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What Are 5 Facts About Heroin Addiction?

young man in hoodie with head bowed seated outside on concrete steps wondering what are 5 facts about heroin addiction

While synthetic opioids like fentanyl may get more news coverage, heroin continues to be a dangerous and impactful drug in the U.S. today as well. Getting the facts about this powerful narcotic is the first step toward protecting yourself and your loved ones and also getting the help you may need if you’re already impacted. For heroin addiction treatment facts and options in Hudson, Ohio, contact Ray Recovery at 888.598.6299 today.

5 Key Facts About Heroin Addiction

It’s helpful to begin your research or recovery process by getting familiar with a few key facts about heroin:

  1. Heroin is an opiate, meaning it’s part of the opioid class of drugs but is naturally derived from poppy plants rather than synthetically created. All opioids have the capacity to attach to and effectively block brain receptors that would otherwise convey the sensation of pain. This is what makes them so effective as analgesics after surgery or during cancer treatment.
  2. Beyond blocking pain receptors, heroin produces a major “high” due to the dopamine flood that also occurs when people use it. This high can be quite psychologically addictive, and sadly, with repeated doses, those who use it develop tolerance. This means they need increasing amounts to get the same effect, greatly increasing their overdose risk.
  3. An overdose occurs when a person using heroin takes such a large dose or so many small doses in a short timeframe that their system is overwhelmed and catastrophic physical effects occur. Like all opioids, heroin is a central nervous system depressant that slows down vital functions like heart rate and breathing. At the extreme, it shuts them down entirely, causing death.
  4. Becoming dependent on heroin reduces the brain’s capacity to experience pleasure via activities like sex, exercise, or eating. Without the drug, humans naturally associate activities like these with both pleasure and a sense of reward. With heroin use, this link is broken, and the drug may replace all other sources of joy in a person’s life.
  5. For people who are physically addicted, withdrawal symptoms like panic, anxiety, depression, and a profound sense of emptiness can start quickly after their last heroin use. These, in turn, often trigger them to pursue their next dose at any cost.

Heroin poses a significant risk of addiction and dependency, which can lead to adverse consequences for a person’s health, well-being, and personal and professional relationships.

How Is Heroin Use Disorder Treated in a Rehab Center?

As is probably needless to say, heroin is extremely disruptive to normal functioning and can easily become life-threatening. Those who use it tend to become very withdrawn from relationships, pursuits, and circumstances that don’t directly feed their addiction, and this isolation can further contribute to heroin use. If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin use disorder, know that you’re not alone. The good news is that the drug is well understood, and many effective treatment programs are available.

In all cases, the first step is detox or acute withdrawal under supervision. Those addicted to heroin will undergo this process with medical care to make sure they are in a safe, contained environment that helps prevent early relapse. In detox, providers may also administer medications such as buprenorphine or methadone to help manage clients’ cravings.

After this, one-on-one counseling is key for lasting heroin addiction recovery. Through counseling approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy, clients can learn self-regulation through cognitive reframing. This means they approach the negative self-talk and challenging emotional landscape that often contribute to drug abuse with self-compassion and learn to rephrase their thoughts into more positive forms. Other pragmatic tools, like forming a concrete relapse prevention plan that identifies and addresses the client’s predictable triggers to use and how to handle them differently, can also help.

Group therapy components are likewise key for many clients in heroin recovery. A support group like a 12-step program can be a major asset in that it provides dependable community engagement, a structured framework for accountability, and ongoing sponsorship after formal treatment ends. Simply getting involved in holistic activities like yoga, animal-assisted therapy, or tai chi can also help provide drug-free stress-reduction techniques for people in recovery.

Learn More About the Facts of Heroin Addiction and Treatment by Reaching Out to Ray Recovery

Getting quality assistance is an essential step if you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction. While the drug may create temporary feelings of relief, it is essentially quite deadly. Moreover, addressing underlying mental health concerns and challenging life circumstances are the real and lasting avenues toward building greater happiness and fulfillment. Know that you’re not alone in this process and that assistance is only a phone call away. Call Ray Recovery at 888.598.6299 or reach out online to get started.