Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug derived from the opium poppy. In the US, heroin is a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has no ascribed medical use and extreme potential for abuse. Possession and sale of heroin is illegal, but heroin addiction has doubled in the past two decades. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 438,000 people over the age of 12 reported having a heroin use disorder in the past year.
Heroin addiction can have significant consequences for a person’s health, finances, relationships, and overall quality of life. The good news is that heroin addiction may be overcome with therapeutic intervention and treatment.
What Causes Heroin Addiction?
Heroin is a drug that induces a sense of euphoria and pain relief. It was originally developed to be a cure for morphine addiction, but it quickly became known as a drug of addiction in its own right. Because it’s an illicit drug, heroin is less accessible than other opioid drugs that have medical uses. Here are a few reasons why someone may become addicted to heroin:
A Prior Addiction to Prescription Drugs. people may begin taking prescription opioids for a medical reason and end up dependent on them. If dependence develops into addiction, those individuals may turn from prescription drug use to heroin use in order to experience the same high, given that they may have built up a tolerance.
Painful Withdrawal Symptoms. If a person experimenting with drugs ends up taking heroin, he or she may quickly find that the withdrawal symptoms are severe and painful. Fear of withdrawal can often push a person further into addiction, especially in regard to powerful drugs like heroin. Withdrawal symptoms commonly reach their peak within two or three days and last for about a week, inducing nausea, vomiting, and pronounced depression.
Self-Medicating Trauma or Mental Health Issues. People often turn to drugs as a solution, not because they are looking for another problem. Individuals who have been through traumatic experiences may resort to self-medicating with drugs like heroin in order to experience relief from their mental and emotional distress. Those with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder may turn to heroin for the same reason.
Regardless of how a person became addicted, the constant use of heroin can impede him or her from living a functional life. Relationship struggles, job loss, financial ruin, and physical health troubles may complicate a person’s ability to recover from the addiction. However, with support and treatment, an individual can heal and learn to live a fulfilling life without heroin.
What Does Heroin Addiction Look Like?
Heroin addiction has many facets. Individuals may lie and steal in order to maintain their habit of heroin use in order to avoid withdrawal. Others may be very adept at concealing their addiction from loved ones. According to Healthline, the following are signs of heroin addiction:
Constipation (the person may use lots of laxatives)
Nausea or vomiting
A person addicted to heroin may also engage in other risk-taking or impulsive behaviors. He or she may self-isolate and suffer from inexplicable mood swings, seeming easily agitated at one point and unresponsive or apathetic at another. Heroin is often injected, so individuals may wear long sleeve shirts or jackets to cover up needle marks on their skin.
Heroin can cause a number of long-term health problems. Using dirty needles can infect a heroin user with diseases like HIV and hepatitis. Liver, kidney, and heart damage may result from continued drug use.
Because heroin is often contaminated with toxic additives, a person may experience adverse consequences, including organ failure or stroke, from the poisonous build-up of those substances.
Can You Heal from Heroin Use?
People who have been addicted to heroin can heal and lead productive lives. While rehabilitation may include interventions for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual restoration, it is possible for a person to engage in the process and rediscover his or her authentic self. Treatment professionals and consulting physicians can help formerly addicted individuals create a path for attaining and sustaining their wellness.
If you or a loved one is addicted to heroin, getting help as soon as possible is the best response. Heroin users are especially vulnerable to health consequences and the risk of overdose. In 2018, nearly 15,000 Americans died from a drug overdose involving heroin. The tragedy of overdose is preventable, and treatment professionals can help you or your loved one discover the path to a fulfilling life without heroin.
At BeWell Network, we equip both individuals and their families for the journey ahead, ensuring that loved ones can find healing for themselves, support each other, and develop healthy boundaries. We prepare families for the “what if’s” during and after treatment, integrating them in the individual’s recovery process while helping them create a plan for success no matter what the circumstances bring.
Help for Heroin Addiction and Mental Health Issues at BeWell Network
BeWell Network is a family of evidence-based treatment centers. We help individuals suffering from addiction find the path to recovery, offering customized treatment experiences for the restoration of the mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one is seeking help for heroin addiction or mental health issues, please get in touch with our team today. We can assess your situation and recommend treatment options, verifying your benefits for free. We have a no-hassle billing process and are committed to providing treatment designed specially for you.