All addictive substances have the potential for abuse since they chemically alter the physical body. Prolonged abuse causes the brain to become dependent on the substance, gradually weakening the brain’s ability to self-regulate.
Although all substances carry this risk, some are more addictive than others. The levels of addictiveness can be gauged by the potency of the drug or the level of withdrawal discomfort which typically reinforces continued use as a means to prevent withdrawal. Regardless of how an individual becomes addicted, all addictive substances are dangerous when abused as they chemically alter the brain, sometimes irreversibly.
How Addictive is Heroin?
Heroin is an extremely addictive and potent semi-synthetic opioid. Heroin addiction rates continue to increase as heroin is a much cheaper option in comparison to prescription opioids. Both heroin and prescription pills have caused an ongoing opioid crisis in the U.S. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, regular use of heroin can lead to addiction within two to three weeks.
Signs of Abuse
Heroin use can cause fatality after only one use. Due to the inherent danger of using this drug, it is important to know the signs of heroin abuse. The following side effects are indicators of heroin addiction and abuse.
- All-time and energy is spent on securing more heroin
- Unsuccessfully trying to quit
- Collapsed or infected veins at the injection site
- Powerful cravings
- Neglecting responsibilities such as work, school, or family
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Feeling severely ill when heroin isn’t available (withdrawal)
- Seeming under the influence (pinpoint pupils, lethargic, pale)
Dangers of Abuse
Being 2-3 times more potent than morphine, heroin is a main, contributing factor to the current opioid epidemic in the United States. The CDC states that approximately 841,000 people have died in the past two decades from a drug overdose, with 70% of those deaths involving an opioid.
Heroin is classified as a CNS depressant. When ingested, the drug suppresses the respiratory system, resulting in the body’s vital organs having an inadequate oxygen supply. Opioids such as heroin depress breathing by changing neurochemical activity in the brain stem, where automatic body functions such as breathing and heart rate are regulated. Due to the depressant nature of heroin, most overdose fatalities are due to breathing cessation.
A rather insidious contributor to opioid fatalities is the presence of fentanyl. Oftentimes, those who illegally manufacture heroin cut it with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Unaware of the presence of fentanyl, individuals can easily overdose. According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 45.9% of opioid-related overdoses involved fentanyl in 2016 alone.
Knoxville Recovery Center Can Help
Heroin abuse is life-threatening if left untreated. Fortunately, help is available for those battling this addiction. Depending on the stage of an individual’s addiction, they may require detox, an intensive treatment program, or both. Fortunately, Knoxville Recovery Center offers various services to those struggling with this addiction.
Detox – Our on-site detox clinic accommodates and supports clients as the body sheds all residual traces of heroin. Clients are under medical supervision during the detox process to ensure that they remain safe and comfortable.
Addiction Treatment – During our addiction treatment program, clients will engage in introductory therapies and exercises that work to prepare them for continued, more intensive treatment outside of our facility. The goal of our addiction treatment track is to stabilize clients so that they are treatment-ready.
Mental Health Treatment – Our mental health treatment program introduces behavioral therapies rooted in self-expression and holistic exercise. Art therapy, music therapy, and yoga are just a few forms of therapy we offer at the center. Our goal is to help the client reclaim their voice and expose them to treatment within a professional facility.
Aftercare Planning – Aftercare is designed for individuals who have benefitted from our introductory addiction services and are transitioning into a more intensive addiction treatment program. Once a client is stabilized, they will be encouraged to pursue continued addiction treatment. Our experienced case managers will then work with our clients to place them in a program that addresses their specific wants and needs.Addiction is difficult to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with heroin abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call Knoxville Recovery Center and speak with an addiction expert today.