If you know someone who is addicted to heroin or if you are trapped in the cycle of heroin addiction, you are not alone. Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs, and you can be hooked after trying it just once. Studies have shown that more than 500,000 people in the United States are addicted to heroin, and some start using heroin as early as 12 years old. Almost 20% of the people who seek treatment are addicted to heroin.
Recovery from heroin use can be difficult, but dual diagnosis treatment for heroin addiction is proven to be one of the most effective approaches.
Understanding Heroin Addiction
Heroin is a very fine powder that may be white, brown, pink-grey or black in color. The purest forms are white, and any color is due to substances that are added to the heroin. You can use heroin by injecting, smoking or snorting it. The drug creates a sense of euphoria. The effects of the drug are preferred by individuals who may feel anxious in social situations.
Heroin is a potent drug that quickly takes control of your brain, specifically the areas that are responsible for experiencing pain and pleasure. Once the drug takes hold, it controls when the brain releases certain hormones that make you experience pleasure. As heroin levels in the brain subside, the brain releases hormones that cause discomfort and pain, and this motivates you to use heroin again. This physiological change that is caused by heroin use is the most significant reason why people struggle with controlling and stopping their heroin use. Brain function is modified to the extent that it is entirely dependent on heroin to release the pleasure hormones.
Detox is a process that is used to remove heroin and other drugs from your body. This is an important first step on your journey to recovery. Detox gives your body time to return to a natural state where it is not dependent on the drug to function. Heroin detox is not easy and should only be performed under the supervision of a qualified medical professional. Some of the symptoms that occur during heroin detox are:
- Stomach pain
- Drug cravings
- Muscle spasms
- Increased heart rate
- Goose bumps and chills
- High blood pressure
On an emotional level, heroin detox removes the veil that hides your pain, trauma, shame, guilt and other emotional consequences of addiction. You may experience emotions that you have not felt in a long time, and past traumas may come to the surface.
The Detox Process
Heroin detox centers provide medical support for your detox, such as clinical staff who can administer medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. Detox programs typically last three to seven days, just enough time for the drug to be eliminated from the body. Heroin detox typically takes seven days. Some detox centers use a rapid detox that takes only three days. During your stay at the detox center, you may have access to a therapist or counselor who can help you manage the emotions that arise as the drug leaves your body. You are released from the program once you no longer experience the symptoms of heroin withdrawal, yet little to no support has been provided to help you with the emotional issues that you experienced during detox nor to the issues that led you to use heroin to self-medicate. This is why individuals who go through detox-only programs struggle to stay on the road to long-term recovery. They do not have new coping skills nor the mental health support that they need to make better choices and manage the day-to-day of life.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment is Your Way Out of Heroin Addiction
Fortunately, treatment for heroin addiction has evolved in recent years based upon research into the effects of a dual diagnosis. Most of those who use heroin have an underlying mental health condition, such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. When these mental health issues are not properly diagnosed and treated, you learn to rely on heroin to ease the symptoms of the emotional issues as a form of self-medication.
Why Choose Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Imagine that you complete your detox program and are released back into your life. Within a few hours or days, you feel the anxiety, depression, trauma and other issues slowly rising to the surface. You came out of detox physically free of heroin, yet you face the same day-to-day challenges. The only coping mechanism that you know is heroin use.
Dual diagnosis treatment helps you minimize and better manage experiences like these that can quickly result in relapse. You come to understand that you have an undiagnosed mental health condition that motivates you to rely on heroin. This information alone relieves you of shame, guilt, and feelings of failure and disappointment.
How Dual Diagnosis Treatment Works
Dual diagnosis treatment for heroin addiction is managed in stages.
- Detox that is supervised by clinical and mental health professionals
- Mental health evaluation
- Individualized treatment and recovery plan
- Support after release from the program
During the detox process, your care and well-being are managed by a team of medical doctors, nurses, mental health professionals and counselors that provide the comprehensive support that you need while the heroin is being removed from your body. Once you are free of the drug, you meet with a mental health counselor who takes time to identify any mental health issues that contribute to your drug use. Based on the findings, an individualized plan is developed with your input, and the plan is used to guide you through the treatment program.
You may face challenges after treatment, but you have new tools and resources should you struggle or need some extra encouragement.
We can help you with long-term recovery from heroin addiction. Call us now at (888) 380-0342