Heroin is an opioid manufactured from morphine. Morphine is created from opium. Opium comes from the gummy, sap-like compound contained in opium poppies. About 80 percent of the people who use heroin began by misusing prescription opioids. Heroin addiction leaves a terrible train of devastation behind in a persons life. If you or someone you love is addicted to heroin, Riverwalk Recovery can help.
Heroin addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. in the past 20 years. At Riverwalk Recovery, we offer opioid addiction treatment with compassion. Our mission is not to just heal you in the short-term, but to prepare you for a lifetime in recovery. You can escape the downward spiral of addiction. You can take your life back and build lasting recovery. We will not tell you it’s easy, but it can be done if you can follow a few simple directions. Recovery begins with willingness. Being willing to change and to accept help is all you need to begin your recovery.
How Heroin Works
When heroin enters the brain, it causes a surge of dopamine. This is responsible for the high induced by heroin. It is also what makes heroin incredibly dangerous and addictive. By flooding the brain’s reward pathways with dopamine, heroin soon becomes the most important thing to the user.
People addicted to heroin often neglect their health. Our brains evolved to reward us for positive behaviors like exercise. Heroin hijacks this evolutionary reward system until it turns every ounce of a person’s motivation towards getting and using more heroin. Chances are if you are reading this though, most if not all of this is not news to you.
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The Effects of Heroin
Heroin is most often injected intravenously. But it can smoked or snorted as well. In fact, the potency of heroin increased dramatically over the past 20-30 years. This made it easier for first time users to get a high by simply snorting heroin in powder form. Tragically this made the drug more accessible to people who might have otherwise been discouraged by the need to use a syringe.
Heroin use has a wide range of effects. They can be broken down into short and long-term physical effects and behavioral effects.
Short-term physical effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Drowsiness or “nodding out”
- Cloudy thinking, impaired mental functioning
Behavioral effects include:
- “Nodding out”
- Scratching at the skin
- Nasal-sounding voice (from the relaxing of muscles in the throat)
Long-term physical effects include:
- Collapsed veins (IV use)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Liver and/or kidney disease
- Infection of heart lining or valves
- Constipation and stomach cramping
- Lung problems, including pneumonia
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Here are some signs of a possible heroin overdose. The most common signs are shallow or stopped breathing. Other signs may include:
- Constricted pupils
- Faint or weak pulse
- Tongue discoloration
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Blue or purplish skin, nails or lips
- Uncontrollable muscle movements
- Delirious and unresponsive even while awake
If you see someone exhibiting any of these symptoms after using heroin, please call 911 immediately. Heroin overdose is a life-threatening emergency.
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Getting Help for Heroin Addiction
Heroin is not a gateway drug. It is almost never someone’s first drug of choice. Some people try it for the first time because a friend introduces them. Other seek it out when their opioid of choice is no longer available or affordable. The result is the same in either case though. Opioid dependency. Being dependent on opioids can be incredibly difficult. Living with the constant fear of withdrawal symptoms if you can’t secure more opioids is a terrible way to live. The physical withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, watery eyes, yawning. These soon give way to stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, cold sweats, muscle spasms, sleeplessness and more. There is no reason to endure any of this though. Help is available.
Recover at Riverwalk
Most of our friendly staff are in recovery themselves. All of us understand addiction intimately and have a personal connection to recovery. We are ready to help, or just listen if that’s what you want. If you are watching someone you love struggle with opioid addiction we can help there too. We will provide guidance and insight into interventions and other methods to help “raise the bottom” to compel someone to accept the help they need. The road to a solution begins with a conversation. You will begin to feel better the moment you start to talk to us. This isn’t a burden you need to bear all on your own. Treatment for opioid addiction is available at Riverwalk Recovery. We work with most private health insurance providers and have reasonable self-pay rates. Let’s talk about what we can do together.
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Whether you are struggling with depression, addiction, an eating disorder or some combination of these, we can help. All you need to do is make the first move and reach out to us. Let’s get you better, together.