Heroin addiction is a real problem. It is classified as an opioid drug. It is made from morphine, which is a natural substance derived from the seed pod of the opium poppy plant that grows naturally in Colombia, Mexico, and Southwest and Southeast Asia. The drug is available as a brown or white powder or in the form of a black sticky substance also known as black tar heroin.
On the streets, heroin is known as smack, hell dust, horse, and Big H. It comes with a high potential for abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction. While struggling with a heroin addiction - also known as an opioid use disorder - you will typically be living with a serious condition that can affect you, your family and loved ones, and everything else in your life.
To be able to overcome this disease, you are going to need professional help. However, when you are living with heroin addiction, you might not be able to see just how serious the problem is. If you do, you may feel embarrassed and fail to seek help as a result.
That said, heroin is classified as an opioid drug. It is produced from the poppy plant's seed pods. The drug comes with a high potential for addiction and it is available in several forms.
In powder form, the drug is black or white depending on its purity and contents. However, heroin can also come in the form of a black and sticky substance known as black tar heroin.
If you wish to abuse this drug, you will typically smoke, snort, sniff, or inject it directly into the blood stream. You may also take it in combination with other drugs - including but not limited to fentanyl and cocaine.
However, all these forms of drug combinations will only make the drug even more dangerous than it was before. This is because these combinations can lead to more severe and even fatal side effects as a result of the fact that the composition of the substances you are taking will become uncertain.
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There are different ways in which heroin addiction and abuse can start and grow into a serious problem. Irrespective of the way, however, you need to understand that addiction is a serious condition that requires professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation services. That said, the following are some of the ways in which you might find yourself struggling with this type of opioid use disorder:
Drug experimentation is one of the ways in which this substance use disorder can begin. You may want to try the drug because your friends pressured you to do so. Alternatively, it could be because you are hoping that the drug is going to numb your anxiety or pain, or improve your feelings.
At first, drug experimentation might seem like it is a good idea. However, you need to realize that with substances like heroin, this experimentation is highly likely to lead to addiction and dependence. When this happens, you will be left with more problems that before.
One of the primary differences between heroin and other commonly abused drugs is that most of the people who are addicted to heroin will only start abusing it after they have already developed a substance use disorder associated with legal prescription medications.
Heroin is in the same family of drugs as prescription pain relief medications - also known as opioids. These medications are used to treat chronic pain and moderate to severe pain.
In the course of your treatment, however, you may develop an opioid use disorder on the medications that you have been taking. When you get to a point where it becomes increasingly difficult or expensive to get your hands on these drugs, you may turn to heroin - because it is often cheaper and more widely available.
The other way in which you may find yourself struggling with heroin addiction would be because you are transitioning to it from other substances of abuse. If you are already addicted to alcohol and other drugs, you may be more than willing to switch your drugs and try something new.
This could be because you are looking for a more prolonged or better high or simply due to the fact that you are finding it hard to get your hands on your preferred substances of abuse.
Since heroin is affordable and relatively easily accessible, it might be your drug of choice. You may also turn to it even while abusing other drugs because you are trying to experience the effects that come from taking drug combinations.
However, you need to understand that any form of drug combination can be risky. It could also lead to complications with your health or even cause sudden death as a result of the increased potency of the individual substances that you have taken.
When you take an opioid, such as heroin, it will be bind to the opioid receptors located in the brain's reward center. This will cause your brain to reduce the sensations of pain that you are feeling. It could also lead to the production of dopamine and other natural chemicals that will induce sensations of pleasurable euphoria.
If you take this drug in large amounts or on a regular basis, your brain will become overwhelmed. Additionally, the effects of the drug will become amplified. Other effects that you may experience include but are not limited to:
One of the main risks that is associated with heroin addiction and abuse is overdose. NIDA - the National Institute on Drug Abuse - reports that deaths from a heroin overdose increased over 6 times from 2002 to 2015 in the United States. The same report showed that over 60 percent of all the recorded overdose deaths reported in 2015 were linked to opioid drugs like heroin.
Heroin addiction is both a behavioral as well as a psychological problem. While struggling with this substance use disorder, you are likely to display a wide range of signs and symptoms, including but not limited to:
While living with a heroin addiction, it will cause issues in your personal and professionals lives. However, it is possible to overcome this opioid use disorder. With the right type of help, you may be able to turn your life around and even achieve long term and sustained recovery. Even so, you need to realize that sobriety will not occur suddenly. You will have to take and complete several steps before achieving recovery.
When you first enroll in a heroin addiction treatment program, you will first have an initial appointment with an addiction recovery professional. The healthcare workers will ask you a number of questions during this initial assessment, including but not limited to:
The results from this initial assessment will be used to create an addiction treatment and rehabilitation plan for you based on the answers you gave as well as on the drug tests and psychological evaluations that were conducted.
The first step on the recovery journey will involve detox. Also known as detoxification, it refers to the process by which your body will be cleansed of all the influence and toxins resulting from the substances that you were abusing.
The detox process from heroin abuse and addiction will feel like you are struggling with a bad case of flu. Although this process is not typically physically dangerous, you need to be away that you may suffer some complications. The process can also be exhausting. This is why it is recommended that you go through detox in a medically managed environment, such as that provided by an addiction treatment center.
It is difficult to overcome heroin addiction unless you get help. This is because stopping your use of this drug will cause you to suffer a wide range of distressing symptoms of withdrawal. Depending on the severity and nature of your heroin use disorder, these withdrawal symptoms may include but are not limited to:
After completing detox, you may also receive other types of support and help so that you can continue overcoming your opioid use disorder as well as deal with your psychological, behavioral, emotional, and physical dependence on heroin. These include but are not limited to:
Once you complete detox, you need to get other additional treatment and rehabilitation services. An effective treatment program will typically incorporate evidence based therapy and counseling sessions, individual therapy, group therapy, relapse prevention, and aftercare planning. The goal would be to help you deal with triggers and cravings as well as understand the underlying causes to your heroin addiction so that you can get back on your feet.