Heroin is a partially-synthetic opiate drug created by combining morphine with synthetic chemicals. It was first developed by scientists seeking a non-addictive alternative to morphine, but doctors quickly realized that heroin was even more dangerous than its parent opiate and it fell out of medical favor almost immediately. Heroin abuse skyrocketed in the US in the early 1900s, however, and it was not until 1924 that it was fully regulated and criminalized. Today, heroin is a Schedule I illicit substance, meaning it has no known medical uses and the production, sale and use of it in the United States for any reason is illegal. Though heroin is not among the most-used drugs today, the number of heroin users has been slowly increasing since 2002, and it remains one of the most deadly: it caused nearly a quarter of reported overdose deaths in 2016. Of the estimated 475,000 Americans who used heroin in 2016, there were over 15,000 deaths due to heroin overdoses.
What is Heroin Addiction?
Heroin is a form of morphine and is classified as an opioid, which means heroin addiction works much like an addiction to opiates or prescription painkillers. Heroin highs are similar to those from hydrocodone or oxycodone drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin. Like these drugs, heroin interferes with your brain’s pleasure pathways and results in a high characterized by pleasure, numbness and drowsiness. Your body’s self-produced opioid chemicals, called endogenous opioids, typically regulate sensations like pain and pleasure and play a part in sleep cycles and heart rate. When you use heroin, though, your endogenous opioids are overshadowed by those present in the drug. As you continue using heroin, your body becomes unable to normally regulate and respond to endogenous opioid production, causing you to develop withdrawal symptoms and become dependent on heroin to feel happy.
Signs of Heroin Addiction
Some common signs of heroin addiction include:
- Changes in behavior patterns such as avoiding work or family responsibilities
- Changes in social circles
- Sudden financial difficulty
- Flu-like withdrawal symptoms such as fever, nausea or vomiting
If you or someone close to you may be addicted to or abusing heroin, do not hesitate to contact The Kimberly Center or an addiction recovery center near you. Heroin addiction is dangerous and often deadly, and anyone using heroin should seek professional treatment as soon as they can. Treating your addiction to heroin through a dedicated addiction recovery center will ensure you receive the best care and treatment you need to stay safe and substance-free.
Treating Heroin Addiction
The initial detox phase of recovering from heroin addiction is a very sensitive and difficult time. You should have medical supervision while your body adjusts to life without the drug, and many treatment facilities will offer medications that can ease withdrawal symptoms and keep you safe during your detox. But the next phase of your recovery is the most important: the start of your long-term plan, where you can rebuild your life and your support system through substance-free therapy-based treatments.
At The Kimberly Center, we believe that gaining confidence and healthy habits is the best way to keep you sober for life. In our programs, you will find your inner strength and create a network of loved ones and counselors to help you along your lifelong road to recovery. We have designed our programs to fit your needs, your experience with addiction and your lifestyle. When you choose The Kimberly Center as your home for addiction recovery, your options can include:
Contact The Kimberly Center
The Kimberly Center is proud to provide evidence-based, compassionate addiction treatment for adults in Fort Myers, Florida. We focus on giving you the attention and tools you need to learn to live your life completely substance-free, emphasizing your inner strength and the importance of a strong support system. To learn more about our services and to find out if our programs are right for you or your loved one, contact us today at 855-452- 3683.