As Katie Couric put it, there’s a new face of heroin that’s making its appearance around the country. Typically, we think of heroin addicts as those who are strung up somewhere in a dirty, dark alleyway. We don’t think of heroin addicts as educated, well groomed, and respectful.
Yet, that’s exactly what’s happening. Those who were, for one reason or another, on painkillers eventually turned to heroin and got hooked. One reason for the epidemic is heroin’s low price.
When an addiction develops with pain medication and that gets too expensive, heroin is a close second choice. One NBC show indicated that many turn to heroin as a lesser expensive version of illegal pain medication.
Plus, there has been a crackdown on prescription pill use, making it harder to get and heroin the best alternative.
The Dangers of Heroin Treatment
However, the danger is that heroin is a highly addictive drug. Mental, emotional, psychological and even physical abilities are quickly impaired while the psychological and biological need for the drug gets fierce. It’s a narcotic that can leave red or raw nostrils and needle marks or scars on their arms. Over a period of time, long-term symptoms include loss of appetite, constipation, brain damage, and damage to the central nervous system.
Because the drugs is so serious and leaves significant damage to the brain and nervous system, it is considered to be a Schedule I drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Since Heroin Treatment is not just for the addict in the alleyway but for those with families, jobs, and everyday responsibilities, people around them might notice them wearing long sleeves at inappropriate times and/or having medicinal breath. Physical evidence might include cough syrup, bottles, syringes, cotton swabs, and spoons for heating heroin.
When a man or woman finally chooses heroin treatment, there is a typical process to getting clean and sober. For instance, a Residential Drug Treatment Center provides a level of treatment care requiring live-in participation. Daily activities are highly structured to ensure safety and prevent relapse.
Patients need to be medically stable in order to be admitted to this level of care. Treatment includes medical and psychological treatment of the addiction, including working with a physical doctor to address the physiological effects of heroin detox and withdrawal, a psychologist to address the underlying emotional needs, and lastly with a drug counselor to learn the fundamentals of addiction and how to stay clean.
Once drug detox is complete, addiction treatment may continue for a few weeks, depending on the medical and psychological needs of the individual. After residential treatment, that individual may continue at a sober living home or halfway house.
Desire to Get Better
Additionally, an important part to drug addiction treatment is addressing one’s ambivalence to change or eliciting one’s intrinsic desire to change. Anyone using heroin is going to have strong ambivalence about ending an addiction, especially if they enjoyed using the drug.
If using heroin brought relief from emotional pain, a dramatic increase in energy, and a euphoric feeling for life, reasons to continue to use might still be there, despite the growing severity in consequences.
Also, if underlying emotional issues, medical concerns, or any mental illnesses still exist, then the desire to use drugs will almost undoubtedly continue.
An addict might say that he or she wants to change, but depression, anxiety, and other fundamental reasons might promote continued use. Thus, there often lies an enormous amount of ambivalence.
When treatment is thorough and when there is a network of support surrounding an individual’s path to sobriety, his or her life, once caught in the web of the heroin epidemic, can be saved.
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