Heroin is one of the more commonly abused drugs in the United States. The drug is an opiate that dulls the body’s reaction time and creates a euphoric feeling. Many addicts find that they experience an intense high when first using the drug that they attempt to recapture in the future. It can also lead to a high tolerance level that leaves users taking a higher dose to recreate the same feelings they originally had. Whether you have a heroin addiction or see a loved one struggling with addiction, you’re not alone. The number of people option for treatment for heroin addiction is on the rise.
Tolerance or Addiction?
One thing you must consider is the difference between tolerance and addiction. Tolerance is a simple term that refers to how much the body can take. A heroin tolerance refers to the amount of heroin that an addict must take to experience the benefits of the drug. While it might take a single hit early on, the more of the drug that a user takes, the higher his or her tolerance become. Those who require more of the drug to feel the benefits are more likely to develop an addiction.
Signs of Heroin Addiction
Before looking at treatment options, make sure that you know the signs of heroin addiction. If you’re around someone who recently used the drug, you might see some physical changes, including a red tinge to the skin, a wild look in the eyes and trouble concentrating. Many heroin addicts also alternate between feeling euphoric and happy and feeling extremely tired. Some addicts will also experience an itchy feeling that seems to occur beneath the skin. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for paraphernalia like rubber tubes, metal spoons with dark edges or burnt spots, small plastic bags and needles.
12 Step Programs
One treatment for addiction is a 12 step program. These programs require that addicts attend regular meetings and work with a sponsor. The sponsor provides the addict with useful information and tips on how to recover from the addiction. Many of these meetings take place in churches and similar civic organizations and give members the option to attend meetings as often as they would like. Members agree to complete 12 separate and distinct steps on their path to recovery. Some steps include making amends for those they hurt because of their addictions and turning their lives over to a higher power.
Outpatient treatment is a type of treatment program that works best for those who can handle the difficulties of recovery on their own. Instead of living in a facility, you’ll only visit that facility. Doctors and therapists working there will require that you attend therapy sessions and group meetings with other heroin addicts. This lets you continue going to work or school and living with your family or loved ones. Depending on your insurance, you may find that your policy only covers an outpatient treatment program.
Inpatient treatment is the best option for a number of addicts. Living at home while you recovery may be difficult or nearly impossible. You may have a hard time handling your stress, being around the friends you used heroin with in the past and spending time with those you physically or emotionally harmed because of your addiction. An inpatient program requires that you live in the facility for a set period of time, which can range from a single weekend to more than six months. Many opt for a 28 day long program that teaches them stress management techniques and provides support during the withdrawal process. Many of these programs offer a combination of treatment methods, including physical exercise, equine therapy and even art therapy for addiction.
Benefits of Treatment
The number of addicts who successfully recover on their own is fairly low. Going cold turkey can cause extreme withdrawal symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea and loss of consciousness. There is also a potential risk for overdose among those who go cold turkey and then start using heroin again. A treatment program is the only way that you can ensure you safely stop using heroin. Those who complete treatment programs have a higher chance of remaining free from drugs for years to come. Whether you attend 12 step meetings, enter an outpatient program or check into an inpatient treatment facility, you’ll have people working by your side who care about your progress and will help with your recovery.