Heroin Addiction: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

If you are suffering from heroin addiction, you should know that you do not have to struggle with this illness any longer. Banbury Lodge can provide you with the help you need to overcome your addiction. With help and support from a team of friendly professionals, you will learn how to take control of your life and put substance abuse behind you for good.

What Is Heroin Addiction?

Heroin is a Class A illegal drug that is highly addictive. Although it was first developed as a treatment for morphine addiction and tuberculosis, it is now regularly used for recreational purposes. However, although you may have heard horror stories growing up about how using heroin once would mean you were hooked, your experiences were probably a little bit different.

Media portrayal of heroin has led most people to believe that those who try heroin once will instantly develop a crippling addiction that they will have no way back from. And the idea that most people begin taking heroin by injecting it is also quite far from the truth.

In fact, most people who use heroin for the first time will do so by smoking it or by taking an opiate equivalent. This was probably the case for you. In the early days, it is unlikely that you suffered from withdrawal symptoms when the effects of the drug wore off. This may have led you to believe that you were okay and that taking the drug again would not lead to any negative consequences.

Nevertheless, heroin is highly addictive and most of those who do use it recreationally will eventually develop a physical dependence that usually starts with an increased tolerance to the drug. Heroin addiction is a dangerous condition that needs immediate attention.

How Does Addiction Occur?

Taking heroin recreationally will and does increase the risk of addiction. It is unlikely that you will get hooked after just one use, but the problem with heroin is that it induces feelings of warmth and wellbeing and users to tend to have a fervent desire to recreate these feelings again and again.

Another reason drug users like heroin is the fact that the effects can last for hours at a time, unlike substances such as cocaine, where the effects can wear off within a short time. Users can quickly develop a tolerance to heroin and it is this that leads them to believe they need more of it.

After a while though, a physical dependence will occur coupled with severe withdrawals whenever the effects wear off. It is this cycle of drug use and the fear of withdrawal that traps so many individuals into the grip of heroin addiction.

What Are the Dangers of Heroin Addiction

One of the most imminent dangers of a heroin addiction is the risk of overdose. Since heroin is sold in varying degrees of purity, it is impossible to know what strength of the drug you are taking. This means that if you had been abusing heroin that was fifty percent pure and then took the same amount of 80% pure heroin, you could easily overdose.

You should also be aware that your tolerance to heroin will go away pretty quickly should you try to quit. Many people have overdosed after quitting a detox programme because they believed they could go back to taking the same amount of heroin that they were taking before they initially quit the drug.

There are other negative consequences associated with heroin abuse too. For example, your health will deteriorate; you may already be feeling the effects of your substance abuse in terms of mental and physical health. Short-term problems include reduced cognitive function, shallow breathing, feelings of numbness, itching skin, and drowsiness.

But heroin addiction can also have many long-term consequences. Long-term abusers of the drug tend to suffer from:

  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • cold sweats
  • oral problems
  • depression
  • muscular weakness or partial paralysis
  • menstrual problems
  • inability to orgasm
  • memory loss
  • breathing problems
  • weakened immune system

Where Can I Find the Best Help for My Heroin Addiction?

If you have found yourself with problems because of your heroin use, you should know that you do not have to continue struggling. The good news is that help is available across the UK. You can access immediate treatment with a private clinic.

Should I Pay for Treatment?

A heroin addiction is a complicated illness of the brain and if you have accepted your need for help, you are probably keen to get started with treatment as soon as possible. If you wait for a place on a programme, you may very well find yourself back in the grip of addiction and might not be able to muster the desire or motivation to reach out for help again.

When it comes to making the decision about whether to pay for treatment or not, there are a few things you need to consider. If your addiction is severe, you are likely to find it difficult to stay sober while you recover unless you are placed in a facility where you have no access to any temptations or triggers.

This will mean accessing a programme of inpatient treatment, which for the most part will be provided by private clinics. Some charities may offer a limited number of residential beds for those in most need, but unfortunately, these places will be in high demand and you could be forced to wait for treatment, even if your addiction is severe.

The alternative is to pay for treatment with a private clinic; there are many good reasons for doing this. Besides the fact that you will be able to access immediate treatment, you can rest in the knowledge that you will be treated by some of the best professionals in the field of addiction recovery.

With a team of fully qualified doctors, counsellors, and therapists on hand to help you overcome your addiction, you have every chance of a successful permanent recovery. You will stay in a comfortable and secure clinic where there will be no distractions from the outside world to interfere with your recovery.

With an inpatient programme provided by a private clinic, you can get started on your recovery as soon as possible. Furthermore, because treatment will be condensed over a period of around six to twelve weeks, you will have the opportunity to recover in a very short amount of time. Once you are back living a sober life, you will no longer be spending money funding your habit, which will mean you can instantly begin to recoup some of the money spent on treatment.

What Is the Available Treatment?

Most people with a heroin addiction will have both a physical and a psychological addiction to the drug, and it is important that each element is addressed separately. To overcome the physical addiction, you will need to complete a detox programme.

Heroin withdrawal is a complicated process and it is the fear of this that often prevents affected individuals from beginning a treatment programme in the first place. Here at Banbury Lodge, we want you to know that you do not have to fear a detoxification from heroin.

While there is no denying that it will not be a pleasant experience, we can help you to be much more comfortable during the process. We have fully trained staff with experience of heroin withdrawal who can guide you through the process and be able to ease any discomfort you might experience.

Heroin is a drug that can have a profound effect on the brain. It affects the way this organ functions and it can impair thinking and judgement. Heroin addicts usually experience intense cravings for the drug and are often incapable of making decisions that could ensure their own survival. These intense feelings can make them desperate for the drug and as the detox progresses, they will do absolutely anything to get their hands on it.

Some people will beg and plead with whoever is around them during the detox. They may even become manipulative in their attempts to secure the drug they crave. It is for this reason that your heroin detox should take place in a supervised facility with staff who have experience of the process and the symptoms that you are likely to face.

What you should know is that withdrawal symptoms from heroin range in severity. The process tends to begin with the mildest symptoms, which include drug cravings, anxiety and drug-seeking behaviour. Symptoms progress as the detox continues and can entail:

  • sweating
  • watery eyes
  • yawning
  • a runny nose
  • restlessness
  • muscle twitches
  • goose pimples
  • leg cramps
  • loss of appetite
  • dilated pupils
  • irritability
  • fever
  • high blood pressure
  • fever
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • diarrhoea

It is likely that you will feel quite unwell during the detox and the intense cravings that you experience may make you believe that you would be better off just taking heroin again. Still, these feelings will pass, and you will feel better.

It may be possible for your symptoms to be eased with medication. In some cases, the staff at the detox clinic will prescribe a narcotic substitute such as buprenorphine in reduced doses over the course of four to five days. This medication should help to ease the worst of the symptoms, without causing any problems.

What Is Rehab Like?

If you have decided to access an inpatient treatment programme with a private clinic, you can get started on tackling the second element of your addiction as soon as your detox is finished. Residential rehab programmes are considered to be the most all-consuming approach to getting well and will help you to overcome your illness as quickly as possible.

Nonetheless, whether you opt for an inpatient or outpatient programme, the aims are the same – to help you address the psychological and emotional issues that caused your illness in the first place and to teach you the skills required to move forward to a substance-free life.

If you choose Banbury Lodge for your rehab, you can expect to receive a plan of care that has been created with you in mind. Our counsellors and therapists believe in a person-centred approach to recovery that takes the needs and circumstances of the individual into account.

We will assess your situation when you arrive to determine which type of treatments we believe will be most effective in terms of helping you to overcome your illness. Your bespoke treatment plan is likely to include a combination of traditional talking therapies and holistic treatments designed to treat your mind, body, and spirit. Examples of the type of treatments that might be included in your plan are:

  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • group therapy
  • individual counselling
  • 12-step work
  • family therapy
  • dialectical behavioural therapy
  • motivational interviewing
  • contingency management.

As well as being treated with some of the above treatments, you will more than likely attend workshops, seminars, and lectures on addiction. You will be given time to get familiar with recovery materials and you may be encouraged to write a life history that will give you some insight as to why you developed a heroin addiction in the first place.

Holistic therapies are designed to be used in conjunction with other treatments and can have a positive effect on your overall sense of wellbeing. Treatments such as massage, mindfulness and yoga are used to reduce stress and improve your mind, and these have proven to be an effective tool in beating all types of addiction.

Is There Support Available after Rehab?

It is understandable that you might be worried about life after rehab, particularly if you have chosen a residential programme, where you will essentially be cut off from the real world for a period of up to twelve weeks.

Having around-the-clock support can be a life-saver when you are trying to overcome addiction, but many people worry that it will become a crutch they are reluctant to let go of when their programme ends.

You do not have to worry about this as we will help you with the transition from rehab to everyday living. We will not expect you to leave our clinic and then fend for yourself. On the contrary; we will provide additional aftercare support to ensure that you can get used to living an independent sober life once more.

You should also know that you can access support from your local fellowship group. Groups such as Narcotics Anonymous operate in all areas of the UK and are a vital resource that should be utilised by everyone in recovery. Being able to engage with other recovering heroin addicts will provide the support you need to stay on the right track.

You can attend regular meetings and continue working through the 12-steps to the point where your recovery is stable, and you are able to help others overcome their illnesses.

For more information about how to access help for your heroin addiction, please contact Banbury Lodge today. We are here to offer advice or to answer any queries that you may have.

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Call Now 0203 553 0618
Call Now 0203 553 0618

Call Now 0203 553 0618

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  • Box Mill Lane,
  • Halstead, Essex,
  • CO9 2DR
  • United Kingdom

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