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Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug which is used recreationally across the globe. Although consumed less than other illegal drugs, consumption levels are still concerning, along with the number of heroin addiction cases. Enquire Now
Further Information
Heroin Addiction
Updated on 17/09/2021
Medically reviewed by
Dr Alexander Lapa (Psychiatrist)

More than a quarter of a million people develop addictions to opioid drugs [1], such as heroin each year.

Although consumed less than other drugs, heroin consumption levels are concerning, as are the number of heroin addiction cases identified daily.

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Are you suffering from Heroin Addiction and need help? Addiction Advocates are leading UK based experts in Heroin Addiction and Rehabilitation Treatment. Find out how we can help by getting in touch with our friendly team today.

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Understanding Heroin Abuse and Opioid Use Disorders (OUD)

Heroin is a highly addictive and illegal opioid drug that produces pleasurable and euphoric sensations upon consumption. Though often consumed recreationally, many individuals abuse heroin to escape reality and reduce daily pressures and stress.

As heroin is abused, the brain gradually begins to associate enhanced moods with heroin, leaving many to eventually become reliant on and addicted to heroin and the side effects it offers.

Like other substance addictions, heroin addictions are psychological disorders that require intensive treatment to overcome.

The Dangers of Heroin Abuse

While the dangers of heroin abuse and opioid use disorders are significant, they continue to be overlooked. Ketamine Addiction Treatment & Rehab

When left untreated, heroin addictions are linked to various health complications. These health complications include organ failure and mental health disorders, all of which see more than 18,000 people admitted to hospital each year. [2]

As it is tough to break free from the cycle of addiction without treatment, many individuals experience long-term heroin addictions, which profoundly reduce the quality of life. [3]

Additionally, one of the most prominent dangers of heroin abuse is overdose. Though some individuals can recover from an overdose, 4,561 deaths due to overdoses and drug poisoning are recorded annually in the United Kingdom. [4]

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

When a heroin addiction arises, several physical, psychological, and behavioural signs and symptoms can all be expected.

 

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms often arise as and when heroin is consumed. While many of the physical symptoms will alleviate naturally within as little as three hours, some of the symptoms associated with heroin addiction are long-lasting.

The physical symptoms associated with heroin addiction include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Bruised skin
  • Pneumonia
  • Ongoing flu-like symptoms
  • Hepatitis C

Organ failure, increased heart rate, stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure also signal that heroin addiction is present. As these symptoms can be fatal, they require immediate medical assistance.

 

Psychological Symptoms

Though heroin is frequently abused to reduce the impact that mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety have on an individual’s life, consuming heroin can lead to mental health issues due to changes in the brain.

In addition to causing mental health disorders to become considerably worse, heroin addictions come hand-in-hand with the following psychological symptoms:

  • Disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Intense cravings

Suicidal thoughts are also among the psychological symptoms of heroin addiction, with up to 35% of deaths associated with heroin use and abuse resulting from suicide.

 

Behavioural Symptoms

As heroin begins to impact an individual’s psychological health, the way they think, act, and behave will start to change and give way to several behavioural symptoms, including:

  • Isolation
  • Lack of interest in everyday life
  • Intense cravings
  • Impaired relationships
  • Participating in anti-social behaviour
  • Financial difficulty

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin addiction treatment is available via inpatient and outpatient rehabs. However, due to the benefits associated, at Addiction Advocates, we typically refer those in need of treatment to inpatient rehabs.

Combining industry-leading treatments such as detoxification, rehabilitation, relapse prevention and aftercare, inpatient rehabs focus on restoring brain and body health. Though treatments must be integrated, they each play a vital role in heroin addiction recovery.

Completed upon entering rehab, detoxification kick-starts the recovery process by initiating the withdrawal process. This ensures that the body can recover from the physical side effects of heroin use.

In contrast, rehabilitation sees those in rehab encounter psychological and well-being therapies. These treatments address the underlying cause of heroin addiction and ensure that coping strategies can be developed to reduce the risk of relapse.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment For Heroin Addiction

Approximately one in four adults that find their life affected by a heroin addiction will simultaneously struggle with a mental health disorder [5]. As a result, it is not uncommon for dual diagnosis treatment to be administered when heroin addiction treatment is required.

Dual diagnosis treatment amalgamates addiction treatments, such as detoxification and rehabilitation, and mental health treatments, such as counselling and stress management.

Contact Us Today For Heroin Addiction Treatment

If you have developed a heroin addiction and find yourself reliant on the drug, we can assist you in locating a suitable rehab and securing treatment.

Likewise, if you have reason to believe that a loved one has become addicted to heroin and requires treatment, we can help you refer them for treatment. We can also support you in staging a family intervention.

To find out more about heroin addiction treatment or seek a referral, call us today on 0800 012 6088.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Detox From Heroin At Home?
Detoxing from heroin at home is not safe, nor is it recommended. However, the number of people attempting to do so is considerably high. Though you may believe that detoxing from heroin requires you to stop consuming heroin, medication and one-to-one therapy are necessary for heroin detox to be successful.
What Rehabs Provide Heroin Addiction Treatment?
Across the United Kingdom, inpatient and outpatient rehabs provide heroin addiction treatment. Inpatient rehabs require those in recovery to remain within the facility as they progress through treatment. Meanwhile, outpatient treatment, which is available via the NHS, sees individuals attend a few therapy sessions each week. Though inpatient and outpatient rehab effectively help many overcome heroin addictions, we recommend attending an inpatient rehab at Addiction Advocates. Not only does inpatient rehab offer around the clock care, medical support, and industry-leading treatments, but it enables those in need of treatment to focus solely on their recovery.
What Are The Treatments Available For Heroin Addiction?
Detoxification, rehabilitation, psychological therapy, well-being therapy, individual therapy and group therapy are just a selection of the treatments available for heroin addictions. While these treatments are widely available, customised treatment programmes are provided by inpatient rehabs to ensure that each person’s addiction and recovery needs are catered to.

References

  • [1] More than a quarter of a million people develop addictions to opioid drugs - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/united-kingdom-drug-situation-focal-point-annual-report/united-kingdom-drug-situation-focal-point-annual-report-2019
  • [2] more than 18,000 people admitted to hospital each year. - https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-drug-misuse/2019/part-1-hospital-admissions-related-to-drug-misuse
  • [3] which profoundly reduce the quality of life. - https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n784
  • [4] 4,561 deaths due to overdoses and drug poisoning are recorded annually in the United Kingdom. - http://www.drugwise.org.uk/how-many-people-die-from-drugs/
  • [5] one in four adults that find their life affected by a heroin addiction will simultaneously struggle with a mental health disorder - https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/common-comorbidities-substance-use-disorders/part-1-connection-between-substance-use-disorders-mental-illness
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Seth is an author, addiction recovery expert and fully accredited member of the national counselling society. He has experience working with a wide range of addictions and mental illnesses using a number of evidence-based therapies and programmes such as the SMART models of addiction recovery.

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