No one chooses to get addicted to heroin, but it happens. Addiction varies from person to person, and just because your friend didn’t get addicted does not mean you won’t. The best tool for getting clean is to understand your addiction and how treatment can help.
Heroin’s Effect on the Brain
Addiction causes pleasurable physical effects, which is why you choose to continue using the drug. Heroin is a downer drug. This means it causes you to feel relaxed. When it enters your brain, it converts back into morphine and affects the opioid receptors in your brain, and many of them are in the area of your brain involved in the perception of pain and reward. This causes a euphoric feeling; however, this feeling does not last, and you become awake but drowsy.
How Does Addiction Occur?
Because of the effects on the brain, many people choose to keep using it. This is especially the case if the drug fills some kind of need or void in your life, such as making you feel relaxed or helping you get rid of stress. When the drug is fulfilling something for you, you quickly become dependent on it. You are often unable to realize this is happening. At first, you use it only with friends, but slowly, your use increases as your desire to fulfill the need or void increases. Eventually, the heroin takes control of your life, affecting it negatively, such as forcing you to be late for work or school on a regular basis or causing you to neglect your obligations.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Get Addicted?
Not everyone who uses heroin becomes addicted. Some people try it once or twice because they are curious or their friends are doing it, and they never become addicted. There is no defined number of times you have to use heroin before you become addicted. Addiction is based on a personal level, and it isn’t dependent on how much or how often you use. It is based on how it is affecting your life. If your heroin use is affecting your work, home, school or your relationships, you are abusing heroin and need to seek help.
So why do some people become addicted while others don’t? Think of addiction as a condition, much like a medical condition. There are factors that make someone more prone to heart disease or diabetes than someone else. Similarly, there are actors that make you more prone to addiction than your friend. These factors include :
- Other family members who have been addicted
- Starting use of drugs at an early age
- Mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety and bipolar
- Traumatic experiences from childhood, such as neglect or abuse
- How you administer the drug, such as smoking or injecting
Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
There are many symptoms related to heroin abuse and addiction. The first symptoms are usually physical and include :
- Dry mouth
- Constricted pupils
- Shortness of breath
- Being hyper or alert and then suddenly drowsy
Other symptoms include having heroin paraphernalia around, including needles, burned spoons, aluminum foil with burn marks and plastic bags with white powder.
In addition to physical symptoms, you experience behavioral symptoms as well. The behavioral symptoms are what really affect your life and make addiction dangerous. Behavioral symptoms include :
- Hostile behavior
- Sleeping often
- Low self-esteem
- Loss of motivation
- Sudden poor performance in school or work
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
Treatment for Addiction
If you experience these symptoms, you need treatment, and the best form of treatment is through a rehab center. The River Source of Arizona allows you to detox in a safe environment with round-the-clock supervision by trained staff. Once you are detoxed, you begin an inpatient program that may last one, two or three months.
During this inpatient program, you are completely focused on treatment. Outside distractions are blocked, so you only have to focus on overcoming your addiction and becoming sober. You’ll participate in many activities and therapy sessions to keep you busy all day and keep you from thinking about how to get the heroin. These therapy sessions help you understand why you became addicted, help you identify triggers and help you determine coping mechanisms. The best part is that everyone at the facility is positive and focused on your healing.
After you finish your inpatient session, many patients choose outpatient care to continue working toward a healthy lifestyle and dealing with stress and coping mechanisms. This provides you with a safety net that is there for you if you feel like you are going to relapse.
Everyone is different, and while your friend may not become addicted to heroin, that doesn’t mean you can’t become addicted. If heroin use is negatively impacting your life in any way, you need to seek treatment, and the best form of treatment is with a skilled Arizona heroin drug rehab center where you can focus on you and your path toward recovery.