Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine that people inject, sniff, snort, or smoke, and is highly addictive.
Signs of Heroin Addiction
Heroin users commonly feel a “rush”, though there are a number of short term effects that include dry mouth, heavy feeling of the arms and legs, nausea and vomiting, severe itching and going in and out of consciousness.
Long term effects of Heroin addiction include insomnia, collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, constipation, liver and kidney disease, mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder, sexual dysfunction for men and irregular menstrual cycles for women.
Heroin overdose can occur when a person uses enough heroin that can cause a life threatening reaction or even death. When a person overdoses, their breathing drastically slows down or stops, decreasing the amount of oxygen flow to the brain, which is called hypoxia. Hypoxia can ultimately cause harm to the nervous system including coma and permanent brain damage.
An overdose can be treated if acted upon immediately by administering some form of Naloxone. It works by quickly binding to opioid receptors, blocking the effects of the drug.
Heroin addiction and overdose is on the rise. It is so important to treat heroin addiction as early as possible before the addict reaches stages that can cause long term harm to the body.
Heroin addiction can be treated through medicine and clinical therapy. Common medicines used are buprenorphine and methadone. They work by binding to the same opioid receptors in the brain as heroin, but more weakly, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
The most effective therapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which helps to change the the person’s drug use expectations and behaviors and also helps to manage triggers and stress.
The most important key to beating any addiction is recognizing each individual's needs. Even though addiction has common underlying factors, they affect each person uniquely. Personalized treatment is the secret to addiction recovery. Smaller facilities naturally are able to take better care and keep better watch over each of the few patients.
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