A word about opiate/opioid dependence
The medical diagnosis which is usually characterized by the inability to stop using opiates or opioids such as codeine, heroin, and morphine (opiates) or Dilaudid, hydrocodone, and oxycodone (opioids) is referred to as opiate or opioid dependency. Dependency and addiction is characterized with a preoccupation or strong desire to obtain more of the drug. This is what is commonly referred to as “persistent drug-seeking behavior” according to physicians and psychiatrists.
What causes opiate or opioid dependence?
Past research studies have revealed that at least one severe psychological condition is usually present when an individual is addicted to or dependent on heroin and other opiates or opiate or opioid substances. Although it is not common for psychological conditions to arise when a person is being treated for the relief of pain using opiate or opioid substances, the assumption is made that any comorbid psychological condition was already present.
Because of the fact that the characteristics of opioids are anti-depressive, anti-psychotic, and anxiolytic in nature they are used recreationally. So the addiction to or dependency on opiates and opioids typically stems from the individual self-medicating themselves. As heroin is a powerfully addictive opiate, it is very desirable as a recreational drug and readily available on the streets.
Understanding heroin withdrawal
Without a doubt, the addictive grip of heroin is extremely powerful because of how quickly tolerance build-up occurs. In fact, it may be unnoticeable at first, but within two or three uses of heroin, it is not uncommon to see the onset of dependency. Without a doubt, heroin withdrawal symptoms are some of the most difficult to endure because of how powerfully addictive it is. Currently, heroin is viewed as one of the primary drug threats in the US and heroin addiction and dependency is also a serious public health threat.
Heroin is not selective no matter what socioeconomic background an individual is from. It tears families apart, destroys relationships, and ends lives regardless of age, gender, race, or religion. Heroin is difficult for the individual to walk away from unless they receive professional help at an addiction treatment and recovery center in order to do so. Going through heroin detox “cold turkey” is dangerous and heroin withdrawal symptoms can oftentimes turn life-threatening when the individual attempts to go it alone.
The primary withdrawal symptoms
If there is one thing that you can say, it is the fact that heroin withdrawal symptoms are some of the most crippling in the world of drug addiction and dependency. The dependency is just as psychological as it is physiological as it holds the body and mind of the individual firmly in its grip. The bottom line is that overcoming the addiction to or dependency on heroin without experiencing emotional and physical discomfort is never easy, no matter how long you have been using it.
Ironically, heroin withdrawal symptoms have been accurately portrayed in film and on TV if not famously dramatized by the suffering actor. After the last usage of heroin, the person may start feeling withdrawal symptoms within a few hours. They will typically peak within 48 to 72 hours of this last dose of the drug once the individual enters detox but this may take 3 to 5 days if the addiction or dependency is severe enough. They will typically subside after this point in time but the individual may still experience pain and weakness.
In some cases a person who is given opioid drugs for pain while in the hospital, they will experience heroin withdrawal symptoms. However, because they think they are coming down with the flu coupled with the fact that they do not realize that more of the drug will help them feel better, they usually don’t exhibit signs of craving more of it. Heroin withdrawal symptoms are classified as either early or late in nature as follows:
• Early heroin withdrawal symptoms – agitation, anxiety, increased tearing, insomnia, muscle aches, runny nose, sweating, watering eyes, and yawning
• Late heroin withdrawal symptoms – abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dilated pupils, goose bumps, irritability, nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting
Addiction to this drug is so powerful that many individuals not only undergo heroin withdrawal symptoms when they abruptly quit using it, they also experience these symptoms even when they reduce the dosage they are used to.
Treating heroin withdrawal symptoms
Whenever an individual checks themselves into a heroin addiction treatment and recovery program, they will have to undergo detox in order to proceed to the recovery stage. Detox is viewed as the most important stage of any rehab and recovery program to the extent that unless the person successfully completes it, they cannot proceed to the ensuing stages. In most cases, the best course of action is going to be a medical and not a natural detox. This is due primarily to how uncomfortable heroin withdrawal symptoms usually are.
There are now several medications that are used to treat heroin withdrawal symptoms although Methadone was the only one that was used for many years. Buprenorphine is now a popular choice and is sold under the brand names of Suboxone, which is a Buprenorphine and Naloxone compound, and Subutex. All of these are highly effective for relieving the discomfort of heroin withdrawal and are commonly used in addiction treatment and recovery programs throughout the US.
Blue Water Detox has more information on heroin addiction detox and recovery. Call them today at the toll-free phone number listed above.