Understanding Heroin Addiction
Dr Nick Greenwood MD. strongly agrees that Heroin is an illicit, highly addictive drug. It is the most abused and the most rapidly acting member of opioids. Abusers describe a feeling of a surge of pleasurable sensation, named as “rush” or “high”. Repeated administration of high doses of heroin results in the induction of physical dependence. Physical dependence refers to an altered physiological state produced by chronic administration of heroin which necessitates the continued administration of the drug to prevent the appearance of a characteristic syndrome, the opioid withdrawal or abstinence syndrome. Withdrawal symptoms may occur within a few hours after the last administration of heroin. Symptoms of the withdrawal include restlessness, insomnia, drug craving, diarrhea, muscle and bone pain, cold flashes with goose bumps, and leg movements. Dr Greenwood has seen major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose of heroin and subside after about a week. At this time, weakness and depression are pronounced and nausea and vomiting are common. Nevertheless, some chronic addicts have shown persistent withdrawal signs for many months or even years. Heroin addiction is considered as a behavioral state of compulsive drug use and a high tendency to relapse after periods of abstinence. It is generally accepted that compulsive use and relapse are typically associated with the status of heroin craving or heroin hunger that are difficult to define but appear to be powerful motivational significance in the addiction process. The route of administering heroin varies largely and may indicate the degree of seriousness of the individual’s addiction. Intravenous administration seems to be the predominant method of heroin use, but recently a shift in heroin use pattern has been found, i.e. from injection to sniffing and smoking. Frequent injections coupled with widespread sharing of syringes increase the risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis B, C and other blood-borne infectious diseases. Long-term use of heroin has also severe medical consequences such as scarred veins, bacterial infections of blood vessels, liver and kidney diseases, and lung complications.
Dr Greenwood recommends that you seek professional help in diagnosing and treating your Heroin addiction. Treating an addiction to heroin usually involves therapy, medication, support groups and lifestyle changes. These treatments are available at both inpatient and outpatient treatment centers. Due to the symptoms of withdrawal and the psychological grip heroin has on its users, a professional treatment center usually offers the best chances of a successful recovery. Detox is the first step toward overcoming heroin. Dr Greenwood MD. highly recommends to detox with a team of professionals who are trained to supervise and monitor you throughout the process of heroin detoxification. Heroin withdrawal is often painful and can last weeks for some, but physicians can prescribe medication that can minimize discomfort and help the body slowly readjust. Dr Nick Greenwood also recommends therapy which is also an important aspect for tackling the underlying behaviors that led to a person’s heroin use.