In 2014, nearly 30,000 adolescents indicated that they had used heroin in the past year. Heroin is a powerful opiate, and although immediate addiction is unlikely, the comfort it brings to some can mean a long battle — one hit and a teenager is fighting a lifelong addiction. People of all ages are falling into patterns of addiction with the drug. According to the Centers for Disease Control, fatalities from heroin overdoses have tripled since 2010.
Though the internet is full of addiction success stories, those involving heroin are harder to find. Regardless of the substance, addiction is a challenging journey — but heroin, in particular, is notoriously difficult to kick. The reasons for this vary, but here’s what we do know.
Why Heroin Addiction Is So Dangerous
Unfortunately, there isn’t one reason why this drug is tougher to quit. There are many. These issues leave addicts at the mercy of a drug that could potentially be fatal. Those in recovery from heroin addiction much deal with:
Users who stop heroin — even after fairly short use — are slammed with terrible withdrawal symptoms. They’ll experience vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, restlessness, intense cravings, cold flashes, and even bone or muscle pain. Often, the legs of someone in withdrawal kick constantly — hence the term, “kicking the habit.” These symptoms can begin just hours after the last dose and peak within a couple of days. This detox period can be so unbearable that many people choose to simply turn back to the drug.
A Lack of Medical Knowledge
Ending an addiction isn’t just a matter of willpower — and that’s a new discovery for some in the medical field. The chemistry of a person’s entire body rapidly changes as heroin flushes from the system. Many people have no idea what stopping the drug will mean in the short term. Heroin addiction actually reprograms brain chemistry. To train it back, an addict should be under the care of a compassionate medical team that understands the challenges of heroin withdrawal.
Short-Term Recovery Goals
Overcoming an addiction to heroin cannot happen overnight. People often fail because they misunderstand the challenges of what’s ahead. Many people need 90-120 days for the drugs to be flushed from their systems.
Overconfidence About Relapse
Lots of users think they’ll have no problem with relapse if they can just get through the tough spots in the beginning. With heroin, though, addiction is a lifelong battle. Since a person’s brain chemistry changes when addicted to heroin, the brain drives that individual to, once again, find that alteration through drug use. A proper recovery plan will teach addicts new coping techniques and positive habits to resist relapses.
Ignoring the Root Cause
Most addictions happen for a reason. Depression, mood disorders, and anxiety are just a few things that can drive people to substance abuse. If the original problem isn’t treated, they’ll likely fall back into the same destructive habits time and time again.
The human brain recognizes patterns based on location and company. A heroin user who always shot up in his bathroom, for example, will probably face an intense urge to use every time he enters that room. Lots of users don’t plan for this kind of pressure and relapse when they feel the strength of the yearning.
Motivation and Addiction Don’t Align
Unfortunately, the longer someone uses heroin, the harder it is for him or her to abandon its use. Many addicts want very badly to kick the drug, but even that drive may not outweigh the compulsion that fuels a heroin addiction.
Residential Admission for Higher Success in Heroin Addiction
No matter the drug, addiction isn’t a “habit” — and knowing that is crucial to helping those recovering from heroin addiction. Because of the difficulty of withdrawal and the changes in brain chemistry, the best way to fight a heroin addiction admission in a reputable facility. Experienced specialists and a variety of therapies help reconfigure patterns in the brain of those suffering from heroin addiction. Clients will have support throughout the toughest moments of transformation and will be provided with long-term support.