Heroin is a drug synthesized from morphine, a popular medication used in hospitals and by medical professionals to relieve patients suffering from pain following an operation or illness. However, because of the drug’s powerful, strong effects of euphoria on the body, heroin is a highly psychologically and physically addictive substance that can have a severe impact on the user and their loved ones. It is most likely found in a brown powder but can also be found as a sticky black substance known as ‘black tar heroin’.
What is heroin addiction?
For somebody to have an addiction to heroin, they will be unable to perform daily tasks or function without using heroin; they will prioritize heroin use above other commitments to friends, family, employment, or education. A person will feel a psychological and physical dependence on the drug and experience many distressing and uncomfortable side effects. This dependence can prevent a person from stopping using the drug, despite wanting to and making attempts to stop.
Side effects of heroin abuse
Heroin has three times the strength of morphine and its effects take place within minutes of either smoking, snorting, or injecting the drug. The user will feel a ‘euphoric rush’, which means the individual will feel completely at peace; several users have described it as similar to “floating on a cloud.” Following the initial rush, users have also reported experiencing hot flushes, drowsiness, suppressed appetite, or need for human interaction. These effects on the brain make heroin one of the most addictive illegal drugs.
Using heroin can also bring a wide range of negative side effects such as:
- Nausea, headaches and bacterial infections
- Abscesses and collapsed veins due to injections
- Serious infections and diseases as a result of sharing or using dirty needles, such as infections of the heart lining and HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C
- Severe withdrawal effects
Signs and symptoms that someone may be suffering from heroin addiction
It can be difficult to recognize and identify some typical signs of heroin addiction, as heroin users will typically try to hide their habits from loved ones. However, the usual indicators that someone is struggling with heroin addiction include the following:
- The individual is spending more time than usual alone, sleeping, or isolating themselves, without any explanation
- The individual has noticeable puncture marks on their skin or infected abscesses
- The individual neglects their appearance: not washing or cutting their hair, not washing their body, wearing dirty clothes, etc.
- The individual often appears distracted or distant with a glazed expression
- The individual has unpredictable and rapid mood swings, which appear exacerbated if the person is unable to access or use heroin
- The individual has no motivation and may abandon employment, relationships, or family commitments with no explanation or attempt to reschedule, often resulting in severed relationships, unemployment, or dropping out of education
- The individual has on their person, or at their home, drug paraphernalia such as tin foil, wire gauze, homemade pipes, burnt spoons, or syringes.
Recovery treatment available for heroin addiction
At The Beachcomber, we understand that seeking help for heroin addiction is a huge and often daunting step. We treat each person seeking treatment with compassion, respect, and confidentiality, regardless of their background.
It is likely that a person requiring treatment for heroin addiction will need to first complete a detoxification process to remove all heroin from their system and go through the withdrawal process, which can be particularly risky if attempted without medical assistance.
Once this has been completed, there is a wide range of treatment options available. The Beachcomber does not believe in rigid, restrictive treatment for heroin addiction and is proud to offer various traditional and contemporary treatment options.
The full list of treatment options includes:
- Inpatient Residential Treatment
- One-to-one Therapy
- Group therapy
- Family/couples therapy
- Rapid Resolution Therapy
- Outpatient Treatment
- Yoga Therapy
- Meditation Therapy
- Light-Sound Neurotherapy