Prosperity Haven

Heroin Addiction Treatment
and Recovery in Chardon, OH

OVERVIEW: WHAT IS AN ALCOHOL USE DISORDER?

In 2017, about 1,000 people in Ohio died from a heroin overdose. Our state has taken strides to reduce that number, reducing heroin overdose death rates by over 28% [1], but heroin is still a part of the ongoing opioid crisis that’s affecting families across the country.

Understanding the problem is half the battle, and it’s our mission at Prosperity Haven to help clients and their loved ones understand the way heroin addiction infiltrates and makes an impact on their lives. Below, you can learn more about heroin abuse: how heroin works, how it affects the body, and how our Cleveland heroin addiction recovery programs can help clients overcome their substance use disorder and find their way back to a happier life.

What is Heroin?

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is a strong drug that works by binding to and activating opioid receptors in the body’s central nervous system. These receptors prompt a rush of dopamine, a chemical that causes euphoria and dulls sensations. These feelings can be very powerful, and heroin is known for making the user quickly build a tolerance to the drug, requiring more and more to get pleasure or pain relief.

Heroin is derived from the opiate morphine. This means that it’s in the same class of drugs as prescription painkillers like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). In some cases, those who have become addicted to prescription opioids lose access to their prescription and turn to “street” opioids like heroin.

Heroin comes as a brown or white powder, or black and sticky “black tar” heroin. It can be injected, snorted, or smoked. Heroin also goes by the names “smack,” “horse,” “hell dust,” and “big H,” while the combination of heroin and cocaine is called “speedballing.”

WHAT IS HEROIN?

Heroin is a strong drug that works by binding to and activating opioid receptors in the body’s central nervous system. These receptors prompt a rush of dopamine, a chemical that causes euphoria and dulls sensations. These feelings can be very powerful, and heroin is known for making the user quickly build a tolerance to the drug, requiring more and more to get pleasure or pain relief.

Heroin is derived from the opiate morphine. This means that it’s in the same class of drugs as prescription painkillers like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). In some cases, those who have become addicted to prescription opioids lose access to their prescription and turn to “street” opioids like heroin.

Heroin comes as a brown or white powder, or black and sticky “black tar” heroin. It can be injected, snorted, or smoked. Heroin also goes by the names “smack,” “horse,” “hell dust,” and “big H,” while the combination of heroin and cocaine is called “speedballing.”

  • Alcohol Abuse with Other Drugs

Mixing alcohol with other substances is unfortunately common: many drugs have their effects boosted or altered by drinking. Because of the prevalence of consuming alcohol in social situations, mixing other drugs at the same time is common. This can amplify the risks involved with many controlled substances.

For instance, alcohol is a depressant, which makes it conflict with the effects of stimulants like cocaine. Some people assume that this means they’ll cancel out each other’s negative effects, when in reality combining them puts strain on systems of the body, especially the liver, the kidneys, and the cardiovascular network.

Mixing alcohol with other depressants can increase the dangers of either or both. As an example, alcohol and benzodiazepines act on the same part of the brain, multiplying the risk of overdose.

Heroin Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Abuse

Heroin abuse has many of the same symptoms as prescription opioids. These can include:

  • Flu symptoms. Nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting, constipation, itching, and sweating.
  • Mental health problems. Depression, anxiety, paranoia, anger, disorientation, confusion, clouded thinking, poor decision making.
  • Altered behaviors. Alternating between low and high-energy states, dramatic mood swings, poor hygiene upkeep.
  • More risk-taking. Usually while using, or to get more of their substance.
  • New social practices. Isolation from loved ones, more time spent with new people, less time spent doing things they once enjoyed.
  • Societal issues. New or more problems with money, their schooling, their work, and the law; abandoning responsibilities.
Heroin Signs and Symptoms

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEROIN ABUSE

Heroin abuse has many of the same symptoms as prescription opioids. These can include:

  • Flu symptoms. Nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting, constipation, itching, and sweating.
  • Mental health problems. Depression, anxiety, paranoia, anger, disorientation, confusion, clouded thinking, poor decision making.
  • Altered behaviors. Alternating between low and high-energy states, dramatic mood swings, poor hygiene upkeep.
  • More risk-taking. Usually while using, or to get more of their substance.
  • New social practices. Isolation from loved ones, more time spent with new people, less time spent doing things they once enjoyed.
  • Societal issues. New or more problems with money, their schooling, their work, and the law; abandoning responsibilities.
  • Signs of heroin use, however, tend to be more distinct than with prescription opioids. This is largely because of how heroin is taken. Signs of heroin use include:
  • Needle “tracks,” usually on the inside of the arms
  • Skin infections, or sores from scratching
  • Drug paraphernalia, including glass or metal pipes, lighters, rubber tubing, and spoons
  • Small “pinpoint” pupils
  • Consistent sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Poor reasoning and incapacitated mental functioning

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Heroin Addiction Long Term Effects

Long-Term Effects of Heroin Abuse and Addiction

Heroin is a very strong drug that can wreak havoc on the body over time, leading to ongoing conditions such as:

  • Heart infections and clogged blood vessels
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung conditions like pneumonia
  • Damaged nose tissue or veins
  • Abscesses
  • Sexual dysfunction in men
  • Irregular menstruation in women

Heroin also has a high risk of overdose over time, for a few reasons. First, heroin tolerance (how much they need to get the same effects) and dependency (how often they need to use to feel normal) set in quickly, meaning that the user will often gradually use more of the drug to feel the same effects. Second, heroin is sometimes cut with fentanyl or other drugs but sold as pure heroin, which can lead to users not knowing the potency of the substance they’re using.

Heroin overdose can cause the user to slow or stop breathing, cutting off oxygen to the brain. This can cause comas, permanent brain damage, or death. However, the opioid antagonist naloxone (Narcan) can be administered to block opioid receptors in the nervous system and reverse the effects of an overdose.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin Abuse and Addiction

Heroin is a very strong drug that can wreak havoc on the body over time, leading to ongoing conditions such as:

  • Heart infections and clogged blood vessels
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung conditions like pneumonia
  • Damaged nose tissue or veins
  • Abscesses
  • Sexual dysfunction in men
  • Irregular menstruation in women

Heroin also has a high risk of overdose over time, for a few reasons. First, heroin tolerance (how much they need to get the same effects) and dependency (how often they need to use to feel normal) set in quickly, meaning that the user will often gradually use more of the drug to feel the same effects. Second, heroin is sometimes cut with fentanyl or other drugs but sold as pure heroin, which can lead to users not knowing the potency of the substance they’re using.

Heroin overdose can cause the user to slow or stop breathing, cutting off oxygen to the brain. This can cause comas, permanent brain damage, or death. However, the opioid antagonist naloxone (Narcan) can be administered to block opioid receptors in the nervous system and reverse the effects of an overdose.

Ohio Heroin Detox and Withdrawal

Many symptoms of heroin withdrawal are similar to prescription opioid withdrawal, but some are specific to this harder drug:

  • Cravings for heroin
  • Mood swings and mental illness
  • Dysphoria and suicidal thinking
  • Insomnia
  • Flu-like symptoms: cold flashes, shaking, etc.
  • Muscle aches, body spasms, abdominal cramping
  • Blood pressure and heart rate fluctuation
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration

Some of these symptoms can be life-threatening if tackled alone. The dehydration and exhaustion that accompanies heroin withdrawal can put someone in a dangerous state, especially if no one is around. In addition, these symptoms are difficult enough that some relapse, but don’t account for how their body’s tolerance to heroin has changed since they stopped taking it, which can lead to a major overdose.

Heroin can be a difficult and dangerous drug to detox from without proper medical supervision, clinical management, and aftercare planning. If someone with a heroin addiction stops using, their symptoms will typically be intense for about a week after they quit; the exact timeline depends on the person and how long they’ve been abusing. Unfortunately, in some situations, withdrawal symptoms can continue for months after getting sober, a condition called post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS).

Heroin Detox and Withdrawal

Ohio Heroin Detox and Withdrawal

Many symptoms of heroin withdrawal are similar to prescription opioid withdrawal, but some are specific to this harder drug:

  • Cravings for heroin
  • Mood swings and mental illness
  • Dysphoria and suicidal thinking
  • Insomnia
  • Flu-like symptoms: cold flashes, shaking, etc.
  • Muscle aches, body spasms, abdominal cramping
  • Blood pressure and heart rate fluctuation
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration

Some of these symptoms can be life-threatening if tackled alone. The dehydration and exhaustion that accompanies heroin withdrawal can put someone in a dangerous state, especially if no one is around. In addition, these symptoms are difficult enough that some relapse, but don’t account for how their body’s tolerance to heroin has changed since they stopped taking it, which can lead to a major overdose.

Heroin can be a difficult and dangerous drug to detox from without proper medical supervision, clinical management, and aftercare planning. If someone with a heroin addiction stops using, their symptoms will typically be intense for about a week after they quit; the exact timeline depends on the person and how long they’ve been abusing. Unfortunately, in some situations, withdrawal symptoms can continue for months after getting sober, a condition called post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS).

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Heroin Addiction Treatment Near Cleveland, OH

Even after getting clean, heroin withdrawal and cravings can continue to challenge those in recovery — and our heroin rehab center near Cleveland has programming options specifically designed to address the individual needs of each client we treat. With one-on-one, evidence-based therapies and rejuvenating holistic treatments, we’re able to help our clients face the underlying causes of their heroin addiction and keep their body, mind, and spirit healthy as they start life anew on their recovery journey.

If you believe that you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, we’re just a phone call away. Reach out to Prosperity Haven at 440-253-9915 today.