Heroin addiction is at epidemic level across the United States, wreaking havoc on individuals, families and communities. It’s one of the most popular drugs on the black market, with most heroin coming to the US from South America and Southeast Asia. Heroin isn’t just popular, it’s also highly addictive.
Made from morphine, a naturally-occurring substance found in the seed heads of poppy plants, heroin works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. These opioid receptors are responsible for the way the body perceives pain and are the pleasure centers of the brain. When heroin enters the bloodstream, it binds to opioid receptors causing them to release dopamine. This results in a pleasure sensation. Over time and with repeated use, the opioid receptors become dependent on the drug for feelings of pleasure, and addiction quickly develops.
Heroin causes changes in the brain that lead to a detachment from reality. As an individual’s addiction progresses, his or her perceptions and beliefs become less trustworthy. In effect, the drug lies. And these lies can prevent someone struggling with heroin addiction from getting the help they need. Understanding the truth about heroin and the lies associated with drug addiction is an important step on the road to recovery.
Lie #1. I Can Quit Anytime I Want to
One of the biggest lies heroin users believe is that they can quit at any time. Because of the physical dependency heroin causes, stopping without the proper help can lead to uncomfortable and sometimes fatal side effects. Withdrawal side effects appear when the drug hasn’t been used for a period of time, and trying to cope with them on your own can be overwhelming. The need to stop the side effects is stronger than the desire to stay clean, and treatment is delayed once again.
Some of the withdrawal side effects of heroin include:
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal cramps
- Dilated pupils
The best and safest way to stop using heroin is through medically-supervised detox and addiction treatment. With 24-hour medical monitoring, detox programs help the user cope with heroin withdrawal symptoms in safe ways. Detox is also the first step on the road to recovery. Having a chance to rid the body of drug toxins before beginning treatment helps the person in recovery fully focus on getting well.
Lie #2. Life in Recovery is Boring
The life of an addicted person is typically filled with other people who use or sell drugs. At first, this lifestyle seems exciting. The desire to get and use heroin becomes the driving force behind all decisions. Thoughts of leaving the drugs and those associated with the addiction make life without drugs seem empty and boring. But life in recovery is far from boring. It’s hard for someone to realize when he is in the middle of heroin addiction that he has become a slave to drug-seeking behaviors.
Life in recovery helps you or your loved one learn to take control once again. Through proper diagnosis, individual and group therapies and other holistic options like spiritual guidance, meditation, yoga and nutrition classes, the person in recovery is constantly working on getting well. Making new friends, learning life skills and rediscovering who you are without heroin leave little time for boredom. The struggles during recovery are real, but having a support system in place to help you overcome the desire to use reduces the risk of relapse. It is a one-day-at-a-time commitment to a lifelong journey where drugs are no longer in control.
Lie #3. My Addiction Doesn’t Affect Anyone Else
One of the biggest lies that those who struggle with heroin believe is that their addiction doesn’t affect anyone else. Addiction is a disease. And like other diseases, every loved one in an addicted person’s life is impacted by his or her drug addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), when family members take drugs they:
- Can’t be counted on to do what they say they will do.
- May forget important events or tasks because they are preoccupied with using drugs.
- Might steal money from other family members to get more drugs.
- Might lose their job, impacting the family’s economic status.
- Might not come home at night.
- Might get involved in illegal behaviors, like stealing, to get and use heroin.
Heroin addicts display most if not all of these characteristics. You will hurt those you love most if you continue to use heroin.
Finding Help for Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction ruins lives and can quickly lead to accidental overdose and death. If you or a loved one struggles with heroin addiction, we are here for you. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about available treatment options. You are no alone. Call our toll-free helpline now.
Article written by Foundations Recovery Network.
Foundations Recovery Network’s mission is to be the leader in evidence-based, integrated treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders through clinical services, education and research. Our vision is to be the best at delivering effective, lasting treatment and providing superb experiences across our continuum of care in all places.
At Covenant Hills, the highly trained medical and professional staff help you to overcome the detoxification process, provide world-class heroin addiction treatment, and give you the skills and techniques needed to remain sober for the rest of your life. By bringing you closer to the community of God and supporting you every step of the way, they will help you to restore your mind, body, and spirit and lead a healthy and meaningful life.
Do you need help, or is a loved one struggling with addiction? Please call us today at (800) 662-2873 for a free assessment. This is a confidential call. One simple call can change your life.