Drug Overview: How To Get Off Heroin
Our goal in this article will be to clearly explain the treatment strategy needed, and to have you better understand how to get off heroin as an addiction. However, before we explore the pathway to treatment, we must first review heroin as a drug, how it interacts with the body, and what makes it so addictive.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug produced and developed from morphine; a natural substance taken from the seed pods of various opium poppy plants. What starts as a part of nature get processed and produced to the highly dangerous and lethal drug.
Heroin is typically produced as a white or brown powder but variations can take different forms, such as the sticky viscous version as black tar heroin. The drugs consumption and use forms include being injected, smoked, as well as sniffed or snorted, but regardless of how the drug used, the areas which are (veins, nasal cavity, lungs) used become immediately damaged. Heroin quickly enters the brain and binds to opioid receptors, especially areas of the brain which control feelings of pain and pleasure, heart rate, sleep, and breathing.
How Does Heroin Interact With The Body?
This is a very dangerous drug. A person can easily overdose on heroin. Breathing begins to slow, until it finally stops, decreasing the amount of oxygen to the brain causing hypoxia, which could result in coma, permanent brain damage, and potential death.
Heroin is very dangerous, and the long-term effects are severe, including:
- Constipation and stomach cramps
- Infection of the heart lining and valves
- Liver and kidney disease
- Lung complication, such as pneumonia
- Damage to the tissue inside nose
- Collapsed veins
- Abscesses across the skin
- Sexual dysfunction in men
- Irregular menstrual cycles in women
There are ways to get off heroin and get started on the path to sobriety.
How To Get Off Heroin – Step 1: Detox
The first step in getting off heroin will be detox. At an inpatient rehab facility such as Long Island Center for Recovery, detox patients are cared for by our highly trained staff as heroin withdrawal symptoms can be quite involved; ranging from nausea, pain, anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness. You can learn more about the LICR detox program, but the next step is to support your detox and reduce cravings through medically assisted treatment.
How To Get Off Heroin – Step 2: Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Medically assisted treatments (MATs) for heroin can be used in two different forms. Outside of a trained facility, an overdosed patient would be treated with Naloxone. Naloxone comes in the form of an injection or nasal spray, and bind to the same opioid receptors as heroin, thus blocking the effects of the drugs.
At an inpatient rehab facility, during or immediately after detox, you will likely be prescribed either Buprenorphine, Methadone, or Naltrexone as a medically assisted treatment to help you get off heroin. These medications will help to reduce cravings, reduce your withdrawal symptoms, as they blog opioid receptors to stop the drugs from having effect on the brain. If you can curb your cravings, kick the habit your pathway to getting off heroin is well on its way, but the final step will be behavioral therapies to set you up for successful sobriety outside of a treatment facility.
How To Get Off Heroin – Step 3: Behavioral Therapies
Detox and Medically Assisted Treatment will feel like the greatest achievement when you have finally finished. The grass will immediately seem greener, the sky bluer, and the impossible will no longer be this unachievable goal, but the biggest challenge actually starts when you leave treatment and face those same struggles, challenges and addictive trigger points at home. For this reason, Long Island Center for Recovery is equipped with several behavioral therapy programs to better prepare you for the challenges presented within your everyday life. Programs such as Relapse Prevention, our 12 Step Study Group, as well as Individual or Group Therapy programs will each aim to help you learn to manage stresses, triggers, and prepare you to overcome and push through setback which may come along the way. It’s the last step, and a pivotal piece to maintaining your sobriety and ensuring you or your loved one stays off heroin for good.
We hope you found this information was helpful, and if you need any additional assistance, or know someone in need, please reach out to us at 631-728-3100, and we’d be happy to assist you or your loved ones in any way possible.