What Is Heroin?
Heroin is an illicit, rapid-acting opioid made from morphine, a natural substance found in the pods of poppy seed plants. It can appear as a white or brown powder or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. People abuse this drug by injecting, snorting, or smoking it.
Some common street names or slang for heroin include:
- Big H
- Black Tar
- Hell Dust
The effects of heroin can be felt as early as a few seconds and only lasts 10 to 15 minutes, depending on tolerance levels.
Immediately after using uses heroin, a person may experience these short-term effects:
- A rush of euphoria and pleasure
- Twilight state of relaxation
- Dry mouth
- Flushed skin
- Heavy sensation in extremities
- Severe itching
- Clouded mental function
- Brief lapses in consciousness or nodding off
- Increased body temperature
As heroin use progresses, addiction and physical dependence take control. Once this happens, an individual is at high risk for a number of complicated health conditions.
Long-term effects of heroin use may include:
- Lung complications from respiratory system depression
- Significant damage to the sinus cavities from snorting
- Increased risk of infectious diseases — like HIV and Hepatitis B and C — from shared needles
- Collapsed veins and bacterial infections of blood vessels and heart valves
- Depression and Antisocial Personality Disorder
Heroin has been known to contain additives such as sugar and starch, which clog the veins that lead to essential organs. Heroin can also be cut with Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. When this occurs, the risks of addiction and deadly overdose are even higher.
Heroin Addiction, Dependence, and Withdrawal
Heroin is highly addictive, leading to increased tolerance and consequently frequent and larger doses in order to achieve the same effect. This vicious cycle can lead to dependence, overdose, and even death.
Those that attempt to detox on their own often fail due to the severe and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. By the time a physical dependence develops, many heroin users are unable to achieve the rush of euphoria on the drug anymore. At this stage in addiction, they are simply using the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from heroin can present as:
- Severe muscle and bone pain
- Diarrhea and vomiting that leads to dehydration
- Cold flashes
- Severe cravings
- Uncontrollable leg movements
These withdrawal symptoms can occur as soon as 6 hours after the last dose and can last as long as 6 to 7 days. Even after a week, clients may develop Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), where the psychological withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and depression continue even longer.
Sometimes, no matter how hard a person tries, a DIY detox fails because the withdrawal symptoms are unmanageable. That’s why receiving medical treatment for detoxification is the best opportunity for lasting recovery.
Heroin Detox at Laguna Shores Recovery
Detoxification is the uncomfortable process of ridding toxins from your body. As mentioned, detoxing from heroin can lead to excruciating and dangerous withdrawal symptoms that should not be managed alone. Although detox from heroin is not considered particularly lethal, treating and addressing withdrawal symptoms in a safe, heroin-free environment can provide the optimal care and resources needed to detox successfully.
Laguna Shores Recovery is located in Mission Viejo, California, a 20-minute drive from Laguna Beach. Our detox facility is designed to make our clients feel comfortable and at home through the most painful and perhaps most critical phase of recovery. For the first seven days in our care, you will be encouraged to rest, explore our facility, immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding hills, and focus solely on healing.
After your first seven days, you’ll begin attending and partaking in the more immersive therapies our program provides. You will also get to know our professional medical staff that will work around the clock to keep you safe and comfortable. Rest assured, our staff will hold your safety and comfort to the highest degree.
Laguna Shores is a full medical facility that offers medication-assisted treatment with methadone and suboxone to combat severe heroin withdrawal where necessary.
Rehabilitation After Detox
Following detoxification, Laguna Shores Recovery will provide residential inpatient treatment where you can form lifelong bonds with staff members and fellow residents. Being part of a support unit strengthens recovery and relationships for all of our clients.
Following detox, you can participate in various addiction therapies, including:
- Psychotherapy, such as CBT and Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
- Experiential Therapy
- 12-Step Program
- Life Skills Courses
- Adulting 101
- Art Therapy
- Nutrition Classes
Treatment plans are tailored to fit each client’s needs — so you may have additional steps or not require as many — but all of our clients will have the opportunity to explore the surrounding area and have fun. In our care, you can expect activities and day trips where you can take a well-deserved break. Some common activities include beach trips, equine therapy, yoga and art classes, meditation, journaling, and learning how to cook delicious, new meals for yourself and your loved ones in recovery.
Heroin addiction can devastate all aspects of a person’s life, negatively affecting their mental and physical health as well as their relationships and employment status. Laguna Shores Recovery provides one-on-one consultations to develop individualized treatment plans through the detoxification and residential treatment process. If you or a loved one are battling heroin addiction, you are not alone. Call us today for more information at (866) 229-9923.