It is said that there is no harder drug to quit than heroin, and many would no doubt agree with that. A person who has never been in the grips of an opiate addiction can rarely understand the challenges faced by someone who is.
With that said, people quit heroin — for good — all the time. It is doable. If you are struggling with heroin addiction, know that you can be free of this addiction.
If you have a loved one who is addicted to heroin, don’t give up hope. He or she can recover.
Why Heroin Is So Addictive
The two components of heroin addiction are physical dependence and psychological addiction. The two combined create a powerful force that can keep people trapped in their addiction their entire lives.
Let’s take a closer look at heroin addiction, starting with physical dependence. Please note that other opiate drugs such as Oxycontin and Vicodin are equally as addictive, and many of the same points hold true for these other drugs.
Physical dependence on heroin usually sneaks up on a person. They may not realize that they have become addicted until the first time they try not to use, or can’t get the drug.
A person may use recreationally for a time, but heroin affects receptors in the brain, binding with them and causing changes in the brain. The first symptom is tolerance. Tolerance means that it is taking more of the drug to get the same results. A person may find that the same amount of the drug no longer “works” or that it wears off more quickly.
When this happens, it is a sign that physical dependence is occurring. When a person who is physically dependent on heroin goes even a few hours without using, he or she will experience powerful withdrawal symptoms.
These symptoms can be moderate to severe, depending on the person, how long and how much they have been using. Symptoms of withdrawal can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe abdominal cramping
- Body aches and pain
- Severe anxiety
Symptoms can last for days, and can begin as soon as 6 – 8 hours after the last use. For many people who are addicted to heroin, getting past this initial withdrawal phase seems impossible. In order to successfully quit using heroin, the body must detox from the drug, which means dealing with withdrawal symptoms.
If you do get past the withdrawal phase, the next problem is psychological addiction. Many an addicted person has quit heroin “cold turkey” and gone through horrible withdrawal symptoms, rid their body of heroin successfully and gotten clean and sober, only to go back to using days or weeks or even months later because the psychological addiction to the drug was so strong.
In order to finally quit heroin for good, both the physical and psychological aspects of dependence and addiction must be addressed.
Options For Quitting Heroin
When it comes to quitting heroin, there are three basic routes to take. One is to quit the drug cold turkey, get clean and sober, and then stay that way through sheer will and determination. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done, and relapse rates are high.
Another option is to enter a detox facility and get professional medical assistance in quitting heroin. This may be done with the help of medications such as methadone or suboxone. This can happen over a period of weeks or months. You will be monitored and gradually taper down until you are able to quit completely. Once your system is clear of opiates, you will no longer have to deal with any physical withdrawal symptoms. Some people believe that it is the physical dependence that keeps them using heroin, and that once they have successfully detoxed they will no longer be addicted.
Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case. A medical detox helps you to be free from the physical dependence on the drug. If you are addicted to heroin, though, detox alone will not “cure” the addiction.
The third option consists of addressing both sides of the addiction. It involves going to a detox center so that you can be free of physical dependence, and then move on to an addiction treatment center, so that your psychological dependence can be addressed.
This third method is often the most effective, and results in successful recovery for many people who have been addicted to heroin for years. Addressing both aspects of addiction can help you to overcome your dependence and get free from the psychological hold that heroin has had over you.
Treatment For Quitting Heroin
Treatment for quitting heroin once you have detoxed involves entering either an inpatient or an outpatient drug treatment program.
The advantages of an inpatient treatment program are that you receive a higher level of support and structure, and you are in an environment that is completely free from drugs and alcohol and you have access to help 24/7. Inpatient treatment centers are protected, structured environments where you are able to heal and develop coping strategies for life that do not involve using heroin.
How To Find A Heroin Addiction Rehab
If you are tired of addiction controlling your life and you would like to quit heroin for good, contact Need Rehab today. They can direct you toward a treatment center that can help you. They can answer your questions and help you find a detox center. They can recommend a treatment facility that meets your needs and location requirements. Contact Need Rehab at 877-798-2907 today to get started.