Heroin addiction is a huge problem in America. We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic that is sweeping through the country, affecting everyone in it’s path. Heroin was once thought to be a drug that was only abused among poor, inner-city people, but it is now widespread and even affecting rich, suburban families. No one is immune, and heroin is a drug that can destroy lives and bring people to their knees. Heroin detox is a necessary part of ending addiction.
Opioid overdose has become a leading cause of death among Americans, surpassing other accidental deaths like car accidents, falls, etc. Most heroin addictions begin with an addiction to prescription painkillers, which are also in the opioid family. Once those pills run out, heroin is a less expensive option that people turn to and eventually get hooked on. It is estimated that over 50% of heroin addicts started with prescription drugs like Vicodin and Oxycontin.
Heroin is an incredibly difficult drug to quit without professional help. Medical heroin detox is a necessity for success because without it people tend to relapse just to stave off the effects of withdrawal. While not generally life-threatening, heroin detox is notoriously uncomfortable and it is something few people can successfully do on their own.
Many people addicted to heroin keep picking up because they are afraid of the symptoms of detox. Unfortunately, detox is a necessary part of the path to sobriety and at The Florida House Experience, we make it as safe and comfortable as possible.
Heroin is an opiate that gives addicts a feeling of euphoria and well-being. When they run out of the drug, they begin to crash down, causing them to seek more heroin to feel “normal”. This cycle of addiction becomes an endless circle of getting high, coming down, and seeking more.
The decision to quit heroin is a big one, and avoiding detox shouldn’t be a reason to keep using. We help our patients deal with all of the physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal, and we take all precautions that are necessary to prevent medical complications. Heroin withdrawal is different for everyone, depending on their use and potential underlying medical condition. People with diagnosed medical issues, mood disorders, or history of addiction may have a harder time detoxing from heroin than others.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Flu-like symptoms known as being “dope sick”
- Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting
- Cold, clammy skin
- Night sweats
- Anxiety and nightmares
- Involuntary movement, especially of the legs
- Bone and muscle pain
- Intense craving for more drugs
We will help you get through all of these symptoms comfortably and safely. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be prescribed medication to ease your discomfort throughout withdrawal and you will be weaned off them once symptoms subside.
Why Does Heroin Have These Withdrawal Symptoms?
Heroin is a drug in the opiate family that suppresses the central nervous system, including heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. It also binds to special receptors in the brain, increasing chemicals like dopamine that are responsible feelings of pleasure. When a person uses heroin, they get an immediate rush of euphoria. When the drug is removed from the system, the opposite occurs and the person will feel like they are going through the worst possible physical and emotional symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms depend on how much the brain relies on heroin and the chemicals of the drug have impacted the brain.
Special care has to be taken for people with a predisposition for depression because heroin detox can cause severe and sudden suicidal thoughts and actions. It is vital that people with underlying mood disorders are supervised throughout the entire withdrawal process. At the Florida House Experience, we make sure to monitor these kinds of patients around the clock. We also provide medication and counseling as necessary to make sure that each of our clients is as safe and comfortable as possible.
Heroin Detox and Suboxone
Heroin is an incredibly addictive substance. It is one of the few drugs that is sometimes treated with a replacement therapy that is slowly weaned down. Suboxone is the drug of choice for many rehab centers. It is a medication that is used to combat heroin addiction that contains buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is considered a mild opiate that produces some of the same effects so that the brain doesn’t go into complete shock from withdrawal.
While suboxone carries many benefits, it needs to be administered and taken cautiously. It is important to note that while it helps people get off of heroin, it can become an addiction as well. Suboxone must be administered in a controlled, medical setting because otherwise, a person might develop an addiction to it. It is meant to be taken for a short amount of time and tapered down immediately with a doctor’s supervision.
Heroin Detox at The Florida House Experience
At the Florida House Experience, we treat heroin detox with compassion and care, and the patient’s safety and comfort come first. Upon admission, our staff will conduct a thorough examination of each patient, including their medical and psychiatric history. We also do a complete medical and mental health assessment to rule out or begin treating any underlying issues. We make sure that our clients are aware of what is going on throughout the entire process to eliminate the fear of the unknown and mistrust. We understand that the idea of heroin detox is scary, but that is the best reason to come to a medically supervised facility.
During heroin detox, we offer therapeutic support to each of our clients so that they know they are not alone in the process. This kind of support is available to them 24/7 from our dedicated staff.
After the initial assessment is complete, we prescribe medication to help during detox. These medications include things to reduce anxiety, ease physical symptoms, and antidepressants. Our clients start their medication on day one because symptoms can begin fast or slow and the severity is unpredictable until the last minute. As the detox process progresses, clients are slowly weaned off of their medication and are returned to maintenance medications to treat underlying disorders.
Clients are monitored around the clock during their first few days at Florida House for changes in vital signs or anything that may indicate a medical complication. During this time, the client can rest as much as needed, eat regularly, and attend group therapy sessions as much as they can.
After detox, a client should begin a treatment program to help with their recovery from heroin. Recovery starts with detox and must continue with treatment for the best results possible and sustained sobriety.