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Treatment For Heroin Addiction

Entering Rehab for Heroin Abuse

If you're addicted to heroin, or you love someone who has an addiction, it’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with, because it is extremely addictive and dangerous drug. You or your loved one may have tried to quit the drug a few times already, and are desperate for help and information.

Addiction is a very lonely and unrelenting disease. This is why you need to seek help immediately. Here at 12 Keys Rehab, our staff — many of whom are recovered addicts themselves — completely understand the struggles you’re currently going through, and have gone through in the past. We understand that focusing on complete treatment of your entire body, mind and spirit is key to your recovery.

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Heroin Information Sheet

At our Florida waterfront location, we will provide you with all the help and tools you’ll need to work towards getting your life back on track again. Together, we can help you regain control of your life and kick your addiction to the curb for good.

How Can I Help My Loved One Recover From a Heroin Addiction?

If you’re worried about the effects of addiction on your loved one, and want to help them become free of the drug, the most important thing you can do is educate yourself. The more you know about the signs of a heroin addict and the effects of the drug, the better equipped you are to fully understand both your loved one and the challenges they are and will be facing.

Kicking heroin will probably be the most difficult issue your loved one will ever have to face, and it’s important for you to be as strong and as knowledgeable as you can be in order to help them to the best of your ability.

There will be times when your loved one will feel tired and weak. With your help, they will be able to pick themselves back up again and fight the terrifying addiction that’s controlling every aspect of their life.

Remember to be as gentle and calm, yet firm, as you can be with them. They need to know that they have a problem, and that they can get the professional help they need to quit heroin with your love and support throughout their journey.

Heroin use is on the Rise

Why Do So Many People Turn to Heroin?

For someone who hasn’t become caught in the downward spiral of addiction, it can be hard to understand the reasons why you’d use the drug. Nobody begins using drugs with the hope of becoming addicted, so why do so many people turn to the drug?

  • You may be suffering from long-term pain and your doctor has stopped your opiate medication. Often, if you’ve been on opiate painkillers for some time, you’ll find yourself suffering from full-blown withdrawal symptoms when the time comes to stop taking your medication.

    Because opiate withdrawal is one of the most distressing types of withdrawal to contend with, you may have turned to heroin instead. For many, this leads to becoming a functional addict.

  • You may have suffered from a serious injury, and have become addicted to your prescribed opiates during your recovery. Morphine is often prescribed for pain after an injury. What many people don’t realize is that morphine is a medical form of heroin. When that morphine is taken away, you may feel the need to turn to heroin to keep your withdrawal symptoms at bay.
  • You’ve tried it once or twice, and have become addicted right away. It has a deservedly bad reputation, as it’s so incredibly addictive. This addictive potential is further compounded if it’s mixed with other addictive drugs. You may have tried it just once to see what it’s like, and unfortunately become completely addicted.
  • You’ve tried the drug out of boredom. Yes, it may seem like a ridiculous reason for becoming addicted to such a heavy drug, but many people try it because they’re looking for something that’s missing from their lives. What they may not realize is that they can easily become addicted.
  • You’re coping with a great deal of stress. If you’re under severe stress, you may have started to take it to aid in relaxation.
  • You’re self-medicating for a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental disorder. This is probably one of the most common reasons for taking it, as the drug makes you feel better for a short time. Unfortunately, as soon as the high wears off, you are left feeling miserable and searching for your next hit to feel better again.
  • You’re self-medicating for a physical issue. You may have been in pain for a while, and have turned to it as a means of killing your pain.
  • There are many varied reasons why someone would turn to it. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to be a slave to the drug. Here at 12 Keys Rehab, we can help you put your heroin addiction in the past.

reasons for heroin use

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What Are the Signs of a Heroin Addiction?

If you feel that someone you know and love may be addicted, there are some signs you can look out for. Living with an addict can be very difficult, as people suffering from addiction can be notoriously secretive. However, if you notice any of the following signs of addiction, it’s time to seek help:

Drug Paraphernalia

  • Syringes - Injecting heroin is the most popular method of taking the drug. If someone close to you has needles, but has no known medical reason why they would have them, this is a huge red flag.

    Often, a user will have a drug kit, and their needles will be accompanied by a filter, such as a cigarette filter or q-tip cotton bud, as well as a lighter. They may also have a cord or belt in their kit that they use to tie off their arm to help them locate their veins more easily.

  • Aluminum foil - If your loved one is smoking the drug, they will likely have some foil that they use to heat up their heroin.
  • Metal or glass pipes - Smokers may also have their own pipes that they use to smoke heroin.
  • Balloons or baggies - Be on the lookout for tied rubber balloons or small plastic bags that are used for storing and concealing the drug.

In addition to these physical signs of drug-taking paraphernalia, there are also other, less blatant signs to be watchful for. These include:

Valuables and money going missing. When someone is addicted, they'll eventually do everything within their power to get the drug. If you notice money or expensive items disappearing, your loved one could have a real problem. In addition, if your loved one is constantly asking you for money, this is another warning sign of a user.

Secretiveness or continuous lying. One of the most upsetting signs someone is using, apart from the obviously detrimental health issues, is that they’ll say or do anything to get their drug. For this reason, family relationships and friendships tend to break down due to their constant manipulation of those closest to them.

What Are the Symptoms of a Heroin Addiction?

signs of heroin usage trackmarks

Track marks — usually on their hands, arms, ankles, neck or even between the toes — is a tell-tale sign of heroin use. But there are many more physical signs that you should be aware of if you’re wondering how to spot a heroin addict. These include:

  • Constriction of the pupils for four or five hours after taking the drug
  • Shallow breathing
  • Signs of disorientation
  • An unkempt appearance
  • General neglect of hygiene
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Moodiness
  • Drowsiness that lasts for hours
  • Sleeping at unusual times
  • Sudden drops in energy
  • Mental sluggishness
  • Slurred or slow speech
  • Appearing confused
  • Drifting in and out of consciousness (nodding off)
  • Depression
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Anxiousness
  • Restlessness
  • Aggressiveness
  • Lack of appetite

How Long Does It Take to Withdraw From Heroin?

As heroin is a short-acting opioid, after you take it, the effects show very quickly, and the drug will also exit your bloodstream rapidly. Generally speaking, after taking your last dose, your withdrawal symptoms should last for around five to ten days altogether, although this can and does differ from person to person.

Your withdrawal symptoms are likely to peak within a few days of your last dose of heroin, so detoxing with the help of professionals is advised, as you will be offered support and the best chance of avoiding relapse.

withdrawal time heroin

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What Are the Stages of Heroin Withdrawal?

From the time you take your last dose of the drug, withdrawal starts around six to 12 hours later, with the peak of your heroin addict withdrawal symptoms presenting at around one to three days afterwards. Thankfully, your withdrawal symptoms will subside a week or so later, although you can suffer from post-acute withdrawal syndrome for weeks, months or even years after you stop taking the drug.

There are a wide range of symptoms you can expect, depending on the severity of your addiction. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Teariness
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Runny nose
  • Restlessness
  • Hypertension
  • Tremors
  • Sweats
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chills
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle spasms
  • Yawning incessantly
  • Impaired respiration
  • Bone and muscle aches
  • Goosebumps
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty feeling pleasure
  • Intense drug cravings

Why Does Heroin Withdrawal Make You Sick?

Opiate use that is repeated and prolonged causes the body to adapt, and it goes through several neurological changes. These changes include receptor desensitization, and the brain and body begin to depend on the use of heroin to perform neurotransmitter-related functions. Once the drug is taken away, the body responds by being thrown into a state of physical turbulence as it tries to restore balance.

Trust a Professional During the Detox Process

The fear of detox can cause a person to avoid treatment for heroin addiction. At 12 Keys Rehab, Dr. Balta compassionately guides patients through this uncomfortable period. He has 25 years of experience helping patients detox safely and comfortably. Patients can begin the process of soothing their minds and repairing their bodies during this process.

It’s not safe to detox on your own. It’s best to do so in a place that can help you through the process comfortably. Detox should not be a punishment. It’s a process one must undergo to begin a new, sober life.

precaution with detox

Why Is Heroin So Addictive?

Heroin gives the user an immediate high or rush, targeting the pain and reward centers of the brain. This means heroin provides pleasure in two ways:

  • The user feels no pain or discomfort after use.
  • The part of the brain that records pleasurable feelings is working overtime.

A single dose of heroin can produce this pleasurable feeling. It can last for hours, and some people become addicted after using heroin for the first time. Users become addicted as the drug stresses brain cells, causing the brain to become burned out when the drug is used on a regular basis.

Once brain cells are fatigued, the addict must use more heroin to get the same high or rush. Users also need to continue getting high to prevent painful symptoms of withdrawal.

The methods used to ingest heroin may also play a role in addiction. When heroin is introduced into the body, it overpowers and overwhelms the user. Addicts use these methods for fast delivery:

  • Smoking
  • Snorting
  • Injecting
  • Using as a suppository

The overpowering feeling users experience with these fast-delivery methods leaves an impact on the brain’s opiate receptors. The brain remembers this experience, making heroin highly addictive.

Once a person begins using heroin, it’s often impossible to stop without professional help. Once addicted, users must engage in heroin use approximately twice every day to avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Cramp-like pain and involuntary spasms
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Muscle and bone pain Diarrhea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Chills and fever
  • A "heavy" feeling in limbs
  • Excessive yawning

Heroin is not a drug that can be used casually.

heroin not used as casual drug

How Addictive Is Heroin?

The most notorious of illicit drugs, heroin is also very addictive. If you began taking the drug recreationally, you may have discovered by now that you quickly transitioned into an uncontrollable need for more and more.

An addiction is characterized by an intense psychological need for a drug that bypasses your ability to control how you use it. As we discussed previously, this all begins in the brain, due to changes within its very cells.

As a result of its fast delivery into the body, when you take heroin, you’ll be immediately hit by an overwhelming and overpowering wave of euphoria that will be quite unlike anything you have experienced before.

This has a huge impact on your brain in terms of its memory of that feeling, and tends to make heroin far more addictive than other illicit substances that can be taken orally.

According to a study published in Addiction, the rates of addiction among people who use heroin varies depending on how they take the drug. People who inject tend to have higher dependency rates than heroin smokers. Whichever way you take heroin, the truth is that it’s incredibly dangerous.

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Heroin Overdose

Death from heroin overdose occurs in several ways. Because heroin depresses the breathing and heart rate reflexes, a user might simply stop breathing anywhere from several minutes to several hours after his or her last dose because the body forgets to breathe. This is because the drug slows your respiratory system, lowers your blood pressure and induces sleep, which can lead to apnea.

During apnea, a person experiences no movement of muscles used for inhalation, so the volume of air in the lungs remains unchanged. It can occur for a variety of reasons, including drug-induced apnea caused by toxic levels of an opiate.

breathing and heroin overdose

Heroin also causes users to throw up; many heroin addicts have died as a result of choking on their own vomit after falling unconscious. Because heroin is produced illicitly, the average street buyer has no way of knowing how strong the drug really is and might accidentally overdose. Others who have tried quitting before might start using again - only to take the same amount they used before quitting, not realizing that the tolerance he or she once had no longer exists.

Heroin attaches itself to receptors in the gut, brain, and spinal cord & forces the brain to shut down production of its own feel-good chemicals.

How Much Heroin Causes Overdose?

Because your body needs more heroin to achieve the same high with regular use, the amount it takes to overdose can vary. For a 70-pound person, the amount of heroin it takes to cause an overdose can vary from 75 to 375 milligrams. Other factors also play a role in how much causes a person to overdose:

  • Delivery method
  • Purity of the heroin
  • Tolerance
  • Period of abstinence from the drug

How Do You Safely Detox From Heroin?

As the effects of detox and withdrawal can be intense, the safest way to get heroin out of your system is to do so with professional help and support.

On its own, detoxing from heroin can come with some psychological and medical symptoms that may have potentially life-threatening complications. For example, if you’re depressed, you may be suffering from suicidal thoughts. This is why seeking professional support is imperative.

Fully understanding the root causes of your addiction, and finding out whether you’re suffering from a co-occurring disorder, is the key to avoiding relapse, and this too can only be diagnosed by professionals.

Here, at 12 Keys Rehab, we offer a combination of therapies that focus on your mind, body, spirit and family, enabling you to heal completely and holistically. Our medically supervised detox programs give you the confidence that you can detox from heroin safety.

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Trust a Professional During the Detox Process

The fear of detox can cause a person to avoid treatment for heroin addiction. At 12 Keys Rehab, Dr. Balta compassionately guides patients through this uncomfortable period. He has 25 years of experience helping patients detox safely and comfortably. Patients can begin the process of soothing their minds and repairing their bodies during this process.

It’s not safe to detox on your own. It’s best to do so in a place that can help you through the process comfortably. Detox should not be a punishment. It’s a process one must undergo to begin a new, sober life.

Support Groups for Heroin Addicts and Their Families

When you, or your loved one, is battling an addiction, it’s important to know you’re not alone. Throughout their journey with addiction, it’s likely that family bonds have been tested, and may have been fractured or broken.

Joining a support group for addicts and their families allows your relationships to be explored in a safe and secure environment. As an individual with an addiction, you’ll gain a greater understanding of, and empathy with, the feelings of your family, and how your challenges have been affecting them.

On the other side, if you’re a family member of someone who is addicted, you'll benefit from having a better understanding of your loved one’s addiction, and why it has brought them to the low point they have reached today.

Family involvement at 12 Keys Rehab is a crucial component to your recovery. Together, we can help you rebuild your relationships, and will also enable you to establish healthy boundaries again.

You have all been through a challenging time, and we can guide you through the recovery, strengthening your bonds and helping provide you all with new hope for the future.

heroin help support

Living With a Heroin Addict

Having a spouse, son or daughter, or other family member who is addicted to heroin can be extremely troubling. No matter where they are in their recovery, there are certain things you can do to help both them and yourself:

  • Educate yourself: Many people who have no personal experience with addiction struggle to understand how someone can continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. By taking the time to understand more about the nature of addiction and read the stories of those who have suffered from it, you’ll be better prepared to offer compassionate support to your loved one.
  • Refuse to be an enabler: If your loved one is currently using, make sure you are not enabling them. This can include giving them money and a place to stay or simply turning a blind eye to their behavior. When someone we care about is in trouble, it’s natural to want to deny the problem — doing so not only makes the problem harder to solve, it can lead to far worse consequences.
  • Encourage them to get treatment: Let your loved one know there are options available when they’re ready to get clean. Instead of simply condemning their behavior, support their recovery by encouraging them to enter a rehab program where they can get professional help for their addiction.
  • Know the signs of relapse: Whether your loved one is currently in recovery or not, knowing the signs a heroin addict has been using can be life-saving. One of the realities of addiction is that even with the best care, there is always a danger of relapsing. Taking fast action if and when this occurs is critical.
  • Take care of yourself: Don’t let the stress of living with a heroin addict affect your health. Practice self-care by attending therapy, joining online or conventional support groups, or simply having someone in your life you can talk openly with.
facts living with a heroin addict

How Is a Heroin Addiction Treated?

At 12 Keys Rehab, we offer you a fully comprehensive physical, mental and spiritual healing plan that will treat every aspect of your addiction. Our programs last for 30 or more days, and are completely personalized to you as an individual.

We understand that a “cookie cutter” approach just doesn’t work, and we provide you with all the help that you need to kick your heroin habit.

Family is such an important aspect of your recovery, and working hand-in-hand with your loved ones, through family counseling sessions, helps you regain strength and focus day after day.

With the help of a sponsor who’s been through a similar journey to the one you’re embarking on, you are guided through each step of your recovery. As underlying issues are brought to the surface, you can regain the power to live your life in a clean and healthy way.

It’s not all about hard work, either: you’ll have plenty of time to make new friends and get some good rest and relaxation. In addition to this, you will leave us with a personalized aftercare plan that will help you live the rest of your life in a positive and healthy way.

Why You Should Enter 12 Keys Rehab’s Heroin Recovery Treatment Center

Entering our treatment center provides you with all the help, support and focus you need to kick your heroin habit for good. If you’ve tried and haven’t been able to quit heroin on your own in the past, seeking professional treatment should be your next move.

A good heroin recovery treatment center should:

what makes a good heroin recovery treatment center

At 12 Keys Rehab, we offer all of the above and much more. We’re also very experienced with helping people who are struggling with dual diagnosis disorders to lead a fulfilling life in recovery. If you or your loved one feel ready to embark on your journey to a brighter and more positive future, contact us today.

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Frequently Asked Questiosn About Heroin

What Is Heroin?

Synthesized from morphine that is extracted from the seed pod of the opium poppy, heroin is an incredibly addictive opioid drug. It usually comes in the form of a brown or white powder, and can also be a sticky black substance that’s known as black tar heroin.

According to figures from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2011, 1.6 percent of Americans tried the drug at least once in their lifetime. It’s also estimated that as many as 23 percent of people who use the drug end up becoming dependent on it.

If you’re concerned about someone close to you who may be addicted to heroin, it’s important to know the different names of the drug so you can confirm it’s heroin they’re using. There are quite a few common slang terms for the drug, including:

  • Mud
  • Smack
  • Dope
  • Horse
  • Junk
  • Skag
  • H.
  • Black pearl
  • Black tar
  • Witch hazel
  • Brown sugar
  • Dragon
  • Hero
  • Birdie powder
  • White stuff
  • Boy
  • Chiva
  • China white
  • Pluto
  • Mexican horse
  • Skunk
  • Number 2

There are also Spanish names for heroin that include:

  • Gato
  • La Buena
  • Bombita
  • Chicle
  • Tiger
  • Zoquete
  • Caballo
  • Vidrio
  • Carne
  • Carga

It’s important to remember that this list isn’t exhaustive, as there are so many different regional variations. Also, many of these names change from time to time — and new ones pop up to evade detection from police and authorities.

Heroin is also sometimes mixed with other drugs, such as LSD, marijuana, methamphetamines or ecstasy. These combinations go by various slang terms too, such as:

  • Chocolate Bars — Xanax and Heroin
  • A-bomb / Atom Bomb — Marijuana and Heroin
  • Primo / Dragon Rock — Crack Cocaine and Heroin
  • Dynamite — Cocaine and Heroin
  • El Diablo — Heroin, Cocaine and Marijuana
  • LBJ — Heroin, LSD and PCP
  • H-bomb — Ecstasy and Heroin
  • Screwball — Methamphetamine and Heroin
  • Neon Nod — LSD (acid) and Heroin

What is Cheese Heroin?

There is a very addictive derivative form of heroin today known as “cheese heroin.” This drug is a blend of Mexican black tar heroin and an over-the-counter cold medication. “Cheese heroin” is a significant concern, particularly if you’re a parent, as it only costs a few dollars for a hit.

The scariest aspect of this particular combination is that there have been reports of children as young as nine becoming hooked on this drug. It is so dangerous because it can cause vital functions, such as your heartbeat and breathing, to slow so considerably that it can result in death.

Cheese heroin has been the cause of more than 40 deaths in North Texas since 2004.

Using heroin by itself is incredibly dangerous. However, when it’s combined with other drugs, the detrimental health effects are magnified.

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Who Is Typically Abusing Heroin?

Simply put, there is no “typical” heroin user. It is known that people from young kids to the elderly can fall prey to its lure. From teenagers in the suburbs to a homeless person living on the streets, the drug can seduce anyone.

children using heroin

How Is Heroin Typically Used?

The drug can be smoked, inhaled, injected or even used as a suppository - these four routes enable the drug to hit your brain extremely quickly. This is one of the reasons heroin abuse is so detrimental to your health and has the potential for being extremely addictive.

What Are The Risks Of Each Delivery Method?

The effects of heroin can differ depending on the delivery method. Here’s a look at the adverse effects of the most common delivery methods.

Delivery Methods of Heroin Include: Injecting, Smoking, and Snorting
  • Injecting

    Injection is a common method of introducing heroin into the body. Intravenous drug use can cause even more health problems from sharing needles, such as the spread of HIV and hepatitis. Injecting heroin can also have other adverse effects, like infection at the injection site.

    Street heroin is often “cut” with other products that don’t dissolve in your bloodstream. Coffee, dirt, cornstarch and other ingredients are mixed with heroin to make it cheaper to buy than pure heroin. Since these additives don’t dissolve in the bloodstream, they can clog blood vessels that lead to your heart, lungs, brain and other vital organs.

    Additives may also contain bacteria that are introduced into your bloodstream along with the drug. Repeated injections can cause necrotizing fasciitis, which can be a lethal type of bacterial infection.

  • Smoking

    Smoking heroin can cause both short-term and long-term effects. Short-term effects include shortness of breath and asthma attacks. Long-term effects include various types of pneumonia.

  • Snorting

    Snorting or sniffing heroin can cause sinus problems and/or damage, asthma attacks, nose bleeds and damage to cartilage in the nose.

What Does Heroin Do to the Brain?

On entering your brain, heroin is then converted back into morphine. This, in turn, binds onto your opioid receptors that are located in many parts of your brain, as well as within your body. These opioid receptors are especially prevalent in your reward and pain centers.

You also have opioid receptors within your brainstem that control the automatic processes of your body, such as respiration, arousal and blood pressure.

When you take the drug, you become unable to feel discomfort or pain. Add this to the fact that the part of your brain that remembers pleasurable experiences will now be working overtime due to your drug use, and you’ll soon find you’re addicted.

The presence of heroin within your body stresses your brain cells, and when you take the drug regularly, they can become exhausted or even totally burned out. You may then find that you need to take higher quantities of heroin to get the original effect. You’ll then realize you’re powerless in the face of the drug.

An overdose of heroin will often suppress your breathing, thus affecting the oxygen levels reaching your brain (hypoxia). This condition can cause both short- and long-term effects, both neurologically and psychologically, including permanent brain damage and coma.

After taking heroin, it’s likely you will feel the following:

  • A euphoric “rush” — sometimes only if you inject the drug
  • Dry mouth
  • A warm flushing of your skin
  • Clouded mental functioning
  • Heaviness in your extremities
long-term brain damage heroin

After this initial euphoria, you’ll experience “the nod,” which will make you feel wakeful and drowsy alternately.

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How Does Heroin Affect My Health?

Heroin has both long- and short-term health effects for the user. Along with the risk of overdose, you can experience a host of health issues from using the drug.

Short-term Heroin Health Effects

Introduction of heroin into the body immediately affects your body systems, likely causing the following symptoms:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed cardiac function
  • Skin flushing
  • Severe itching

Not every person reacts the same to heroin, so the effects can vary by person based on a variety of factors, such as these:

effects of heroin

Long-term Heroin Health Effects

Like short-term health effects of heroin, the long-term effects can vary by person, but some of the most common include the following:

  • Loss of libido
  • Poor night vision due to restricted pupils
  • Arthritis and other joint problems
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Cold sweats
  • Weakened immune function
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Muscle weakness
  • Constipation
  • Gum inflammation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increase acne
  • Memory loss
  • Cold sweats

What Is a Heroin Addiction Like?

When you’re caught in the grip of addiction, you can feel very cut off from those who know and love you. This type of behavior can be very secretive, as you won’t want others to know what’s going on with you. The characteristics of a heroin addict include lying to those closest to you and doing things you’re not proud of just to get your hands on the drug.

You’re not alone. It’s totally natural to feel ashamed of the person you’ve become. However, having an addiction is a disease, and you need to seek treatment to get yourself well again. The whole concept of getting help may sound terrifying, but in reality, you need to do this to get clean.

A heroin addict’s behavior can be very worrisome. Signs of people on heroin include being unable to function without the drug. Even though those closest to you may feel confused and overwhelmed by your admission when you come clean with them, it’s important to take this first step toward recovery.

Giving up heroin on your own is unbelievably difficult, not to mention dangerous, so you need to come to terms with your problem to find a solution. Here at 12 Keys Rehab, we’re here for you both day and night. Our highly trained, supportive and understanding staff will help you get your life back on the right track again.

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Does a Heroin Addiction Cause Any Permanent Damage?

There are a number of very serious health conditions associated with heroin addictions, including:

  • Contracting infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis through sharing needles and other equipment
  • Addiction in babies whose mothers took the drug while pregnant
  • Fatal overdose
  • Digestive system issues
  • Deterioration of the white matter of your brain
  • Collapsed veins
  • Respiratory collapse
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Infection of the heart valves and lining

You have no control over what is included in heroin which you purchase on the street. As a result, it can often contain toxins that can do untold and potentially permanent damage to your vital organs.

What Types of Co-occurring Disorders Exist With Heroin?

Often, people who take heroin are also suffering from a co-occurring emotional or psychiatric illness, while also struggling with their addiction. If this describes you, you may feel trapped and confused, and that life is arduous for you on a day-to-day basis.

It’s incredibly difficult to free yourself from addiction, particularly when you’re also going through mental health issues. It’s also impossible to do alone, as you need to have both your emotional/psychiatric illness treated in conjunction with your addiction.

Your illness may have been present before you began taking heroin, and perhaps you made the choice to take the drug in order to self-medicate. Alternatively, the effects of the drug could have brought on your co-occurring (dual diagnosis) disorder.

Whichever came first, there are many mental illnesses that can occur when you abuse heroin, including:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Attention deficit disorder, and more

It’s important to seek professional help from an addiction specialist if you feel you may be suffering from a dual diagnosis, as the symptoms of your illness and your addiction will often overlap.

Common heroin addiction dual diagnosis signs to look out for include:

  • Inability to gain control over your moods
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Inability to make long-term relationships work
  • Inability to hold down your job
  • Financial troubles
  • Legal troubles
  • No improvement in terms of these symptoms, even after kicking heroin for two weeks or longer

Here, at 12 Keys Rehab, we have extensive experience treating clients with co-occurring disorders with dual diagnosis treatment, and we can help you take your next steps toward recovery today.

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Key Statistics About Abuse and Addiction to Heroin

There’s no denying that, in terms of overdose rates and dangerous side effects, heroin is one of the most frightening drugs around. This is why it’s so important to know the facts:

These sobering statistics illustrate that heroin is ruining the lives of users, functioning heroin addicts and their families the world over. If you feel that you, or someone close to you, is one of those affected, it’s time to get them the help they so desperately need.

heroin statistics

Common Myths About Heroin and Its Addiction

Although heroin is a widely known drug, there are many myths and misconceptions around its use. Here, we attempt to dispel some of these so you’re aware of the facts.

MYTH: Heroin is only an issue for intravenous drug users.

Heroin can be used in a variety of ways, although injecting is considered to be the most intense and direct delivery route. You may also snort the drug or smoke it. The one aspect that all these ways of taking heroin have in common is that they can all lead to addiction. There is no “safe” way to take the drug — no matter what you may have heard.

MYTH: Heroin is out of kids’ price range.

Heroin that’s snorted, instead of injected, is easier to manufacture and, therefore, cheaper than the injectable variety. This makes it far more affordable to young people. If you’re worried that a young person you know could be taking heroin, it’s important that you address it sooner rather than later.

MYTH: Heroin addicts are all homeless and living in poor situations.

Anyone, no matter their background, can make the choice to use heroin. Addiction can take control of your life very quickly, and before you know it, all your money, time and thoughts are spent on seeking out and obtaining the drug. There are many functioning heroin addicts, and heroin addiction can control your life, in spite of your location, sex, race, education and economic standing.

street heroin

How Is Heroin Abuse Impacting Society?

The worrying and negative consequences of heroin abuse don’t only affect you as an individual — they also have an impact on your family, friends and even on society as a whole.

In terms of people who are using the drug, heroin can invariably lead to expensive health issues and sometimes even death. There is also the real possibility of contracting a needle-borne disease like HIV/AIDS or hepatitis. This illicit drug use puts not only you at risk, but also others around you.

The children of heroin users are also negatively impacted by the drug. When you’re obsessed with finding and taking the drug, children are sometimes neglected. Some users may even abuse their children. Further, if you’re a pregnant woman, you run the risk of having a baby who’s born with an addiction, and who’ll likely suffer from both short- and long-term health issues as a result.

Heroin abuse also has a significant economic impact. If you’re missing days at work due to your heroin addiction, or if you have a responsible job and you’re making potentially deadly mistakes, you need to seek help immediately.

Some users turn to stealing from their workplace in order to raise money to buy drugs. Again, this is a huge problem for businesses throughout the country in terms of lost resources, not to mention the police who need to get involved.

The social and economic consequences of heroin abuse have a significant negative impact on society. It is important to be aware of the problem and do everything you can to ensure that you are not contributing to this negative impact.

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