With 25 to 30 million people in America today battling a drug or alcohol addiction it's hard to believe that recovery can be possible, but it can be done. There's no doubt that beating an addiction is a hard process, one that requires work, motivation, focus, and strength among other things.
Kicking a heroin addiction is even more difficult. It's a challenge that has been known to break even the most resilient people out there. The withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin have become notorious for their severity and persistence.
There are also the potentially fatal diseases associated with heroin use to worry about, including HIV and hepatitis. The risk of a lethal overdose is also much higher with heroin.
It seems that heroin users have a lot to deal with in addition to being addicted to one of the most difficult drugs to kick.
There are several reasons why kicking a heroin habit is so difficult. Being aware of these issues when beginning recovery may help you have a better understanding of your addiction and what to look for when it comes to treatment.
Here are a few things to know about overcoming heroin addiction:
- Severe withdrawal symptoms. This issue alone is often enough to make someone attempting to kick a heroin habit return to the spiral of addiction. Heroin withdrawal symptoms include severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain, deep muscle aches, chills, anxiety and restlessness, and most of all an overwhelming physical craving for more of the drug.
Trying to quit heroin cold turkey makes these symptoms even more severe. Many will make numerous attempts to kick a heroin habit, only to not make it past a few hours or days of powerful symptoms.
It seems that the withdrawal phase is impossible obstacle to defeat, and only there to sabotage any chance you have at recovery. But with medical supervision during detox and the use of new treatment methods involving medication, detoxing from heroin can be done successfully.
- Not understanding that recovery is a continual process. So many people make the mistake of thinking that a 30 day stay in rehab will cure them of an addiction. These same people are also usually the ones who relapse as soon as they return home.
The truth is, a stay in rehab is only the first of many steps you must take toward achieving sobriety. Addiction is much stronger than you might think, and its effects are powerful.
Rehab is a great foundation, but you must follow it up with continued visits to therapy, participation in a support group, and a commitment to doing whatever it takes to staying sober.
- Thinking you can do it on your own. Another common mistake is assuming that sheer willpower is enough to beat an addiction.
Yes willpower is an important part of recovery, but so is asking for help and accepting care and support from others.
- Not allowing yourself to make mistakes. It's true that relapsing is incredibly discouraging, but that doesn't mean that you failed at recovery. It's all too common to see someone relapse and then completely give up their efforts at getting sober.
The truth is relapsing is very common, especially with heroin addiction. Instead of seeing it as a sign that your efforts were wasted, think of it as an important lesson that needed to be learned and an opportunity to make needed adjustments to your recovery plan.
- Not getting treatment for other issues. It's very common for a person to turn to drugs to help cope with emotional or mental problems. They may not even be aware of doing it. Mental disorders won't simply vanish until they get the right kind of treatment.
A person can go through the detox process and be well into their recovery and still not even address any underlying mental issues. Those issues will remain and pose a threat to sobriety unless properly addressed and treated.
- Returning to old friends and habits. Going back to the places and people that were a part of your life as an addict is enough to trigger a relapse. It's important to replace these places and people with ones who are supportive of your recovery.