Heroin addiction treatment center
Many people turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative to prescription opioids

Like all opioids, when heroin is injected, snorted, or smoked, it allows the user to temporarily escape from all sources of physical and emotional pain. This addictive drug, made from raw opium retrieved from the poppy plant, produces effects similar to morphine. Heroin is not regulated in the United States, so it is difficult for heroin users to know the real contents of the heroin they’re using. Many people turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative to prescription opioids.

What is opioid use disorder?

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a complicated but treatable chronic illness marked by physical and psychological dependence on opioids like heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. While some people are able to occasionally use opioids to treat pain without experiencing chemical dependence, many people are not. Opioid Use Disorder is not a result of weakness or a lack of willpower; anyone who takes opioids for an extended period of time is likely to develop a problematic pattern of opioid use. If using opioids causes impairment in your life, an addiction treatment program can help. Think back about the past 12 months of your life. If you experience any of the following, it is likely that opioids are causing harm in your life:

Heroin addiction and the opioid epidemic

Heroin addiction and the opioid epidemic are linked. The rise in prescription drug addiction and opiate addiction has increased the number of people seeking heroin and synthetic opioids on the street. Chronic heroin use causes severe health consequences. It also causes significant distress such as occupational issues, relationship issues, and educational issues. The individual will appear to be “on a nod”, sleeping or dozing off at inappropriate times which can be frustrating for those around him or her. Heroin addiction is extremely difficult to stop and there is currently a crossover between heroin addiction and addiction to opiate painkillers. Opiate and heroin withdrawal symptoms can make an individual violently sick.

The most common forms of heroin are white, brown, or black powders that are injected, snorted, or smoked. The individual learns to rely on these artificial feelings in place of healthy coping, creating an altered sense of reality. Street heroin is being cut with poisons, making it extremely dangerous. Heroin addiction is extremely difficult to stop without the help of a substance abuse treatment program. However, help is available. Contact Lakeview Health and begin the path to recovery today.

Symptoms of heroin withdrawal

The use of this drug will depress breathing, cause vomiting, produce itching, make extremities feel heavy, and cloud mental functions. Withdrawal can begin as early as a few hours and generally 24-48 hours after the last use. Heroin withdrawal symptoms are based upon frequency, duration, and quantity of use.

Here at Lakeview Health our team of difference makers understand the importance of educating oneself about how to recognize the signs of addiction and learning what treatment options are available.

Physical withdrawal symptoms
Psychological withdrawal symptoms

The repercussions of heroin use extend far beyond the health of an individual user. Serious medical, social, and economic consequences associated with heroin use also impact the immediate family and larger community.

Opioid detox

If you are addicted to heroin or any opioid, detoxing without medical assistance is a monstrous experience. The severity and length of opioid withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the drug’s half-life (how long it takes the body to remove half of the drug from a person’s system), how long the person has been using, and patient-specific health issues.

Detox alone is not the answer

Immediately stopping the use of short-acting opioids like heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, and tramadol without tapering is associated with severe opioid withdrawal symptoms, which usually begin within 12 hours after a person’s last fix. These withdrawal symptoms tend to be the worst during the 36- to 72-hour mark and decrease in intensity over the course of the following four to seven days.  Although treatment for opioid use disorder has a low success rate for people who only have access to detoxification services, long-term treatment programs have proven to be more effective. Post-treatment programs can include the following:

Getting help for heroin addiction

Heroin addiction is serious and requires drug addiction treatment with complete therapy in a rehab center that has both medical detox and treatment in the same facility. Heroin detox is the first stage of opioid treatment and is followed by a smooth transition into residential or outpatient treatment once you are completely free from severe withdrawal symptoms and stabilized with the proper medications.
It is essential that you enter a medical detox program in order to be monitored during withdrawal and receive extra help from doctors and nurses. Medications will be used in medical detox to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible during the withdrawal process. Cravings, insomnia, and irritability can be unbearable; however, you will have 24/7 support in the comfort of an inpatient rehab facility.

Trauma and heroin addiction

People who are unable to cope with the effects of unhealed trauma in their lives may resort to heroin use as a last resort if they feel out of control or suicidal. While using heroin allows the user to escape the pain, it doesn’t treat the pain or allow the user to heal. Unhealed trauma makes withdrawing from heroin even more difficult, but gradually tapering medications in a medically monitored detox program can allow people to gradually lower the dosage as they enter treatment.

After detox is complete, you should continue with a Florida inpatient rehab to assist with the possible post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) that may be present. PAWS (Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms) can take up to several weeks to begin to dissipate. The rehab component of addiction treatment will educate you on how to remain sober, resolve underlying issues related to heroin addiction, and address mood issues if present. At Lakeview Health, we provide the full continuum of care to give our clients their best chance at lasting recovery.

Losing yourself to heroin addiction

It can be frightening to realize that you are losing parts of yourself or a loved one to heroin addiction; however, getting the right assistance can help you on the road to recovery. While recovering from heroin addiction might feel impossible, we want you to know that hope is within your reach. Recovering from addiction means also treating co-occurring psychological disorders.

Understanding co-occurring disorders and heroin addiction

People with a dual diagnosis often struggle to find the right combination of treatments to help them achieve lifelong recovery. Their addiction may show up as symptoms that look like mental illness, and their mental illness may be one of the driving factors of their addiction. People with a dual diagnosis sometimes receive treatment only for their addiction, which leaves them struggling with untreated mental health conditions that often include the following:

Heroin addiction & PTSD
Heroin & meth addiction
Heroin addiction & trauma
Heroin & benzodiazepine addiction
Recovering from heroin addiction involves treating other psychological conditions

Psychological disorders are called disorders because they disorder our thinking processes. This can make it almost impossible for some people to stick to a medication schedule. Difficulty managing medication can make people more susceptible to misusing opioids or other medications. When prescription drugs are no longer available, many people turn to heroin as a last resort. At Lakeview we want you to know that ordered thinking is within reach with the right treatment plans. Give yourself the time and attention you need to heal. If you get started today, you will be one day closer to your most successful and adjusted self. Call us today to speak with our clinicians regarding your individualized treatment plan.

If you’re ready to begin a heroin addiction treatment program, contact Lakeview Health at 904 531 3505. Our admissions team is ready to help you start the process and start the next part of your life.


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