The Signs, Symptoms and Suffering of Heroin Addiction

We hear frequently about the opioid epidemic that is plaguing not only Florida, but the wider United States, and the world as a whole. According to the World Health Organization “Roughly 450,000 people died as a result of drug use in 2015. Of those deaths, about 160 thousands were directly associated with drug use disorders and about 118 thousands with opioid use disorders.” The headlines so often read like a Stephen King novel about an epidemic killing large swaths of the population, but instead of it being a virus or some kind of bacteria, the culprit is a drug that sometimes comes in as innocuous of a form as a prescription medication. The crisis that is killing so many in Florida, throughout the United States of America and as the World Health Organization shows, throughout the whole world. 118 thousand people dying due to opioid related matters in 160 thousand is a jaw dropping 74% of the people who died due to a drug related incidents in 2016 who succumbed to death because of opioids.


Heroin is an analgesic narcotic in the opioid family. It usually comes in a powdered form. The color of the drug changes depending on the geographic region where you find it, but it usually ranges from brown to white, most commonly known for its white form. The white color indicates a more optimal level of purity, and the more brown the color of the drug, the more additives are cutting the drug, and consequently the less potent the drug. However this doesn’t mean that the less potent forms are not dangerous. Dealers often cut heroin with additives in order to stretch the drug and make more money, and the discoloration of the product is an indication of this kind of money making move.  


Heroin is usually cut with:

  • Talcum powder
  • Rat poison
  • Baking soda
  • Caffeine
  • Flour
  • Fentanyl
  • Laundry Detergent


That list should be enough to give anyone pause before they do heroin, but unfortunately it is one of the more addictive drugs. Heroin addiction easily leads to overdose and it’s a problem that is igniting the country, one that claims countless lives every year. As prescription opioids became more and more popular we have seen heroin deaths rise substantially. This is because when someone takes a prescription opioid pain killer for a long enough period of time, the person often develops a chemical addiction to opioids and eventually seeks out a more potent opioid. This is when the end up finding heroin when – their tolerance makes the prescription drug no longer effective for them. Opioids quickly grow tolerance within the user as well as addiction. All opioids target the pain, pleasure, and addiction centers of the brain.

Side Effects of Heroin Addiction

  • Loss of appetite or abnormal eating habits
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Violence
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Mood Swings
  • Strained Interpersonal relationships
  • Failure to successfully fulfill minor and major life responsibilities
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Obfuscation
  • Tension at work or at school
  • Hyperactivity
  • Slurred speech
  • Major weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Disorganized thought
  • Picking at the skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Joint pain
  • Weakness
  • Irregular body temperature
  • Tachycardia
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Liver damage
  • Circulatory system issues
  • Increased blood pressure and respiratory rate
  • Increased sweating


Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin withdrawal is intense and one of the most difficult thing that a person can ever go through. Opioids, particularly heroin one of the most potent, are strong and notorious for tenaciously holding an addict. It is harrowing to withstand the cravings and get clean from any drug, but especially from a drug as potent as heroin. The most important thing to do when someone is ready to get clean and work toward recovery from heroin addiction is to seek out a facility that offers medically supervised heroin detox. FHE Health offers a highly qualified medical staff to supervise withdrawal and support the addict through the following common heroin withdrawal symptoms:

  • Intensive cravings
  • Irritable
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Body weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Flu like symptoms such as a runny nose
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme sweating
  • Chills
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular and heart problems
  • Respiratory distress
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Death


Different Types of Treatment For Heroin Addiction

Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a lesser potent opioid that is sometimes used when a patient is going through withdrawal symptoms for heroin addiction.


Methadone: A slightly stronger version of buprenorphine, methadone is an opioid used to help people recovering from heroin addiction as a way to control withdrawal symptoms.


Naltrexone:  Naltrexone is also a medication made to treat heroin addiction and assist in the withdrawal process by eliminating all desire for heroin or any opioid. Naltrexone, unlike methadone,  doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms itself when the patient is no longer taking it. The drug covers the same opioid receptors that heroin does and blocks the effects of heroin in the event of an overdose.

Naltrexone can be taken in a couple of different ways. The oral method is taken in a tablet form. The implant is subdermal and steadily administers an effective dose every day for, some say, a more successful outcome. Subdermal implants have become more and more popular as a way to administer medication on a long term basis of late such as the use of subdermal implants for birth control. The subdermal implant for drug addiction utilized with Naltrexone can allow for a consistent covering of the opioid receptors so as to remove the effects of heroin even when taken, therefore also removing the desire for the drug all together.


Suboxone: Suboxone is a medication that combines Naltrexone and Buprenorphine. The combined capabilities of those two drugs in one medication, the ability to control withdrawal symptoms even more efficiently at the same time as taking away the desire to take the opioid is an extra effective score for the fight against opioid addiction.


Most Common Mental Health Dual Diagnosis

Mental illness often spurs someone to a devastating drug or alcohol addiction. Here are the most common co-occurring disorders with heroin addiction:

  • Mood disorders – characterized by a patient moving (or swinging) through multiple different moods
  • Anxiety disorders – characterized by excessive amounts of worry and fret surrounding reasonable and sometimes unreasonable subjects.
  • Eating disorders – characterized by someone with abnormal eating habits such as an obsession with food causing self induced starvation, bingeing or even the consumption of inedible substances.
  • Abuse of subsequent substances such as alcohol or cigarettes
  • Antisocial personality disorder – is characterized by a disregard for moral lines, a hostility or lack of empathy toward others,unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous actions with little regard for the outcome. This can make substance abuse such as a heroin addiction particularly dangerous for people who suffer from antisocial personality disorder, sometimes called sociopathy.
  • Post traumatic stress disorder – Post traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that develops after someone goes through a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, physical assault, sexual assault, domestic violence, being a veteran of the military, or any number of disturbing experiences.
  • Panic Disorder – characterized by sudden bouts of panic that manifest in physiological symptoms such as a heavy feeling in the chest, a closing up of the throat, or hyperventilation, among others.
  • Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar disorder is one of the most common dual diagnosis with heroin addiction and is characterized by a person moving between states of mania, hypomania, and deep depression.the length of time someone stays in each mood depends on the unique way the mental health disorder effects each patient.  


Dual diagnosis always complicate recovery for those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction because when someone is diagnosed with both drug or alcohol chemical dependency and psychological addiction both occurring at the same time, recovery becomes a two way path. You must treat both the mental illness and the substance use disorder simultaneously with any hope of successfully reaching an active recovery. Luckily, this is becoming  a more widely accepted truth and Florida detoxification and rehabilitation centers are now bringing in more varieties of therapies and more qualified clinicians than ever before.


FHE Health offers highly trained therapists to walk you through both individual and group therapies. We believe in an holistic view of treatment, meaning we treat the whole person. We work hard to offer our patients best in class treatment with only the most up to date strategies and technologies available. FHE has a highly qualified team of experts such as neurologists and psychologists who work together to diagnose how mental health disorders affect the very physiology of a patient’s brain. FHE offers:


  • NeuroFeedback Training is a process that is intended to help to create an outline of steps for a patient to follow in order to recover from psychological dependence on a drug.


  • EEG Brain Mapping is an analysis of the brain’s electrical activity. The intent is to map the electrical activity of someone’s brain in order to discover directly the precise location of any abnormal  brain activity in order to understand better the underlying neurological issues at hand.


  • Brain Stimulation Therapy is a kind of therapy that employs a series of electrical, vibrational, and magnetic stimulations. Brain stimulation therapy is meant to fortify neural repair and be a bulwark of defense against such neural dysfunction as withdrawal.


FHE Health is equipped to offer support to almost anyone suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. Heroin is a dangerous drug and can quickly lead to overdose. If you or someone you know suffers from a heroin addiction get in touch with FHE now to learn more about our medical detox and rehabilitation services. You can reach us at (844) 299-0618 or send us a message online.

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