Why is Heroin so Addictive and How to Get Help for Heroin Addiction
Over the last 15 years, the United States has seen a shocking increase in the number of heroin-related deaths. 1 Heroin, and other opioids, continue to be the leading cause of drug overdose in the United States. This public health crisis has left many people wondering why heroin is so addictive, and how they can get help for their heroin addiction.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug that is made from Morphine. 2 Heroin is more affordable and easier to obtain than other opioid prescription drugs. This makes it the drug of choice for many people who are suffering from substance abuse disorder. Heroin comes in several forms including a white powder, crystal-like rocks, and a black, tar-like substance. It can be smoked, injected, or snorted. 3 The drug produces immediate and intense feelings of euphoria and pain relief, which is why people typically begin using it in the first place. But, since it is highly addictive, people often become so dependent upon heroin they find themselves unable to stop using it.
Why is Heroin So Addictive?
Heroin is one drug that is especially addictive. Heroin, like other opioids, attaches to the opioid receptors in your brain. 4 They release dopamine, causing you to feel a boost in your mood, a drastic reduction of pain, and a powerful feeling of euphoria. 5 When the drugs wear off, you feel normal again, but in comparison to how good you felt when the drugs were in your system, you feel really bad and need to take more so that you can feel great again.
Over time, your brain chemistry actually changes. Your brain no longer produces dopamine for regular things like laughing with friends, exercising, or completing a project. Instead, the only thing that makes you even a little happy is more heroin.
When someone is struggling with depression, anxiety, or has a history of trauma, it is obvious why they would want to begin using these drugs in the first place. They help you to forget about the pain you have been in and you may actually feel some relief for a while. Unfortunately, your body begins to build a tolerance to heroin, and you will need more and more to achieve the same euphoric effects. The dangerously high doses of heroin are what lead, so often, to fatal overdoses.
Signs of Heroin Addiction
Anyone can fall victim to heroin addiction. Regardless of your gender, race, socioeconomic background, or any other factor, if you use heroin even once, you could become addicted to it. Here are some signs and symptoms that you may be suffering from heroin addiction. 6
- Excessive drowsiness
- Change in appearance, and not taking care of yourself
- Problems at school, work, or in your relationships
- Memory problems
Many people do not intend to become addicted to heroin. In fact, about 86% of users become addicted to prescription opioids such as Morphine, Vicodin, or OxyContin first. 7 Many heroin users reported that they were either prescribed these drugs for pain relief or bought them from friends or family members. The amount of time that you use opioid prescriptions increases your risk of developing a long-term addiction. 8
Maintaining an addiction to prescription painkillers is expensive and difficult. The body quickly builds a tolerance to opioids, so it doesn’t take long before you need higher and higher doses just to avoid withdrawals. Convincing a doctor to prescribe you enough of a prescription painkiller regularly to maintain your addiction is nearly impossible. This is the path that leads many people to heroin. Heroin can be purchased on the street and is much less expensive than prescriptions.
How to Get Help for Heroin Addiction
Getting help for heroin addiction is vital to your health. During the course of an addiction, your body becomes physically dependent upon the drug. When you quit using the drug you will experience many negative side effects including 9
- Nausea & vomiting
- Muscle aches
After your body gets used to the euphoric and pain-relieving properties of heroin, these side-effects will be intensified and extremely uncomfortable. The best option is to detox in a medically supervised environment. During detox for heroin addiction, you will be kept hydrated, and given medications to reduce or avoid the negative and uncomfortable effects of withdrawal. After detoxing fully, you will feel much more confident for the next chapter of overcoming addiction. Undergoing individualized and group therapy in a safe and secure environment will help you learn new tools for maintaining your sobriety.
Help for Heroin Addiction Treatment
If you are suffering from an addiction to heroin, contact Silver Sands Recovery today. We will work closely with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. You’ll learn how to put your old life behind you and start a new life free from drugs. Reach out to get started.
About the author:
Lisa Waknin is the Founder and Director of Silver Sands Recovery, located in Prescott, Arizona. Lisa started Silver Sands Recovery after immersing herself in the addiction treatment world for several years to figure out what could be done differently to help her daughter and others like her to overcome addiction and stay sober. She believes in a hands-on treatment approach, which includes taking someone out of their environment, providing a 90-day program in a structured environment. During treatment, clients not only recover physically but also learn to live their life again. Lisa is a sought-after expert speaker for recovery support groups, charities, schools, communities, and companies wanting to educate themselves on the explosion of opiate and heroin abuse in our country and the best way to understand, treat, and beat it.