Too often, what begins as a prescription for pain results in a heroin overdose. The opioid epidemic in our country is fueled by pain medications carelessly prescribed by doctors.
While these drugs are typically taken after surgery or other injury, they have been used as a crutch in the medical community for too long.
Historically, drugs like Vicodin and Oxycodone were prescribed with no knowledge about their dangers. As those taking these medications built tolerances and developed addictions, it became clear that these drugs were habit forming.
Once prescriptions were cut back, those who had developed substance use disorders were forced to turn to heroin as it was easier to obtain and less expensive.
Heroin Addiction: The Numbers
Today, the heroin epidemic has spiraled out of control.
In 2016, neary 15,500 people died from heroin overdoses, a death toll that was 20 percent higher than the year 2015.
Unfortunately, these numbers continued to dramatically increase in 2017.
Heroin Addiction: The Cause
When researching the cause of heroin use in the United States, there is one common denominator: prescription opioids.
In fact, in a poll among new heroin users during 2000 to 2013, three out of four reported using prescription opioids before turning to heroin.
While no one is immune to addiction, there are certain factors that make people more susceptible to heroin dependency.
One of the biggest risk factors is a genetic predisposition. Those who have family members with a history of opioid abuse may be more likely to struggle with addiction themselves, particularly if they witness family members engaging in drug use as a way to numb pain.
In general, most heroin users become addicted to this drug because it offers relief from the hardship and stress of everyday life.
Because heroin is often used as a coping mechanism, those with unfortunate life circumstances or a history of trauma tend to be more susceptible to the grips of addiction.
Heroin makes the user feel warm and euphoric, but as time passes, the body requires more of the drug to achieve the same high. This is what results in dependency.
Heroin Addiction: The Consequences
While the ultimate consequence of any substance use disorder is death, heroin has many negative side effects that occur with or without an overdose.
Negative side effects of heroin use include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Poor decision making
- Uncontrolled behaviors
- Irregular hormone levels
- Memory loss
Heroin Addiction: The Treatment
If your loved one is suffering from heroin addiction, you are likely wondering about the most effective treatment model that will put them on the road to recovery.
While no two recovery journeys look the same, there are certain things you can expect along the way.
Once your loved one has acknowledged their addiction and expressed a desire for recovery, the first step is detoxification. During detox, the body, brain, and organs will become drug-free.
Heroin detox takes at least five to seven days to complete.
At Alo House, we provide a comfortable, high-end facility, medications that reduce the effects of withdrawal, and 24-hour medical staff to ensure that detox is as pain-free as possible.
Once a client has completed the detoxification process, they can begin a 30 to 90 day residential treatment.
The staff at Alo House is trained to connect with our clients and nurture respectful relationships.
Through evidence-based treatment therapies, those with a heroin addiction can become clean and sober and live a full, meaningful life.
Some of the treatment therapies we use for heroin addiction include:
- Motivational Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Therapy
- Relapse Prevention Therapy
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