Over one million people in the U.S are battling a substance use disorder each year as part of the opioid epidemic. Of those one million people, approximately 50,000 of them were first-time heroin users. Although you might see yourself included in these numbers, you’re more than a statistic. If you’re struggling with a substance use disorder or from heroin side effects, you’re not alone.
The Willough at Naples is a Florida mental health treatment center that specializes in helping adults struggling with symptoms of co-occurring substance abuse and addiction. Keep reading to learn about heroin- what makes it so addictive, the different side effects, and about how The Willough at Naples can help.
What Makes Heroin Addictive?
Heroin comes from the seeds of opium poppy plants that are grown in Asia, Mexico, and South America. It’s classified as an opioid in addition to drugs like morphine, codeine, methadone, and buprenorphine. Above all, this substance is highly addictive in all of its forms, causing users to become addicted to heroin after several uses.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports how heroin enters the brain and rapidly binds to opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors are located in different parts of the brain, with a concentration in areas that play a role in feeling pain and pleasure in the body. Moreover, the receptors control the body’s heart rate, breathing, and ability to sleep.
The strong influence heroin has over these functions quickly leads to dependence. Initially, people who use heroin may have started using it for the feelings of euphoria and the substance’s ability to reduce anxiety, despite the unpleasant heroin side effects that come with long-term usage. Once someone has created a tolerance or has become dependent on a substance, they require more of it each time to get the same effects.
The Different Types of Heroin and How They’re Used
Heroin comes in the form of a white or brown powder and black tar. It also goes by the names smack, junk, and H. In addition, heroin can be taken in a variety of ways. Some individuals snort or smoke heroin, but most users inject the drug with a needle after mixing the substance with water. This is the most common way it’s used, but it’s also the most dangerous. This is because of the increased risk of overdose and exposure to bloodborne disease through sharing drug paraphernalia.
However, the method used to take heroin doesn’t change how addictive some heroin side effects are. In addition, each method comes with risks. One of the biggest risks involves the additives or impurities such as starch or powdered milk, which can clog the blood vessels in major organs, resulting in irreparable damage. This often makes it difficult for users to accurately measure the amount and potency that they are taking, resulting in more severe side effects.
Risk Factors for Heroin Addiction
You may not be aware that some of your experiences can be considered a risk factor for addiction. A variety of factors, that can include environmental factors can make you more vulnerable to addiction. Working with family members once you reach a certain phase in your recovery can help you to better understand some of these factors and how they’re related to your addiction. With that in mind, some of the most common risk factors of addiction include:
- Drug availability
- Co-occurring mental health issues
- Family history of addiction
What Do Heroin Side Effects Look Like?
Heroin side effects vary and depend on a variety of factors. These factors include genetics, the length of time it’s been used, and how much is in the individual’s system. In addition, mental illness and co-occurring disorders can also affect these symptoms and their severity. With this in mind, the most common signs and symptoms of heroin addiction are listed below.
Physical Heroin Side Effects
- Unexpectedly falling asleep
- Slowed breathing
- Flushed skin
- Weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Unkept personal appearance and hygiene
Psychosocial Heroin Side Effects
- Feelings of euphoria
- Personality or attitude changes
- Mood swings
- Anger or irritability
- Lack of motivation
Cognitive Heroin Side Effects
- Inability to problem solve
- Cloudy thinking
- Decreased ability for decision-making
- Impaired short-term memory
Behavioral Heroin Side Effects
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Regularly needing money
- No longer caring for personal appearance
- Engaging in secretive behavior
- Legal or financial problems
- Problems with interpersonal relationships
- Keeping arms and legs covered to hide track marks
Since heroin is highly addictive, regular users will have a tolerance. This means that individuals will need higher dosages or more frequent uses to get the desired effects out of the drug. As a result, an overdose can occur. This happens when an individual uses enough to produce life-threatening heroin side effects. For example, individuals attempting to stop using heroin without the care of medical professionals are at an increased risk of experiencing dangerous withdrawal symptoms and overdosing to mitigate difficult heroin side effects.
Individuals who are addicted to heroin may experience painful or even deadly withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop using it. Consequently, the effects of withdrawal can be felt within a few hours after the last time it was used. Moreover, The National Institute on Drug Abuse underscores the effect that environmental triggers have on the withdrawal process, emphasizing the need for a sober and supportive environment for a healthy detox.
Withdrawal side effects can include:
- Severe muscle and bone pain
- Mood swings
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Cold flashes with goose bumps
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Severe heroin cravings
Heroin Addiction Treatment
Above all, seeking help is often the hardest part of addiction recovery. However, treatment will help you manage any heroin side effects you are experiencing and safely guide you through detox. The Willough at Naples provides a drug and alcohol detox program and a dual diagnosis program that will provide you with a strong foundation for the start of your heroin addiction recovery journey.
Medical Heroin Detox
Heroin detox is the first stage of recovery after seeking help. For example. detoxification includes stopping all use of drugs and alcohol to remove all of the toxins from the body. This may be your first time undergoing detox. Or maybe you’ve done it before in a different phase of your recovery journey. Nevertheless, detox is the best way to start.
Although it may be tempting to detox at home or quit “cold turkey,” attempting to stop heroin side effects alone can be painful and even dangerous. In addition, the difficulty that comes with detoxing alone can increase your chances of relapsing within the first stage of recovery. But with the help of medical professionals and staff at The Willough at Naples, you will receive withdrawal management services to keep you safe.
For instance, the medical detox program provides you with 24/7 care and monitoring. As a result, you get immediate assistance for any concerning withdrawal symptoms. Not only is a professional detox program the safest way to start recovery, but it also sets you up with a helpful foundation for the rest of your recovery journey.
After completing the detox program, most patients benefit from continuing their treatment with the dual diagnosis program. Here, every part of recovery is addressed through therapy and education services. Thus helping you to manage your long-term recovery goals.
The Willough at Naples provides comprehensive treatment for adults struggling with co-occurring substance abuse issues. In other words, the dual diagnosis program is designed to meet individual patient needs according to the symptoms of their co-occurring disorders. Moreover, patients go through the stages of assessment, diagnosis, stabilization, and treatment.
The program is designed to help individuals who are struggling with co-occurring disorders, including:
- Panic Attacks
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Substance use disorder
After entering treatment, patients can receive a diagnosis to get to the root of their addiction. Mental health problems are a common risk factor for substance use disorders, including heroin addiction. For example, many users may experience temporary relief, but the drug often amplifies these symptoms and increases the severity of existing mental health problems. In addition, heroin side effects can impact a person’s behavioral health, causing them to act in ways they normally wouldn’t. This can include behaviors such as aggression or stealing.
As a result, the dual diagnosis services at The Willough at Naples help patients make a full recovery after detox and introduce them to the skills necessary for maintaining sobriety after completing treatment at the center. The treatment you receive will teach you how to cope with the symptoms of your co-occurring disorders and manage any life-long heroin side effects you may experience.
Get Help for Heroin Side Effects at The Willough at Naples
You don’t have to cope with heroin side effects alone. The inpatient treatment services at The Willough at Naples will help you overcome the challenges you may face on your recovery journey. If you have any questions about the programs offered at the treatment center, call the admissions office at 800-722-0100 or fill out a confidential contact form online. Our goal is to provide you with the most supportive environment to start recovery.