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Perhaps the most infamous opioid narcotic, heroin is a drug synthesized from morphine. The U.S. is currently in the grip of an opioid epidemic, and heroin – cheaper and often more easily obtainable than prescription opioids – has only increased in popularity. Coming in both powder form and a sticky resin known as “Black Tar” or “Mexican Mud,” in 2016, an estimated 948,000 people (aged 12 years or above) in the United States used heroin in the past year with an estimated 0.6 million people suffering from a heroin use disorder. Relatively low price, high availability, and high purity have been identified as possible factors in the rising heroin overdose cases. Thankfully help can be found at a heroin treatment center.

Depending on the frequency of drug abuse and severity of symptoms, a comprehensive treatment for heroin addiction may involve detox along with behavioral therapies or counseling sessions. Drug detoxification or detoxification treatment is the first step in a comprehensive rehabilitation program that offers all the tools required for recovery. A supervised detox program can prevent unpleasant or fatal consequences resulting from the sudden cessation of use and can aid the patient in becoming abstinent from drugs. A heroin detox treatment that succeeds in removing the withdrawal symptoms must be followed by therapy or counseling sessions.

Sovereign Health has seen the casualties of the opioid crisis first-hand. We provide expert heroin addiction treatment for women at our residential treatment facility in Chandler, Arizona. Combining clinically-proven treatment modalities along with latest, cutting-edge treatment options, addiction rehab at Sovereign Health of Arizona not only treats the physical symptoms of addiction but also addresses its mental aspects.

Heroin abuse

First manufactured at the turn of the 20th century in Germany and sold as a tuberculosis treatment, heroin basically is sap from the Asian opium poppy plant that is extracted and refined, and turned into morphine. It is further refined to produce heroin.

The genesis of addiction in many opioid addicts is prescription opioids like OxyContin or Vicodin, which are often used recreationally as well. When prescriptions aren’t refilled and when obtaining the medications becomes too expensive, many addicts turn to heroin. Heroin is comparatively cheaper and easier to obtain, and more powerful than most prescription narcotics.

Heroin is best known as an injectable drug, but it can also be snorted in powder form and even smoked. Heroin’s effects are devastating regardless of method of abuse. Known to induce a state of relaxation and euphoria, heroin usage blocks the brain’s ability to perceive pain. Imitating the brain’s natural process of seeking pleasure, its initial experience can lead to addiction. The drug is so powerful that many individuals abandon jobs, school, family, and even food in pursuit of the high. Injecting drugs over a long period of time can collapse veins, causing limb damage – to say nothing of the risk of hepatitis and HIV. What makes the drug more lethal is its use in combination with alcohol or other drugs. Finally, as with any abused opioid, heroin users run a constant risk of overdose.

Heroin Abuse: Signs and symptoms

Characterized by a number of serious health conditions, symptoms of heroin abuse depend on the dosage, frequency, and duration of its abuse. Following are some of the common symptoms of heroin abuse.

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Constant sniffing
  • Weight loss
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sluggishness or feeling tired constantly

 Heroin abuse can also lead to long-term health consequences including reproductive health issues, persistent mental health issues, and increased risk of infectious diseases. Heroin abuse can also lead to troubled relationships, financial problems, and legal consequences.

 Heroin Abuse: Red flags

Owing to its addictive nature, heroin can hook its user to make him/her go to any lengths to obtain the drug. While heroin abuse is bound to cause behavioral changes, following are some warning signs that could indicate heroin abuse.

  • Marks on the arms from injection sites – known as “track marks”
  • Signs of drug paraphernalia, such as discarded needles in the trash and burnt tinfoil from smoking heroin
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Nodding off – a person high on heroin will often rapidly doze off

Inside the body

Heroin works like other opioid drugs by bonding with areas of nerve cells called opioid receptors. The bonding action affects the body’s ability to feel pain. It can also result in the body producing more amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is used in the brain’s reward system. Dopamine releases create sensations of euphoria, which is the “high” many heroin users spend their lives chasing.

This rapidly becomes a fruitless chase – heroin abusers soon develop tolerance to the drug, requiring larger and larger amounts of heroin to feel the same effect. Unfortunately, larger doses of heroin mean two things: a greater chance of lethal overdose and a greater risk of addiction.

Like other opioid drugs, heroin rewires the brain in fundamental ways, teaching the brain that it needs heroin to function normally. When heroin is no longer in the system, users experience severe flu-like symptoms known as withdrawal. Although rarely fatal, withdrawal symptoms are so unpleasant that many users continue to use heroin simply to stave them off.

Also, most users have to deal with the constant risk of overdose, either by misjudging their own tolerance or using a batch of heroin that is too strong, or spiked with other toxic drugs like fentanyl. Opiates dangerously slow heart rate and breathing – a person overdosing on heroin will appear to be in a deep sleep, or perhaps awake but unable to talk and respond to others.

Heroin addiction recovery

Fewer drugs ruin lives as completely as opioids. Addiction to heroin is so powerful that it breaks up families, depletes savings, and kills users daily. Sovereign Health has observed the direct effects of the opioid crisis and provides heroin addiction treatment for women at our Chandler, Arizona, treatment center.

Sovereign’s holistic philosophy of addiction means that we do not simply treat the physical symptoms of addiction but also address any underlying mental health conditions. Addiction is a disease with powerful mental and physical aspects, especially for survivors of trauma. In order for treatment to be successful, both aspects must be addressed. Patients in our heroin addiction recovery program participate in traditional evidence-based treatment modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as experiential therapies such as yoga, meditation and expressive arts therapy that allows them to control their drug cravings, manage the withdrawal symptoms and gain new tools and life-skills to aid in their treatment and recovery.

Why choose Sovereign Health?

For anyone considering heroin addiction treatment centers, Sovereign Health should be their first choice. A leading addiction treatment provider, Sovereign Health combines the best of traditional and modern treatment modalities to provide evidence-based pharmacological and behavioral treatments to its clients. Sovereign Health provides its patients a safe, comfortable, and home-like place to get rid of their addiction habit and recover without relapse.

A woman-only rehab facility, our residential treatment center in Chandler, Arizona, specifically treats women patients with a focus on the survivors of trauma and abuse. Providing each of our patients with comprehensive and individually tailored programs suited to their needs, our state-of-the-art treatment centers provide women with a holistic array of evidence-based and complementary treatments including CBT, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), neurofeedback, eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) and experiential therapies.

For more information on Sovereign Health’s top-notch heroin drug rehab programs or to locate the finest heroin detox centers, near you, please call at our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with our representative.

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