When it comes to getting clean, heroin is one of the hardest substances to break free from. One of the biggest deterrents for individuals who wish to end their addiction is the withdrawal symptoms that come with detoxing from drugs or alcohol. However, with the support of a heroin detox center, sobriety is possible. By beginning your treatment here, you give yourself the best chance possible at healing and lasting sobriety in a safe and supportive environment.

What Is Detoxification?

Detoxification (detox) is the metabolic process that removes toxins from the body. It is the method by which the body gets rid of the waste materials that can do us harm. The purpose is to cleanse the body of internal impurities which could cause deterioration and disease. Thoroughly detoxing the body can restore your physical and emotional energy, increase stamina, and help you feel and look much healthier.

It is usually done in an inpatient setting and medically monitored. Detox typically lasts 3 to 5 days. Detox is physical rehabilitation and is only the first step in the road to long-term sobriety.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid made from morphine. Morphine is a natural substance removed from the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. Heroin can be a white or brown powder or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin.

Heroin is highly addictive. Regular users often develop a tolerance. They need more frequent or higher doses of the drug to get the same effect. A substance use disorder (SUD) occurs when the continued use of the drug causes problems with health, work, school, and at home. SUDs range from mild to severe, with the most severe form being an addiction.

Understanding Heroin Addiction

young man walking on beach after a heroin detox center

Before you begin with a heroin detox center, it’s essential to learn more about your addiction. While participating in therapy during addiction treatment will give you better insight into why you use it, it’s also important to know why heroin is explicitly so tough to quit.

Heroin is a potent drug that alters the chemicals in the brain. It enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in several areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure. Heart rate, sleeping, and breathing are also affected.

People who use heroin say there is a surge of pleasure or euphoria, commonly called a “rush.”

For many, attempting to stop and failing makes them feel worse about themselves and only makes trying again that much harder. However, it’s crucial to know that you’re not the problem. Heroin is a potent drug that alters the chemicals in the brain. Withdrawal symptoms tend to be severe and set in quickly due to how quickly the body becomes dependent on the drug.

For this reason, treatment must include a full continuum of care to give you the best chance possible at recovery. A heroin detox center helps you through these symptoms and prepares you for further treatment.

Short-Term Effects

There are other common effects, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Warm flushing of the skin
  • Heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe itching
  • Clouded mental functioning
  • Going “on the nod.” This is a back and forth state of being conscious and semiconscious

Long-Term Effects

Use of heroin over the long term may develop:

  • Insomnia
  • Collapsed veins
  • Infection of heart lining and valves
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Lung complications
  • Mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
  • Sexual dysfunction for men
  • Irregular menstrual cycles for women

 Heroin Overdose

A heroin overdose happens when a person uses enough to produce a life-threatening reaction or death. When you overdose on heroin, breathing slows or even stops. This decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. This is called hypoxia. Hypoxia has short- and long-term effects on the brain and the nervous system, including coma and permanent brain damage.

For many, attempting to stop and failing makes them feel worse about themselves and only makes trying again that much harder. However, it’s crucial to know that you’re not the problem. Withdrawal symptoms tend to be severe and set in quickly due to how quickly the body becomes dependent on the drug. For this reason, treatment must include a full continuum of care to give you the best chance possible at recovery. A heroin detox center helps you through these symptoms and prepares you for further treatment.

The Necessity of a Heroin Detox Center

When it comes to getting clean, heroin is one of the hardest substances to break free from. One of the biggest deterrents for individuals who wish to end their addiction is the withdrawal symptoms that come with detoxing from drugs or alcohol. Addiction specialists agree uniformly, that detoxification should be done in a specialized facility. By beginning your treatment there, you give yourself the best chance possible at healing and lasting sobriety in a safe and supportive environment. 

When an individual begins to detox from heroin, they tend to experience physical symptoms along with intense cravings about four to six hours after their last time of use. During the first three days of detox, physical and psychological symptoms are at their worst. A heroin detox center can help alleviate some of these symptoms and help make the detox process more comfortable. Medical staff also provides constant monitoring to ensure the client’s health isn’t compromised. Should an issue arise, medications are available through medical professionals to help.

This is what makes a heroin detox center so crucial and detoxing on your own so dangerous. A detox center will also provide the emotional support clients need. Anxiety, paranoia, and depression can be psychological symptoms of withdrawal that can make the individual want to use it again. However, staff support can help manage mental health disorder symptoms and reduce cravings.

Quitting Heroin “Cold Turkey”

The method of self-detox called “quitting cold turkey” doesn’t include medical support and can lead to death in some cases. This is particularly true when the person is long-time alcohol or benzodiazepine user. A serious complication of quitting cold turkey is the relapse factor. The body loses its tolerance for heroin, and if it is reintroduced at the level of the prior consumption, there is a higher risk of overdose, which can cause death or other serious side effects.

For many, attempting to stop and failing makes them feel worse about themselves and only makes trying again that much harder. However, it’s crucial to know that you’re not the problem. Heroin is a potent drug that alters the chemicals in the brain. Withdrawal symptoms tend to be severe and set in quickly due to how quickly the body becomes dependent on the drug. For this reason, treatment must include a full continuum of care to give you the best chance possible at recovery. A heroin detox center helps you through these symptoms and prepares you for further treatment.

When people addicted to opioids like heroin first quit, they undergo physical withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms such as pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting may be severe, along with intense cravings about four to six hours after their last time of use. During the first three days of detox, physical and psychological symptoms are at their worst. Other symptoms may include:

  • Agitation
  • Muscle ache
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Runny nose
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Dilated pupils

A heroin detox center can help alleviate some of these symptoms and help make the detox process more comfortable. Medical staff also provides constant monitoring to ensure the client’s health isn’t compromised. 

During heroin detox, trained addiction specialists use medication-assisted therapy to ease the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce cravings. Medically supervised detoxification is an effective way to quit using heroin.  

Patients beginning recovery from heroin addiction must detox from the drug and/or begin medication-assisted treatment before they can begin counseling and therapy.

Medications For Heroin Detox 

Medicines such as lofexidine, have been developed to help people get through the withdrawal process. There are other medicines designed to help people stop using heroin. Buprenorphine and methadone work by binding to the same opioid receptors in the brain as heroin, but with a weaker effect which reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors and prevents opioid drugs from having an effect. Naloxone has a similar effect but can’t be used until detoxification is complete.

This is what makes a heroin detox center so crucial and detoxing on your own so dangerous. A detox center will also provide the emotional support clients need. Anxiety, paranoia, and depression can be psychological symptoms of withdrawal that can make the individual want to use it again. However, staff support can help manage mental health disorder symptoms and reduce cravings.

Is Detox Enough?

Detox is an essential first step on the road to recovery, but detox is simply a means to an end (recovery). After detox, recovering addicts can best aid in their recovery by entering and staying in a drug treatment plan. It’s important to remember that detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment. It is rarely enough to help addicts achieve long-term sobriety.

A study at Johns Hopkins University in 2012 found that the relapse rate after detox alone is 65- to 80%. Patients who continued with treatment were 10 times more likely to stay drug-free.  

The amount of time committed to treatment is also important. There is a correlation between the length of time in treatment and the rate of relapse. Continuing treatment can help beat the odds of relapse.

Individual, group and other behavioral therapies are important elements of addiction treatment. In therapy, patients discuss issues of motivation and build skills to resist drug use. They learn how to replace drug-using activities with constructive nondrug-using activities and work on their problem-solving abilities.

Behavioral therapy improves interpersonal skills and relationships. The patient can learn how to function in a family and a community.

Motivation

If you are concerned about a loved one with a heroin addiction, you need to know that treatment doesn’t need to be voluntary to be effective. Family, employment, and criminal justice sanctions can induce entry into treatment. People who enter treatment under legal pressure have outcomes as successful as those who enter voluntarily.

Heroin addicts often inject their drugs. Those who don’t enter treatment are up to 6 times more likely to become infected with HIV than those who enter and remain in treatment. Addicts who enter treatment reduce the activities that spread disease, such as sharing needles and engaging in unprotected sexual activity. Drug abuse treatment programs provide HIV testing and counseling.

Finding Help Now

Don’t wait to find the help you need for heroin addiction. A heroin detox center is the first step in the road to lasting recovery. From here, residential addiction treatment and intensive outpatient treatment can help you learn new coping skills and understand the causes of your addiction. Therapy guided by addiction treatment professionals allows you to work through your problems and learn more about yourself as you work through treatment. For the best heroin detox center, contact LA Detox today at (866) 932-8563.

References 

www.drugabuse.gov/publications

www.sharecare.com

www.dualdiagnosis.com