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Addiction in any form can be a crippling affliction. While most people turn their thoughts to some kind of substance when thinking of an addiction, though this is most often the case, it isn’t a sure rule that substanc...
Addiction in any form can be a crippling affliction. While most people turn their thoughts to some kind of substance when thinking of an addiction, though this is most often the case, it isn’t a sure rule that substances have to be involved in an addiction. Addiction can manifest itself through many mediums such as food, emotions, actions, and many other possibilities. Just because something doesn’t have physically addictive properties doesn’t mean that it can’t turn into a psychological addiction. That being said, more often than not the majority of addictions do involve drugs, and those can be the most physically harming and difficult to kick.
When dealing with addiction, there are two main types, physical dependency and psychological dependency. Both physical dependency and psychological dependency are usually encountered when dealing with substance abuse, whereas addictions not involving substances are usually of the psychological variety. In terms of substance addiction, after ceasing use of the substance, the user will start feeling the physical dependency to a substance taking hold in one to three days after abstaining from the substance, depending on what drug it is. Physical symptoms of withdrawal can vary greatly, but will generally include to some degree cravings for the substance, restlessness, irritability, fatigue, and a host of other adverse effects. After a certain amount of time, the physical effects should subside, but the psychological addiction of a given substance can continue to linger with a user for an untold amount of time, making the possibility of relapse ever-present in even the most strong-willed of individuals.
Heroin, in regard to other drugs, is often considered the easiest drug to form an addiction to, and also the most physically and psychologically harmful. Heroin is a derivative of the morphine alkaloid found in opium. Originally touted as a safer version of morphine to be used in the treatment of morphine addiction, heroin has been found to be significantly more addictive than morphine. Since it can be smoked, snorted, taken orally, and used intravenously, there is a route of administration for drug users of any kind, meaning that it’s even easier to form an addiction to the substance. Even if users only start out smoking the drug occasionally, the desire for a better, quicker high can subtly take over, leading a once casual user to start injecting it.
The health risks involved with heroin use and addiction are plentiful, and very possibly the most threatening out of any drug. The risks that come with swallowing, snorting, or smoking it are dangerous enough, such as overdose and addiction, but the most severe risks come when users start injecting the drug. Even if only injected once, the possibility of addiction increases dramatically more than with other methods of use, regardless of whether users are consciously aware of the addiction taking hold or not. When used intravenously, overdosing becomes exponentially easier. The risk of contracting diseases from dirty needles, such as hepatitis and HIV, is always present, and contracting flesh-eating diseases from said needles isn’t unheard of.
Eventually, there will come a time when the desire for sobriety and all of its benefits will overcome the desire for heroin. However, even when this time comes, it is almost never possible to simply quit the drug on a whim, no matter how strongly a user desires to quit. Luckily, with a bit of information and a lot of willpower, it is certainly possible to kick the habit.
The first step in detoxing from anything is knowing what you can expect when quitting. As far as a general timetable goes, heroin addicts can expect to start experiencing withdrawal symptoms within 12 hours of their last use, a peak in symptoms after one to three days and a gradual subsidence of symptoms after five to seven days. Common symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:
When attempting to kick any addiction, especially heroin, it’s important to seek proper medical treatment and not try to do it cold turkey. There can be a lot of complications and risks when experiencing withdrawals from a substance, and medical professionals have the experience and expertise to make sure that you detox in the safest manner possible.
One method of detoxing that many people choose, and one that has shown to be highly effective, is an inpatient treatment program. The advantages of inpatient treatment programs are abundant, such as 24-hour medical care, detox programs that have been proven effective, support groups to help with the psychological effects of the drug and, more importantly, restriction from the outside world to help discourage relapsing.
Freeing yourself from any addiction is a great struggle, and heroin is absolutely no exception. Luckily, with the right information and the will to really want to quit, it’s certainly not impossible. When making the decision to give up heroin and begin the process of detoxing, you should always seek professional help and the support of friends and family. It will be a difficult journey, but with the right attitude and the support of those around you, it is possible!