In the United States, millions of people are affected by drug addiction. Some drugs are easy to stop using, but other substances, such as heroin, crack cocaine, methadone, and methamphetamine, can be extremely difficult to withdraw from. Although there is some debate regarding which of these four drugs is the most difficult to quit, statistics show that more people struggle with quitting heroin than any other drug.
Heroin addiction is a lifestyle disease that can affect anyone, regardless of educational background or financial situation. It does not discriminate, affects individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and can cause a variety of terrible consequences, including loss of job, marriage, friends, and family. Worse still, it can also cause life-threatening illnesses or premature death.
What Exactly Is Heroin?
The morphine needed to make heroin is extracted from the seeds of the Asian poppy plant, which is a naturally occurring substance. Heroin is usually sold as a brown or white powder. It can be injected, snorted, or smoked. Smoking or injecting heroin produces a faster high than snorting or taking it orally and can also cause more intense euphoria as well as stronger side effects, such as slow breathing. When people stop using heroin, they experience dysphoric symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, chills, depression, and muscle spasms because of heroin’s effects on brain chemistry. Sweating, restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia are also common symptoms.
An addiction to heroin can have devastating effects on the individual, their family, and society. Quitting heroin without help is difficult. Combining pharmacological and behavioral therapies can help restore the circuitry in the brain that has been affected by addiction. Quitting heroin can be an arduous task for someone addicted to the drug.
The Little-Known Health Risk Associated with Heroin
The reason heroin is so popular is that it is extremely addictive, and its effects can be felt within seconds of consumption. These effects on the mind and body are well-documented. However, many users are unaware of another risk associated with heroin: Since it is an illegal drug, one of the most powerful opioids on the black market, consumers are susceptible to getting duped by dealers. They not only pay too much for the amount they buy, but if they purchase an adulterated version, they may also experience life-threatening side effects.
Contrary to widespread belief among users, many dealers do not sell real heroin. They can hoodwink users because most customers are unaware that pure heroin is not a brown powder but a white one. Drug manufacturers and dealers regularly cut heroin with less potent drugs to increase their profits, such as cocaine. Since there is no way to determine how much real heroin is sold without a chemical analysis, which can be costly and time consuming, many people unintentionally buy toxic powder blends and overdose on them to get high. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the number of heroin overdose deaths has tripled since 2002.
How to Quit Heroin
Heroin addiction is characterized by intense cravings, lack of self-control, and a diminished concern for negative consequences. A comprehensive evidence-based treatment program that includes psychosocial support, such as therapy and social support, as well as medical detox is the most effective way to treat addiction. When someone is trying to stop using heroin, they have access to different treatment options, including inpatient detox programs with methadone or buprenorphine maintenance therapy.
Withdrawal treatments from heroin should be medically supervised. Medications like methadone, which is an opioid agonist, can treat withdrawal symptoms caused by heroin and other opioid drugs because they share the same addictive pathways in the brain. Methadone can be used to treat withdrawal symptoms and patients can taper off it without suffering major side effects. It is commonly available in liquid form, but it is also available in tablet form. However, because of the elevated risk of abuse and addiction, a medical team should carefully monitor it. Another opioid medication that can be used to treat heroin addiction is buprenorphine, which works like morphine, but it is less potent and has a ceiling effect. By blocking other opiates from working, it prevents withdrawal symptoms when a user stops taking it.
Heroin, in summary, is a highly addictive drug, and many people have difficulty quitting cold turkey. Consequently, a medical detox process is conducive to easing withdrawal symptoms so that a person is better able to stay clean. If you want to stop using heroin, you should start by looking for a detox rehab program that also provides psychological support and medical detox options like methadone or buprenorphine. Call us at 844-903-2111.