Heroin Addiction

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

What Is Heroin?

People who have a heroin addiction need the assistance and support of a team of professionals to withdraw safely and regain a healthy life. A heroin addiction recovery experience is a big change for the addict, and they require long-term care and monitoring to assure they do not relapse.

Heroin is a highly addictive analgesic drug derived from morphine that is fast acting and most often injected. It is used illegally and is a narcotic. Heroin is one of the most abused opiates in our society, and it poses an intense danger to users because it is difficult to determine the actual strength of a dose.

Heroin generates a low feeling effect that rapidly brings on a state of relaxation and euphoria. These changes are related to chemical changes in the pleasure centers of the brain. Like other opiates, heroin blocks the brain’s ability to distinguish pain.

Most street heroin is cut with other dangerous chemicals like strychnine or other poisons, because illegal sellers seek to make more money by stretching their supply of the white or brown powder. Heroin can also be found in the form of a black sticky substance known as “black tar heroin.”

What Are Some of the Significant Signs of Heroin Abuse?

There are usually multiple noticeable signs of abuse when an individual uses heroin. Possession of paraphernalia including needles or syringes, burned spoons, aluminum foil and burned gum wrappers, missing shoelaces and ties (used to tie off injection sites), and small plastic bags with white powdery residue are common evidence of the preparation and injection of heroin.

Heroin causes problems beyond addiction and possible overdose because of the transmission of HIV and other diseases. These can occur from sharing needles or other injection equipment.

Some Signs That Someone Is under the Influence of Heroin Are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Constricted pupils
  • Sudden changes in behavior or actions
  • Disorientation
  • Cycles of hyper-alertness followed by nodding off
  • Fatigued appearance

Some Behavioral Signs of Heroin Use and Addiction Are:

  • Muddled incoherent speech
  • Deceptive behavior
  • Hostile actions
  • Increased time spent sleeping
  • Loss of performance in school or work, including job loss
  • Dressing in long pants and sleeves to hide needle marks
  • Disinterest in hygiene and appearance
  • Eye contact avoidance
  • Loss of motivation toward future goals
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Theft of possessions and money
  • A loss of self-esteem or declining body image

Like many addictive substances, regular heroin use can cause the need to increase the dosage in order to get high. It is with this growing tolerance that more distinctive physical symptoms of heroin abuse and addiction appear.

Some Physical Signs of Heroin Abuse Are:

  • Significant weight loss
  • Needle marks
  • Constant sniffles
  • Infections or abscesses at injection site
  • Loss of menstrual cycle for women
  • Cuts and bruises or scabs (from picking the skin)

What Are Some Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal?

  • Intense cravings for more of the drug
  • Cold sweats
  • Severe muscle and bone aches and pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling of heaviness
  • Leg cramps resulting in “kicking”
  • Weeping
  • Insomnia
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

How Does Avalon Malibu Treat Heroin Withdrawal?

At Avalon Malibu, we bring our research-based therapies and treatments to detox for the initial removal of heroin from the body. The Cottage House is our residential treatment center where we welcome individuals who suffer from heroin addiction and abuse, and we provide a safe and caring environment for their recovery. We understand the need for rest and regeneration for clients addicted to heroin.

Our program is licensed to treat adults in an inpatient setting in what is considered to be a ‘non-medical sub-acute detoxification.’ Heroin withdrawal is a complicated process where the addict receives around-the-clock supervision. Withdrawal symptoms can begin a few hours to one day after sustained use of the drug stops, and we have licensed physicians that can prescribe medications to alleviate many of the physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Avalon Malibu contracts with four Board Certified Physicians that specialize in Psychiatry, Internal Medicine, Addictionology, Neurology, and more, bringing together the best possible treatment experience for sufferers of heroin addiction and withdrawal.

At Avalon Malibu, we understand clients addicted to heroin are fearful about quitting because of the pain they may experience when the drug is no longer available to them. Contact us today to find out if our program is right for you or your loved one.

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