Heroin is an opioid derived from the pain medication morphine, which naturally occurs in the seed pods of the opium poppy. The drug usually appears as a white or brown powder or in a stickier black form known as black tar heroin. It can be inhaled through the nose, injected, or smoked. All three forms quickly and effectively deliver the drug to the brain, making it very easy to get addicted, even after only one or two uses.
In 2011, the National Institute of Drug Abuse found that about 4.2 million Americans had used heroin at some point in their lives. An estimated 23 percent of users become dependent on heroin.
Drug addiction is driven by a chemical dependency. When heroin enters the system, it is converted back to morphine and binds to opioid receptors located throughout the brain and body, particularly those involved in reward and pain perception. Long-term use reduces the amount of dopamine the brain produces. Dopamine is involved in a wide range of functions, including reward, motivation, and motor functions. A lack of natural dopamine forces the user to become dependent on heroin to maintain normal dopamine levels. Unfortunately, consistent use of any drug leads to tolerance, which means you have to use more of a drug to get the same effect.
Heroin is noted for giving users a rush of happiness and good feelings, usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, feelings of heaviness in the extremities, and generally cloudy mental functioning. This rush is then followed by a state of alternating wakefulness and drowsiness, often referred to as being “on the nod.”
Along with this rush, heroin also offers a wide range of effects, including:
Studies have also shown that long-term heroin use can actually deteriorate white matter in the brain. This damage can lead to problems with making decisions, regulating behavior, and responding to stressful situations. Street heroin also often contains additives and other toxic contaminants that can clog blood vessels and cause permanent damage to vital organs.
Combining medicine with behavioral therapy is the key to all forms of drug abuse recovery. Heroin withdrawal treatment helps you work the toxins out of your body, eliminate chemical imbalances caused by prolonged drug use, and curb withdrawal symptoms.
Some medications your doctor or counselor may prescribe for your heroin addiction include:
Heroin is a highly addictive drug, but detox can help you overcome your dependency on it and is the first rung in the ladder to good health. Many detox treatment programs lead directly into longer rehabilitation programs lasting 30, 60, or 90 days. Detox works the chemicals out of your system, but rehab gives you the tools to maintain a sobriety in the long-term.
Georgia Drug Detox is dedicated to helping you find and select a detox program that fits your personal needs and gets you on track for recovery. It is important to complete your detox surrounded by supportive professionals who specialize in treating your specific addition, not just addiction in general. Contact us today at (678) 771-6411 and we will walk you through the process today.