?
Oftentimes, people want to live a drug-free life after experiencing the negative effects of their mental health disorder. However, there is one challenge that clients have to face.
Because you have been physically dependent on these substances, when you are suffering from substance addiction and abuse, you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop.
What are the Effects of Heroin Withdrawal?
The withdrawal symptoms of heroin depend on numerous factors. This includes how long you have been taking heroin, how the heroin was used, and the amount and doses taken before the withdrawal began.
We mentioned before that heroin interacts with the brain, causing it to suppress numerous functions of the central nervous system, such as temperature regulation, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and so on. It also affects different emotions and feelings, such as pleasure and happiness, due to all the chemicals interacting with the opioid receptors.
When a person stops taking heroin after being dependent on it, he or she will experience heroin withdrawal symptoms. You will feel the opposite of the effects you are longing for and will be very uncomfortable with them.
One example is when heroin gives someone a feeling of pleasure, heroin withdrawal symptoms include things such as negative emotions such as depression, irritation, and anger.
The Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal
There are different heroin withdrawal symptoms and they all vary based on the different factors mentioned above. However, there are still common heroin withdrawal symptoms that you may experience.
If you or someone you know is experiencing the signs and symptoms of heroin withdrawal, then we recommend that you let us know here at Icarus Behavioral Health so that our treatment facilities can help.
- Intense sweating
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal cramps
- Vomiting and nausea
- Dilated pupils
- Excessive yawning
These common symptoms can range from mild to moderate or severe depending on how long or how much heroin has been consumed.
While opioid withdrawal is not considered life-threatening, the effects of these symptoms can be. Some of these medical and psychological symptoms can have life-threatening effects, such as depression and suicide, or excessive dehydration and lack of nutrition.
How is Heroin Addiction Treated?
It is never too late to ask for help, and if you or a person you know is suffering from heroin withdrawal, help should be searched for as soon as possible. Icarus Behavioral Health also provides services for those suffering from other substance abuse and addiction.
The journey to being sober starts with heroin detox. Our medical professionals will monitor your detox, supervise it, and deliver you the best care available so you are as safe and comfortable as possible.
During your heroin detox, you will get to experience one of the best treatment facilities in New Mexico here at Icarus. We provide different services that will best suit your needs so that you can focus on the process of withdrawal recovery.
Mental health is also something that should not be taken lightly. Our services offer residential treatment that helps those suffering from mental health disorders ranging from anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsiveness disorders to PTSD and trauma disorders.
Mental health concerns can often form the underlying causes (or contributing factors) of heroin abuse and addiction and are dealt with effectively through our holistic approaches.
The Bottom Line: Help for Heroin is Here
Our clinical team and staff in recovery know that it is very difficult to stop taking heroin when it results in experiencing withdrawal. But we provide a solution, from medication-assisted options and residential treatment to the tools you need for lasting sobriety afterward.
Rest assured: you are not alone and it is never too late to ask for help. Our facilities at Icarus Behavioral Health provide highly specialized health services for addiction treatment and withdrawal management.
If you (or a loved one) are struggling with heroin or other opioids, please reach out to our welcoming Admissions team today for a confidential chat. Give yourself a break and pick up the phone now!