Heroin Addiction El Paso, TX (915) 219-5848

Heroin addiction is a growing problem across the United States, due in part to the nationwide crackdown on the abuse of prescription opiate painkillers and the increasing affordability of heroin.

Heroin is derived from morphine, which is a psychoactive substance found in some varieties of the poppy plant. Its effects include a sense of well being and relaxation as well as a marked feeling of euphoria. Heroin is widely available on the street, particularly in large cities, and it's sold as a brownish or white powder in small balloons or baggies. Heroin can be snorted, injected, or smoked, and using it just once can quickly set someone on the path to a heroin addiction.

Why Heroin is So Addictive

Heroin addiction is the result of changes in brain function and structure that occur when heroin is intensely abused. If a heroin addiction is present, withdrawal symptoms will set in when the drug is withheld from the body.

One reason why heroin is so addictive is that it produces high levels of tolerance in the body very quickly, which means that it affects brain function faster than many other drugs. When tolerance builds, more and more heroin is needed to get the desired euphoric and calming effects, and these increasingly higher doses soon lead to physical dependence. Additionally, using heroin "just once" can easily set someone on the path to severe abuse and addiction due to the potent euphoric effects of the drug and the heightened sensations of pleasure that make it irresistible for some.

Signs of Heroin Use

If you think someone you love is using heroin, look for these telltale signs:

  • The presence of paraphernalia, such as glass or metal pipes, baggies or balloons, burnt spoons, and syringes.
  • Dilated pupils for four or five hours after taking heroin.
  • Slowed breathing rate while on the drug.
  • A sudden drop in energy, often accompanied by excessive yawning.
  • Napping at unusual times during the day.
  • Slurred speech, disorientation and slowed movements.
  • Behavioral changes, such as mood swings, social withdrawal, and aggression when confronted about heroin abuse.
  • Needle marks, sores, or scabs at injection sites on the arms, legs, hands, or feet.

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

Signs are indicators of a heroin addiction that a physician or family member might notice. Symptoms are indicators of a heroin addiction that the person with the addiction will feel. Signs and symptoms that you or someone you love may be addicted to heroin include:

  • Building up a tolerance for heroin so that higher doses are required to get the same effects.
  • Experiencing severe cravings for heroin.
  • The onset of symptoms of withdrawal when heroin use is discontinued.
  • Increasing neglect of responsibilities at home, work, or school.
  • Abandoning formerly enjoyed activities and hobbies.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • A lack of attention to personal hygiene.
  • Continuing to use heroin despite the problems it's causing with the law, finances, health, and/or personal relationships.
  • The inability to stop using heroin despite wanting or trying to quit.

Long Term Health Effects of Heroin Abuse and Addiction

Long-term abuse heroin abuse may cause a number of devastating health problems, including physical dependence. Other serious health effects of heroin abuse include:

  • Chronic digestive problems, including constipation.
  • Chronic insomnia.
  • Bacterial blood infections.
  • Serious heart, lung, and liver damage.
  • Collapsed veins resulting from injecting heroin.
  • The onset or worsening of mental illnesses.
  • HIV and hepatitis B and C infections due to sharing contaminated needles.
  • Cognitive problems, especially related to memory, learning, and processing.

Treating an Addiction to Heroin

A physical addiction to heroin is broken in the first phase of drug rehab, which is medical detox. Medical detox is the medically-supervised process of weaning the drug from the body by withholding it and administering various medications as needed to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, which may include hot and cold sweats, anxiety and agitation, vomiting and diarrhea, severe body aches, and intense cravings.

After the physical addiction is broken, treatment therapies are used to treat the complex psychological aspects of the addiction, which vary among individuals and may include a history of physical or sexual abuse, a co-occurring mental illness, and various behavioral addictions that stem from the drug abuse. Treatment therapies will include both traditional therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing, and alternative therapies, such as meditation and art or music therapy.

After treatment is successfully completed, an aftercare plan is set in place to help patients maintain the motivation and momentum for recovery gained in treatment. The aftercare plan components are based on the individual's particular needs and challenges and will typically include ongoing individual, group, and family therapy, participation in a 12-Step or alternative community recovery program, continued monitoring of any mental illnesses and the medications used to treat them, and continued evaluation of the plan itself to ensure new and changing needs are being met. Other components may include vocational rehab, a stint in a sober living facility, or housing assistance.

If you need to find heroin addiction treatment centers in El Paso TX, please contact El Paso Drug Treatment Centers at (915) 219-5848 today. We will help you find the best addiction treatment centers to meet all your recovery needs.

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