Heroin is an illicit drug that has received its reputation for being the start of a downward spiral in addicts who do not receive help. It is an opioid drug, so it belongs to the same class as drugs like opium and morphine. It was created after both opium and morphine. Despite the intention of its creation being medical, it became an addictive drug of abuse.

Not only is the addictive potential of heroin very high but it also has an array of serious health conditions it causes that make it very dangerous. Even when used for relatively short periods, it can have severe consequences.

This article will tell you what you need to know about addiction to heroin and the effects it has on health. It will also inform you on the treatment of heroin addiction and heroin drug rehab.

What is heroin addiction?

Heroin addiction is a physical and/or psychological dependence on heroin. Heroin is a highly addictive substance, which makes addiction to it a serious problem for individuals who use it even just a few times.

heroin addiction stats

An addict finds it difficult to stop due to cravings and withdrawal symptoms which show up when they stop using heroin. There is a high tendency for addicts trying to quit to relapse as a result of this. For many, the only solution for heroin abuse treatment is checking in to a professional heroin addiction center.

What are the symptoms and signs of heroin addiction?

There are some telltale signs and symptoms of heroin addiction that can be observed in a suspected individual. Many of these relate to the effects that the drug has on the body or the side effects of use through particular routes of administration. These include the following physical signs of heroin addiction:

  • Constricted or pinpoint pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Reduced rate of breathing
  • Flushed skin
  • Confusion
  • Sudden falling asleep
  • Constipation

There may also be noticeable changes in the daily living and behavior of the addict. This is due to how the frequent need to use the drug is affecting their responsibilities and relationships. These include the following:

  • Changes in clothing, such as wearing longer clothes to hide track marks
  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Constant requests for money
  • Changes in mood and behavior
  • Loss of weight and neglect of proper nutrition

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What are the causes of heroin addiction?

Heroin addiction stems from the action of the drug dopamine on the brain. Heroin is an opioid and like drugs in its class, it binds to certain receptors in the brain to cause the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine which leads to euphoria. This is what gives the drug the effect that addicts desire it for.

However, as this use continues, the brain is no longer able to produce as much dopamine as it previously could on its own. It requires the use of the drug to attain levels of neurotransmitter similar to what it previously produced. As an addict continues to abuse the drug, tolerance sets in, which means they have to use higher amounts to achieve the same sensation.

Addiction to heroin can set in in any person if they use the drug. However, some factors increase the risk for an addiction occurring in a person. These include:

  • Genetic predisposition to addiction, which can be assessed through a history of addiction in any relative
  • Previous episodes of depression or anxiety
  • History of addiction or drug use
  • Unemployment
  • Exposure to environments where drug use is rampant

What are the effects of heroin use?

Frequent use of heroin will begin to have detrimental effects on the body. These side effects underline the danger of addiction to this drug as many of them are serious. These side effects can either be short-term or long-term side effects. 

Short-term side effects of heroin use

Heroin abuse does not need to have been ongoing for a long time before it starts to pose a danger. The following are some of the negative effects that can acutely arise from heroin use:

  • Reduced rate of breathing
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Decreased brain function, also known as mental fog
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite

Long-term side effects of heroin use

The long-term side effects of heroin abuse arise from the toxic effects that heroin has over years of use. It can also be related to the routes by which the addict administers them and the dangers associated with them. These include:

  • Central nervous system:
  • Cardiovascular:
    • Infection of the heart lining and valves
    • Formation of blood clots inside vessels
    • Infection of blood vessels
  • Infectious Diseases:
    • Hepatitis B and C
    • HIV
    • Pneumonia
    • Tuberculosis
  • Gastrointestinal:

Sharing intravenous drug materials with other addicts can lead to infectious diseases. These include HIV and hepatitis. These diseases can cause complications such as cancer or organ failure, which eventually lead to death. This shows how important it is to have heroin drug treatment before it gets too late.

Heroin dependence help and treatment

As one of the most addictive substances that there is, letting go of a heroin addiction without assistance is nearly impossible. Many times, the withdrawal symptoms and cravings make it too difficult to stay away from the drug.

A heroin addict prepares to abuse heroin despite knowing he needs treatment.

Fortunately, professional heroin treatment programs are available to provide quality treatment for addicts. A treatment program starts with detoxification, which is the part at which heroin needs to be cleansed from the body. This is when the withdrawal symptoms are the harshest. Medications are used to eliminate the discomfort from the patient during this time. The heroin recovery success rate is much higher when in heroin rehab programs then when fighting the addiction alone.

Depending on the extent of addiction, the length of treatment will differ. For example, recovery may require a 7-day heroin treatment program. However, for more severe cases of addiction, addicts may require a 14-day treatment program.

After the detoxification and managing withdrawal symptoms, a patient undergoes psychotherapy which aims to reverse the behavioral and social changes that addiction has caused. This can go on for years but provides the addict with a support system to ensure at intervals that they are still on the right track. Rehabilitation for heroin serves as a platform to restore an addict’s life to normal.

Phases of treatment of heroin addiction

Diagnostics – this is the first and significant phase of treatment. This phase aims to evaluate the addiction stage, the level of physical and mental health of the patient, the presence of effects of drug use, the degree of motivation, self-criticality, the preservation of voluntary mechanisms. A treatment plan is made based on diagnostic results. The length of treatment, the choice of detoxification, psycho-correction, blockade, rehabilitation methods – all depend on the diagnostic results.

The standard diagnostic examination includes:

  • tests for hepatitis B and C, HIV infection
  • general blood analysis
  • biochemical blood tests (assessment of liver, kidney, pancreas function)
  • ECG
  • Internist examination

In case severe deviations in the tests, the presence of risk factors, accompanying chronic illnesses are detected, a specialist is involved in determining additional tests and prescribing the therapy for the accompanying disease. MRT, EEG, ultrasound, X-ray, endoscopy, medicine, and drug concentration analysis, cardiologist, neurologist, endocrinologist, infectologist examination are available at our clinic or in agreement with our partner clinics and laboratories.

Detoxification – The general anesthesia in which the patient is during detoxification helps to make it quick and painless. All symptoms of crisis will be reduced by 90% or completely disappear once the first therapy is done. During sleep, the patient’s body will absorb vitamins, amino acids, minerals and other vital nutrients by infusion, so they will wake up without symptoms of withdrawal such as pain, nervousness, trembling, tremor, nausea. What is most important, they will leave the worst part behind them.

  • UROD – Ultra-rapid detoxification, an extremely effective and modern method that quickly cleans the body and at the same time reduces the unpleasant symptoms of the crisis. It is applied exclusively when there are no contraindications for use, which is determined after diagnostics. During ultra-rapid detoxification, the patient is under anesthesia for 6-8 hours during the day, receiving opiate antagonists that help the receptors get rid of opiates. Usually, naloxone or naltrexone is administered. The point of ultra-rapid detoxification is overcoming unpleasant symptoms while asleep as no pain is felt at the time, and upon waking up the most of the crisis has passed, or it is at least significantly reduced. 2 or 3 such procedures are required in the detoxification process.
  • N.Е.Т. – Neuro-jet therapy is one of the methods used to influence nerve cells in the brain responsible for the secretion of endorphin via special impulses. Our neurons produce natural opioids that naturally protect us against stress, pain, and shock. In addicts, this process is disturbed, and Neuro jet is a small electronic device that regulates the production of dopamine and endorphin. The stimulation itself is painless, and the only sensations are tickling and vibrations, while the frequency and intensity of impulses are computer-controlled.
  • Pharmacotherapy is a form of detoxification which relieves symptoms of crisis and provides protection against pain. Psychostabilizers, hypnotics, and antidepressants are used to treat irritability, dysphoria, mood disorders, nervousness, and insomnia. Since nutrition is often disturbed in addicts, ferments are provided which encourage the assimilation of food, amino acids, and vitamins.
  • Transair therapy is a special procedure that causes brain hemisphere functioning harmonization. It leads to reduced mental tension in the addicts, eliminates nervousness, problems with depression, normalizes sleep, mood, regulates appetite, and removes the desire for drugs.

Treatment of psychological addiction – it is necessary to eliminate the desire for drugs at the subconscious level, so information therapy is applied for these purposes. The patient in the state of medical sleep spends for a couple of hours during which he is exposed to audio-visual stimulation using a computer and special headphones and glasses through which high-frequency signals are transmitted. In the consciousness, we encounter a mental blockade in the form of thoughts “I am not an addict; I neither need this nor does this help me,” and using this method, information in the form of short striking images works on the subconscious level and improves the value and quality of perception. The final result is the indifference and the formation of a negative attitude towards drugs.

  • Individual therapy is the individual work of a therapist with a patient during which the patient is provided with psychological help and support. The therapy helps with various life problems, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, addictive behavior, personality disorders, psychological trauma, emotional discomfort, and suffering.
  • Family psychotherapy is a type of therapy in which a therapist works with the whole family or its selected members. The family is a unique social system that has its own specific rules for functioning. Family therapy is a way of psychological counseling that focuses on solving problems in family relationships, eliminating conflicts between partners, and achieving harmonious functioning. Addiction is a disease of the entire family, not just an individual, so the clinic puts emphasis on working with the family – associates in treatment.

Physiotherapy – It is a combination of physical, medical therapy, and deep tissue massage. The massage calms and relaxes the body and stimulates the production of dopamine in the addict, the levels of which are lowered due to drug use.

Pharmacological blockade – the treatment process is rounded off with a pharmacological blockade that is given as an implant, usually Naltrexone. Under the influence of Naltrexone, opiate receptors of addicts are blocked, and drug use does not achieve euphoria or similar experiences, so there is no return to drugs. Naltrexone therapy is practiced in people who have undergone opiate detoxification. We advise our patients to be protected by implants at least 12 months after leaving the hospital. The price of this treatment includes a two-month Naltrexone implant or two depot injections in two months.

Outpatient treatment helps to maintain the treatment results and is performed within the following year. On monthly follow-ups, the patient’s condition is checked and, if necessary, the therapy is adjusted. 12-month outpatient treatment is included in the treatment price.

If needed, we also offer transport of patients from the airport or the station to the hospital and back. We help foreign patients receive a visa if they need it, and if they have company, they too can stay in the hospital.

How to get started with heroin addiction treatment?

Addiction to heroin can be devastating. Not only can it be dangerous to the health but it can destroy an addict’s life and the life of his family as everything falls apart. It is important to treat this addiction before it goes too far. Heroin addiction rehab is the right step to take. To begin on the journey to living a pure, drug-free life, contact with specialists of heroin addiction treatment center. Heroin addiction help is close to you.

We are here to ease your road to recovery from heroin addiction. Book a free online consultation to learn how to start >>>