Last updated: 11/13/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
With faster, more efficient distribution networks in place, the costs for heroin have plummeted and the rates of heroin addiction have skyrocketed. As the fastest acting opiate in its class, heroin produces the most intense “high” effect of all opiate drugs.
Once addiction sets in, an addict’s life revolves around getting and using heroin. Users may snort, smoke or inject heroin, though injection offers nearly instantaneous effect, which makes it the preferred method of use, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. When in the throes of an addiction a person can easily inject as often as four times a day.
The heroin addiction lifestyle makes it all but impossible for a person to stop using without seeking needed heroin addiction help. Considering the physical and psychological toll heroin addiction takes on a person’s life, the option to go it alone and put off getting heroin addiction help can actually cause more harm than good.
Finding the right type of heroin addiction help involves seeking out the types of treatment a person will need at each stage of the recovery process. Detox is an essential first stage in the treatment process. Heroin detox programs offer the type of medical care that addresses the pains and discomforts a person experiences when going through heroin withdrawal.
The damaging effects of heroin on brain function leave the brain depleted of vital neurotransmitter chemicals. Withdrawal effects run rampant as the brain attempts to rebuild and repair damaged brain cell structures. Heroin addiction help provides the types of physical supports and encouragement most needed during this difficult stage.
While some people may attempt to detox on their own, the severity of withdrawal effects make it extremely difficult to stay the course. More importantly, the risk of relapsing makes users that much more susceptible to overdosing on the drug.
Long-term heroin use gradually deteriorates brain cell structures to the point where the brain becomes unable to regulate essential bodily processes. Bodily process most affected by heroin use include:
- Heart function
- Psychological well-being
- Memory and learning functions
- Body temperature
Heroin addiction help programs employ medication therapies that work to support weakened brain functions.
Medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine and LAMM specifically target and treat the brain regions most affected by heroin. In the process, heroin addiction help medication therapies enable recovering addicts to resume normal everyday living activities.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Heroin Addiction Help
While outpatient programs offer a more convenient approach to drug treatment, a loved one addicted to heroin will require intensive inpatient or residential care in order to receive the needed level of treatment.
Outpatient heroin addiction help will most likely be a necessary next step once a person completes inpatient treatment. With both inpatient and outpatient treatment, any programs considered must also offer behavioral therapy treatment services to address the psychological aspects of addiction.
As recovery from heroin addiction carries a high risk of relapse, regular attendance at 12-Step support group meetings – both during and after rehab treatment – can help recovering addicts maintain abstinence for the long-term.