One of the hardest things someone can imagine is standing in front of a family member, spouse, or the mirror and uttering the words, “I am a heroin addict.” Being in denial for so long about the addiction has now been replaced with the clear, honest realization that you are an addict who needs help. This epiphany usually happens after a certain amount of fallout, such as an overdose, a DUI or other legal problems due to the heroin addiction, financial devastation, or failing health—or all of the above. The blessing is that you are still alive, which means there is still hope of turning your life around.
Even though you may have gone to great lengths to hide your addiction from coworkers, friends, or family, chances are they caught on long ago that you were struggling with some sort of addiction. It is very difficult to hide the physical, behavioral, and psychological changes that accompany heroin addiction. You may not be aware of how different you are, but they most definitely have noticed the changes.
Admitting the problem is such an important turning point; the admission launches the action that can lead to getting professional help. Even if you haven’t yet got a roadmap to recovery in front of you, just say the words, I am a heroin addict, is all you need to begin taking the next steps.
How Addictive is Heroin?
Heroin is an illicit and extremely addictive substance derived from morphine, which is a product of certain varieties of poppy plants. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 626,000 Americans were diagnosed with heroin use disorder in 2016. Heroin can be ingested in different ways, including being snorted, smoked, or delivered intravenously. When heroin enters the system it binds to opioid receptors in the brain, activating them. The result is a flood of dopamine that produces a euphoric high, deep relaxation, and will regulate pain as well. This positive feeling is imprinted on the reward systems as something to be re-experienced, and the mind begins the journey toward addiction with drug cravings and an obsession about obtaining and using the drug.
Some individuals begin the addiction journey via prescription opioids, such as Vicodin or OxyContin. But because these are obtained through doctors, the supply will eventually be cut off, leaving some to switch to heroin for a cheaper, more accessible, and similar high. As tolerance to heroin’s effects increases, the need to use more of the substance follows. This cycle cements reflexive addictive behaviors that keep the person locked into a desperate dependence on the drug.
How Do You Know When You Have a Heroin Addiction?
In most cases, someone who is caught up in the cycle of heroin use will become aware that they are needing to use more and more of the substance to obtain the original euphoric high. There are also signs of heroin addiction, which include:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Drowsiness or nodding off
- Slurred speech
- Slowed movements and reflexed
- Needle marks on various parts of the body
- Neglecting personal hygiene or appearance
- Spending more and more money on the drug
- Mood swings
- Chronic constipation
- Reduced sex drive
- Taking risks to obtain heroin, such as buying it off the Internet or the street from unknown sources
Steps to Recovery From Heroin Addiction
After declaring, “I am a heroin addict,” it is time to seek out the help you need to overcome this deadly addiction. An inpatient rehab program is advisable for conquering heroin addiction, as these allow for extended stays and offer 24-hour support and monitoring. The intake interview is the first step once you have selected a rehab. The clinician will discuss your addiction history, your physical health status, your mental health history, and use industry assessments to determine the best course of treatment. From this data a personalized treatment plan will be created to align with your unique recovery needs.
A medically monitored detox is required before entering active treatment for changing the addictive thought and behavior patterns. Detox generally takes about one week and will vary in intensity based on the severity and history of the heroin addiction.
After detox is completed, then it is time to begin receiving and participating in various therapies. These are designed with several goals in mind, such as identifying underlying mental health or emotional issues and treating them, changing the self-destructive addition behavior patterns, developing coping skills, learning stress-reduction techniques, and strategizing about avoiding relapse.
Heroin addiction can be overcome with a combination of evidence-based therapies, holistic therapies, and medication assisted treatment.
The Treatment Specialist Offers Online Information About Addiction and Treatment
The Treatment Specialist is a valued resource that provides an immense library of information about substances of abuse, addiction and recovery, mental health disorders, dual diagnosis, and treatment options. When you have taken the first step by admitting, “I am a heroin addict,” The Treatment Specialist can guide you with important information and support. For more free information please contact The Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.