What is Heroin?
Heroin is a fast-acting opioid that’s used recreationally for its euphoric and numbing effects; it is usually smoked, snorted or injected. Heroin (like morphine) is derived from the resin of poppy plants.
Heroin is far more potent than morphine. However, when used intravenously, it can be anywhere from two to four times stronger than morphine. The euphoric effects (the “high”) from Heroin may arrive within seconds, which makes it a dangerous drug.
Heroin is an illegal substance that’s highly addictive. Using Heroin regularly causes a greater tolerance for the drug and often leads to physical dependence. Symptoms of Heroin addiction can vary depending on the genetic makeup of the user, the frequency of drug use, the amount of the drug used, the level of dependency, and other factors.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction and Abuse?
These are some of the most common physiological symptoms of heroin addiction:
- Sudden mood swings
- Constricted (tiny) pupils
- Cycles of alertness and sudden nodding off
- Slurred speech
- Scratching and flushed skin.
Other warning signs of heroin addiction are the presence of paraphernalia such as:
- Needles or syringes
- Burned spoons or aluminum foil
- Displaced shoelaces, ties or belts (Used to tie injection sites)
- Small containers (Usually tiny plastic bags) with brown or white residual
- Pipes or soda cans with holes (Used to smoke the heroin)
What are the overall possible Heroin Addiction Effects?
Repeated use of heroin changes the physical structure of the brain, which can cause severe damage to both the peripheral nervous system and the body’s hormonal functions. Studies have shown that the damage caused by Heroin use often leads to a decrease in the user’s ability to make decisions, cope with stress, and control behavior.
Side Effects of Heroin
Heroin users are seldom aware that their dependency is inflicting harm on their life and the lives of the people around them. They neglect to care for their livelihoods and their bodies — acquiring more Heroin becomes far more important than anything or anybody else.
Heroin is typically used intravenously, which can lead to many serious physical consequences such as:
The contraction of infectious diseases such as HIV or hepatitis, liver disease, seizures, kidney dysfunction, dehydration, unhealthy weight loss, and abscesses.
Behavioral consequences of heroin abuse can also become extremely harmful. Here are some of the most noticeable behaviors:
- Deceptive behavior (Primarily Lying and hiding).
- Withdrawal from friends and loved ones.
- Lack of interest in healthy hobbies or activities.
- Decreased performance of responsibilities, including school or job.
- Hostile sudden behaviors.
- Stealing or unexplained disappearance of items.
People who continuously use heroin develop a tolerance for the drug and if discontinued they become susceptible to feel a withdrawal syndrome. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal can set in a few hours, and they usually peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose.
What are the Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal?
The length of time someone abuses heroin, how he or she use, and the amount will all be important factors in how dependent the brain and body are, which will dictate the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms.
The most common heroin withdrawal symptoms can include:
Mild symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Muscle spasms in the legs (which cause them to kick)
- Dilated pupils
Moderate ones are:
- Aches and pains in the muscles and joints
- Extreme restlessness
- Abdominal cramps
These more severe ones should be medically assisted because they can put the person at additional risk for medical complications. Some of the symptoms to watch out for are:
- Dehydration (continuous vomit or diarrhea)
- Rapid heart rate
- Extreme Depression
- Impaired Respiration
Usually, the physical symptoms are followed by psychological ones including anxiety, depression, and severe cravings for the drug.
Heroin Addiction Treatment and Detox
Heroin is a highly addictive drug, physically and emotionally. Due to its powerful effects, those who are dependent on the drug should access inpatient medical detox to come off. Unsupervised withdrawal from heroin may have medical or emotional complications that are usually not, but could be life-threatening. The support of specialized medical and mental health professionals during this challenging phase is crucial for the safety and success of a detoxification treatment for heroin addiction.
Archaic forms of Heroin treatment involve being admitted to a Drug Rehab facility. These rehab centers are usually staffed with drug counselors who lack the medical education required to identify and treat withdrawal symptoms.
The first stage of coming off heroin is the detox phase. Without a successful detoxification, one can never achieve full recovery. Detox from heroin can trigger extremely uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal symptoms, and if not properly managed people can face immediate relapse.
What is Rapid Heroin Detox?
Rapid Heroin Detox is a procedure where patients are sedated, while given medications to induce and speed the detoxification period. This process allows patients to complete detoxification while comfortably sleeping in an ICU private room, within an accredited hospital. The antagonist medication used during detox also binds to the opiate receptor sites which eliminates most of the physical cravings.
Rapid Detox prevents the patient from going through the unnecessary agony of a long and challenging heroin withdrawal. When performed responsibly, rapid detox under anesthesia can offer the highest success rates of any opioid detoxification in history.