Effects of Use
Along with the rush that takes place shortly after use, heroin addicts also experience these effects:
- Decreased ability to cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Dry mouth
- Heaviness in the extremities
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Reduced anxiety
- Severe itching
As evidenced by pictures of heroin addicts, the aesthetic physical effects can be extensive as well.
Complications and Long Term Effects of Heroin Abuse
Heroin abusers are also putting themselves at risk for a number of health issues, including:
- Risk of contracting HIV or Hepatitis C from needle use
- Increased risk of miscarriage
- Increased tolerance over time where the addict must use more of the drug to achieve the same effect
- Heroin overdose
Help and Treatment for Heroin Addiction
People who want to quit using heroin do better when they are well motivated to do so. The motivation may come from the person who is addicted to heroin themselves or because of the involvement of concerned friends or family members who hold a drug rehab intervention. When someone detoxes from heroin, they are going to experience a series of withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Muscle aches
The withdrawal symptoms will start within a few hours after the person stops using heroin, with the peak occurring within 24-72 hours. Symptoms of withdrawal may be present for a week after the last time the addict used the drug. Ideally, this step in heroin treatment is performed under the supervision of a doctor. People who have been heavy users for a long time should avoid trying to stop all at once, since a sudden stop in use could be fatal. This extraordinarily painful and dangerous process is a primary factor that makes heroin addictions often last years and can result in death.
Beyond Quitting: Heroin Recovery and Rehabilitation
After successfully getting through the drug detoxification phase, a follow-up program needs to be in place if you want to successfully quit heroin. Individual and group therapy is used at drug rehab centers to help people who are trying to beat an addiction to heroin get to the root of the problem, understand it, and come up with strategies to avoid using the drug again. 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous could also be of help.
Your doctor may be able to refer you to a treatment center. If you have health insurance coverage for addiction treatment at HMO insurance drug rehab centers, private insurance drug rehab centers or at a PPO insurance drug rehab center, the company may have a list of facilities that are approved for full or partial coverage. Lack of coverage doesn’t need to be a barrier to getting help, though. State-run facilities may be able to provide treatment at no charge or on a sliding geared-to-income scale and some facilities offer financing for treatment.