Heroin is a dangerous substance that has many detrimental short and long term effects. Not only does it cause severe issues in physical health, but mental health becomes immensely impacted as well. As a result of heroin addiction, individuals may find themselves suffering from mental chaos.  

We offer a variety of programs that exclusively treat heroin addiction. Each treatment program is tailored to the individual’s needs. We customize all of our treatment plans ensuring that the recovering individual receives the help that they deserve. 

Our treatment programs range from outpatient to inpatient rehabilitation, both programs offering a range in flexibility and commitment. Together, we’ll create a treatment schedule that suits your needs best.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a highly addictive drug derived from morphine, a psychoactive substance derived from the opium poppy plant. Heroin is categorized as an opioid. Other opioids include prescription pain relievers, such as codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.

What are the Consequences of Heroin Addiction?

There are many negative consequences of heroin addiction. These consequences range from physical and health effects on mental and emotional effects. Using heroin can cause chaos in an individual’s life.

Becoming aware of the consequence of heroin addiction can help you or a loved one stop addiction in its tracks. Below, are some of the many negative effects resulting from heroin addiction. 

Chronic heroin users who share unsterilized heroin paraphernalia may experience:

  • Liver disease (from hepatitis C or otherwise)
  • Chronic constipation
  • Depression
  • Kidney disease
  • Infection of heart valves and lining
  • Skin abscesses or infections, possibly due to collapsed or scarred veins
  • Increased risk of contracting hepatitis

The National Institute on Drug misuse has also proven that long-term heroin use can change the chemistry of the brain. As a result, individuals can not function normally. Their behavior and quality of life suffer as a result.

Short Term Health Effects of Heroin

Suing heroin can result in short-term health effects such as:

  • Euphoria, often known as the rush
  • Flushing of the skin
  • A feeling of heaviness in the arms and legs
  • Lessened pain, anxiety, and stress
  • Decreased breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Problems with judgment and rational thinking

Long Term Health Effects of Heroin Addiction

There are major complications associated with heroin misuse. The severity of these issues can vary greatly from person to person, depending on the degree of misuse and personal factors.

Medical complications as a result of heroin use include:

  • Problems as a result of injecting heroin, such as collapsed veins, cardiovascular issues, heart disease or heart infections, and the contraction of blood-borne diseases like hepatitis or HIV due to needle sharing.
  • Respiratory issues due to suppressed breathing rates.
  • Liver damage.
  • Severe mood swings and lack of emotional/mental stability 
  • Problems experiencing pleasure from activities that once brought you joy.
  • Organ damage, including brain damage due to hypoxia (decreased oxygen delivery to organs).
  • Lower levels of achievement, problems with personal relationships, financial problems, and legal issues.

How Do Individuals Begin Using Heroin?

Dangerous health consequences resulting from the misuse of opioid medications that are prescribed for the treatment of pain, such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Demerol, have drastically increased in recent years. For instance, almost half of all opioid deaths in the U.S. now involve a prescription opioid. 

A common misconception is that these drugs are safe because they’re prescribed by a doctor. However, they’re highly addictive and can easily become misused. 

Research now suggests that the misuse of prescription painkillers can lead to heroin use and addiction. Other instances show how individuals have switched to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids.

Seeking Treatment for Heroin Addiction: You Don’t Need to Endure the Difficulties of Heroin Addiction Forever

Heroin is a very potent drug of misuse and one that is easy to fall prey to addiction. Tolerance to the drug develops quickly, leading to physical dependence and a potential opioid use disorder.

The withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin are uncomfortable enough to spur individuals to keep using the drug. Treatment for heroin misuse involves medical detox, intensive counseling, treatment of co-occurring disorders like depression or anxiety, and a long-term commitment to abstinence.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), methadone maintenance, is offered to individuals who have made numerous unsuccessful attempts at recovery. These individuals receive prescribed medications as a substitute for heroin. The goal is often to gradually wean people off prescribed medication, but some people remain on it for years or even for the rest of their lives.

Relationships, career, and family life suffer because of heroin addiction. Choosing to take that first step towards heroin addiction treatment can save you or a loved one’s life. With the highest quality of resources and support, our recovery center can help you make strides in overcoming addiction

Detox for Heroin Addiction

Heroin detox allows you to cleanse your body of toxins accumulated through substance use. Withdrawal symptoms occur as a result of heroin no longer being in an individual’s system./ Withdrawal symptoms range from mental fatigue and insomnia to migraine and muscle weakness.

It is crucial to be medically supervised during the heroin detox process. Without medical supervision, withdrawal symptoms can worsen and result in severe complications. Our dedicated addiction treatment staff is here to help you through each step, making the process as comfortable as possible for you. 

Partial Hospitalization Treatment for Heroin Addiction

PHPs are a great in-between for those seeking flexibility in treatment, while still receiving intensive care. Individuals will be able to attend treatment based on their unique scheduling needs. Sessions will take place throughout the week. 

These sessions will incorporate a wide range of therapies to treat heroin addiction and any underlying disorders. Treatment methods in a PHP often include:

  • Medical support
  • Mental health counseling
  • Multiple forms of therapy, such as traditional and holistic options
  • Relapse prevention planning
  • Education about mental health conditions
  • Ability to enjoy indoor and outdoor amenities, as medically appropriate

Outpatient Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Perhaps you have a child at home that you must take care of. In other cases, you may be working five days a week. Either way, let’s say you have serious obligations outside of treatment that you attend to during the week. Outpatient treatment works around your schedule, ensuring you get the help that you deserve.

Recovering individuals will travel to our recovery center for treatment sessions and have the opportunity to return home after. Treatment sessions can be scheduled on any day, based on what’s most convenient for the individual. Sessions will include a combination of evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and group therapy. 

Inpatient Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Inpatient treatment, also referred to as residential treatment, offers the highest level of care for recovering individuals. Individuals will take part in 30-90 day programs, receiving structured daily care. Daily care will include a routine that involves a combination of evidence-based treatment methods.

Residential treatment offers the highest level of care for individuals suffering from heroin addiction. Throughout treatment, recovering individuals will address the underlying mental and emotional roots of addiction. 

What Kind of Therapy Can I Expect for Heroin Addiction Treatment?

At Discovery Institute, we treat heroin addiction using a wide range of evidence-based therapies. These therapies range from individual sessions to group therapy sessions. 

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is the presence of both an addiction and mental health illness. There are often underlying mental and emotional roots of addiction. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and others can all have a dangerous and complex synergy with substance use. Dual diagnosis treatment addresses the causes of addiction. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT therapy helps to address negative thinking patterns. In CBT, you’ll work through your negative thinking patterns and replace them with more positive ones. You’ll also develop a toolkit of healthy coping mechanisms. 

Family Therapy

Family therapy encourages creating a stable and healthy family dynamic. All members of the family will be able to express their thoughts and feelings. Any issues the family is working through will be addressed. This is a supportive space that aids in creating stability in the recovering individual’s life. 

Group Therapy

This form of psychotherapy involves a group of clients working with one or more therapists together. The group dynamic can be a great asset to someone in recovery. In this motivating environment, individuals can give and get support.

Seek Help Today

If you’re a struggling individual, heroin addiction treatment can turn your life around. No matter how lost you feel, it is possible to overcome the shackles of addiction. Our center offers a wide range of resources and support along your recovery journey. 

Once you become a member of our center, you also become a member of our family. We’ll guide you from beginning through the end of your recovery journey.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us here with any questions, comments, or concerns regarding heroin addiction treatment. We’re here to help!

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.