Inpatient Heroin Addiction Treatment
No matter how you take it — snorting, injecting or smoking it— heroin is a highly dangerous and addictive drug. It is an opiate, and synthesized from morphine, which is a product of the opium poppy. When heroin enters the brain, it binds to opiate receptors. Some of these receptors are located in the brain stem, where basic life functions such as respiration and blood pressure are controlled. A common cause of death from overdose is the suppression of breathing.
What Are the Effects of Heroin on the Body?
Heroin not only has terrible effects on the body in its own right, but chronic use also leads to many diseases and conditions caused by substances added to it or by the use of needles to inject the drug. Collapsed veins and abscesses, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis are common side effects from injection. Additionally, the heroin itself can cause infections in the heart, liver disease, kidney failure, and spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) in pregnant women. Pregnant women who use heroin can also give birth to babies who are already addicted.
The incidence of heroin addiction decreased for a while, but is now increasing again. According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of Americans 12 or older who currently used heroin increased from 153,000 in 2007 to 213,000 in 2008.
Get Help at an Inpatient Heroin Addiction Treatment Facility
Heroin addiction can successfully be treated, but an addict is highly unlikely to kick the habit on his or her own. Withdrawal symptoms are severe, and can last anywhere from a week to several months. It is important to go to an inpatient detox center, where withdrawal can be medically monitored and treated with medications such as clonidine and buprenorphine to ease the transition.
Once detox has been achieved, the work of preventing further use begins. The heroin inpatient treatment center may use methadone maintenance, which binds to the same receptors as heroin but without the high. This is not really an addiction treatment, but rather a way to stabilize the patient while he or she undergoes counseling and other means of treatment. Once treatment is complete, the patient will gradually stop using methadone.
Recidivism among heroin users is high. A transitional period at a sober living facility will protect the addict from the environment, people and triggers that caused the heroin use in the first place. After returning home, the recovering addict should seek continued outpatient or attend 12-step meetings to stay vigilant against the return to drug use.