Heroin is an addictive drug that is made from morphine, which comes from the resin of the seed pods of opium poppy plants. This means that heroin is in the drug class of opioids, similar to prescription painkillers and medications such as oxycodone, codeine, and hydrocodone. Instead of morphine, heroin is less known as the chemical name diamorphine and is used recreationally. Diamorphine is the condensed version, roughly 50% more potent.
Heroin can either be in the form of white or brown powder, or a sticky black substance known as black tar heroin. There are different methods of using heroin – it may be smoked, injected, or snorted. The typical dose is usually 100mg, but this can vary depending on the purity and the user.
Some street names for heroin may include smack, brown, and horse. Read on to learn more about heroin addiction, and how Help4Addiction can help you with heroin addiction treatment such as heroin detox and heroin rehab.
The effects of heroin often depend on the dose you take, your height and weight, and whether you’re taking any other illegal or prescription drugs. For example, taking heroin amongst other depressants such as methadone, alcohol, or sleeping pills could increase the effects of heroin, increasing the chances of an overdose.
When heroin enters your brain, it converts to morphine, binding to your opioid receptors. This typically causes a surge of pleasure – which often comes with a dry mouth, heavy feelings in the extremities, and dry mouth.
However, you may also experience negative effects such as itching, vomiting, and nausea. It can cloud your judgement, slow down your breathing, and even cause permanent brain damage.
The length of the immediate effects of heroin can vary depending on the method of use – for example, when you smoke heroin, you may feel the effects for up to an hour, but snorting and injecting heroin can make the effects longer and feel more intense. Regardless of how you take heroin, the after-effects can last much longer.
Some long-term effects of heroin abuse may include insomnia, skin infections (e.g cellulitis), collapsed veins (when injected), mental health issues, lung disease (e.g pneumonia), liver and kidney issues, menstrual issues, and many more.
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When you take heroin, there’s always a risk of overdose. Heroin overdoses can be very harmful and sometimes even fatal. The majority of opioid users claim to have witnessed at least one overdose in their lifetimes.
Some signs of a heroin overdose may include:
In recent times, there has been an increase in the number of deaths associated with heroin and morphine in the UK. Taking drugs such as benzodiazepines alongside heroin might increase the chances of an overdose.
Heroin is known as being one of the most addictive drugs – using heroin frequently causes the brain to crave the drug, meaning that you’ll want to continue taking heroin. However, frequent heroin usage can cause your body to build up a tolerance, meaning that you’ll need to take more and more heroin to feel the same effect.
It is one of the world’s most dangerous opioids, chemically similar to prescription opioids. However, heroin is often cheaper to acquire than prescription opioids which is why many people start using heroin and ultimately get addicted, developing opioid dependence.
There are several factors that could increase the risk of heroin addiction – one of the main being the length of time that you use opioids. Using opioids such as heroin for just a few days can increase the chances of long-term use and addiction.
Some personal risk factors for heroin abuse and opioid misuse include age, personal history of drug abuse, tobacco use, mental health history (e.g depression or anxiety), as well as personality (e.g risk tasking).
Those with a family history of abuse, or a history of legal issues may also be at a higher risk of developing a heroin addiction. Poverty and unemployment can also be risk factors, as can stressful circumstances. It’s often a combination of environmental and genetic factors that can lead to opioid addiction.
At Help4Addiction, we can provide you with a variety of heroin addiction treatment options to improve the chances of you successfully detoxing from heroin and preventing relapse. As well as stopping drug abuse at our treatment centres, we can help you to return back into the community and ease the transition, whether it be the workplace, your family, or society in general.
We have detox and rehab clinics for heroin addiction all over England and Wales, so you’re sure to find a quality local Help4Addiction centre. Contact us today to discuss how our medical professionals and addiction specialist can help you in both the short term and the long term – and to find out the addiction treatments and resources we offer. Treatment for heroin addiction can be difficult, but we will have both your physical and mental health in mind.
Before you start the heroin rehab treatment, you should complete a detox. Detoxing can be a difficult process with any drug, whether it be a cannabis detox, alcohol detox, cocaine detox or heroin detox. However, heroin is one of the most difficult drugs to detox from, as there can be many unpleasant and even life-threatening heroin withdrawal symptoms.
Our effective heroin detox program follows different processes to our other detox programs such as our alcohol detox program. This is because heroin is such an addictive substance that extra help is often required to complete the detox.
Often, Suboxone and Buprenorphine won’t work effectively alone, and heroin users often benefit from being weaned onto other substances that aren’t as potent as heroin. Most people that are addicted to heroin will use methadone under medical supervision as a stepping stone as part of the heroin detoxification process.
At Help4Addiction, we always offer medically assisted detox programs for heroin to help control and manage the withdrawal symptoms – meaning that you’ll have medical supervision when detoxing from the drug.
Some of our detox programs offer an outpatient drug detox or a private home detox, but heroin addiction treatment will always be on an inpatient basis. The risks of outpatient treatment and outpatient rehab are considered too high, as you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Opting for a medically supervised detox is a safer option, and the vast majority of heroin users will decide to undergo inpatient heroin rehab as opposed to outpatient heroin rehab.
Some withdrawal symptoms can pose serious health risks. Some physical withdrawal symptoms and psychological withdrawal symptoms may include:
Detoxing is the stage at which the physical symptoms are at their worst. Only when you have successfully completed the heroin detox, can you move on to the next stage of the heroin rehab program.
Our heroin rehab treatment service will usually involve group therapy, as well as one-on-one sessions with a qualified and experienced clinical psychologist. Some of the psychological withdrawal symptoms can be particularly difficult, which is why a substance abuse professional will work to provide you with quality mental health care.
One of the main goals of heroin addiction rehab at Help4Addiction is to prevent further issues you may encounter and to encourage you to build up strength and confidence. This usually involves identifying potential triggers, and understanding why you may have taken drugs in the first place.
Inpatient rehab for heroin will usually last 28 days, although we do offer 7-day programs and 14-day programs. However, these are typically for milder addictions such as cannabis addiction.Recovering heroin addicts often benefit from longer-term heroin rehab.
At Help4Addiction, we also offer secondary treatment (aka aftercare). This may include telephone support as well as regular group therapy, which can ease your transition back into the community. Joining support groups can also help to ease the transition, and prevent the chance of a relapse.
Whether you need a drug treatment service for heroin or for prescribed drugs, we can provide you with a variety of quality drug treatment programs to break your drug addiction.
Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.
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