Heroin abuse is one of the most powerful and destructive addictions that a person will ever deal with. The withdrawals that a person goes through when they are not using the drug can be excruciating and make it one of the hardest drugs to get off of.
Methods of Treatment
There are many different methods used in the rehab field to get someone off of heroin. One method is the use of other prescription opiates such as methadone and Suboxone, which are used to block the withdrawal effects of the heroin and in turn get them to stop using the drug. The problem with this is the rate of people then becoming addicted to methadone and Suboxone, which in itself has more painful withdrawal effects than that of heroin.
The other method that is becoming more prevalent in the field is a holistic method, which is the approach that the Narconon program uses. This program uses vitamins and other nutrients, light exercise and a sauna detoxification in order to ease the person through the heroin withdrawal symptoms naturally and effectively.
Facts of Usage
When someone uses heroin, they experience something called a “rush”. This is a sudden euphoric feeling that permeates the body and lasts for a couple minutes. After this the user will feel a high that can last up to 4 to 5 hours. During this high they will feel what has been described as a warm, drowsy, cozy state. Addicts report a very deep sense of satisfaction, as if there is no care in the world and everything has been satisfied around them. There is also a pleasant state of mild dizziness that is not as impairing as alcohol, with a sense of ‘distancing’ or apathy toward whatever is going on in the environment.
Heroin or any opiate essentially acts as a copy cat of the naturally produced endorphin chemicals in the body. Endorphins are released by the brain in moments of stress or excitement; they flood the space between nerve cells and usually inhibit the neurons from firing, thus creating an analgesic effect. When the endorphins are doing their work, they make the person feel good, high or euphoric and relieve the person from pain. So in addition to making someone feel less pain, they also create feelings of euphoria.
Opiate use creates an artificial flood of endorphins throughout the body that is much stronger than your normal production of endorphins. This is the beginning of the end in terms of addiction as the only way to achieve the same euphoria experienced with the opiates is to take them again. After many rounds of drug usage, the person no longer takes the drug to achieve the euphoric high, they have now developed a tolerance and are only taking the drug to relieve the terrible withdrawal effects.
The person started using a drug like heroin in the beginning to solve a problem. Once the addiction grabbed a hold of them on a physical level, the problem became the heroin itself and preventing the withdrawal symptoms that they began experiencing. This is the beginning of the cycle of addiction for the person and leads them to further drug use in the future.
Some of the short-term side effects that someone can experience when abusing heroin include, clouded thinking, nausea, severe itching, impaired breathing. The long-term effects can include liver and kidney disease, collapsed veins, pneumonia.
The main long-term side effect of heroin that destroys life in the person more than anything else is the addiction itself. Many users will constantly shoot heroin throughout the day just to avoid withdrawal symptoms; this consumes their every waking moment to the point where many heroin abusers are not functional and can only manage to cope with their addiction and that’s it.
They will generally resort to stealing, lying and other such activity just to support their addiction; this becomes a liability to everyone around them including family and friends. They will usually feel the guilt of having committed these acts against loved ones, which will lead to further mental anguish and in turn justify even greater drug use.
Solutions to Heroin Addiction
The only real solution to heroin abuse and this cycle of addiction is a long-term comprehensive rehabilitation program that addresses the mental and physical aspects of addiction. 30-day programs that rapidly try to fix someone’s physical addiction don’t have the same success rates of a long-term rehab. They aren’t able to fully address the mental and social aspects that prompted the person to start using the drug in the first place, but are only getting them to stop using for a short period of time.
Narconon is a holistic, long-term residential program that has been proven to work. Forty years of studies show it can achieve a 75% success rate long-term sobriety and has helped many heroin addicts permanently come off the drug and back onto the correct path in life.