Heroin Rehab, Heroin Addiction Treatment Centers
As a substance synthesized from morphine, heroin is currently enjoying a substantial increase in its number of users. Experts believe that this has something to do with the fact that prescription opioid analgesics, like oxycodone, are becoming more expensive and increasingly more difficult to obtain, especially if one does not have a family member who has a legal and valid need for such prescription opiates.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are close to 5 million Americans at least 12 years old who have used heroin in their lifetime. It is also estimated that one out of 4 individuals who have ever used heroin will ultimately become addicted to it. In 2010, there were about 215,000 emergency room visits attributed to heroin abuse. Additionally, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported a 45 percent increase in heroin-related deaths from 2006 to 2010.
Heroin can be injected, smoked, or inhaled to be absorbed in the bloodstream and sent to the brain where it is then converted into its active form, morphine. There are plenty of opioid receptors in the brain, and heroin-converted morphine can attach to these receptors and stimulate a variety of physiologic processes that depend on such receptors. Normally, naturally-occurring opioids blocks the pain perception pathways providing excellent analgesic effects. Unfortunately, excessive amounts of opiates can depress the respiratory center in the brain as well as those areas responsible for arousal and blood pressure regulation. It is for this reason that individuals who are receiving opiates for intractable pain are closely monitored especially for the dangers of respiratory depression and hypotension. In most cases, these individuals are managed in an acute care facility such as the intensive care unit of a hospital.
Respiratory depression, if it does not result to respiratory arrest, can have disastrous consequences to the different vital organs of the body, particularly the brain. As oxygen is insufficiently delivered to the brain as well as other organs, tissue hypoxia can lead to organ infarction which is characterized by tissue death. When this occurs in the brain, ischemic stroke can result leading to various neurological deficits. Over time, this leads to coma and even irreversible brain damage
Heroin is rapidly absorbed in the bloodstream and can readily pass the blood-brain barrier. This increases the likelihood of addiction, which is often characterized by the inability to control drug-seeking behavior despite knowledge of the health and social implications. As heroin, like any other addicting substance, can also affect the rewards system of the brain, the individual goes into a cycle of; heroin intake-euphoric effects-more heroin intake. The initial rush is often followed by alternating states of wakefulness and drowsiness. Heroin’s effect on the brain’s white matter has been attributed to the individual’s inability to make the correct decisions, regulate their behavior, and respond to stressful conditions or situations. In effect, the individual loses the ability to control the addiction.
Chronic heroin users can also develop abscesses, stomach cramps, cardiovascular infections particularly of the pericardium and the heart valves, liver disease, kidney disease, and even spontaneous abortion among pregnant women. Pneumonia may also result because of the compromised breathing patterns.
Removing heroin from the body can result in withdrawal symptoms that are equally serious. Restlessness, insomnia, agitation, and muscle and bone pain have all been documented. Of particular importance is the severe craving that the individual experiences which can lead to continued heroin abuse or even relapse. Heroin addicts have also been known to show kicking movements as well as the development of goose bumps that appear with cold flashes.
Treatment requires medically-assisted detoxification with adequate psychosocial and nutritional support. This is imperative as the consequences of chronic heroin use severely affects not only the physiologic integrity of the body but also the structural integrity of the different cells and tissues. This is where nutritional support will come in. Nutrients are needed to help the body repair itself and help re-establish a more competent immune system, to protect the body against severe infections. For severe heroin addictions, narcotic antagonists can be administered in order to help mitigate the effects of heroin.
Of particular importance to heroin treatment is the management of the individual’s behavioral issues. Because the cravings for using heroin will be quite severe, the individual will have to understand that these cravings are the direct result of the changes in their brain’s chemical and structural composition. Our therapists at Sprout Health Group are fully-trained and duly-certified to help the heroin addict discover their addiction triggers and help them make a conscious effort of restructuring their way of thinking. As substance abuse has been associated with feelings of inadequacy or as a means to escape one’s social and emotional problems, the individual will be assisted in discovering these sources of anxieties and learn new coping mechanisms to help them manage such anxieties.
Individual counseling sessions are augmented with structured group and family counseling and psychoeducational workshops. Family involvement is a must at our treatment facilities to empower the family in caring for their loved ones. They also need to understand what heroin addiction is and how it can affect their lives as a family. More importantly, these psychoeducational groups provide families with the necessary understanding on how to better show support for their loved ones.