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Heroin Addiction treatment at La Jolla Recovery

Heroin can be a stigma as a drug use disorder.

However, due to pain killer prescription opiates, their availability has escalated in recent years and is very common and treatable.

At La Jolla Recovery heroin rehab, we will attend to your detoxification and long-term care needs in a non-judgmental environment and caring space with science and evidence-based tools to make lasting changes.

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Signs of Heroin Use

If someone you know is exhibiting any of the following signs, it could signal heroin use:

  • mood swings
  • weight lose/gain
  • slow breathing
  • small pupils
  • needle marks in armor body parts
  • missing spoon, pills, belts or shoelaces and
  • sleepiness.

People who use heroin often report feeling sick when they’re not consuming it. Quitting heroin is not necessarily only about willpower. Heroin withdrawal symptoms follow a general timeline, lasting about five to 10 days after the last dose, but signs will be most acute around the third day. Such symptoms include cramps, nausea, insomnia, watery eyes, runny nose, anxiety, and tension.

Many people find it very difficult to get through the withdrawal cycle without a medical professional guiding them through it. The pain and emotions may be intense enough to make people act out of character or put them at risk of self-harm or even suicide. Many people find it difficult to escape the cycle of using heroin to get rid of withdrawal symptoms. 

Heroin is a highly addictive drug: Almost 25% of people who use heroin become dependent on it. People addicted to opioid painkillers are almost 50 times more likely than others to become addicts. People addicted to cocaine are 16 times more likely to become addicted to heroin. Clients addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to become addicted to heroin.  Patients addicted to alcohol are twice as likely to become addicted to heroin.

Difference Between Heroin, Xanax and Meth

Heroin is an opioid drug and one –if not the most- lethal illegal drug globally. It works by hijacking opioid, dopamine, and GABA neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. These chemical messengers modulate pain and regulate pleasure, hunger, and wakefulness. Opiates are used as sedatives and painkillers.

Meth or methamphetamines are stimulants. They cause a surge in the production of dopamine, triggering intense euphoria. The high is similar to that of crack cocaine but lasts much longer.

Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam. It is a potent benzodiazepine that is more than ten times stronger than the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine in the United States, diazepam. The drug is a sedative-hypnotic that causes the activation of GABA, the neurotransmitter responsible for inhibiting the central nervous system, and inducing relaxation and sleep. 

Heroin Addiction Potential

While endorphins are released naturally during exercise to minimize discomfort and encourage us to continue healthy behavior, opiate drugs emulate these neurotransmitters and cause analgesia, stress relief, and euphoria. Heroin also causes stimulation of the neurotransmitter GABA, which has sedative and anxiolytic effects.

Discontinuing heroin after prolonged use causes the brain to rely on these synthetic opioids instead of creating and releasing its own.

People with mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are at a significantly increased risk of becoming addicted to the drug,

Behavioral Risk Factors

Sensation-seeking is considered an essential factor in the development of addiction among those who have previously been prescribed an opiate painkiller as well as impulsivity.

In co-occurring disorders, the symptoms of drug use and mental health problems overlap. The addict must identify any underlying mental health conditions when they seek treatment—treating the drug problem without addressing the other issues triggers relapse. Relapse is perceived as a failure in the eyes of the sufferer, which worsens the situation. The most significant injury is ignoring the desire to get better no matter where the client is. We believe in harm reduction, meaning no shame or guilt is placed on a journey that is not straight but instead focuses on the achievements and desire to get help.

Heroin is so addictive because it the brain chemistry. It specifically has an impact on the way the brain’s motivation and reward system works. The brain uses neurotransmitters to signal when an experience causes happiness. It uses different neurotransmitters to signal that we should repeat the experience.

Using opiates causes the release of both sets of neurotransmitters and other ones designed to help us feel pain relief and induce relaxation and sleep.  The brain tries to adapt to the extreme changes made by the substance. 

When injected, heroin binds to receptors in the brain within seconds. The feelings are usually felt roughly within half an hour when taken via any other route. The high starts with an intense sense of euphoria and well-being but is generally accompanied by heaviness, a dry mouth, itchiness, and high temperature. 

After this initial high, the user may nod off. This may last for up to one hour. For several hours after administration, the user often feels drowsy. Heroin users usually require a dose every 5 to 12 hours.

Heroin Abuse and Opiate Painkillers

In The U.S.A., heroin initiation is about twenty times more likely in someone who has previously been prescribed opiate painkillers than those who haven’t. 

One study found that in a survey of young people who injected heroin, 86% had previously used opiate painkillers non-medically. Over the last decade, the availability of opiates such as fentanyl and oxycodone has rapidly increased. 

Heroin Treatment

Heroin treatment begins with detoxification.  An addiction specialist at La Jolla Recovery can help a heroin user determine what combination of treatments will work out based on the client´s lifestyle, medical history, and current use. In all initial appointments, clients need to talk sincerely about their heroin use.  The first appointment at La Jolla Recovery includes reviewing the client´s drug use and medical history, a physical exam, and a saliva/blood/urine test.

Eventually, the client and clinician will come up with a treatment. Some clients may be asked to commit to the recovery plan.

The first few heroin-free days are usually the most challenging part of the recovery process. But working with a therapist and medical health professional can diminish some of the mental and physical symptoms of withdrawal from heroin. 

Inpatient rehabilitation is the recommended course of treatment. Some people find they have gotten stuck in a rut, and a change of location is required to change their habits. Also, individuals are far more likely to have access to a drug dealer when they are in a familiar environment.

There is access to care all day long at a residential rehab center and a whole team of experts at the client’s disposal. It can be enlightening for some people to experience a structured lifestyle like the one in rehab. The responsibility of being on time, attending appointments, and being organized are also bypassed in inpatient settings. Even with challenges such as pregnancy, we can provide support for any stage of life. We like to play an active role in our community when it comes to heroin addiction.

La Jolla Recovery is a state-of-the-art rehab center. In this setting, the service user can build a trusting relationship with our medical staff conducive to the level of honesty necessary for treating heroin addiction. Relapse is attended with a harm reduction perspective, understanding that making it possible to reach out for help, including detoxing again and being embraced, can make a difference as opposed to being excluded or pushed out. Any underlying mental health issues or co-occurring disorders must be pinpointed and treated, including pain management and social reintegration.

Continued Individual Therapy

Stopping heroin use is a significant first step, albeit a long journey lies ahead.

Continuing individual therapy can help people work through long-term dual diagnosis issues, control emotions, and process the fluctuations of a heroin-free life. Continued treatment may include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) such as suboxone or buprenorphine, mental health counseling, and learning coping strategies like contingency management and behavioral therapy. Part of our opiate treatment can include naloxone, a medication-assisted antidote that can safely reverse the toxic effects of an overdose. It has prooved to reduce overdoses and increase outcomes in heroin and morphine addiction. Because 12 step meetings may not be enough to get someone clean from heroin, we recommend an integrative approach based on science and long-term focus. If coming from out of states such as Arizona, Texas, New York, Florida, or Nevada, we are here to provide a home to begin your journey and accommodate the changes.

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If you or a loved one is going through the challenges of heroin addiction, La Jolla Recovery can provide the ideal plan for a new beginning. Contact us today for more information on our comprehensive heroin rehab program.

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