It is important to understand the various signs of heroin use. This drug is a potent, highly addictive painkiller. It is synthesized from morphine. Morphine comes from the poppy plant. Because poppy is used to manufacture opium, any drug derived from the plant is labeled an opiate. Morphine and heroin, thus, are opiates.
Heroin is also referred to by various street names, including smack, junk, or H. Street heroin is often combined with dangerous additives like morphine. Lately, heroin has been combined with fentanyl, which is extremely dangerous and potent.
Research shows that at least 4 million Americans have dabbled in heroin. Signs of prolonged heroin use and abuse include collapsed veins, depression, and severe itchiness. Not all heroin looks the same. Heroin may come in different forms. Users can also administer it in various ways, including injecting, snorting, and smoking.
Heroin is a very potent opiate. It has an intense effect on the brain's reward mechanisms. It interrupts and rigs this mechanism by influencing how dopamine, the feel-good chemical, is produced in the brain.
In normal circumstances, the brain will release dopamine and endorphins to reward beneficial behavior necessary for survival. An example is eating. The chemicals also help to cope with pain and uncomfortable circumstances.
The more you abuse heroin, the faster the brain gets accustomed to it and links it with the activation of feel-good chemicals. Ultimately, you become addicted. Without heroin, you will be unable to function normally. This phenomenon, alongside the cropping up of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, will make it very difficult for users to quit.
When you inject heroin, you will experience a rush. You will feel euphoric, and the drug will bring about a deep sense of well-being.
The immediate rush that you get from injecting heroin is potent. It is also short-lasting. It will last for about two minutes. Intravenous heroin users have described the rush as being akin to an orgasm. The heroin high may last for up to 5 hours.
One aspect of heroin that is attractive to new users is that unlike alcohol, cocaine, meth, and the like, there is no hangover or crash. The most popular way of using heroin is by shooting it up. This means to inject the drug into the veins using a hypothermic needle. It is the fastest-acting way of heroin abuse, as the drug integrates directly into the bloodstream.
Heroin is one of the most popular members of the opioid family. There are two significant variations of the drug that are sold in the US. Heroin is usually cut with similar-looking substances like powdered milk or sugar.
People believe that heroin is primarily white. This is not true. Heroin may be different shades of color, depending on the region of production and the materials it is cut with. It is also common believed that the whiter it is, the purer it must be. However, this is not always correct. It mostly depends on the materials that it is cut with.
People who use powder heroin smoke or snort it. This makes it more appealing for first-time users, as many people dislike needles. Impure black tar heroin makes up for the rest of heroin sales. The process of manufacture involved here leaves behind various impurities, which explains the tar-like appearance.
Because of its form, snorting is not ideal. Many people melt it and inject it in their veins. Others will heat it in a tin foil and smoke it. However, this can lead to adverse signs of heroin use.
No heroin addict started with the aim of becoming an addict. In just about all the cases, heroin use began as a harmless recreation activity. But by and by, dependence came about, followed by tolerance, followed by addiction. Ultimately, the addict is unable to function normally without the drug. The brain is unable to produce average amounts of dopamine on its own and has to lean on heroin.
People who use and abuse painkillers like OxyContin stand a higher chance of using and abusing heroin. This is because these painkillers have similar effects to heroin, and they target the same receptors as heroin does.
Often, heroin users and abusers crossed over from using painkillers. Painkillers are more expensive and harder to access than heroin, so many painkiller addicts opt for heroin since it is cheaper and far easier to access.
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Heroin is potent. It is also highly addictive. Those who use heroin steadily develop a tolerance to the drug. This means that to get high, they will require increasingly large doses of the drug.
A substance use disorder, or SUD, occurs when drug use and abuse spills over onto one's personal life and causes adverse effects. For example, one's health may suffer on account of using drugs. Obligations at work, school, and at home may fail to be met because drugs have taken over the person's life. SUDs can either be mild, moderate, or severe.
Heroin is so addictive that, in some instances, people have become addicted to the drug after using it once. If you find yourself using more heroin than intended, developing tolerance, or persisting on heroin use despite adverse effects on your life and health, the chances are that addiction is brewing.
The following are some of the typical signs of heroin use and addiction:
There are many treatment options for persons who are addicted to heroin. Attempting to stop using heroin, cold turkey is very dangerous. The withdrawal symptoms may prove to be painful, severe, or even life-threatening. Withdrawal symptoms will show up mere hours after using the drug. They may include:
Researchers are still studying how opioids affect the brain. Some studies have shown that opioid abuse leads to loss of the brain's white matter. This is the segment of the human brain that is associated with behavior control, critical thinking, and decision-making. It is also the part of the brain associated with response to stress.
Unlike drugs that lead to mild physical dependence, such as cocaine and marijuana, the withdrawal symptoms that stem from heroin addiction is severe and may cause severe pain and discomfort. They may occur as early as 2 hours after the last heroin dose.
Most people understand that heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs available, both with regard to its addiction potential and the risk of suffering an overdose. The drug has short-and-long-term effects. It also has indirect threats, some of which are genuinely life-threatening.
Intravenous heroin users risk contracting blood borne pathogens, such as those of Hepatits C and HIV/AIDS. Heroin use and abuse also lower inhibitions, making casual sex easier to indulge in. This could lead to STIs. Heroin use also carries the risk of spontaneous abortion in pregnant women.
Heroin users and abusers are also prone to suicidal thoughts. At times, users of the drug overdose intentionally so they can die. Especially if the heroin user has an underlying mental health condition, such as depression or BPD, the risk of suicide is compounded.
Other symptoms of heroin addiction include:
The side effects of the drug will only get worse with time. The longer you abuse heroin, the more destruction the drug causes on your immune system and internal organs. You may also have a high risk of contracting various illnesses. Prolonged use of the drug may also lead to lung, heart, and liver disease.
Heroin will suppress your breathing and heart rates. As such, the risk of suffering a fatal overdose is always high with heroin use. Even a non-fatal overdose may end up in a coma or permanent brain damage.
Heroin is highly addictive, and among the most addictive drugs in the world. Nobody uses heroin intending to become addicted. However, addiction eventually sets in, and the user has to grapple with withdrawal effects every time he or she attempts to cease using it.
It may be hard to detect heroin addiction. Many users are good at hiding it. Among the typical signs of heroin use that you need to look out for include:
Multiple rehabs offer heroin treatment in the US. However, treatment centers are all different. Some rehab centers have better track records. Persons looking for rehab ought to consider any specific needs they have.
Many former addicts who were successful in kicking their habit have glowing recommendations for inpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment eliminates the outside environment and all its vices and negative influences.
As you rehab, you will follow a structured routine. This routine will include daily therapy, immersion in support groups, and engaging activities. Every rehab center will be different in the activities it has on offer. Some centers will place more emphasis on mental health. Others will be physically intensive, with scheduled activities, including rock climbing, hiking, and excursions. Others are a lot more laid back and will have a luxurious vibe to them.
Detox is a vital element of rehab. Supervised detox will help to alleviate painful withdrawal symptoms suffered during the detox period. After completing rehab, you are strongly recommended to continue treatment. Generally, a partial hospitalization program, an IOP, or a standard OP will suffice.
Medical management is useful and effective in helping to wean addicts off heroin. These medications help in numerous ways, including blunting one's cravings for the drug. Some commonly used medications include:
This is a partial opiate agonist. It stimulates the very same opioid receptors in your brain that heroin does. This medication works by significantly cutting into cravings and blunting the severity of withdrawal symptoms. If you suffer from chronic pains, this drug is useful for that as well. This medication is also known by the brand names Suboxone, Buprenex, and Subutex.
Although more potent than buprenorphine is, methadone primarily works similarly. It is often referred to as Dolophine. Methadone is an opioid, and as such, its use is controversial because it may build up in the body if taken too often. It also has high addiction potential.
This medication is also used in treating alcoholism. Naltrexone stops heroin from being effective by blocking it from arriving at the body's opioid receptors. It is also effective at managing most of the signs of heroin use.