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Heroin Addiction – West Chester

Heroin is an opiate drug manufactured from morphine, a psychoactive drug that’s naturally produced in some varieties of the poppy plant. Listed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, heroin is a highly addictive and illegal drug, and heroin addiction is becoming an increasing concern for many cities and states across the country, including West Chester.

Heroin addiction can set in quickly, and getting help for heroin addiction or abuse is essential for preventing catastrophic physical and mental health problems and improving patients’ quality of life.

Why is This Drug So Addictive?

The effects of heroin include intense feelings of euphoria and a keen sense of wellbeing, which is one reason heroin addiction is so prevalent. Using this drug just once can set an individual on the road to physical dependence.

Another reason that addiction is a major risk when abusing the drug is that it produces a high tolerance very quickly, which means that before long, larger doses will be needed to get the same euphoric effects. Over time, this causes changes in brain function and structure that result in withdrawal symptoms when heroin use is discontinued.

Heroin Abuse in Pennsylvania

Overdose deaths associated with this drug have exceeded the number of traffic fatalities in the state each year, and Pennsylvania has the third highest rate of heroin addiction in the country. In most counties, this if the drug most often cited during drug treatment admissions.

Signs of Abuse

This opiate can be snorted, smoked, or injected directly into the bloodstream. The presence of paraphernalia, including baggies, balloons, pipes, syringes, and burnt spoons, is a sign that someone you know may be abusing it. Other signs of abuse include:

  • Dilated pupils for the duration of the effects, typically four to five hours.
  • Disorientation, confusion, impaired coordination, and slurred speech.
  • A sudden loss of energy.
  • Sleeping during unusual times.
  • Changes in behavior that may include aggression, mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
  • Needle marks on the body.
  • A growing lack of personal hygiene.

Signs of Addiction

Signs and symptoms of an addiction to this drug include:

  • The inability to stop using even though it’s causing problems in your life
  • Building up a tolerance to the drug so that more is needed to get the desired effects
  • Intense cravings
  • The onset of withdrawal symptoms when heroin is withheld from the body
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Abandoning hobbies
  • Appearing unkempt and dirty

Long-Term Health Effects

Over time, heroin abuse and addiction can cause major mental and physical health problems, including:

  • Becoming infected with hepatitis or HIV from sharing needles
  • Collapsed or scarred veins
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Lung infections
  • Severe mental illness
  • Infections of the vital organs
  • Bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves

Treating an Addiction

The first phase of heroin addiction treatment is medical detox, which is supervised by a team of physicians and mental health professionals and involves medications that are administered as needed to prevent or alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox breaks the physical addiction to heroin so that the psychological aspects can be addressed.

After detox, various psychotherapies are utilized to address the underlying issues that led to the abuse and addiction. These issues may include a co-occurring mental illness, issues of abuse, and faulty beliefs and unhealthy thought patterns. Treatment therapies will be conducted in group, individual, and family settings.

The final phase of treatment is the implementation of an aftercare program, which provides ongoing support after treatment and helps patients navigate the transition from rehab back home. The aftercare plan will include ongoing therapy and other components based on the individual’s particular issues, needs, and unique challenges.

If you or a loved one are addicted to this harmful and dangerous drug, call Drug Treatment Centers West Chester for help at 347-542-5767.

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