Heroin is one of the most addictive street drugs out there, and the epidemic is growing. According to a 2016 National Survey on drug use published in Drug Policy http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-facts/how-many-people-use-heroin, roughly 475,000 people ages 12 and older have reported using heroin in the last month. Over 948,000 people reported using it in the last year, and 4,981,000 people reported using the drug at least once in their life. These statistics are grim, and they are getting worse all the time.
How Does a Heroin Addiction Develop?
When heroin is snorted, smoked, or injected, it enters the brain. There, it impacts the Opioid receptors in the brain, which bring on feelings of comfort and euphoria. Over time, the neurons in the brain begin to adapt to the drug, making it difficult to function normally without heroin. Without the drug, withdrawal symptoms start.
What Are the Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms?
Within 6 to 12-hours without the drug, the withdrawal symptoms will begin. The severity and length of time that you experience withdrawal symptoms depend on a few factors:
- How long you have been using
- How often you use
- How much you are using
- Your age
- Your genetics
- Your overall health
- Whether you are addicted to alcohol or another drug.
The physical symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Bone pain
- Cold sweats
- Abdominal pain
Heroin also causes psychological withdrawal symptoms that include:
- Intense cravings
What Are the Dangers Of Quitting Cold Turkey?
Quitting heroin cold turkey is not a good idea for a few reasons. According to American Addiction Centers https://americanaddictioncenters.org/heroin-treatment/cold-turkey, people who try to quit heroin cold turkey are 60 to 90 percent more likely to relapse.
Trying to quit cold turkey can also be very harmful to your health. The vomiting and diarrhea caused by quitting heroin can cause you to become extremely dehydrated, which can be very dangerous to your health. When depression and anxiety begins, it can cause you to harm yourself and even consider suicide. In severe cases, seizures can occur, which is very serious.
Why Is Medical Detox Recommended for Heroin Addiction?
Medical detox from heroin makes the whole process more comfortable and much safer. During the detox process, you would be monitored by a medical professional. To prevent dehydration, you would be given IV fluids. You can also be prescribed medication such as buprenorphine. It is classified as an Opioid, but it doesn’t give you the feeling of euphoria that heroin does; therefore, it causes less physical dependence. This medication can be used in conjunction with the drub Suboxone. These drugs working together can help with the heroin cravings as well as the withdrawal symptoms.
There Is More To Recovery Than Detox
If you make it through the detox process, it doesn’t mean that your journey to sobriety has ended. There is more to giving up heroin for good than going to detox and getting the drug out of your system. If you are going to be successful in your sobriety, you are going to need to enter an inpatient addiction treatment center. The services provided in these facilities are essential to your sobriety.
- One-on-one therapy: Most people start using heroin for a reason. For many, it is to self-medicate an underlying psychological issue. During your individual sessions, your therapist will help you get to the root of the cause of your addiction so that it can be treated.
- Group therapy: During group therapy, you will sit with other addicts and a facilitator. It will give you a chance to tell your story and to hear other people’s stories. This will provide you with more insight into your addiction while creating a support system for yourself.
- Family therapy: Addiction often puts rifts between you and your family members. When you leave the inpatient treatment center, you are going to need a support system. During family therapy, you can work with your family to mend your relationship.
When you have completed your time in treatment, the work doesn’t end there. Aftercare services are essential if you are going to stay sober when you are back in the real world. A few essential services include:
- Sober living: Leaving inpatient treatment can be stressful. Sober living housing is the best way to ease your way back into your life.
- One-on-one therapy: After leaving treatment, you will need to continue individual therapy with a counselor to maintain your sobriety.
- 12-Step Program: Narcotics Anonymous provides an excellent support system when you leave treatment. Going to meetings with people who have been through what you have been through is essential to your sobriety.
Quitting heroin cold turkey is not recommended. Not only is the chance of relapse extremely high, but it can also be very dangerous. Grace Recovery is a state-of-the-art addiction treatment program where you can get the help that you need. Upon checking in, you would go to our detoxification program, so that you can get the drugs out of your system safely. Once you have successfully detoxed, you would go to our inpatient treatment center, where we will provide all of the essential services to help you be successful in your recovery.