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Heroin is perhaps the hardest drug to come clean from. Heroin is a potent opiate which traps victims in its powerful grip. Heroin addiction has been known to wipe out entire communities throughout the world from Glasgow to Karachi.

The personal tragedies behind its use reach far and wide. Heroin rehab exists to help you or your loved one overcome this powerful and life-threatening condition

The dangers posed by heroin addiction

Long term heroin use can lead to all manner of medical ailments.

This includes infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDs and Hepatitis C, abscesses, lung complications, vein collapse and kidney disease.

Heroin found on the ‘street’ is known to be cut with various other substances including poisons such as strychnine.

As the user continues to use heroin in ever greater quantities a tolerance to the drug is built up.

The user’s body becomes accustomed to the drug’s presence in the blood and powerful withdrawal symptoms develop often only several hours after the drug was last consumed.

Help is at hand

With the right rehabilitation programme, recovery is not an impossible goal even for long term heroin addicts. The heroin rehab programme we offer at our centres tackles the associated psychological and physical aspects of heroin addiction.

This approach is vital for long term heroin addiction recovery.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin detoxification linger for around fifteen days. This can be compared less favourably to alcohol withdrawal symptoms which typically last for around six days.

Around the ninth day into your heroin detoxification, heroin withdrawal symptoms typically begin to decline. A ‘rapid detox programme’ is not advisable given the prolonged nature of heroin withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin detoxification may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Sleep pattern disruption
  • Increased heart rate
  • Stroke
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Drug craving
  • Goose bumps (hence the name ‘cold turkey’)
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Intense kicking actions hence the name ‘kicking the habit’
  • Anxiety

Heroin detoxification

When you attend our heroin residential rehabilitation programme you will be subject to 24 hour a day medical observation for the duration of detoxification. This is because patients’ health is deemed most at risk during this period.

Prescription drugs such as Buprenorphine and Naloxone may be offered to fight off painful withdrawal symptoms until ‘stabilisation’ is achieved. Our medical staff may decide to gradually stage your withdrawal from heroin and Methadone may be offered in some cases. This is known as ‘tapering’.

What happens after detoxification

Once the process of detoxification is concluded you will take part in a number of therapy sessions. This will include forms of psychotherapy known as group therapy and individual therapy. During this time the psychological component of your addiction will be addressed.

Old negative beliefs surrounding your addiction will be replaced with positive coping strategies which are essential for long term recovery. Once your programme draws to a conclusion a tailored relapse prevention plan will be drawn up.

We encourage you to work within your community upon your return home. This could include attending Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery sessions which take place in your home town or city.

Heroin Addiction & Heroin Rehab Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below, we answer many frequently asked questions relating to heroin addiction and heroin rehab:

1. What is Meant by ‘Heroin Addiction’?

Heroin is a synthetic drug, which is closely related to the strong painkiller Morphine – however, heroin is stronger and even more addictive.

Heroin use is linked to a vast array of problems such as harm to physical and mental health, difficulty maintaining relationships with family and friends, and struggling with money because it is a very expensive drug to buy.

Heroin is so attractive to an addict because it alters the chemicals in the brain, leading to a state of relaxation and utter euphoria. Heroin is also a strong painkiller, so it can mask health symptoms that need to be dealt with promptly.

Those who use heroin for long periods will build up a tolerance to the drug, meaning that it takes more and more to get the same effect, leading to full-blown addiction.

Long term use of heroin can lead to weight loss, infection at injection sites, visible scabs and bruises where the needles go in, and a loss of menstrual cycle in women.

Once one is dependent on the drug it is a very small step to full-blown addiction, where users need the drug in their system to function and have a fear of the withdrawal effects.

People close to users can notice signs of addiction, as it may change the personality and cause users to be hostile, and to try to hide their addiction. Physical signs include shortness of breath, constricted pupils, and telltale “track lines” on the arms where a user is injecting.

Then there is the equipment used to inject heroin – the burned spoons, homemade tourniquets and syringes should alert most people that there is a problem.

2. How Does Heroin Addiction Arise?

It can be hard to know why someone starts using heroin, especially as most of us know that it is a truly damaging, highly addictive drug. There may be specific things that cause one person more likely to become an addict than another:

  • It’s What You Know:  If you have grown up around drug users, whether that be close family or friends, or you live in an area where drug use is common and accepted, you are far more likely to head down the path of addiction that someone who has not been exposed to these things
  • Mental Health Issues: Those who suffer from various mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and others may be more likely to become addicted to heroin. This drug can mask existing symptoms, and make the user forget about them for a while – or simply make them feel happy so they are not as affected by their symptoms on a daily basis
  • Brain Chemistry:  There is a theory that suggests those who seek out addictive drugs may not have the same amount of naturally produced endorphins (the “feel good” chemicals released in the brain when we do something we enjoy), and so they feel the need for additional “happy” feelings – even those provided by a rather scary substance
  • Family History:  As well as being more likely to try drugs if you are surrounded by them, it is thought that there may even be a genetic predisposition to certain addiction. If you have a close family member who used drugs, statistically you are far more likely to go down that path yourself, even if you have seen the damage it can cause

3. What are the Symptoms of Heroin Addiction?

There are a few things which seem to be common to the regular heroin user, that may act as red flags for those looking out for them. Chronic heroin abuse can lead to a great many health issues:

  • Gastrointestinal issues – Constipation is a side effect of heroin abuse, which can cause discomfort and the improper absorption of nutrients
  • Collapsed veins – Regularly injecting into the veins will eventually cause them to collapse, making it hard for a medical professional should you need to have a blood test, IV antibiotics or any other medical procedure that involves the veins
  • Risk of disease from shared needles – If users share needles between them there is the danger of contracting HIV, Hepatitis B and C, or other general infections
  • Malnutrition – Prolonged heroin use will affect your diet, as users will not feel hunger, may forget to eat or may choose to spend money on drugs rather than food. This means that the body is never properly fed, and not enough nutrients are finding their way in to keep the person healthy

4. What is Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms?

Many users find themselves simply unable to break the addiction, partly because of the powerful withdrawal symptoms. These may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Insomnia
  • Cramping of the limbs
  • Trembling and restlessness
  • Aches of the whole body
  • Intense cravings for heroin

Heroin withdrawal symptoms are not to be taken lightly; they can last for a long time – from a day or two too many weeks – and the cravings themselves may last for months or even years.

The withdrawal is so severe that complications from it it can, in some cases, cause death – this is why it is so important to use a medically assisted withdrawal programme like the ones offered by Rehab 4 Addiction.

This clinic includes a specialist heroin detoxification unit, which is essential to help someone manage the withdrawal and also prevent future addiction.

5. What are the Signs Someone May Be a Heroin User?

It is worth having a look through these signs in case you are worried about someone close to you.

Physical evidence may include:

  • Foil wrappers with burn marks
  • Burned silver spoons
  • Small plastic bags with remnants of white powder
  • Shoelaces being used for tourniquets
  • Needles and syringes

There are also a few less obvious signs that relate to the person’s behaviour, which stem from the desire to hide their drug addiction and the need to continue using.

These may include:

  • Stealing or borrowing money
  • Lying about the need for said money
  • Lying about their plans and whereabouts
  • Withdrawing from social circles, friends and family
  • Poor performance at work, or losing a job – Sleeping a lot more
  • A lack of personal hygiene
  • Suddenly wearing long sleeves even in hot weather, to hide needle marks

6. How May Somebody Safely Detox Off Heroin?

Heroin detox must take place in controlled, medically assisted circumstances, to improve the chances of the user completely breaking their addiction, and to remove the possibility of problems being caused by sudden withdrawal.

The process may take a few days or weeks, depending on the level of addiction and how much of the drug the user was taking. Medically assisted detox means that the process can be as comfortable as possible for the patient, and can include approved drugs to help manage the withdrawal.

The patient will be monitored and will be kept safe at all times.

7.  How does Heroin Addiction Affect Mental Health?

Sometimes, some of the reasons behind embarking down the road of heroin addiction can be caused by the misdiagnosis or lack of treatment of some other mental health issue.

Some of the co-existing mental health conditions that exist alongside heroin addiction can include:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD
  • Personality Disorders

This list is by no means exhaustive; it is just an example of some of the many issues that can exist alongside a heroin addiction. At Rehab 4 Addiction, a patient will be offered the chance to treat any other underlying mental health issue as well as heroin addiction.

This means that the patient is far less likely to turn back to heroin as a crutch in the future, and should help them find their way towards a bright and successful future.

Contact Rehab 4 Addiction

It can be daunting to know where to go for help getting off heroin, or helping a loved one escape their addiction.  Rehab 4 Addiction offers you many great choices because we are dedicated to helping people improve their lives by leaving their addiction behind.

We have a team of highly professional staff, who have many years of experience with helping people get over heroin addiction. All patients will be treated with the utmost respect and high-quality medical care and will be supported on their journey with care and respect.

We also understand that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to managing heroin addiction, so treatment methods will be tailored to the individual, and all patients will be offered help to overcome any underlying mental health issues as well as their addiction.

We understand that patients may need additional support to make their life as good as it can be following their recovery from addiction, so we strive to treat recovery in a holistic way, covering everything that needs covering to improve life for the patient as well as their loved ones.

If you are ready to enter residential treatment for your heroin addiction then give Rehab 4 Addiction a call today. Heroin addiction treatment could save your life and the cost of the treatment is usually minuscule in comparison to the cost associated with the continuation of addiction.

Call today on 0800 140 4690 or complete the enquiry form.