Georgia Heroin Rehab Center
Clinical, Effective Heroin Treatment in the Atlanta Area
Heroin is one of the most commonly abused illegal drugs. Derived from opium poppy plants and made from morphine, it is a member of the opiate family and actively contributes to the opium crisis currently plaguing the United States. Because heroin tends to be easier to acquire and is a cheaper alternative to prescription opioids, many people turn to it as a last resort to feed their addictions. In fact, nearly 80% of people attribute their heroin use to prescription opioid use.
At Mount Sinai Wellness Center, our state-of-the-art facilities, well-trained staff, and comprehensive treatment system can help you or a loved one overcome heroin addiction. Recovery is a difficult process and its best to have someone with you every step of the way. We work closely to get to the heart of the addiction.
Why Is Heroin So Addictive & Dangerous?
Heroin elicits feelings of elation and pleasure which people get addicted to. While heroin is made from morphine, it reverts into morphine once it enters the brain and ends up binding to and triggering the opioid receptors, which are responsible for pleasure and mood. It also increases the amount of dopamine released to the limbic reward system—the part of the body responsible for feeling pleasure. This is why many people feel a sense of euphoria after using heroin, and also why they continue to seek it out. Heroin eventually tricks the brain and rewires it to believe that heroin is an essential chemical, which is another cause of addiction.
The closer to white the heroin is, the higher the purity level; while it is possible to get pure heroin, it is most often cut with other drugs and substances.
Examples of substances commonly mixed with heroin are:
- Baking soda
- Laundry detergent
- Rat poison
- Talcum powder
- White sugar
These additives can be extremely dangerous. For example, heroin cut with caffeine can cover any indications of overdose, which results in users feeling as if they need more. This can lead to brain damage or even death.
How quickly users feel the effects of the heroin depends on their method of injection or ingestion. Research conducted by the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug, and Other Addiction Services suggests that users to inject heroin intravenously tend to feel the effects as soon as 7-8 seconds, whereas people who inject intramuscularly feel the effects within 5-8 minutes. The typical sensations a user experiences are feeling warm, relaxed, and deeply happy. This sensation is what motivates people to continue to use the drug, as many people want to experience the bliss they felt again and again.
Consequences of Long-Term use
Oddly enough, first-time users often have unpleasant experiences; they tend to grow nauseated when the heroin first takes effect and sometimes even vomit. However, the more people use heroin, the more they get used to the nausea caused by it. This is because heroin directly affects the digestive system, slowing down the processes and potentially even stopping them altogether.
Because heroin alters brain cells, this can damage the cells rendering them unable to produce chemical signals of pleasure in the absence of heroin.
Other consequences of long-term heroin use include:
- Deterioration of white matter in the brain
- A reduced ability to make decisions and/or regulate behavior
- Sedation of the respiratory system, which can eventually lead a user to stop breathing completely
- Damage to veins and arteries due to injection
- Swelling, shrinking or complete closure of blood vessels, which can lead to abscesses, infections, and death
- Complete cardiac arrest
Signs of Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction can be difficult to talk about, even with close loved ones. People struggling with addiction are often unaware or even in denial about the severity of their dependence, making them resistant to seeking help. While it may be difficult to do so, having a conversation about heroin addiction can potentially be lifesaving.
If you suspect someone you love is addicted to heroin, pay close attention to their actions, physical appearance, and lifestyle habits. The first step in getting your loved one help is to identify the problem.
Physical and psychological signs of heroin addiction include:
- "Track marks" on the body from needles
- Slowed or irregular breathing
- Constricted pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itchy or flushed skin
- Suddenly falling asleep
- Incoherent speech
- Anxiety and depression
- Irritability and mood swings
- Avoiding eye contact
Behavioral signs of heroin addiction include:
- Visible heroin or drug paraphernalia (needles, pipes, and spoons with lighters)
- Lying or deceptive behavior
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Financial or legal troubles
- Decreasing performance at school or work
- Withdrawal from friends or family
- Poor physical hygiene
- Wearing long-sleeved clothing to hide needle marks
Treatment for Heroin Addiction in Georgia
Recovery for heroin addiction is possible. Detoxing and withdrawal can be extremely difficult to experience and potentially harmful if not done right or with proper direction. However, at Mount Sinai, we are here to guide you through the recovery processes so you can do it safely.
Our addiction professionals can help you develop a heroin treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs, considering factors such as:
- The length of time heroin was used and how severe the dependence is
- The severity of withdrawal symptoms
- Whether other drugs are being used along with heroin
- The presence of other underlying mental health disorders
- Preexisting medical conditions
The first step of the recovery process is heroin detoxification, which is not quite the same as rehabilitation. Detox is a key step, but it is only one step and not the entire treatment process. Those who only pursue detoxification are likely to relapse. During medically assisted detox, we use specifically formulated medications that mimic the effects of heroin without making patients feel high or altered. Instead, the medications, such as vivitrol, suboxone, and narcan, help patients feel healthy, strong, and focused. These medications are typically prescribed on a tapering schedule, which is dependent on how much heroin a patient used prior to entering treatment.
At Mount Sinai, we feel it is important for each patient to have agency and encourage them to communicate with our staff if the tapering medications make them feel slow, sedated, or if they experience any withdrawal, flu-like symptoms the medications cannot seem to curb.
After detoxification, proper treatment involves a mixture of medication, talk therapy, and job support. Through these additional steps in the treatment process, we assist patients with avoiding temptation. In fact, each day at Mount Sinai is filled with activities and tasks related to healing so that patients do not have time to think about their addiction or plan to take heroin.
At Mount Sinai, we have some of the top doctors in the United States to supervise your detox and guide you through the recovery process. For more information about our Georgia heroin rehab program, call (800) 353-4673 or contact us online.