Heroin is an opiate drug that is derived from the seeds of the opium poppy plant. One of its effects is that it blocks out the brain’s ability to recognise pain. This is one of the primary reasons people try heroin, with many of these ending up with a heroin addiction. Heroin produces intense feelings of euphoria and relaxation, which usually keeps the addict going back for more.

How Drugs Can Control Your Life Without You Realising

Drugs can affect anyone at all, regardless of creed, religion, sexuality, gender or wealth. One example of this is popular TV personality Davina McCall, who has recently come forward to speak about her devastating heroin addiction. Recalling one of her lowest points, Davina admitted, “The drink and drugs were getting serious – not just a party thing anymore – and I was a mess.”

She found herself on a downward spiral fuelled by endless amounts of heroin and alcohol. This was not only interfering with her personal life, but also her career. The star recalled a time when she was on her way to a concert with her best friend Sarah, when Sarah confronted her, saying “I know you’re lying to me, and I know you’ve been taking heroin.”

This sparked a massive reaction from Davina who responded by hurling abuse at her friend, which resulted in a bust-up. This is what it took for her to realise that she had a serious addiction and needed urgent help before it went any further.

Fame and Addiction

Like Davina, many other well-known celebrities have succumbed to a drug addiction over the years. Stars such as Lindsay Lohan, Pete Doherty and the late Amy Winehouse have all fallen victim to devastating addictions that very nearly ruined their careers and, in Amy’s case, ultimately led to her death.

It is easy for those who are not in the spotlight to judge those who are. However, does anyone really have the right to judge? Living in the spotlight and having every move scrutinised by the paparazzi cannot be any fun. One wrong move and it is captured on camera for the whole world to see; it instantly makes the individual in question a ‘bad role model’ and ‘terrible person’.

At the end of the day, celebrities are human too, and anyone can fall victim to addiction at any point. With the right help and support, however, they can be on the road to recovery in no time. The same as anyone else with an addiction; the only difference is the average person’s demise is not documented for the world to see and pass judgement.

Symptoms of Addiction

There is a whole host of possible symptoms connected to a heroin addiction. The severity of these symptoms depends on how long the user has been abusing the drug. Some addicts have highlighted that they have experienced some immediate side effects, such as:

  • vomiting/nausea
  • dry mouth

These can be unpleasant at the best of times, but for a heroin addict, they are not uncommon. The next set of symptoms occur after the immediate side-effects and typically involve the slowdown of bodily functions, including:

  • slowed heart rate
  • slowed breathing
  • drowsiness
  • ‘cloudy’ mental state.

More long-term symptoms include collapsed veins, heart problems and liver/kidney disease. Heroin is not something to mess with as many of these side effects are non-reversible, and some are life threatening.

Treatments for Heroin Addiction

A heroin addiction is a very dangerous obsession that can take over a person’s life without the affected individual even realising until it is too late. There are various treatments available for someone suffering from a heroin addiction. Treatments include pharmacological and behavioural medications, both of which aid restoration to the normality of brain functions and subsequent behaviour.

What is Pharmacological Treatment?

When people have a severe heroin addiction and they try to quit, they will usually experience intense withdrawal symptoms including nausea/vomiting, diarrhoea and drowsiness. Some medications can help ease pain and cravings at this stage while the person is detoxing.

These medications are specially developed to work through the same opioid receptors as the heroin itself but are obviously a lot less harmful to the individual. The eventual treatment that will be required for an addict is based on their specific needs as well as a number of other factors. It is worth mentioning that no one single form of medication will work for every person. Some of the effective medications include:

  • naltrexone
  • methadone

What is Behavioural Therapy?

There are many behavioural therapies available for those battling a heroin addiction. These can be given in both residential and outpatient clinics. Behavioural therapies assist by engaging the addict while providing incentives for them to remain drug-free; it also attempts to modify their attitudes towards drug abuse. Some of the more prevalent and effective types of behavioural therapy are:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – this is a talking therapy that can assist in managing the individuals’ issues by adjusting the way they think and behave while also addressing other problems in their life
  • Contingency Management –patients are rewarded to reinforce positive behaviours, e.g. negative drugs tests.

Overcoming a heroin addiction is never easy, but with the right help and support from professional counsellors and therapists, even those with the most severe addictions can recover and go on to live happy and healthy lives. Davina McCall is a prime example of how it is possible to turn a life around after a devastating heroin addiction.

Source:  Davina McCall admits being a ‘mess’ amid heroin addiction – before a fight with her friend saved her (Mirror.co.uk)