The Foundation for Lasting Recovery from Opiates
For many people with an addiction to heroin, not using drugs can seem like an impossible task. There’s no denying that breaking the grip of heroin addiction can be difficult and challenging, but it is possible.
Heroin addiction affects individuals both mentally and physically, and in order to be in recovery from taking heroin, there are both lifestyle changes and medical treatments that need to be pursued. It requires dedication, hard work, and usually some form of professional help or support groups to make it through the medical detox treatment and the heroin withdrawal symptoms that come with quitting.
Heroin detox is the first step on the path to the recovery process from heroin addiction.
Keep reading to learn more about heroin addiction and medical detox treatment, and how Catalina Behavioral Health can help you find the road to recovery!
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What are the Signs of Heroin Addiction?
Heroin is a highly addictive and dangerous drug that can have devastating effects on someone’s life. It is important to be aware of the signs of heroin abuse so that you can help someone who may be struggling with this substance abuse issue.
Physical signs of a heroin substance use disorder can vary depending on how much of the drug has been used over time and how long the person has been using it.
Common physical symptoms include constricted pupils, nausea and vomiting, enlarged veins from needle use (track marks), slurred speech, poor balance and coordination, skin sores or abscesses near injection sites, poor hygiene, and weight loss.
Additionally, some long-term heroin users develop HIV/AIDS, both of which are typically transmitted through shared needles. The physiological dependence on heroin use can be difficult to deal with.
The psychological addiction effects associated with drug abuse are just as serious as its physical effects–if not worse in some cases. Prolonged abuse of heroin can cause depression, confusion, and mental fog as well as decreased libido and apathy toward activities one once enjoyed.
Brain Chemistry and Psychological Reactions
Addiction itself causes distorted thinking which often leads to irrational behavior that would otherwise not take place if not under the influence of drugs. Other psychological signs include:
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration and memory loss
- Hallucinations (visual or auditory)
- Loss of motivation
- Compulsive heroin use
- Seeking out the drug despite negative consequences
If you suspect someone you know may be struggling with heroin use, talk to them about seeking treatment as soon as possible.
Who Needs a Heroin Detox Center?
Anyone who is physically dependent on heroin should seek professional help when attempting to detox from this powerful drug. If you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using heroin, a medical detoxification program is probably a good idea.
Additionally, anyone who exhibits signs of psychological dependence on heroin should consider going into detox as well.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
Heroin is one of the most powerful and dangerous drugs available, and those struggling with an addiction to heroin need medically supervised detox when attempting to quit. While quitting cold turkey isn’t typically life-threatening, most people who attempt to quit “cold turkey” without any medical supervision will experience extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if they don’t get help from a treatment facility. It is important to understand what heroin withdrawal symptoms and heroin withdrawal treatment are so you know what to expect.
During the withdrawal period, there are often severe withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cold sweats, chills, muscle aches and pains, fever, headaches, insomnia, tremors, muscle spasms, abdominal cramps, and sleep disturbances. Additionally, some individuals may experience more serious issues such as seizures or an irregular heartbeat during this period.
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Psychological Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal
The psychological symptoms associated with heroin withdrawal can also be incredibly intense. People withdrawing from heroin commonly suffer from anxiety and depression as well as extreme mood swings and suicidal thoughts.
They may also have difficulty concentrating or suffer from intense cravings for the drug that can make it difficult to stay clean. Psychological withdrawal symptoms typically peak within a few days or weeks after quitting but can last for months afterward depending on the severity of the individual’s addiction.
Heroin Withdrawal Timeline
If you’re looking for help with heroin use, you may be wondering what to expect from the heroin detox timeline and heroin withdrawal timeline. Though it can vary from person to person, there are certain expectations that you should know about when it comes to going through withdrawal.
What to Expect in the First 12 Hours
The initial withdrawal symptoms of heroin typically begin within 6-12 hours after the last use. The early symptoms in this acute phase are generally quite mild, such as restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia. However, these mild symptoms will become more intense as time progresses.
Days 1-3 – The Peak of Symptoms
By days 2 and 3 of your heroin detox program, intense symptoms usually peak in intensity and become quite extreme. Common symptoms include anxiety, cravings, fatigue, irritability, sweating, runny nose or watery eyes, nausea or vomiting, abdominal cramps or diarrhea, and muscle aches or spasms.
Additionally, those going through heroin withdrawal have been known to experience depression and suicidal thoughts due to the intense nature of the withdrawal process. This is why it’s important for those going through withdrawal to seek help from a medical professional in order to get treatment and manage their symptoms safely.
Days 5-6 Decreasing Intensity
After 5 or 6 days of the medical detox program, symptoms should start to decrease in intensity, though intense cravings which may still be present.
Physically, your body would have flushed out most if not all toxins associated with heroin after a week or 10 days, but mentally, there can still be lingering cravings and mood swings or other psychological issues that can last up to weeks or months afterward (known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms).
It’s also important to note that relapse is common during this period as well so extra care should be taken during this time frame when trying not to fall back into addiction habits again.
Withdrawing from heroin can be an intense process with many physical and mental challenges along the way.
Medication Assisted Treatment for Heroin Withdrawal
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) has been proven to be an effective way to help those struggling with heroin addiction. MAT combines medication, counseling, and other support services to help individuals manage their withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for heroin.
MAT typically begins with medically supervised opioid withdrawal, which involves using medications such as methadone and buprenorphine to help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. These medications can also be used to prevent relapse and overdose. During this phase of treatment, individuals are monitored closely by medical professionals to ensure their safety and comfort.
Once the opioid withdrawal is complete, MAT focuses on helping individuals develop coping skills and strategies for managing cravings and avoiding relapse.
MAT also provides access to medications such as suboxone or naltrexone that can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for opioid dependence. These medications work by blocking the opioid receptors, which blocks the effect of heroin and other opioids and reduces cravings for heroin.
The Foundation of Effective Heroin Detox
Catalina Behavioral Health offers comprehensive treatment plans that are tailored to meet each client’s unique needs and goals. Our experienced and dedicated staff provides evidence-based interventions such as counseling services, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and more.
The first step in treatment at Catalina Behavioral Health is detoxification, which helps individuals rid their bodies of physical dependence on heroin. Medically supervised opioid withdrawal may be used in order to reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms while providing support throughout each stage of treatment.
After the completion of detoxification, Catalina Behavioral Health provides comprehensive residential treatment and outpatient treatment services, as ongoing treatment is essential.
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Reaching Out for Your Recovery
Everyone’s recovery plan is customized for ultimate success in overcoming heroin addiction and beginning a healthy lifestyle free from substance abuse.
If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, please contact Catalina Behavioral Health today for more information on how we can help begin the journey toward sobriety.
All calls are completely confidential, so please reach out today to get options!