One of the most difficult addictions to overcome is by far an addiction to heroin. Heroin addiction causes the central nervous system to become dependent on the drug which results in a strong physical dependence. During heroin detox, the addict will experience serious withdrawal symptoms that can even be life threatening if not properly monitored. Heroin detox is one of the most difficult types of drug detox to undergo but it’s also one of the most important as continued use of heroin is devastating to the human body.
Heroin destroys lives and families. Not only do thousands of people suffer from heroin overdose each year, an equally high number of heroin users will become victim of infectious disease such as AIDS, hepatitis or other intravenously transmitted diseases. Heroin addiction is dangerous, difficult and deadly.
Heroin detox is the process by which one stops using heroin and eliminates the physical dependency on the drug. The heroin detox process is both difficult and dangerous but it’s also vital to the success of a drug treatment program. The decision to get help and overcome an addiction to heroin is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make and heroin detox is the very first step to the recovery process.
Heroin Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
When a heroin addict stops using heroin the withdrawal symptoms will almost instantly begin. Within just a few hours of the last dose of heroin the body will begin to experience the following symptoms:
- Stomach Cramping
- Sinus related complications such as sneezing and sniffles
- Anger and irritability
The user will feel “sick” and may even claim that as the reason why they do not or haven’t quit using heroin sooner. After just one time of using heroin the body begins to form a physical dependence on the drug which only escalates with each and every additional use of the drug. This is why heroind detox is so important.
Risks of Heroin Detox
Heroin detox comes with potentially more risks than any other type of drug detox. The physical dependence on the drug is so strong that the body almost can’t function without it once the addiction has been formed. This is why it is so important to attend a heroin detox program and never to detox from heroin alone.
Heroin causes dopamine to release and norepinephrine which controls the sympathetic nervous system. Heroin suppresses the part of the brain that stimulates the norepinephrine which is the chemical that stimulates the fight of flight response therefore causing the addict to feel safe and content no matter what is happening. During heroin detox is is possible for the addict to feel withdrawal symptoms that are so strong the risk of relapse increases ten fold. In fact, studies show that the average heroin user will start and stop heroin detox an average of 15 times or more in their lifetime.
Medications Used in Heroin Detox
Various medications are used to help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms that are felt during heroin detox. The most common types of drugs used to help with heroin detoxification are opioid agonist drugs. These drugs include methadone, Buprenorphine and Clonidine. Each of them blocks the withdrawal symptoms in some manner to help the addict to overcome the heroin addiction.
Opioid agonist drugs are administered in the least possible dose necessary to help alleviate heroin withdrawal symptoms without producing a “high.” These drugs are then gradually decreased over time until eventually the drug is no longer needed and the individual does not feel anymore withdrawal symptoms. Due to the medications that are used, heroin detox should always be performed under close medical supervision.
There are other types of medications used to treat heroin withdrawal and to help with heroin detox. For instance, rapid detox is performed under general anesthesia over a 6 to 8 hour period in which a range of drugs are administered to the addict with the end result of no physical dependence on heroin 8 hours later. This type of heroin detox is very controversial and can be very dangerous.
Additionally, certain alternative therapies may also be used to help alleviate the symptoms of heroin detox and withdrawal. Acupuncture and massage therapy may help with bone and muscle pain, nutritional counseling is beneficial and helpful in treating any stomach pain, nausea or other digestive problems associated with heroin detox. Chiropractic treatment may also be used to help alleviate aches and pains associated with heroin detox.