Okay, let’s get to the point. Heroin addiction is THE most difficult drug addiction
to overcome – period! The use of heroin can be described in terms of a roller coaster
ride of extreme peaks and valleys or even severe highs that inevitably lead to overwhelming
lows. Heroin addiction affects the brain’s “reward” pathways and produces feelings
of elation or euphoria that the addict continually seeks. Over time, heroin users
develop a tolerance to the drug which means they use more of the drug to get the
same effect and to function at that level. Sadly, once they have come to this juncture,
without the drug, the body begins to experience severe withdrawal symptoms of anxiety,
vomiting, pain, insomnia, depression and cramping. To alleviate these symptoms, users
will usually try to get more heroin. Because of the drug's extremely addictive nature,
trying to stop using it is most difficult and it spawns habitual and repetitive abuse.
Devastating physical side-effects of heroin addiction and long-term use is common
among heroin users. When the drug is injected over a long period of time, veins collapse.
Other common physical ailments of a heroin addiction include infections of heart
valves and even the lining of the heart. Liver disease (cirrhosis because of hepatitis)
and abscesses from non-sterile injections are also seen among those with long-term
heroin addiction. Also, the overall poor health of the heroin addict tends to lead
to a host of other complications, such as pneumonia and other pulmonary conditions.
Because heroin is a CNS depressant, the user does not breathe as deeply as a person
who is not under the influence.
Heroin addiction drastically affects the lives of over 9.2 million people worldwide,
and likely a half million of these people live in the United States. Recent CDC statistics
reveal that there are at least 150,000 newbie “H” users every year and almost 20%
of individuals currently in rehab claim heroin abuse as to why they are there. Unfortunately,
about 50% of all drug overdoses are contributed to heroin (and morphine).
As mentioned previously, heroin Addiction endures in a large part because of the
intense withdrawal symptoms associated with abstinence. These so called ‘dope sickness’
symptoms start approximately 12 hours after last time used, peaks in about two to
three days, and may continue to remain severe for as long as four to seven days.
If that wasn’t enough, heroin addiction will also cause stress fractures in almost
all relationships. As the addiction worsens, regular arguments among family members
is pretty much the norm. On the other hand, users may cease all communication with
their families as they withdraw more and more into the world of addiction. Also,
a lot of users tend to isolate themselves from former friends who do not use heroin.
Add these behaviors up and one can begin to get a clearer picture of the telltale
signs of an all-out, serious addiction. When individuals begin placing drugs before
people on their priority scale, this is a good indicator that their heroin use is
no longer under their control.
Obviously, any heroin addiction is a frightening thing for a family to deal with,
but when it involves teenagers, the stakes of addiction are higher and even more
scarier. As hard as it is to watch seemingly healthy adults get sucked into the allure
of heroin’s spell, it's even harder to witness someone in their teens start down
this destructive path and ruin their lives at such an early age. However, many of
these teens have evaded the grasp of heroin addiction via addiction treatment.
For those that don’t know, heroin addiction treatment is an extremely challenging
progression. A very real and common occurrence during the process is relapse and
turning back to the drug after treatment. It is for this reason that it is very important
for users to participate in a comprehensive addiction recovery program that focuses
on both the psychological, as well as, physical withdrawal symptoms. (Remember, these
withdrawal symptoms are the number one reasons addicts go back to using). There are
plenty of excellent treatment programs available for heroin addictions and each individual
should have a program specific to them that will best meet their needs and to confirm
a successful and lasting recovery.