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Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin comes from opium poppy plants. It is a derivative of morphine, which is extracted from the seed pod of the poppy. It gives the user a "rush" that can last for hours or just a short time depending on their immunity to the effects of the drug. Pure heroin is usually a white powder, but it can also be light or dark brown in color. It has a bitter taste to it. There is also "black tar heroin", which comes to the United States from Mexico. It's called "black tar" because it has the consistency and look of roofing tar, black and sticky. However it can also be brown in color and hard as coal. Some heroin is "cut" with items such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, quinine, strychnine, etc. When a drug is "cut" it means to stretch the "product" further in order to be able to sell more and get more money.

Heroin stimulates a "pleasure system" in the brain. This system involves neurons in the mid-brain that use the neurotransmitter called "dopamine." These mid-brain dopamine neurons project to another structure called the nucleus accumbens which then projects to the cerebral cortex. This system is responsible for the pleasurable effects of heroin and for the addictive power of the drug.

Like other drug addictions, heroin can become the most important aspect of their lives. Heroin addicts often have habits that cost $100-$200 a day, which can cause addicts to quickly turn to lives of shoplifting, burglary, theft, drug dealing, and prostitution to support their habits. Methadone is a drug that has been used for several decades for the treatment heroin addiction by blocking heroin’s effects. Methadone treatment generally entails the entire spectrum of opioid side effects, including the development of tolerance and physical and psychological dependence.

Many drug abusers mistakenly believe inhaling heroin, rather than injecting it, reduces the risks of addiction or overdose. In some areas, "shabanging" - picking up cooked heroin with a syringe and squirting it up the nose - has increased in popularity. Street heroin carries prophetic names: "DOA," "Body Bag," "Instant Death," and "Silence of the Lamb." Rather than scaring off young initiates, the implied danger seems to actually increase the drug's allure.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms are some of the nastiest an addict can experience compared to withdrawal from any other drug. The individual who has become physically as well as psychologically dependent on heroin will experience heroin withdrawal with an abrupt discontinuation of use or even a decrease in their daily amount of heroin taken. The onset of heroin withdrawal symptoms begin six to eight hours after the last dose is administrated. Major symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose of heroin and subdue after about one week. The symptoms of heroin withdrawal produced are similar to a bad case of the flu.

Heroin detox treatment is paramount to a successful recovery. If residue from heroin continues to exist in the addict’s body cravings for heroin will arise and withdrawal symptoms may persist. The goal of heroin detox is to ultimately eliminate the drug, and all its metabolites from the body to increase the chance of a successful recovery. The human body will eventually expel the remaining heroin residue through urination and sweating.

Heroin Recovery is similar to the recovery of most addictive drugs, except that heroin withdrawal can last several weeks. Attempting heroin detoxification without professional assistance is not only dangerous, but sometimes deadly. Heroin withdrawal can cause serious physical and emotional trauma including: stroke, heart attack and even death. Methadone treatment is often used to ease heroin withdrawal, though this typically ends with the individual acquiring an addiction to another drug. Recovery from heroin addiction involves detoxification as the initial step. Secondly, the individual needs to be willing to participate in a treatment program and continually exert themselves daily throughout their heroin addiction treatment program. The highest documented success rates for heroin recovery are through long term heroin addiction treatment programs lasting at least 3 to 6 months. This gives structure and support to provide long term recovery from heroin.

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