Heroin Detox and Rehab Program

heroin and syringe

If you are in the need of a heroin detox program, Bridges of Hope has a program that will help you to recover from this crippling addiction. Heroin is a dangerous and deadly drug that you should never try to detox from alone.

According to one recent study, the situation with heroin addiction may somehow be even worse than we thought. A study conducted in 2007 revealed that at that time, there were about 153,000 heroin users in the United States. Other estimates, however, have that number at about 900,000. Things have gotten so bad that heroin is involved in nearly four out of every five drug-related deaths in Europe and as many as 18% of the admissions to treatment programs are for this reason alone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heroin continues to be a significant cause of overdose deaths in the United States. In fact, the rate of fatalities was seven times higher in 2019 than in 1999, with more than 14,000 people dying from a heroin-related drug overdose in 2019.

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug. Many people only need to use heroin once or twice before developing an addiction. It is made from morphine, which comes from the opium poppy plant. Heroin can be smoked, injected, or snorted, but it quickly affects the brain no matter how it is consumed.

Heroin addiction is an incredibly serious problem and at BHope Treatment Center, we want to make sure you have everything you need to finally rid yourself of this issue once and for all.

Detoxing from Heroin

A medically supervised detox from heroin is the safest way for someone to remove the drug from their system. Even if a person’s life isn’t at risk during heroin detox, the withdrawal symptoms can be severe, leading many to relapse. Certain withdrawal complications can be fatal, such as severe dehydration or asphyxiation when vomiting occurs.

It is not recommended that someone stop taking heroin cold turkey. Abrupt discontinuation of the drug can aggravate existing cravings. A significant benefit to either medically supervised inpatient or outpatient detox from heroin is that the person can be monitored to ensure their safety and given medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This is known as medication-assisted treatment or MAT.

The medication often used in MAT include:

  • Methadone, an opiate that is slow-acting and low-strength that can be used to taper people off heroin and prevent withdrawal symptoms.
  • Buprenorphine, a prescription medication that reduces cravings and some of the physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as vomiting and muscle aches.
  • Naltrexone, a non-addictive and non-sedative medication that blocks receptors in the brain that react to heroin and other opioids. Naltrexone can possibly reduce cravings.

The other component of MAT is counseling and behavioral therapy to assist individuals in their long-term recovery from heroin. The use of both medications and therapy offers a whole-patient approach. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), MAT helps to

  • Keep people safe during withdrawal
  • Help people stay in treatment longer
  • Lower the rates of illegal drug use and the criminal activity necessary to pay for drugs
  • Help people find and keep a job
  • Improve the safety of pregnant women and their children

It can take only a few months to develop a mild heroin use disorder, which can quickly escalate to a more severe addiction in weeks. Withdrawal symptoms can appear within hours of a person’s last use of heroin and last for about two days on average. However, some people may have withdrawal symptoms that last for up to 10 days.

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

The physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal can show up quickly when a person reduces or eliminates their heroin intake. A person who stops using heroin may also experience mental and emotional symptoms. The most common symptoms experienced with heroin withdrawal are:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold flashes with goosebumps, a.k.a. “cold turkey”
  • Uncontrolled leg movements
  • Trouble sleeping
  • A strong craving for Heroin

While none of these symptoms are life-threatening, withdrawal from heroin can be dangerous. Factors such as the length of time someone has used heroin, how much they use, how regularly they use and other existing health conditions will all impact the withdrawal experience. The worst symptoms of heroin withdrawal occur during the first three days after stopping the drug.

Withdrawal can be challenging, but ongoing heroin use is worse and can lead to major organ damage, decreased mental health and cognitive changes, and even death. Heroin addiction also affects people’s relationships with others.

Are You Ready for Detox?

Heroin’s Effect on the Brain and Body

Like all opioids, heroin attaches to cellular molecules in the brain and body known as opioid receptors. These cells often are connected to how the brain and body feel and perceive pleasure and pain. Connections between these cells and the body’s regulation of breathing also exist. That is not the only physical symptom, however. Because opioid receptors are found in the brain, the brain stem, the spinal cord, the lungs, and the intestines, heroin use can impact various physical functions, both in the short and long term.

Short-term effects of heroin:

  • Euphoria
  • A dry mouth
  • Warm, flushed skin
  • Arms and legs that feel heavy
  • Upset stomach and vomiting
  • Itching
  • A fuzzy brain
  • Going in and out of drowsiness (referred to as “on the nod”)

Long-term effects of heroin:

  • Collapsed veins
  • Insomnia
  • Infections of the heart lining and valves
  • Skin infections like abscesses and cellulitis
  • A higher chance of getting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Mental disorders
  • Lung diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis
  • Menstrual problems and miscarriage

Heroin Overdose

Call 911 immediately if you suspect someone is suffering from a heroin overdose. An injection of naloxone can halt the effects of a heroin overdose if it is given quickly. Some states allow the nasal spray version of naloxone to be sold without a prescription. It can take more than one dose of naloxone to stop the effects of a heroin overdose. Even if a person has received naloxone, they will need additional medical care to ensure their safety.

Our Heroin Detox Process

At Bridges of Hope, we truly believe that every recovery journey is different – which is why we refuse to rely on the myth of the “one size fits all” approach to heroin detox. Our licensed professionals follow all ASAM protocols for detoxification and we also implement not only residential treatment but also partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient care for all of the clients who walk through our door.

This, coupled with our focus on the health of the mind, the body, and the spiritual core, give people the best chance of ridding their lives of heroin on a permanent basis moving forward.

The Help You Need is a Phone Call Away

Heroin addiction is one of the most pressing issues facing us as a society in the modern era – but thankfully, help is also a lot closer than you probably think. If you or a loved one is suffering from heroin addiction and you’d like the assistance you need to regain control of your life, or if you’d just like to find out more about our wide range of effective and evidence-based heroin detox options, please don’t hesitate to contact Bridges of Hope today.

At Bridges of Hope, our treatment philosophy is based on a comprehensive and integrated approach to substance use and mental health disorders. Utilizing therapeutically proven, evidence-based clinical practices, we provide superior care in Indiana through all-inclusive treatment services.