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Heroin addiction treatment works—you just have to ask for help
Heroin addiction does not always result in long-term or permanent physical and psychological damage. If you or someone you know needs help, our heroin addiction treatment center includes world-class drug treatment and deep experience in dealing with severe substance abuse and withdrawal symptoms.
What is heroin?
Heroin is an opioid that comes from morphine. Morphine is a natural substance that comes from the opium poppy plant. Heroin can be a white or brown powder or a black sticky substance, known as black tar heroin. It can be injected, sniffed, snorted, or smoked.
Heroin is highly addictive because it alters the chemicals in the brain. It attaches to the receptors in the brain to release the chemical dopamine. It doesn’t matter how you got the heroin into your body, it gets to the brain quickly. Heroin also blocks your brain from getting pain messages and slows your heart rate and breathing. If you overdose on heroin, you may die.
Sometimes heroin is laced with other drugs. A rise in overdose deaths began in 2014 and is believed to be due to heroin being laced with the painkiller fentanyl.
Most people who use heroin are aware of the risks but are unable to stop using the drug. This is why it makes sense for many heroin users to seek help at a heroin addiction treatment center where you can be supported mentally, physically and spiritually for long-term success.
Signs of heroin addiction and short- and long-term effects of heroin abuse
Whether you’re concerned about your own heroin use or that of a loved one, here are some common signs of heroin addiction:
- Slurred speech
- Constricted pupils
- Drowsiness or agitation
You may also recognize changes in appearance or personal hygiene or the more obvious needle marks in arms, legs or between toes, if injecting. People who snort heroin tend to have nose sores or chronic runny nose problems.
Behavioral changes include problems such as:
- Missing money or always needing more
- Being more aggressive or secretive
- Issues at school or work
- Taking greater risks
- Memory loss
As heroin use increases, it gets harder to hide the symptoms. One of the distinctive signs of addiction is an inability to stop despite multiple attempts and numerous negative consequences of using heroin.
Short-term heroin use may produce effects such as:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heaviness in arms in legs
- Going “on the nod” (going in and out of consciousness)
The long-term effects of heroin use include:
- Collapsed veins
- Infections in the heart lining and valves
- Irregular menstrual cycles for women
- Sexual dysfunction for men
- Mental health disorders (e.g., depression, antisocial personality disorder)
How is heroin addiction diagnosed?
Diagnosing heroin addiction requires a complete examination and assessment. This is sometimes performed by an addiction psychiatrist or psychologist. In some states, a licensed drug and alcohol counselor may make the diagnosis.
Along with a clinical interview, lab tests such as blood and urine tests are also used. If you suspect that you or someone close to you is addicted to heroin, you need to talk to a licensed drug or alcohol counselor, social worker, M.D., or psychiatrist.
Heroin addiction treatment at Lifetime Recovery
There is no one perfect cure for heroin addiction, but there are effective treatments available. The types of treatments used depends on:
- The individual
- The substance used
- Co-occurring medical conditions
Both behavioral (therapy) and pharmacological (medication-assisted treatment) methods help restore some degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior. Both treatments are helpful when used alone but combined with the supervision of professionals is the most successful approach. At Lifetime Recovery we provide a holistic approach to heroin addiction treatment and a range of therapies to support long-term recovery.
Find out more about our admissions process.
Heroin addiction treatment starts with medically assisted detox
Trying to stop using heroin and failing often makes people feel worse about themselves, which makes trying again that much harder. But it’s important to know that you are not the problem.
Heroin is a powerful drug. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and set in quickly because of how fast the body becomes dependent on the drug.
Symptoms of heroin withdrawal
The first 24 hours
Symptoms typically begin in the first 24 hours after you stop using heroin and include:
- Aching muscles
- Runny nose
- Excessive sweating
- Frequent yawning
The next 24 to 48 hours
After the first day, more severe symptoms may appear. They include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Dilated pupils and blurry vision
- Nausea and vomiting
Symptoms will usually start to diminish within 72 hours. If you have more severe symptoms, this may require hospitalization and medications. The most common medications prescribed for heroin withdrawal are Suboxone and Clonidine. For long-term maintenance, methadone may be necessary.
Treatment after heroin detox
After heroin detox at Lifetime Recovery, our recovery specialists and medical professionals work with you to provide a customized program that may include medication-assisted treatment to minimize the experience of further withdrawal symptoms or cravings, and a combination of addiction therapy and mental health therapy to support you in lifelong recovery from heroin addiction.
Contingency management involves a voucher system that allows you to earn points based on clean drug tests, attendance at 12-step meetings, or other positive behaviors. The points earned can be redeemed for things that encourage healthy living, such as a gym membership or dinner at a local restaurant.
Heroin addiction treatment center in New Jersey
Trying to detox and go through recovery alone is dangerous and lonely. Supervised detox allows you to start your journey more comfortably and safely. One key component of staying in recovery is having a supportive team of people helping you through every step. Our facility is a safe and peaceful place where you can come to share your struggles and find the support you deserve.
At Lifetime Recovery Recovery Center in Mullica Hill, NJ, in South Jersey, our outpatient and medical treatment center treats people with conditions ranging from drug and alcohol addiction to mental illness.
We’re also one of the few alcohol and drug rehab centers to provide gambling addiction treatment. Through our integrated model and holistic approaches, we provide evidence-based winning solutions for you to recover from heroin addiction and develop healthy ways to live the rest of your life.
Serving all of New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware, Connecticut, and New York.