Last Updated on May 8, 2021 by Atif
The risks of heroin are well-known. We see how it ravages the victims’ bodies and quickly kills their organs. What exactly is this lethal substance, and how can its victims be rescued? Let’s talk about heroin and how to get rid of it. Heroin is a narcotic drug originating from the opium poppy plant that is exceptionally addictive and illegal.
The DEA has designated heroin as a Schedule I drug because of its high potential for abuse and lack of administratively approved medicinal properties. Heroin is so effective that The National Institute on Substance Abuse estimates that 23% of people who use it develop a dependency on it.
Heroin alters how the brain works by binding opium receptors in the brain and body. Heroin induces euphoria and decreases discomfort while also impairing some of the body’s autonomic functions, such as breathing and heart. Dulling the sensory nerves may also serve as a depressant to the central nervous system.
According to WebMD, the death rate associated with heroin use is increasing, with heroin-related deaths more than doubling in the two years between 2010 and 2012. Since they see heroin as the solution to the strict rules on accessing and changing prescription painkillers, many addicted to opiates have become fast heroin addicts. Heroin is a less expensive alternative to highly addictive medications such as OxyContin and Vicodin.
According to CNN, almost half of young injection heroin users had previously abused a prescription opioid drug before transitioning to heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin addiction by Americans aged 18 to 25 has doubled in the last decade. For example, nearly 8,200 people died from a heroin overdose in 2013, almost four times the number of people who died from heroin overdoses in 2002.
Prescription painkiller misuse paved the way for most people to become addicted to heroin. In some instances, heroin became a less costly and easier-to-get alternative to the opioids they had become addicted to. This option isn’t a viable option. In any situation, heroin addiction does not have to result in a lifetime of imprisonment. It can be turned off at any time.
Health Risks Involved With Heroin Detox
Detox is the method of eliminating medications from the body. Although heroin withdrawal side effects are rarely dangerous, they can be challenging to manage without professional help. They’re flu-like signs, but they’re a lot more grounded.
Everyone’s experience with heroin withdrawal would be different. The length of abuse, how it was abused, and the quantity is taken each time would influence how reliant the brain and body are on the drug. As a result, the severity and length of withdrawal can vary. A person with a history of mental illness or previous opioid withdrawal may experience a more severe withdrawal.
Heroin affects some of the central nervous system’s functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and temperature control. It also raises the brain’s levels that trigger feelings of pleasure. A surge of gratification is experienced when heroin is abused regularly. The symptoms of withdrawal are the polar opposite of intoxication. Instead of joy and euphoria, a decreased heart rate, and sedation, the person can experience low mood, Anxiety, and a rapid heart rate, among other symptoms that we will address shortly.
The severity of withdrawal symptoms varies depending on the degree of dependency and violence length. Withdrawal can be milder and last less time for someone who hasn’t abused heroin in large doses for months or years. The use of heroin daily can lead to opioid resistance. This means that a higher dosage of the drug would be needed to achieve the same desired effect. Physical and enthusiastic dependence will show in the long run. Withdrawal symptoms may begin even before the heroin has entirely left your body once resistance has been developed.
The Following are Some of the Moderate to Extreme Withdrawal Symptoms:
Symptoms of Moderate Withdrawal
- Prolonged yawning
- Muscle and bone aches
- Inability to focus
- Trouble concentrating
Symptoms of Severe Withdrawal
- Fast heart rate
- Muscle spasms
- Impaired respiration
- Difficulty feeling pleasure
- Substance cravings
Please keep in mind that while opioid withdrawal isn’t usually considered life-threatening on its own, some of these medical and psychological symptoms can lead to life-threatening complications.
For example, we all know that depression can lead to suicidal ideation. Heroin can never be abruptly stopped without the help of medical and/or mental health providers who can use a variety of techniques to manage withdrawal symptoms and keep people healthy.
Withdrawal symptoms may start as soon as a couple of hours after the last dose of heroin and usually subside within a few days. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to heroin detox, keep in mind that the detox duration will vary from one person to the next, depending on the amount of heroin consumed and the severity of the Addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms usually last about seven days. Yearnings can be incredibly high during withdrawal, so close monitoring is advised to prevent a relapse. Indications can, on occasion, necessitate professional care. Nausea and diarrhoea, for example, may cause dehydration or even a desire to regurgitate into the lungs. Continuous clinical supervision in a stable and secure setting, such as a treatment facility, dramatically increases the chances of success and patient safety.
Period of Heroin Detox
Heroin is a short-acting opioid, which means it acts quickly but often quickly exits the bloodstream. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), heroin withdrawal symptoms begin 6-12 hours after the last dose, peak in 2-3 days, and last 5-10 days.
The word “detox” refers to a series of protocols for coping with withdrawal symptoms. Since withdrawal symptoms can peak a few days after the last dose, it’s essential to prepare ahead., Withdrawing from heroin in a drug abuse treatment facility that provides medical detox could be the most convenient choice.
Medical detox typically begins before heroin is wholly removed from the body and lasts between 5 and 7 days. Detox can take up to ten days for someone who is heavily addicted to heroin. Medication and rehabilitation are commonly used in medical detox to help the body and brain recover from their opioid addiction. Blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and temperature levels are all controlled during the procedure to keep people safe and healthy.
Medical Heroin Detox
There have been advancements over time. A few prescriptions are available to aid with opioid recovery and work towards alleviating some of the more noticeable withdrawal symptoms. Agonists, partial agonists, and antagonists are the three necessary medications types.
Methadone was probably the most well-known opioid addiction treatment. Methadone, as a narcotic agonist, has a sedative effect that can help relieve specific withdrawal symptoms. Heroin is generally effective, with a single dose lasting between four and six hours in the body, while methadone is faster acting and can stay in the body for up to 24 hours with a single dose.
According to Harvard Health, more than 100,000 people in the United States use methadone as a narcotic medication today.
Methadone should, in any case, be supervised under direct clinical supervision since it is still a narcotic with the potential for abuse and dependence. Medications like clonidine, a pulse drug, are used in the detox interaction to help with Anxiety, disturbance, and withdrawal symptoms. Antidepressants can also help with the emotional upheaval that can occur during detox.
Partial Opioid Agonists
Subutex and Suboxone are two types of buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a milder opioid treatment than most opioids. It also has some of the same effects as heroin, albeit at lower doses, to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Under the Substance Abuse Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000, the FDA approved the use of Suboxone and Subutex as the first narcotic medications to be administered over the counter for opioid Addiction. They should also be carefully monitored and used only as part of a recovery program because they assist with detox but not with addiction psychology.
Rapid Detox Programs
To safely remove narcotic drugs like opioids from the brain and body, use medicines like naloxone or naltrexone.
While naltrexone medications such as Depade and ReVia may be used, they do not combat withdrawal symptoms on their own, necessitating clinical monitoring and management. Vivitrol, a form of naltrexone infused once a month and used in opioid and narcotic fixation recovery services, is another type of naltrexone. This structure lasts longer in the body, blocking narcotic receptors and providing long-term support.
Heroin Dependency Treatment
Methadone has long been used to support people who are addicted to heroin. It is a long-acting opioid that is used to replace a shorter-acting opioid.
In most cases, methadone remains present in the bloodstream for the whole day. Methadone improves heroin withdrawal symptoms by activating opioid receptors in the same way as heroin does, albeit without the drug’s intense and rapid euphoria.
Methadone is a federally prescribed drug administered once a day as a tablet. Methadone dosages can be reduced progressively over time. Methadone can cause addiction, particularly if it is abused and taken in higher-than-recommended doses. For certain patients, other choices and treatments may be preferable.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist as well as a long-acting opioid. Buprenorphine has the advantage over methadone in that it hits a peak after a certain amount of treatment is taken, minimizing the risk for addiction. Naloxone can be added to buprenorphine drugs to discourage patients from taking more heroin because they are fearful of developing withdrawal effects if they inject the opioid. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that works by blocking opioid receptors and can help people stay off heroin for a long time.
To prevent precipitated withdrawal during detox, people should be open and honest about their drug use history, including the last dose’s correct details. When someone takes an active opioid antagonist drug while still having an opioid agonist in their system, such as heroin, withdrawal symptoms may be more dangerous and start abruptly, a condition known as precipitated withdrawal.
A substance evaluation conducted before entering detox may help to prevent this. Medical detox can have a healthy atmosphere that can help you stop using other medications.
What to Do After Heroin Detox
Detox is not a cure for Addiction; instead, it is the first step in the recovery process. Community therapy is essential for breaking the never-ending drug habit and staying drug-free.
According to Addiction, heroin users are 14 times more likely than non-users to commit suicide successfully. Substance abuse and mental health conditions often coexist. The two problems can be perplexing and often entwined, necessitating individual consideration.
During their recovery from heroin addiction, addicts often experience depression. In a dual diagnosis recovery program, rehab focuses on addressing physical dependence and the mental imbalance that occurred before the habit.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.