Heroin has been around for a long time. Long before the opioid crisis sparked by a flood of synthetic opioids onto the legal pharmaceutical and street markets, heroin had been derailing lives and damaging families. Dependence, addiction, and overdose are stepping stones on the path of heroin abuse. There are treatments available and facilities where those with an addiction to heroin can get help. If you have heroin addiction symptoms or notice signs of heroin abuse in someone you care about, reach out for help.
Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge (PAATC) helps people onto the road to recovery every day of the year. For 60 years, our evidence-based therapies have helped people with substance use disorders reclaim their lives. Inpatient, outpatient, intensive outpatient, and faith-based treatment options are just some of your choices when considering rehab at PAATC. You can find out more by contacting us today online or by calling 844.442.8673.
What Is Heroin?
In 1874, this drug was first synthesized from morphine, which comes from the opium of the poppy flower. At first, it was marketed legally by the pharmaceutical company Bayer in Germany, but its highly addictive characteristics ended medical use.
Nowadays, its manufacture and distribution are punishable by law. Nevertheless, access to this potent opiate on the streets is far too easy, given that nearly 700,000 Americans over 12 have a heroin use disorder and thousands a year die by heroin overdose.
What Are the Symptoms of Heroin Addiction?
How do you know that casual use of heroin has become an addiction? Heroin addiction has many signs, physical, psychological, and behavioral. Below is a partial list.
Heroin addiction can change your entire outlook on life, resulting in symptoms such as:
- Mood swings
- Delusions and hallucinations
Physical signs that you are addicted to heroin may include:
- Sudden or extreme weight loss
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Dry mouth
- Shortness of breath
- Constricted pupils
- Slurred speech
Behaviors can change dramatically when you or someone you love is using heroin. For instance, the signs include:
- Lying about or hiding drug use
- Isolation and shunning of friends and family
- Poor personal hygiene
- Hidden stashes of heroin
- Failure to meet responsibilities at school or work, including job loss or expulsion
- Long sleeves and pants to hide track marks
- Nodding out in public or while talking
Changes in the Brain
Because heroin directly interacts with the brain’s structures, it damages the endocrine system. It inhibits the naturally produced hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate emotions and mood. Over time, the damage can be lasting. The brain becomes dependent on the drug to produce the chemicals it needs. Without heroin, anyone addicted to the drug may be unable to feel pleasure, regulate stress, make decisions, or focus. The brain’s dependence on heroin causes painful withdrawal symptoms when the drug is missing or withheld.
To break this damaging cycle, people with a heroin use disorder need medical detox to see them safely through withdrawal, followed by evidence-based addiction therapies to maximize the chance for a successful recovery.
Learn More at Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge
If you have heroin addiction symptoms, reach out to PAATC to find out how we can help. We offer evidence-based therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectic behavior therapy (DBT), as well as group and family therapy options. We also provide faith-based treatment for those whose Christian faith can support their recovery, peer support, and aftercare options. Our facilities in Pennsylvania are homelike and secure, and you will feel safe and cared for with us.
Call us today at 844.442.8673 or use our online form to reach out. Our staff is professional and caring, and our six decades of experience treating adults and teens positions us well to offer you the support you deserve.