How do you know when a loved one has a substance use disorder and needs to go through heroin detox? First, you must identify signs of heroin addiction in their appearance and behavior. Then, it’s a matter of approaching them and talking to them about your observations. You may also want to consider doing an intervention if you feel like convincing them to get professional help would be difficult to do alone.
Heroin is an illicit but powerful addictive substance. With consistent use, it’s likely someone will develop an addiction. When heroin tolerance leads to dependency and addiction, it can be difficult for someone to stop using the illicit drug even when they’re committed to doing so. Therefore, the best way to overcome any addiction is to get professional help. With heroin-related problems, that typically begins with medical detox.
What Are the Common Signs of Heroin Addiction?
The signs of heroin addiction that you can observe tend to vary based on addicted people’s genetic makeup, frequency and amount of heroin misuse, and level of dependency on heroin. The typical signs of heroin addiction include the following:
- Anxiety, depression, or paranoia
- Apathy and lack of motivation
- Avoiding loved ones
- Bruises or scabs as the result of picking at the skin
- Constricted pupils
- Decreased attention to personal hygiene
- Disorientation, delusions, and hallucinations
- Dry mouth
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Increased sleeping
- Moments of hyperactivity followed by periods of exhaustion
- Mood swings, agitation, irritability, and hostility toward others
- Possession of burned spoons, needles or syringes, or glass pipes
- Shortness of breath
- Slurred speech or forced and pressured speech
- Track marks on arms and legs
- Unfulfilled responsibilities at work or school
- Warm, flushed skin
- Weight loss
If you recognize some of these signs in someone you care about, it may be time to get assessed at an addiction treatment facility. It’s not ideal to stop using this addictive substance by yourself at home because the different heroin detox stages may bring you discomfort that can be life-threatening.
Why Is Medical Detox Recommended for Heroin Addiction Recovery?
As mentioned above, the stages of heroin detox can be discomforting and painful without medical care and supervision. The latter is typically what’s provided by professional detox programs of addiction treatment centers.
Scientific studies have established that pharmacological treatment of opioid use disorder increases retention in addiction treatment programs. It also decreases instances of criminal activity, drug use, and infectious disease transmission after clients complete formal treatment. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an example of pharmacological treatment. FDA-approved prescription drugs may be used when administering MAT, such as:
- Methadone: This drug is a slow-acting opioid agonist. Methadone has been used since the 1960s to treat heroin use disorder and is only available through certain outpatient programs that dispense it to clients. Although methadone addiction can happen, this drug is still an excellent treatment option, particularly for clients who don’t respond well to other medications.
- Buprenorphine: This drug is a partial opioid agonist. Buprenorphine relieves drug cravings without producing the dangerous side effects of other opioids. The FDA approved buprenorphine in 2002, making it the first medication eligible to be prescribed by physicians through the Drug Addiction Treatment Act. This eliminates the need to visit specialized treatment clinics and thereby expands access to treatment.
- Naltrexone: This drug is an opioid antagonist. Naltrexone blocks the action of opioids, is not addictive or sedating and doesn’t result in physical dependence. However, clients often have trouble complying with the treatment.
MAT is the typical recommendation for clients with addictions to opioids like heroin to reduce the discomfort from severe withdrawal symptoms like cravings and pain.
What Are the Stages of Heroin Detox?
During the detox process, clients may notice significant changes in how they think and feel right away. In fact, it takes some time for the brain to recognize that heroin is no longer present in the body. Once that happens, the body will seem to fight back against the change. Heroin cravings may arise. The heroin detox stages typically follow this timeline:
- 6–12 hours from the last dose: Withdrawal begins, and negative symptoms start to arise.
- 1–3 days from the last dose: The peak intensity and frequency of withdrawal symptoms happen during this stage.
- 1–2 weeks from the last dose: Withdrawal symptoms begin to subside.
Heroin leaves the body of a client quickly during the detox process. The digestive system works to remove it from the body over the course of a few days. However, how long this stage takes often depends on the amount of heroin used and how healthy a client’s body is, and if it’s capable of metabolizing substances quickly.
Heroin withdrawal will continue until the body and brain are forced to move beyond their dependence. This is a difficult period for some people, which is why MAT is the usual recommendation. It takes less pain and frustration to get beyond withdrawal with pharmacological treatment.
Ready To Learn About Santé Center for Healing’s Heroin Detox Treatment Options?
Are you searching for heroin detox treatment options near Dallas, TX? Contact Santé Center for Healing today by calling 866.238.3154 or reaching out to our team online.