It is very difficult maintaining sobriety when you have a history of heroin. Your simple daily activities will become mountain-like. Dragging your tired body out of your four-walled room will be a herculean task. Worst still, imagine having a relapse of this dangerous and addictive substance. Before we dive into this, what is heroin?
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug(drugs that have a morphine-like effect) that acts on the opioid receptor, resulting in the block of pain messages transmitted through the spinal cord from the body. Heroin also alters the activity in the limbic system which controls emotions. In addition, it changes the neurochemical activity in the brain stem where automatic body functions such as breathing and heart rate are controlled.
Why Are You Addicted to Heroin?
There are various causes or reasons why an individual can actively be addicted to heroin intake. Heroin consumption accompanies with it, a surge of euphoria which is originally the function of dopamine, it is safe to say that heroin addiction occurs as a result of the need to force the brain to release the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter found in the brain. When released, it is responsible for a deep feeling of euphoria, pleasure, and increased enthusiasm in humans. However, regular intake of a dangerous substance such as heroin disables the brain from naturally producing dopamine as it ought to. Instead, it lures a person into a regular and higher quantity of consumption of heroin to achieve the constant release of dopamine. Where a person becomes addicted to heroin, there is a need to prevent drastic effects. However, maintaining such a state of sobriety during recovery from addiction and learning to allow the brain to revert back to naturally producing dopamine takes a great deal of daily work and self-determination. It literally feels like moving your bare feet on fiery coals. Thus, circumstances may arise in which the individual relapses.
Falling Back Into Despair – Heroin Relapse
Heroin relapse is a situation where a person in recovery from heroin addiction falls back to heroin intake. Such a person is unable to maintain sobriety may resort to heroin intake during periods of recovery. What Causes Relapse? Heroin relapse can be triggered by terrible personal experiences or other circumstances. Such triggers usually occur during the period of recovery and they include:
- The sight or smell of heroin
- Reuniting with people which such individuals used heroin with
- Attending an event where people are abusing heroin
Stages of Heroin Relapse
When people talk about a relapse, what usually comes to mind is a situation where a person retakes the substance after a long period of sobriety. However, there are stages of relapsing before the exact act of intake. Emotional Relapse: This is the first stage of relapse. It is characterized by a situation where a person begins to live in a state of denial of their struggle with heroin. The prominent signs in this stage are:
- Failure to attend support group meetings
- Failure to share experiences in a support group meeting
- Failure to keep up with self-care
- Sudden withdrawal from friends and family
Mental Relapse: The second stage is characterized when thoughts about drugs(heroin) begin to reemerge. In this stage, there is a battle between the two sides of the individual as a part of them would want to resort to heroin intake and the other part is intensely and actively fighting back. The signs of this stage include:
- Strong cravings
- Ruminating over people and places you used heroin with
- Actively planning on where and how to use heroin better.
Physical Relapse: This is the final stage. It deals with the actual intake of heroin during the period of recovery. The individual retakes the substance into their body when they feel like they would not get caught.
More About Danger of Heroin Relapse
Heroin is very dangerous! A heroin relapse is extremely dangerous as the affinity to heroin becomes higher. A relapsing user tends to develop greater love, desire and is even more dependent on the substance. In this instance, there would be a high probability of overdose. Again, where a person is addicted to heroin, the body system such as the liver and kidney deteriorates. The individual can only ‘manage’ the deterioration during the recovery process. The body will not reset to the factory setting. However, the deterioration becomes worse when relapse occurs due to increased affinity, having missed it for so long.
Lasting Sobriety With Riverwalk Recovery Center
When a person in recovery relapses to taking this substance, it can be hard to bounce straight back into recovery without support. If you are experiencing a heroin addiction relapse or should experience it, stay calm and remember it is a part of recovery. Engaging your support system would help you build resistance to each stage. Seeking and committing to therapy programs and counseling at once is key to this process. At Riverwalk Recovery, we provide a welcoming and effective environment to help you get back on track. We understand how dangerous heroin relapse is and the need to prevent such. Therefore, our programs such as 12 step facilitation therapy, cognitive therapy, and specialized heroin addiction rehab are available for your bright future.