Heroin is one of the most infamous drugs in the world. It’s an illegal, highly addictive substance that, along with morphine, led to 1,213 deaths in the UK in 2021. Heroin addiction can be an awful existence which can impact every area of your life but it is possible to overcome the condition and start again. Recovery from heroin takes a lot of strength and willpower but if you are ready to make a change, there is effective heroin addiction treatment available which can help you get your life back on track.
Heroin is an illegal opioid drug which is made from the seed pod of the poppy plant and is commonly known by street names including smack, gear, brown sugar, H and skag.
Heroin can be a white or brown powder or a black sticky substance known as “black tar heroin.” It can be injected, smoked or snorted with intense, instantaneous effects with users experiencing a “rush” of euphoria and a feeling of intense well-being.
Heroin abuse can start in different ways. Some people may start using heroin to escape from an unpleasant life; others may be drawn to heroin portrayed in the media, while others may take heroin after having developed an addiction to opioid medications.
Heroin is incredibly physically addictive because of the way it interacts with the brain. Opioid drugs are designed to mimic the effects of endorphins, which are natural painkilling chemicals produced by the body. When someone takes heroin, their brain is flooded with synthetic endorphins which create a feeling of pleasure and well-being.
The brain then starts to associate this feeling with the drug and begins to crave larger and larger doses to get the same feeling. This is called tolerance and often leads to a dependence on heroin where you need to keep taking the drug just to avoid the powerful cravings and heroin withdrawal symptoms.
Heroin is so physically addictive that anybody who engages in heroin abuse is at risk of developing a heroin addiction. However, there are a number of underlying social, genetic, health and environmental factors that can increase your chances of becoming addicted to heroin including:
Heroin abuse and addiction can turn your existence upside down and affect every aspect of your life. Just some of the risks of abusing and becoming addicted to heroin include:
Heroin abuse and addiction can damage the most important relationships in your life. You may start stealing from or lying to loved ones to get money for heroin, neglecting your family and friends in favour of using heroin or becoming violent or abusive when under the influence of heroin or experiencing heroin withdrawal symptoms.
Heroin abuse and addiction can lead to job loss, financial difficulties and homelessness. The money you spend on buying heroin can quickly spiral out of control, leading to debt and financial ruin. Missed days at work due to using heroin or being too ill from heroin withdrawal symptoms can also lead to dismissal from your job.
Heroin is an illegal Class A drug in the UK which means it’s illegal to possess, supply or produce. The maximum punishment for possession is 7 years in prison and an unlimited fine while the maximum sentence for supplying heroin is life imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
As heroin is illegal to buy, feeding a heroin addiction will also bring you into contact with dangerous criminals. Furthermore, the cost of heroin coupled with unemployment or financial difficulties could result in you committing crimes to fund your heroin abuse.
Heroin is an incredibly powerful and dangerous drug and there is no amount of heroin abuse which is considered safe. However, drug addiction can be very conniving and will try its best to convince you that you enjoy taking heroin or that you have your heroin abuse under control. Here are some questions to ask yourself which may point to a heroin addiction:
If you have answered yes to any of the above, it’s likely that you have a heroin addiction and need professional help.
There are three main stages of heroin addiction treatment: detox, rehab treatment and aftercare.
The first stage of heroin addiction treatment is detox where the drug is gradually removed from your body to break your physical dependence on the drug. Heroin detox is most safe and effective when carried out at an inpatient heroin detox clinic like Liberty House because you will be monitored 24/7 by medical professionals and can receive help and support whenever you need it.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be severe but you will be medically assessed both before and during heroin detox at Liberty House to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. You may also be given medication to help with the heroin withdrawal symptoms you experience.
These symptoms can include:
Heroin withdrawal typically begins within 6-12 hours after the last dose and peaks within 1-2 days. Symptoms can include anxiety, restlessness, muscle pain, sweating, tearing eyes and insomnia. Heroin withdrawal generally lasts 5-10 days, but some symptoms may persist for weeks or even months. If this is the case for you, Liberty House will speak to your GP to ensure you receive ongoing support to cope with the heroin withdrawal symptoms after you have left our clinic.
Heroin rehab will enable you to get a full understanding of your heroin addiction and the underlying causes which have led to it. It will also provide you with the tools and techniques you need to stay drug-free after you leave rehab.
Heroin rehab at Liberty House is carried out on an inpatient basis which means you will live at our clinic for the duration of your rehab treatment. This removes any potential triggers or distractions which could lead to a relapse and allows you to focus on your recovery.
During heroin rehab, you will take part in a range of evidence-based therapies to address every aspect of your heroin addiction and teach you how to control the thoughts and emotions which could cause relapse. These therapies and treatment approaches include:
Aftercare is the final stage of heroin addiction treatment and is just as important as detox and rehab. It is designed to help you stay on track with your recovery after you leave heroin rehab and make sure that you are never left alone to struggle. At Liberty House, you will receive one year of free weekly group therapy sessions which will help to keep you motivated and supported as you adjust to life outside of rehab.