Heroin (dicetylmorphine) is an opioid that is partly derived from the opium poppy. An extremely addictive substance, heroin is very likely to cause an addiction to develop in its user. Most users begin by snorting or smoking heroin, and some turn to intravenous use. Heroin addiction often takes a strong hold, and studies estimate that the average heroin addict spends $100-$200 a day on their habit. About 3.7 million Americans have tried heroin at least once in their life.
Heroin addiction is a rapidly developing illness. As experimentation develops into habitual use, a tolerance begins to develop. As tolerance develops, the user requires more heroin to achieve the same high. As they begin to use more heroin, a physical and psychological dependency begins to develop. The brain becomes accustomed to the presence of heroin, and the absence creates withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms generally kick in six to twenty-four hours after the last dose. Withdrawal symptoms include nausea, fever, depression, and extreme irritability. Lasting from a few days to a few weeks, the discomfort during withdrawal coupled with intense cravings for drugs causes a high relapse late among heroin addicts.
The first part of heroin rehabilitation is a detox program. Heroin detox consists of the administration of prescription medications in order to ease the discomfort of withdrawals. Drugs such as Subutex or Suboxone may be prescribed, which help the individual by providing an opioid to bind to the receptors and preventing full withdrawal symptoms. The patient is also provided with a bed and medical assistance in order to ensure their safety and comfort during the process.
After detox, it is highly recommended that you enroll in a heroin rehab program. Residential treatment centers are the most secure route to take, as the clients are required to live on site for a period of time. Group and individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and twelve step meetings are offered in order to aid the recovering addict in their road of recovery. Outpatient facilities offer very similar services. However, the clients are not required to be residents, thus allowing them to return home to their family or loved ones at the end of the day. However, the environment is not as controlled as it is in a residential treatment center.
After a treatment center, heroin rehab must continue with some form of ongoing care. One common way that recovering addicts seek continuing care is through twelve step programs such as Heroin Anonymous. These meetings offer continuing support and proof that there is recovery from drug addiction. Another popular choice is a sober living home. Sober living homes are houses that provide a sober atmosphere for newly recovering addicts. They offer a positive, drug-free atmosphere and some structure to your life. Whatever choice is made, all options should be considered, as heroin rehab is a big decision to make.