We’ve all seen the popular accounts of heroin withdrawal presented by movies and television, from Trainspotting to Requiem for a Dream, but even with so many dramatic portrayals in the media, the true reality of heroin abuse and the complications of detox from it can sometimes be hard to grasp. For anyone who cares about a person with a heroin problem, knowing the facts about addiction and heroin abuse solutions can make the difference between life and death for your loved one.
According to studies, about 9% of the American population has abused opiates at some point in their lives, in the form of heroin and prescription medications such as Oxycontin. Government reports indicate that 57.4% of the people who had used heroin in the past year were classifiable as addicted to the drug, and an estimated 281,000 people seek treatment and heroin abuse solutions yearly. As of 2003, epidemiologists reported that heroin was the primary drug of abuse for the majority of drug treatment admissions in such metropolitan areas as New York, Newark, San Francisco, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Boston.
HEROIN ADDICTION & WITHDRAWAL
Physical dependence and addiction can occur with any continued usage. Even patients who are given opioid painkillers under qualified medical care can become hooked and experience withdrawal after leaving the hospital without even knowing it, often thinking that they just have the flu. Heroin abuse solutions providers have to be mindful of just how deep the roots of heroin dependence reach, both physically and psychically, in order to offer real assistance and hope.
When a heroin addict undergoes withdrawal, symptoms begin to manifest within 6 to 24 hours after the drug is discontinued, although the exact timing of symptoms varies in accordance with the degree of the abuser’s tolerance as well as the amount he or she last consumed. Some of the symptoms of withdrawal include sweating, akathisia (agitation or physical restlessness), a sensation of heaviness, limb cramps, genital sensitivity, uncontrollable yawning or sneezing, tears, runny nose, insomnia, cold sweats, chills, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, fever, and muscle and bone aches. As you can imagine from this list, the abuser who attempts to quit and who seeks heroin abuse solutions is essentially going through physical torture. But withdrawal is not only physical—the pains of withdrawal are also psychic, and aren’t just a matter of being deprived of the drug’s euphoric effects. In addition to the challenge of beginning to face the reality of one’s addiction, some of the psychological symptoms of withdrawal include intense depression, anxiety, and malaise. One of the difficulties facing heroin abuse solutions providers during and after the withdrawal process is to determine which of these psychological tendencies are pre-existing and which are detox-induced.
Complications from withdrawal are usually non-fatal, and heroin withdrawal is actually less dangerous than withdrawal from alcohol or barbituates. Symptoms usually peak 48 to 72 hours after discontinuation, and subside after a week. Heroin abuse solutions providers actually consider relapse to be the most dangerous potential complication from heroin withdrawal, which indicates how relatively safe it’s considered to be compared to continued usage! Cravings for the drug can recur even years after the abuser’s last dosage, so heroin abuse solutions need to be long-lasting and deeply effective, touching on the physical and psychic needs of the former addict on every level.
Treatment and Therapies for Heroin Addicts
Heroin abuse solutions and therapies sometimes combine behavioral treatments with medication that former addicts are required to take daily. But while the medical community does argue for the efficacy of medications for easing symptoms of withdrawal, a continuing treatment solution involving ongoing use of synthetic opiates can end up encouraging a psychic structure of dependence that some heroin abuse solutions providers consider counter-indicative to true healing of addiction. Patients who are admitted for in-patient treatment solely for the withdrawal process, then shuffled out to methadone clinics and social service workers sometimes fail to undergo treatment that reaches the true roots of the addiction problem.
The choice of in-patient or out-patient heroin abuse solutions is one of the first big decisions that a former heroin abuser and his loved ones have to make. While out-patient therapy post-withdrawal may at first seem more cost-effective, the high potential for relapse is a considerable risk. In-patient treatment centers provide the chance for a stable, full-time, drug-free environment, in which former abusers can go through the difficult process of not only confronting and overcoming physiological withdrawal, but assess the underlying reasons for their addiction. Not only does the immersive environment of in-patient care provide a crucial opportunity for the recovering addict to remove himself from the habitual structures of the daily routines, surroundings, and influences that supported or encouraged drug abuse, it provides the space and time for him to develop new capacities for dealing with the stresses of life.
One of the most complete studies on heroin relapse, conducted in 1998, found that 5 years after seeking heroin abuse solutions in the form of supervised detox and out-patient therapy, approximately 41% had relapsed, stopped use, then relapsed again, and 27% of former addicts had relapsed and never stopped using. These rates of returning to addiction make a compelling argument for the value of giving the former drug abuser every chance possible to truly start a new life. If you or someone you care about needs help with a heroin addiction, call us today at 877-340-3602 for more information about our drug rehabs and for immediate assistance.