Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Heroin addiction

Heroin addiction is a very serious addiction that has a high rate of mortality. There are many severe health concerns that coincide with heroin addiction, including the worst, fatal overdose, as well as collapsed veins, from injecting heroin, AIDS disease, from unprotected sex and sharing needles with many other people who have heroin addictions, and hepatitis, from needles and unprotected sex as well. A person who has a heroin addiction, when asked about the feelings that heroin gives them, usually will say that the immediate feelings of the drug give a sense of euphoria, causes a feeling of heaviness in the limbs, dry mouth, and sporadic exchanges of felling sleepy, and then feeling alert. Heroin acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, which then causes the body to experience lowered mental capabilities.

When a person who has had a heroin addiction for an extended period of time continues to use, there are detrimental long-term effects will begin to set in. These long-term effects associated with heroin addiction can include, collapsed veins, cellulites, which are bacterial skin infections, an infection in the heart lining and valves, liver disease, and abscesses, which are pockets filled with pus inside infected tissue. Pneumonia is also a complication linked to heroin addiction that can occur due to bad health resulting from a weakened immune system, or continued depression on the person with a heroin addiction’s respiratory system.

The drug heroin is considered to be not only a psychologically addictive drug but a physically addictive substance as well. When a person who has a heroin addiction stops using heroin, either by choice or force, they will immediately begin to feel the onset of painful withdrawal symptoms that usually include anything from nausea and depression to convulsions, increased heat rate, and even heart attacks. While the person who has a heroin addiction usually uses heroin to feel good and to lift up their spirit and feelings toward life and others in order to get them through the day, continuing this detrimental behavior will, without a doubt, lead to an increased tolerance of the drug, and a heightened heroin addiction. This higher tolerance for heroin makes the heroin addiction and the dependence on the heroin even more dangerous for the user, as its effects become more prominent, and the warning signs will often begin to appear more noticeable to family, friends, and other close ones around them. There are some important warning signs of heroin addiction to look for that anyone should know who knows someone suspected of having a heroin addiction. Some of those signs include, but are not limited to:

  • falling asleep at abnormal times, sometimes mid-conversation

  • wearing long shirts or pants at inappropriate times to cover up track marks left by injection

  • syringes used for injection

  • burnt spoons used to melt the powder into injection form

  • razor blades, rolled up dollars or other tubes used to snort heroin

  • baggies with a powder residue,

  • unused balloons tied off, which are used to transport the heroin

  • tourniquets used to tie off blood flow to inject the heroin

Even though there are so many different drug treatment centers and programs offered all over the world for heroin addictions, even if they successfully succeed at completing the rehab program, there is still always that very real possibility for relapse for anyone who has ever been addicted to any drug, particularly those who have ever had a heroin addiction. Relapse prevention programs were created as a part of the rehabilitation therapy at many drug rehab centers, and some of the relapse prevention programs even extend longer, even after the patient has left the drug treatment facility. These programs were created to give those with heroin addictions and other drug and alcohol addictions more tools and ammunitions to prepare themselves for the temptation to use again, and the ability to successfully fight it once they return to their lives on their own.

Through studies and experiments, experts have recognized a pattern of certain life situations and psychosocial factors that they have determined can be linked to increasing the likelihood or risk of a relapse of someone with a heroin addiction. Some of these factors include:

  • Mental stress or anguish – Many doctors believe that stress is the leading predictor of heroin addiction, as well as other drug addiction relapse. It’s been identified that in opiate addicts, those with high stress levels were strongly predictive to continue to use drugs. There have also been studies done on animals that have confirmed the idea that heightened stress, anxiety, or pressure can lead to a relapse of the behaviors of the previous heroin addiction, or other drug addiction.

  • Negative emotional states, such as depression

  • Interpersonal problems

  • A lack of support from family or friends, or simply a lack of family or friends

  • Underdeveloped coping skills or problem solving abilities

  • Loss of the desire to stay sober, or giving up

There is really no clear cut way to determine how likely it is for someone with a heroin addiction to relapse, or someone with another type of addiction. What is known is that any one of the above factors listed, or a combination of them, have the potential to cause, or lead to the start of a relapse. It’s important that if you know anyone with a heroin addiction or any type of addiction that you remember that they need your support.

Let them know that you are always there for them and that you care whether or not they beat the heroin addiction and choose to stay sober. Knowing that they’re not alone can really make a difference, because a drug rehab center alone may not be enough.


Brent said...

It's hard to help and support those with such a heavy addiction. Most people that have a loved one that battles with addiction can only do so much on their own before they need to bring professionals in to help bring a stop to the abuse.
This is why the A&E show Intervention is so important. It demonstrates how difficult addiction can be and uses a highly qualified team of specialists to address the core issues. The show really does a great job of showing what it takes to get on the road to recovery for some of the most difficult addictions, while also showing how it affects everyone involved with the person who has the addiction. Check out http://www.aetv.com/intervention for more on the show. I’m working to help promote the show because I think it can give anyone a great real life example of what it’s like to deal with addiction. A new episode airs every Monday at 9/8 central on A&E.

Anonymous said...

Hi. nice blogI do have plenty of family members with addictions, mainly alcohol. I try to deal with their attitude changes and give them advice when I see them sober if I do. It's hard especially when is someone close you love.please advice them to take a drug treament program.

Anonymous said...

my husband is hooked on black tar heroin. he dissolves it in warm water and sniffs it. it is the most repulsive thing. it stinks like apple cider vinegar. he thinks he can hide it from me but i have busted him 5 minutes after he used. he keeps telling me he has quit and then i see him nodding off or i smell vinegar or find an eye-dropper with the brown liquid. i'm beside myself. please, any suggestions. worried in WA

Anonymous said...

I posted as "Anonymous" 3/01/08

I almost reached for an intervention tonight. That is, I almost called an ambulance for him because he OD. I worried. I checked his pulse and I was too scared of getting in trouble to call for help. Ridiculous. I know if he were in real trouble I would have called 911. I woke him up every 10-15 minutes and got him to talk. I thought he was in bad shape. He pulled through. Puked his guts out and cleaned up after himself. He's sleeping it off. His breath rate has improved a normal rate.
He vowed to me he'd quit a couple weeks ago - even fooled me last night saying he thought he'd finally kicked the craving. Now I know he said that to fool me into being less vigilant for the signs.
I'm still hoping for some advice on this.
I do realize now that I just have to get out of this marriage. I can't trust him and he has no plan to change and he resents me for asking. Any support would be appreciated.
Anonymous of WA

Anonymous said...

I know you posted this awhile ago (anonymous) but I was looking at heroin things today and I felt compelled to write to you. I hope that it isn't already too late for your husband. My boyfriend was an on/off user for 8 years before we met and tehn he relapsed and took me with him. I have been clean almost two weeks now but it is ONLY because I was removed from the situation. I have no doubt in my mind if I was home I'd be using right now. I am an IV user, the hardest form of the habbit to kick. Even now, I still want to go use but I'm hoping over time it will go away and not be so frequent. My point is, and addict will lie lie lie to get thier drug. Countless times I told everyone I wasn't doing it or I had stopped because that's what they needed to hear for me to keep going and using. He will never tell you the truth about it. It isn't that he doesn't love you. Don't think that. He just loves his drug and that is #1 in his life. Drug addiction alters the brain. You don't care about wife, work, kids, nothing. Just how and when you are going to get high. He neeeds to get into a treatment center, prefferably one far away from his drug source. It is not your job to babysit him. That isn't fair to you. He has to want to get help on his own, but you can take him there. And if he is serious, he will at least try. If not, then it is time for that ultimatum of you or the drugs.

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Anonymous said...

I am a recovering hardcore IV heroin addict of nearly 8 years. I was active in my addiction for a little over 5 years, becoming introduced to the drug by a boyfriend who had, in his words, "a little bit of a smack habit". He helped me start using one day and I never looked back; my mind was set from the first prick of the needle to destroy my body and my life with as much heroin as I possibly could. In five years I destroyed literally every vein I could reach (which is something that, 8 years later, I still deal with and will for the rest of my life). I am a convicted felon, have too many misdemeanor theft charges on my record to count, and spent time in and out of jail. I tried to kick my habit countless times, spent weeks in rehab at a variety of facilities - I even tried Rapid Opiate Detox (which worked for all of 2 weeks). My family tried an intervention with me during the height of my addiction, and it failed miserably. I am a firm believer that interventions and rehab are useless unless the addict is fully ready to quit.
It wasn't until I was willing to give up my entire drug-associated life that I was able to get clean and stay clean.

So, here I am with a loving "normie" husband, 2 beautiful children, and all of the benefits from a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. I am living proof that living a clean life WILL provide its own rewards! If I can do it, you can too - you just have to be ready to give in to the amazing life that is living sober. Find a treatment program (being medically detoxed is definitely the way to go), go to a 12-step meeting. Take the first step and you won't regret it; withdrawal is impossible and feels like an eternity, but it will get better. I promise.

Jolly said...


I some what agree to your article.

Thanks for writing such a great article. It’s really good to know about drug rehab in such a detail. It all begins with the idea to try how it feels when you take a sip of alcohol. It was not only depends a mouthful, so that increases the desire of some of the drink. And that is how we become dependent, and soon will need Alcohol Detox and rehabilitation.


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Matthew said...

I'm a recovered syringe addict.
I used to inject crystal meth and heroin.
That is in my words what I got up to in a previous life. I tried to make myself better through seeking out at the time seemed like great help. Buprenorphine and short term detoxes, 10 days to 2 weeks. After this work I still shot up. I loved it that much. It used to make me feel so good. That is why I'm a lonely 38 year old. Yes I would love to have a wife and kids but when I was using that is all that I cared about. I treated my girlfriends so very poorly.

I finally did long term rehabilitation for 7 months about 4years ago. Others did it for nearly 2 years. I loved it. The staff there work so hard on me to cure me of my love affair with shooting up. I needed to change my ingrained way of thinking and I'm proof that it is possible. Say no to methadone, etc which works on the physical side. Cure your brains love affair with shooting up.

It is so very hard but it is possible to emerge a far better person. Use your talents for good instead of evil.

Then great things will happen.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I have been in a a relationship with my boyfriend for 3 years, and have a beautiful baby boy together. The first year we were together was the best he was clean and sober, then alcohol started slowly until it became a everyday thing, then cocaine and eventually opiates. He has now been in a rehab program for the past 4 months and just opened up to me about shooting up and that he was actually a heroin addict and hid it from me. I always had a gut feeling that he was into that but was never able to prove it. and now that he has been in recovery for that long it seems like his drinking is picking up and he disappears every night for 3-4 hours to the bar then tries to lie about the fact he is drunk. I feel so overwhelmed and likeI have no on too talk to or seek advice from because no one would understand my situation. on one hand hes got help for his drug addiction but now he is replacing it with alcohol and i just dot know what to do anymore? I cant continue to live my life this way I deserve better and so does my son, but I love him and and stay because I feel he will change but at the same time I dont think he ever will and Ill spend my whole life trying to straighten him up and hating my life? just looking for an outsiders opinion that has been in a similar situation... because I really dont know what to do anymore?

Anonymous said...

Hello to the brave people who are helping people recover from this addiction. The most importent thing that nobody has said isthat the addict has to be the one to want to get clean or they will always go back. My husband and I have been through alot in the 13yrs we have been together and heroin is the last thing i thought would be in our lives I feel like the reason he turned to this he was addicted to pain pills and he came to me to get clean we got through it about 2yrs later I noticed he was sneaking around lying and acting odd is the only way i can put it, I got a call one day telling me he had just overdosed and had been left on the top of a road to die. That day I felt eemotions I dint know exsisted now all i feel is suspition I realy dont know what to do from here. To anyone who thinks soomthing is not right please do not brush it off i am lucky enough to still have my husband but many people are not trust your heart but remember they have to want it not be forced into it or they will be sure to relapes.

Pamela Matheson said...

Would you be willing to talk to my heroin addict of a boyfriend.. He is the smartest most beautiful person that I know, but is completely consumed by this drug. He's reached out for help a few times but its out of my control. He's a functioning addict meaning he works only cause its a family business. His family is well known in our community his mother is a commissioner and they also have a very successful electrical business. He is extremely intelligent be a English literature major and we all have high hopes for him.. I'm at the point of walking away i have to much on the line to lose being a single mom and all... I love him and have talked to him alto about this for the most part her trust me and tells me more then i want to know.. Help i'm lost on what to do.

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