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Recognizing Heroin Dependence

a person puts their head in their hands to show heroin dependence

Most people are aware of the opioid epidemic that has swept through our nation at an alarming rate since the 1990s. Many types of drugs are involved in this crisis, including prescription medications. However, because it is cheap and easily accessible, heroin has become a commonly abused opioid in recent years, with addiction rates increasing dramatically in individuals across all demographics.

If you or someone you love is addicted to heroin, you understand how destructive it can be. Few people can overcome heroin addiction without professional intervention. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset proudly offers comprehensive treatment for individuals and families coping with heroin dependence. Our heroin detox center in Cohasset, Massachusetts, provides leading-edge care for our surrounding areas. Our admissions counselors are available to give information. Call 866.931.6429 to learn how we can help you or your loved one today.

The Importance of Understanding the Effects of Heroin

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug synthesized from morphine derived from the opium poppy. The recent uptick in heroin dependence is primarily connected to overprescribing opioid painkillers.

Once deemed safe, prescription medications like Oxycontin left millions of people unwittingly addicted to the powerful effects of these medications. When prescriptions are unavailable, individuals often turn to illicit drugs like heroin.

Heroin use has a wide range of damaging effects on the body, mind, and overall well-being of not only the person taking heroin but also their loved ones.

Because of its rapid, intense effects, heroin use quickly leads to physical and psychological dependence. Every time it is used, heroin poses significant health risks, including overdose and death. Heroin is often cut with other substances, commonly fentanyl, which increases these risks.

A Look at the Effects of Heroin Use

Understanding the physical effects of heroin helps us understand why it is highly addictive. Heroin attaches to opioid receptors and releases a rush of dopamine that creates instant euphoria. The brain quickly adjusts to the disruption of typical levels of dopamine release and becomes dependent on heroin to produce these effects.

Tolerance rapidly increases, so individuals need higher and higher doses to achieve the same effects. The immediate, short-term side effects of heroin can include the following:

  • A euphoric rush lasting between three to five hours
  • A trance-like state lasting for four to six hours
  • Slowed breathing and heart rate
  • Drowsiness
  • Unclear thinking
  • Heaviness in arms and legs
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Warm, flushed skin
  • Intense itching

Long-term or heavy heroin use can result in significant lasting effects including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Skin abscesses and infections
  • Hepatitis and HIV due to intravenous use
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart and lung infections
  • Miscarriages and infertility in women
  • Collapsed veins
  • Chronic constipation
  • Arthritis and rheumatological issues

Individuals struggling with heroin addiction frequently have co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health issues, including trauma, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset provides compassionate, dual-diagnosis treatment, utilizing evidence-based therapies to help patients uncover the underlying issues contributing to their heroin dependence.

Learning to Recognize the Signs of Heroin Dependence Can Save Lives

The truth about opioids is that anyone who uses them is at risk of developing a dependence on them. Because of its potency, this is especially true of heroin.

Heroin dependence is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition. If you or someone you know is using heroin, it is essential to recognize the signs of heroin dependence, which can  include the following:

  • Developing a tolerance; needing more heroin to produce the same effects
  • Having physical and psychological cravings for heroin
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using heroin
  • Neglecting daily responsibilities at home, work, or school
  • Problems in personal and professional relationships
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and previously enjoyed activities
  • Spending most of the time getting, using, or recovering from using heroin
  • An inability to stop using heroin despite the negative consequences
  • Experiencing financial or legal issues

As with other opioids, it is nearly impossible to break the cycle of heroin dependence without professional help from a program like that offered at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset.

Break Free from Heroin Dependence at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset

As the region’s premier medical detox and residential treatment center, Evoke Wellness at Cohasset has admission counselors available to help you or your loved one begin recovering from heroin dependence.

Our experienced addiction and mental health specialists provide individualized care, utilizing evidence-based and holistic therapies to help individuals and their families heal mentally, physically, and emotionally. Call 866.931.6429 to learn more about our medically supervised heroin detox center and treatment programs, or fill out our online form.