Heroin is one of the most addictive illicit substances known today. Some may argue that it is the most addictive substance known to man, period. People can become addicted to heroin upon the first usage, it is that powerful. Other opiates have been known to be this way as well.
As a result, heroin addiction is one of the most fatal. People die from heroin overdoses all of the time. Users don't understand their limit and exceed it, leading to an overdose. Heroin also is one of the leading substances, next to cocaine, that gets people into the emergency room across the country.
Addictions are not always that obvious, especially to the person who is addicted. They start slowly and elusively, usually causing pleasant experiences in the beginning, the kind of experiences that someone will chase the rest of the time they are using. This is commonly referred to as "chasing the dragon". Then problems start to occur, small ones at first, and then they grow. People become alienated, the user starts to isolate, getting the drug or the drink becomes more and more paramount, a job gets lost, a car gets crashed, 911 gets called, so on and so forth- it only gets worse.
Get Help, Don't Do It Alone
When it comes time for someone to get off of heroin, a detox facility is highly recommended. Opiate withdrawals can feel horrific- some have described it as they feel like they are dying. However, opiate withdrawal is in no way fatal. It just feels like it is. This is why someone should not try and get off of heroin alone, for the chances of relapse in order to make the pain go away are so high.
Once into detox, people who are coming off of opiate addictions are typically prescribed medications to help ease the distress that withdrawals can bring on. These medications are usually clonidine, Subutex and methadone. One issue with these medications is that sometimes a dependence can form onto them as well, requiring detox and a weaning off of as well. But this process is nothing compared to what withdrawing from heroin without the assistance of medications can feel like by itself.
The common withdrawals from heroin addiction can include agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, insomnia, excessive yawning, runny nose and excessive sweating. Some symptoms of advanced withdrawal include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dilated pupils, frequent goose bumps, nausea and vomiting.
The next step in recovering from a heroin addiction would be to get into a treatment center after detoxing. The difference between a detox center and a treatment center is that detox facilities are meant to only get the person through the physical withdrawals and addiction to a substance. A treatment center is designed to remedy the emotional and mental effects of having an addiction, and this process usually takes much longer than detoxing.
In a treatment center, one will meet others who are also coming off of an addiction. This way, people will be able to relate their experience, strength and hope with each each when it comes to recovering from an addiction. Counselors work at treatment centers who are trained to help someone think and live a new way of life, one that is free from the chains of an addiction. These people will help someone gain a new perspective on things, one that is more conducive to healthier living.
The Road To Recovery
After someone leaves the care of a treatment facility, it is highly recommended that they get themselves into a support group, usually a 12-step program. A heroin addiction falls under the category of a narcotic, so one should attend a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, or simply NA. There, the process of recovery will continue wherein someone new to recovery will meet those who have been sober for many years and can relate their wisdom and strength. Through this, new freinds will be made and the isolation that an addiction can bring on will start to be broken.
Through these means, one will find a new life, one that is free of addiction and the obsession to use. A new way of living will arise, and the former addict will find themselves living a better and happier life.