The National Institutes on Drug Abuse reports that roughly 691,000 people in the U.S. meet the diagnostic criteria for heroin use disorder. Heroin abuse and heroin addiction are severe health risks that can lead to a fatal overdose. MD M.A.T.T. provides effective, whole-person addiction treatment in Baltimore, MD. Call our experts at 410.469.6561 if you or someone you care about is showing the symptoms of heroin addiction.
Understanding Heroin Abuse
Heroin is an illegal drug from the opioid family. It is made from morphine, which occurs naturally in opium poppies. The plants are grown in several areas around the world, including Southwest and Southeast Asia, Columbia, and Mexico.
Heroin is available in many forms and can be consumed by smoking, snorting, or injecting. When ingested, heroin binds with naturally occurring opioid receptors in the brain, which creates a powerful euphoric feeling. This intense feeling of pleasure and absence of pain leads to heroin abuse and addiction.
As a person’s physical dependence on heroin grows, so does their psychological dependence. Cravings for the drug can be overwhelming, and chemical changes in the brain caused by heroin use can affect an individual’s ability to think clearly or make good decisions. Over time, people with heroin use disorder build a tolerance to the drug and need larger and more frequent doses to achieve the desired results. This dangerous cycle increases the risk of overdose, especially if heroin is laced with other substances like fentanyl.
Signs You Need Heroin Rehab
Addiction disorders are challenging to talk about, but if you’re worried someone you care about is addicted to heroin, a difficult conversation may save their life. Pay close attention to their habits, changes in their home or personal characteristics, and look for these warning signs of heroin addiction:
- The presence of drug paraphernalia, such as needles, pipes, bent spoons, rubber tubing, or lighters
- Extreme drowsiness and falling asleep suddenly (called “nodding”)
- Poor personal hygiene
- Frequent flu-like symptoms
- Memory loss
- Avoiding friends, family, and activities they once enjoyed
- Confused thinking and disorientation
- Financial problems without an apparent cause
- Stealing from friends or family
- Trouble at work or school
- The frequent need for laxatives (heroin use can cause constipation)
Wearing long-sleeve shirts or hoodies when it’s warm outside can be another warning sign of heroin use. Injecting heroin leaves scars known as “tracks” that people using heroin may try to hide from their loved ones.
Social isolation is another warning sign to be aware of. Individuals with substance use disorders frequently avoid other people who do not also use drugs. If you or someone you know shows signs of a heroin use disorder, heroin addiction treatment can help.
Finding Heroin Addiction Treatment
If you’re considering a treatment program in Baltimore, MD, make sure it offers evidence-based therapies such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT is a thoroughly researched program that helps people break the cycle of addiction through medication, therapy, behavioral changes, and peer support.
The medications used in heroin rehabs with MAT reduce withdrawal symptoms and significantly decrease the risk of fatal overdose. MAT is highly recommended for those who have gone through the withdrawal process at least once before or have attended a treatment program at least once before.