What is a heroin addiction? Some see it as a complex disease eating away at its host while others perceive it as a personal choice someone makes due to weakness or character flaws.
While the latter is a gravely misinformed opinion, the former signifies the medical complexities associated with the disease of addiction and the destructive nature a heroin abuse problem can have on your mind, body and soul.
Heroin addiction, like so many other substance addictions, can originate in a number of ways. From biological predispositions to influencing environmental factors to a combination of both: the cause of an addiction varies from person to person.
However, no matter how heroin addiction starts, the wreckage it inflicts on those who fall victim to its power is universally devastating, resulting in:
- Loss of physical health
- Loss of social supports
- Loss of personal motivation
- In many cases, loss of life
It’s often been asked: Why is heroin addictive for some, but not others?
Why are some people able to break free of its vice grip while others become so lost in its hold that they lose everything in their life – leaving them lost and broken with no hope for tomorrow?
While the destruction that heroin addiction instigates is easy to identify, the factors triggering a heroin addiction can be a bit more difficult to pinpoint.
Why is Heroin Addictive
Heroin is a highly addictive opioid that attaches to receptors in the brain that are responsible for dopamine production.
Heroin – an unnatural chemical influence – causes these receptors to release copious amounts of dopamine into the body, flooding a person with feel-good chemicals that result in mindsets of euphoria and exhilaration.
But these feelings and chemical releases are only short-lived. This aberrant chemical release is extinguished almost as quickly as it started, leaving a person feeling physically and emotionally drained and causing them to begin searching for that next dopamine spike.
The intensity of a heroin addiction lies in the fact that, after repeated use of the substance, the body’s natural ability to produce dopamine is depleted, forcing a person to consistently increase their dosage to achieve the desired effect.
After a short time, a person who is repeatedly using heroin finds themselves addicted to the substance and forced to continue their use to avoid severe physical deterioration and mental anguish.
Why is Heroin Addictive for Some and Not Others?
Whether you want to admit it or not, the fact of the matter is that heroin addiction can happen to anyone who abuses the substance. While it is nearly impossible to specifically identify who’s at risk for a heroin use disorder, there are definite factors that can increase the likelihood of developing a heroin addiction.
Some of these include:
- Familial history of substance addiction
- Personal or familial history of severe depression or anxiety
- Poverty or unemployment
- Heavy tobacco use
- Regular contact with high-risk people or high-risk environments
While any one of these risk factors does not automatically indicate a heroin addiction, a combination of them can increase the likelihood that someone may succumb to a heroin addiction if presented with the opportunity.
Overall, it is imperative to understand that heroin addiction is a multifaceted disease, originating in a variety of genetic, psychological and environmental factors.
Understanding your family history and personal predisposition to addictive behaviors can greatly aid in avoiding the precursors of a heroin addiction, like taking preemptive steps to completely remove the additive substance, and addictive scenarios, from your personal environment.
How to Avoid Becoming Addicted to Heroin
In some situations, exposure to opioids is medically necessary. In many present heroin addiction scenarios, the substance use disorder began when a person was prescribed painkillers by a physician after a necessary medical procedure.
The prescribed medication can quickly become their addictive substance once their tolerance outgrows their prescription and their access to the medication is stalled. Once this occurs, a person can quickly turn to heroin as a viable substitute to feed their addiction due to its accessibility and affordability.
For example, black market prescription painkillers can typically cost a person $1 per milligram, while the equivalent amount of heroin costs about one-tenth that price. This cost discrepancy can force a person to turn to heroin, a substance with no medical oversight or FDA approval.
Steps to avoid becoming addicted to heroin include:
- Using prescriptions in a safe and appropriate manner
- Understanding familial and personal addictive patterns
- Addressing mental health issues with licensed professionals
- Being willing to ask for help when experiencing addictive temptations
Christian-Based Heroin Addiction Treatment at Covenant Hills
While it may sound impossible, you can walk away from your addiction and start a sober, healthy life.
Your body, soul and spirit need critical attention and care during addiction treatment. It is our mission at Covenant Hills to return you to the clean, healthy, happy and productive person God designed you to be.
Through our Christian-based heroin treatment program, your whole person health is our focus, and your realization of the special person God created you to be is our passion.
Learn about our Christian-based heroin addiction treatment programs, or contact us for a free and confidential assessment.
Opioids. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Accessed September 17, 2018. https://www.samhsa.gov/atod/opioids.
Mayo Clinic. How opioid addiction occurs. Accessed September 17, 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372.
The New York Times. Prescription Painkillers Seen as a Gateway to Heroin. Accessed September 17, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/health/prescription-painkillers-seen-as-a-gateway-to-heroin.html.