Heroin Withdrawal Treatment Centers


There are a variety of effective treatments for heroin addiction, including pharmacotherapies commingled with behavioral and cognitive therapies just to name a few. This strategy is designed to restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior. Research has shown that integrating pharmacotherapies during detoxification, then integrating behavior and cognitive therapies afterwards, is an effective methodology.

How bad is the heroin problem?

Heroin is the most addictive recreational drug in human history. Once addicted they typically stop at almost nothing to get more and more heroin. They seek out and use heroin despite destroying relationships, losing jobs and going to jail. Experience has shown us that almost no one can walk away unscathed. That’s why professional help is so important.

More men and women died from drug overdoses in 2014 than during any previous year on record. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 47,055 people died from drug overdoses that year, including 10,574 heroin overdoses, which is also a new record. Studies show that for every heroin overdose fatality there are at least 25 near misses, i.e. 264,350 near miss heroin overdoses.

New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia have the most drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people. North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Alabama and Maine had the largest increases in heroin overdose death rates.


How does heroin impact the brain?

When heroin enters the brain, it binds to opioid receptors in the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. Opioid receptors in the brain are predominantly involved in the perception of pleasure and reward. When we do things that cause us pleasure we generally repeat the behavior. Over time the brain sees heroin as a survival behavior – equal to food and water. Opioid receptors in the brain stem control automatic processes critical for life, such as blood pressure, arousal, and respiration. Heroin overdose frequently involves suppression of breathing. Taking too much heroin activates too many receptors and that suppresses breathing which adversely affects the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can have short-term and long-term psychological and neurological effects, including coma and brain damage. Opioid receptors in the spinal cord predominantly affect the sensation of pain.


Heroin side effects

Heroin addicts experience a variety of medical problems in their everyday life, including smaller pupils, constipation, urine retention, nausea and itching. They tend to develop mental health problems, such as depression and antisocial behavior. Male users often experience sexual dysfunction and women users often have menstrual irregularities.


Why should I quit?

If you are addicted to heroin, normal activities have already lost their appeal. Listening to music, eating food, even sex cannot compete with heroin. But the real cost of your heroin addiction is your life. We know that most heroin addicts die from overdose, disease, accidents and homicide – that’s a fact. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 new heroin users (approximately 23%) become addicted. The length of time needed to develop heroin addiction varies from person to person but it usually happens quickly. Less than two weeks of daily use is often enough to ruin your life


Heroin detox

If a heroin addict wants to stop using he or she has to successfully detox. Heroin detox is a program designed to assist patients in breaking their physical dependency. Heroin detox typically lasts 7-10 days and combines pharmacotherapies, nutrition, hydration, and rest.

When heroin addicts quit, they develop withdrawal symptoms (pain, diarrhea, nausea, and insomnia), which can sometimes be quite severe. Pharmacotherapies are often prescribed in detox to ease withdrawal symptoms. Heroin detox is typically not a behavioral treatment but it is a useful first step. When detox is immediately followed by behavioral-based treatment the likelihood of success increases. Behavioral treatment is designed to help heroin addicts learn how to live life without heroin, and this takes time. The general rule is – the longer you stay in heroin rehab the better.


Heroin rehab

Heroin rehabilitation or “heroin rehab” is either an inpatient or outpatient program. Inpatient heroin rehab has a much higher success rate. Heroin rehab typically lasts between 30-90 days, and the rule is the longer you’re in treatment the better. Rehab is designed to help heroin addicts overcome their psychological addiction by moving them away from addictive thinking and behaving into healthy, addiction-free lifestyles.


Long-term effects of heroin

Heroin use produces tolerance and physical dependence. Heroin tolerance is a decrease in heroin effects after repeated use. Heroin dependence is the body’s adaptation to the presence of the heroin resulting in heroin withdrawal symptoms if heroin use is discontinued. Heroin withdrawal symptoms typically occur within a few hours after last use. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal include restlessness, muscle pain, bone pain, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, leg movements, depression, lack of energy, dread and insomnia. Heroin withdrawal symptoms typically peak between 72 hours after last use then subside but still last in total for after about a week. However, some people show persistent heroin withdrawal symptoms that last for months.

Repeated heroin use often results in addiction, which is a chronic relapsing disorder that goes beyond physical dependence and is characterized by tenacious drug-seeking behavior no matter the consequences. Heroin is extremely addictive no matter how it is administered, although routes of administration that allow it to reach the brain the fastest (i.e., injection and smoking) increase the risk of addiction. As soon as a person becomes addicted to heroin, heroin seeking and heroin using become their predominant behaviors.


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Status Reports: 2017

how heroin works