Heroin is an illicit drug, derived from the opiod poppy plant. Heroin is a drug that is extremely addictive in nature.
Heroin comes in the form of a white powder known as “china white,” or sticky brown substance, called “black tar heroin”. It can be snorted, smoked or injected intravenously. Heroin has the potential to ruin lives due to its capacity to grip victims with strong talons. Overcoming an active heroin addiction is nearly impossible to accomplish alone. Once the full-blown addiction has evolved, heroin addiction becomes a powerful entity in and of itself. Inner turmoil results as the afflicted individual fights a constant battle between the addictive portion and the logical portion of their brain.
It Started Out Recreationally
Heroin addicts often kick off their drug career by trying heroin experimentally at a party. An older friend or acquaintance introduces the teen boy to heroin after drinks and other drugs have already been served. Perhaps the experienced party goer demonstrates the way in which heroin is ingested intravenously. The younger teen becomes compelled to chase the euphoric “rush” for which he has just been introduced.
Heroin works by blocking pain receptors in the brain and inhibiting the production of dopamine receptors — boosting feelings of happiness and well-being.
Heroin use deregulates the brain’s natural system of leveling out dopamine levels. By artificially boosting dopamine levels, the brain loses the ability to create dopamine receptors on its own. This is one of the reasons why withdrawals from opiates is so difficult.
Emotional Baggage Caused from your Addiction
The addict is not only suffering from physical withdrawal symptoms, he or she is also grieving the lost of a “friend”. As destructive and insidious as heroin is, it becomes a central part of an addict’s life. Removing the chemical invokes physical and psychological anguish. Rehabilitation centers address all aspects of the drug recovery process.
Studies show that treatment for heroin addiction is often effective, and allows the brain to repair itself over time.
Red Flags of a Heroin Addiction
Families often sense that something is amiss within the afflicted individual soon after the addiction has been born. Indicators surface on both physical and psychological levels.
Psychological and emotion signs and symptoms of heroin dependence include:
- A preoccupation with seeking, using, and paying for heroin
- A loss of interest in activities that were once of paramount importance to the individual
- Withdrawal from social activities and family gatherings
- Marked mood swings
- Lashing out in violent, angry ways
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
Heroin Users Bodies Take a Beating
Heroin abusers experience a shift in physiological functioning as well as a change in mood and behavior. Physical effects of heroin addiction are debilitating and often disturbing to family members of the afflicted individual.
The top two indications of a drug addiction include:
- Withdrawal symptoms, apparent during periods of heroin drug deficiency
- An increased tolerance to heroin – requiring increasingly high doses of heroin in order to feel the same effects
Additional physical warning signs indicative of a heroin addiction include:
- Impaired motor coordination
- “Nodding out” or symptoms of narcolepsy
- Weight loss
- Reduction in muscle tone and athletic drive
- Dilated pupils
- Pale, gaunt skin coloring
- Decreased appetite
Compromised Judgment and Coordination
The development of a heroin addiction depletes the individual’s capacity to function throughout a day. Spending time with friends, showing up for work, and eating meals become extremely difficult obstacles to overcome. Within the context of a heroin addict, priorities that were once of primary interest are now pushed to the bottom of the priority list. A heroin addict devotes all of their resources toward the purchase and ingestion of heroin. Family members, friends, and responsibilities are pushed aside.
Weigh the Cost of Treatment Against the Risks
Heroin addiction requires treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. Risks of consistent heroin abuse include but are not limited to the following:
- HIV/AIDS from shared needles
- Sexually transmitted disease from promiscuity as a byproduct of drug use
- Cardiac arrest
- Respiratory failure
- Permanent memory impairment
- Circulatory problems
- Death from overdose
If such attendance is not feasible or logistically possible, outpatient drug rehabilitation programs are available. Such programs offer truncated recovery sessions for heroin addicts desiring a clean and sober approach to life – without the time to devote to inpatient rehabilitation programs.