What Does Treatment for Heroin Look Like?
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a narcotic in the opiate family that originates from morphine. Heroin is an illicit drug that is sold in a white, brown, or black powder. Heroin can be injected, snorted, or smoked. Because of its potency, it can result in quick addiction as well as overdose and death.
Why is Heroin so Addictive?
Like other opiates, heroin releases dopamine by binding to receptors in the brain. Once someone begins taking heroin regularly, the brain ceases to produce dopamine as it once did, and the user becomes dependent on heroin in higher and higher quantities to achieve the same feeling of wellbeing.
It is common for people to first become addicted to other prescription opiates they may have been given for treatment of pain following surgery or injury. Once their prescription is no longer available, many seek heroin illicitly to achieve the feeling they once had from these medications. Heroin is usually less expensive and easier to obtain illicitly than prescription opioids.
How do I know if I am addicted to heroin?
While anyone can be at risk for developing heroin addiction, those at higher risk include people who:
- Have a family history of addiction
- Have underlying mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma
- Are unemployed or have other significant life stressors
- Are exposed to high-risk environments and/or people
There are a number of symptoms of heroin addiction one can look out for. If you notice the following in yourself or a loved one, seeking rehab is most likely necessary.
These symptoms include:
- Inability to stop using heroin, despite negative consequences
- Failed attempts to limit or stop use
- Increased use to achieve the same high
- Slurred speech
- Constricted pupils
- Memory lapses
- Reduced sense of pain
- Changes in appearance
- Secrecy or shame around use
- Increased aggression
- Decrease in functioning in other areas of life (work, relationships, school)
- Risky or dangerous behavior connected to pursuit and/or use of heroin
What Does Treatment for Heroin Addiction Look Like?
When treating heroin addiction, it professional medical detox is needed first and foremost. The withdrawal from heroin addiction can be severe. Withdrawal symptoms include muscle cramps, anxiety, severe depression, fever, nausea, vomiting, suicidal ideation, and cravings. Medical detox is an inpatient service that manages and guides people safely through these withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, certain medications such as suboxone, vivitrol, and methadone can prescribed to ease withdrawal symptoms as well. If you are receiving treatment with Flatirons Recovery for heroin addiction, we partner with excellent medical detox providers in the area for this portion of treatment.
Once medical detox is complete, clients can begin treatment at Flatirons Recovery. Heroin addiction treatment typically lasts for 30-90 days of day treatment programming, which includes group therapy, individual therapy, medication management, and experiential programming such as yoga, art, and outdoor activities. While participating in day treatment, clients are encouraged to reside in our structured sober living facility, where they will be accommodated with full staff support, transportation, food, and additional community and recreational programming. Once complete, clients can also “step down” into our intensive outpatient programming, which includes 10-16 hours of group and individual therapy a week while they re-integrate back into their lives, looking towards long-term recovery.