Heroin, an opiate, is an extremely dangerous and addictive drug that affects hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout the United States. In most cases, when injected, heroin allows the individual to feel a sense of euphoria and calmness throughout the body. However, once the drug wears off, the user may experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms almost immediately. This can lead to an extreme chemical dependency problem that can have an adverse affect on the life of the consumer.
Heroin: The effects on society
Each year, heroin overdose kills thousands of people. Not only does it negatively affects the addict both medically and psychologically, it also has an impact on the public at large. Our streets, homes, and jails are fill with heroin addicts who have children, mothers, fathers, and other family members and friends who are indirectly damaged by their actions. Essentially, heroin destroys the family structure and ultimately leads to strained relationships, life long health issues, psychological problems and even death. If you know of anyone who may suffer from a heroin addiction, encourage him or her to seek medical assistance. If you are a heroin addict, or suspect that you may abuse the substance, seek treatment immediately.
Acknowledging you may have a problem
So what should be the next steps after you realize that you or someone you love suffers from a heroin addiction? The first step is to understand that you are a heroin addict and you should find a treatment plan that is right for you. Remember, your goal is to change your life. Addressing your chemical dependency head on will be one of the biggest steps you will take so feel proud that you have acknowledged your weakness and desire to address it. If you know someone who is addicted to heroin, support him or her through the process by finding an appropriate treatment center.
Seek appropriate medical assistance
Heroin addiction treatment is a very complicated medical problem to tackle for the individual and medical personnel. You should not have to be subjected to a one size fits all model that may or may not address your particular needs. Find a place that can provide you with individualized lasting support. In many cases, a great deal of people relapse because they enter a chemical dependency program that does not adequately address their individual needs.
When finding a potential program, the medical personnel may talk to you about their facility and establish various plans of attack. Once deciding on a treatment center, you may be asked to undergo a medical evaluation. In this medical evaluation, you should be honest with the doctor and other medical professionals. The less you hide, the more likely they can help you. They may ask you a series of questions that may include:
- Why did you try heroin for the first time?
- Are you under any form of family pressure?
- What health issues do you suffer from?
- How is your relationship with your family?
- Do you have any mental illnesses?
From there, a good treatment program will create a plan that will address your individual needs.
The withdrawal process
When formulating your plan to address your heroin addiction, the medical professionals will explain the withdrawal process and how long it can potentially take. An addict may experience extreme withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug. Because the withdrawal process can be an unpleasant experience when dealing with an opiate, many addicts can relapse during this part of the treatment process. Some symptoms include:
- Severe mood changes
- Cravings for heroin
- Pains throughout your body
- Sleep problems
These symptoms and their magnitude will depend on the addict. This is why it is important to find a facility that can properly help you through the withdrawal process. The withdrawal process should occur in a medical facility and in many cases, the doctor can use a variety of methods including medications to help you through.
After the withdrawal process: rehabilitation
After the withdrawal symptoms subside, the treatment center will continue to assess the patient. While recovering from heroin addiction, the individual can feel emotionally vulnerable and certain illnesses may arise, such as depression or extreme anxiety. During this process, the individual will work with a series of medical professionals who will help them mentally and physically. The patient will also tackle some of the outside issues that may have led to chemical dependency. Finally, the person may be encouraged to undergo group and individualized therapy.
Aftercare: Developing a plan for the rest of your life
In order to remain drug free for the remainder of your life, you have to develop a solid plan. A good rehabilitation center will help you develop a course of action that is both realistic and achievable. For example, they will encourage you to obtain a job or find an apartment in an area where you may not be tempted to use heroin. In many cases, they may be able to find a sober living facility that can support your needs.
Certain quality treatment centers may encourage you to continue mental health treatment by attending group or individualize therapy. They may also help you reach out to family members and friends that may have been affected by your past actions. Just remember that many of these people may still feel pain or anger and therefore it may take a while to gain their support. Ultimately, you want to find a treatment center that uses positive reinforcement to help you establish and maintain a productive life. Even though you may be addicted to heroin, you still have some great qualities and can still achieve a great deal throughout life.
Ultimately, when deciding to enter into a rehabilitation program for heroin dependency, you should remember to be patient with yourself. You can and will get through the process if you follow all the steps and find a program that is tailored to your individual needs. Eventually, you will recover and can begin the process of living a healthy, productive life. But, you must take the first step and find a treatment center that offers individualized support.