The heroin epidemic continues to damage too many lives. Thousands die each year from a heroin overdose in the United States, and countless others end up in emergency rooms with withdrawal symptoms or worse. Heroin abuse remains a central problem for our country.
There are many signs of heroin addiction to watch out for. Perhaps you’re worried about yourself, or maybe a friend or family member. And you might be wondering: what are the signs of heroin abuse? While the symptoms may not immediately be recognizable — mundane physical issues such as a runny nose, constipation, or a hot flash — these can be a clear call for help.
What Is Heroin?
Hardly a day goes by when you don’t hear something about heroin in the news. But what is heroin? Where did it come from, and why is it so dangerous?
Heroin originates from the opium poppy plant, which has yielded many different painkilling compounds. It was originally commercialized by the pharmaceutical maker Bayer Corp. in the late 1800s to help people with severe illnesses such as cancer. Not long after it reached the market, doctors began seeing alarming reports of severe addiction to heroin. It has been an illegal narcotic across the world since that time.
Heroin is a highly addictive depressant that slows down various processes in your central nervous system and blunts your ability to feel pain. One of the reasons it is so dangerous is because it is known to lower your breathing rate to dangerously low levels.
Signs of Heroin Abuse
Because heroin is so strong and addictive, you will feel effects right from the initial use. The first thing you feel likely will be a rush of euphoria or warm feelings. But then the troubles start. Short- and long-term effects include:
- Nausea, vomiting, other gastrointestinal upset
- Severe itching
- Dry mouth
- Flushing on the skin
- Damage to the linings in the nose
- Mood swings
- Sexual dysfunction
- Mental health challenges such as depression
Many of these symptoms are common in other forms of opioid addiction. If you or a loved one show these signs, consider seeking help from a treatment facility near you.
Recovering from Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction recovery takes time and a lot of hard work, along with the love and support of family and friends. Rehab programs are not always easy, but you, like many others before you, can come through with a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to sobriety.
Every individual has their own personal experience in substance abuse. The stages of treatment are universal, though, whether for heroin abuse or opioid addiction. These include:
- Intake – Doctors will conduct a thorough physical to establish the basis of your health
- Planning – Using information from the intake, your team will create a long-term roadmap for care
- Detox – Your first task is to step down from your addiction under the watchful eye of a health care team that can address withdrawal symptoms
- Counseling – You will work with therapists in addiction medicine both individually and in group sessions to understand the circumstances that brought you here and how to cope better in the future
- Aftercare – Involves resources such as ongoing counseling and peer support that lower the risk of relapse
Contact an addiction treatment center near you today to learn more.
Treating Heroin Addiction at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center
Heroin abuse has become one of the nation’s biggest public health emergencies. If you or a loved one is trapped in a cycle of dependence, consider the services of Georgia Addiction Treatment Center. We are an outpatient treatment center that provides treatment for substance and process addictions as well as co-occurring disorders. Our center, with its accredited and experienced staff, focuses on your individual health and well-being. Addiction plays out in different ways for every individual, but you deserve a treatment plan that is tied to your unique circumstances. Count on us to provide a center for treatment that is safe, secure, private, and comfortable. Break the cycle of dependence. Contact Georgia Addiction Treatment Center today at 855.952.3546 to learn more and schedule an initial consultation.