What is heroin? How long does it take to detox from heroin? Whether someone is struggling with addiction themselves or watching a loved one do so, it’s natural to have questions about this.
Heroin is a street drug that’s derived from the opium poppy, a colorful flower that grows in Asia, Central America, and South America. The actual drug comes from the seed pod of the poppy. It can come in the form of a sticky black or brown substance, or it can be a white or brown powder.
Aside from heroin, there are also pharmaceutical opioid drugs used as pain relievers, such as oxycodone. These can be as deadly and destructive as the street version of the drug.
Heroin works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and other parts of the body. These receptors help control pain and pleasure responses. This is why the drug is an excellent pain reliever and also why many users experience euphoric effects. The problem is these receptors are also important for controlling one’s heart rate and ability to breathe. Too much heroin will result in death.
Long before one enters a heroin detox program, something triggers them to use. Everyone has different triggers. Some people start off using cannabis or alcohol and move on to harder drugs, while others succumb to peer pressure.
A common way that addiction develops is through the use of opioid pharmaceutical medications. A doctor will prescribe these medications as a short-term remedy for pain, and the person ends up addicted. Since heroin is much cheaper and usually easier to access than pharmaceutical pills, they will often start using it instead.
Some people turn to drugs as a coping mechanism. They may suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders. They may be victims of childhood abuse or have other past traumas. When someone suffers from both addiction and another disorder, it’s known as a dual diagnosis. These cases can be complex to treat. It’s best to choose a heroin detox program that specializes in dual diagnosis treatment.
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It’s safe to say that if one is using heroin, they need to stop. There is no safe or recreational heroin usage. Everyone who uses it will eventually become addicted.
Those concerned about a loved one might be wondering if there are any definite signs of usage. A few things to watch out for include:
There can be many reasons a person changes their behavior or becomes secretive about their activities. Not all of them mean the person needs a heroin detox program. However, the more of these signs are present, the more likely it is that they do.
When a person uses heroin over a long period, they gradually build a tolerance to it. This means they need more of it to get the desired result. The financial burden of using tends to increase over time. This can result in the user becoming desperate for money. They will often steal to ensure they can maintain their habit.
This increase in tolerance is what creates the danger of an overdose. A user will increase their dosage over time, then they’ll quit for a period. During this brief period of sobriety, the tolerance drops. If the user relapses and uses the same dose as the last time, there’s a risk it will be too much. Many people pass away from this scenario, which is why maintaining sobriety is so crucial for former heroin users.
How long does it take to detox from heroin? Many users have that question when considering a stay at a heroin detox facility. The truth is that every individual will experience withdrawal in a unique way. The length of time depends on one’s method of use, duration of time using, and body chemistry.
That said, the worst of the withdrawal symptoms typically last about a week. For heavy or long-term users, symptoms may last longer.
During detox from heroin, one may experience:
During the first phase of the heroin detox program, the patient will be under medical supervision. Professionals will be on hand to observe the patient and dispense medication if needed.
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Once the heroin detox program is complete, the patient will be ready to start the real work. This usually involves a move from the heroin detox center to an inpatient rehab facility. After a detox from heroin, the cravings are often still quite intense. The patient will need a great deal of emotional support during this time.
There are several options for continued treatment after the initial heroin detox program is complete.
Also known as residential treatment, this option involves living at the treatment facility. Patients will follow a schedule as they work through various aspects of treatment. These aspects include private therapy, group therapy, and experiential activities.
When a patient either can’t afford or commit to an inpatient stay, outpatient rehab is an option. The patient will visit the heroin detox center or rehab facility a set number of days each week. This allows them to work on recovery while handling other responsibilities at home.
Some people choose to work on their recovery with a private counselor rather than at a heroin detox facility.
Most rehab facilities use well-known 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous as a model for their recovery systems. The 12-step program has proven successful for many recovered addicts. Patients continue 12-step meetings during and after they leave rehab. However, it’s possible to attend these meetings without ever going to inpatient rehab.
The journey of recovery is ongoing. Even when a former user has been sober many years, it’s important to keep attending 12-step meetings and showing up for therapy. The stresses of life have a way of pushing people back toward heroin use if they aren’t careful.
If you believe you need a heroin detox program, it’s wise to avoid delaying treatment. It’s normal to feel frightened at the thought of entering a heroin detox facility. Nonetheless, any delays will only make the process harder.
When a person is suffering from heroin addiction, their life begins to revolve around the drug. Heroin users go back and forth between feeling sick from withdrawal and being high on heroin. The latter state often results in nodding off for a period. In either state, it’s difficult to handle the responsibilities of a normal life.
Heroin users often fail to eat healthy, exercise, or take care of their basic hygiene. Heroin can also cause itching. This can drive users to obsessively scratch and pick at their skin, leading to sores.
Street drugs like heroin can be expensive. As mentioned above, when someone is using, they will struggle to be responsible. This means they’ll likely have a difficult time holding down a job. The lack of consistent income combined with an expensive drug habit is a recipe for financial ruin.
Until someone detoxes from heroin, it will be difficult to maintain healthy relationships. The longer the addiction goes on, the longer healthy family members will have to endure a state of worry. This can breed resentment. Entering a heroin detox program can be the turning point that will allow a family to begin healing.
The illegality of heroin creates a huge risk of legal troubles for the user. Every day a person spends with heroin or drug paraphernalia in their possession, the risk of an arrest increases.
More than 70,000 Americans passed away from a drug overdose in 2019. Many of those deaths resulted from heroin abuse. A heroin detox center can help someone get clean before they lose everything.
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Chapel Hill Detox offers a comprehensive heroin detox program.
The personalized treatment experience takes place in the laid-back atmosphere of West Palm Beach, Florida.
During the healing process, residents receive support from our compassionate staff. Our team includes board-certified physicians, devoted therapists, and friendly nurses. We also have talented chefs on staff to provide our residents with nutritious gourmet meals.