Heroin is one of the most addictive street drugs available today. It’s also one of the deadliest.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, heroin was a popular street drug. Now, more than four decades later, we are still dealing with the same issues. The United States has reached the point where opioid abuse has become an epidemic with heroin as a primary culprit. In fact, heroin and its sibling fentanyl are deadlier than ever. At our Discovery Point Retreat addiction recovery center in Dallas, Texas, we treat many clients who suffer from heroin addiction.
There are two things all clients seem to have in common: First, they were initially drawn to the substance’s initial euphoria. Second, unresolved personal issues and/or co-occurring mental health conditions served as the driving force behind the addiction. What they all eventually come to realize is just how highly addictive and dangerous heroin can be.
Known as “horse,” “H” and “smack,” heroin derives from the seed of opium poppy plants grown across the world, and is an opioid drug made from morphine. In terms of appearance, it can take a wide variety of forms, including a white or brown powder. It can also black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. It can be injected, snorted or smoked. It can also be mixed with crack cocaine, known as “speedballing.”
Prescription opioid medicines (including OxyContin and Vicodin) are similar in molecular structure to heroin and therefore have similar effects. Misuse of prescription opioids can lead to heroin use — and eventual addiction.
Heroin use is usually characterized by an initial rush of euphoria, which quickly wears off. Other immediate side effects include nausea and vomiting, heavy feeling, itching, dry mouth, slowed heart rate and “nodding out” (that is, alternating between consciousness and semi-consciousness).
Signs of heroin addiction include:
The opioid epidemic has shown the devastating effects of addiction — including the very real risk of overdose and death. Because it’s difficult to identify the actual contents of street drugs — which can be adulterated by a wide variety of substances — it’s also difficult to estimate their potency. For example, a substance that appears to be heroin can contain large quantities of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 20 to 50 times stronger than heroin. A user might have no idea he or she is purchasing fentanyl instead of heroin, and can easily overdose.
When a person overdoses on opioids like heroin, their breathing can slow or even stop — causing hypoxia, or a severe drop in the amount of oxygen in the blood that reaches the brain. Hypoxia can lead to coma and permanent brain damage.
In the past, many rehab centers relied on a cookie-cutter approach to heroin addiction treatment. In today’s addiction treatment community, rehab programs like those offered at Discovery Point Retreat provide access to a wider range of addiction treatment options.
The terms evidence-based therapies and holistic treatment modalities have become quite common among addiction treatment professions. It’s a clear indication that the client’s overall health and welfare are just as important as arresting the addiction.
Evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) have shown promise as treatment options for heroin addiction. In both cases, therapists employ treatment options that focus on your thoughts or feelings and emotions. By doing so, you can learn to control what you are experiencing. This newfound control gives you the ability to change your thoughts and feelings to something more positive. In turn, you have a real chance to stop harmful addictive behaviors.
Meanwhile, holistic treatment options like a recreational therapy program support your wellness and sense of peace. If you are feeling personal fulfillment, you are far less likely to feel the need to self-medicate.
That said, helping you find a path to recovery requires a lot of hard work. To ensure you get what you need, we rely on a complete continuum of care, using one or more of the following treatment options: medical detox, residential inpatient treatment (including standard and extended care), outpatient treatment options like our partial hospitalization program and intensive outpatient program, and aftercare.
Before you let your heroin addiction claim all that you have, please consider getting help. From the time you call Discovery Point Retreat, we’ll help you begin recovery with a heroin addiction treatment program customized just for you. Reach out today.