Heroin use and addiction continues to be a problem for many individuals living in the United States.
It is estimated that there are over one million heroin users in the U.S alone, and over 200,000 people that would be considered dependent on the drug. Heroin is an extremely addictive opiate that is derived from the opium poppy and affects the brain similarly to natural endorphins, resulting in an intense rush or high (WebMD).Heroin withdrawal can be a very uncomfortable and overwhelming experience for a person trying to overcome an addiction. Many times, the withdrawal symptoms alone are enough to get a person to resume using the drug. However, there are many different types of heroin detox. The key to successfully quitting the drug is to understand the types of heroin detox process and be ready for the difficult road ahead.
Most Common Types of Heroin Detox
There are four main Types of Heroin Detox and some may not be right for every user.
- Cold Turkey—This is the usual way that heroin users try and quit the drug, by simply stopping use of the drug and waiting for your body to detoxify itself. This method may be the most difficult to accomplish, as the withdrawal symptoms can begin to present themselves within hours and tend to peak near the 48 to 72 hour mark after a person’s last dose. Side-effects associated with heroin withdrawal include muscle pain, diarrhea, cold flashes, insomnia, and other physical and psychological symptoms that can be difficult to cope with alone. (WebMD)
- Medication—This method of heroin detox involves treating the withdrawal process with non-opioid medications such as clonidine, which helps to reduce anxiety, aches and pains, cramping, and sweating. Buprenorphine and its family of drugs have also been known help treat the symptoms of heroin withdrawal and can shorten the detox process as well. (National Library of Medicine)
- Opioid Substitution—This process slowly weans a person off of their heroin addiction. The treatment should only be done under proper medical supervision, and involves substituting an opiate such as methadone for heroin, which will make it easier to reduce the dosage over time and help eliminate the strong withdrawal symptoms (PubMed).
- Antagonist treatment—This involves using narcotic blockers. This form of treatment can make the withdrawal process last a shorter period of time, but can also be very difficult to endure. (PubMed)
Heroin may be a difficult drug to quit, but with treatment options and different types of detox for heroin, you can look for the method that works best for you. Get control of a heroin addiction by understanding the types of treatment available and receive help to get to a healthier place.
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