What is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug that is intensely addictive. It can be snorted and smoked, but is generally injected. When injected, heroin produces a rush of euphoria, that contributes to an intense ‘high’. The drug also has the effect of making the user feel content, relaxed, and tired. It allows the user to dissociate from their internal and external environment, removing them from all their problems. In addition, it is a powerful painkiller.
Street terms for heroin include skag, smack, H, and gear.
Health Risks of Taking Heroin
By taking heroin, the user risks overdosing and causing respiratory failure, which can lead to a coma, and even death. If injecting, users also run the risk of collapsed veins, death of tissue in extremities such as fingers or toes (gangrene), and infections.
Sharing, or using unclean needles, also invites the risk of spreading infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, hepatitis A/B, and HIV/AIDs. Liver and kidney disease, as well as pulmonary conditions such as pneumonia may also result from prolonged use of the drug. Heroin abusers often become malnourished because their appetite disappears when they are high on the drug.
The extremely addictive quality of heroin means that the user’s life soon revolves around obtaining, and taking the drug. This means that it becomes increasingly difficult for the user to sustain a normal professional and personal life. Often they damage their career prospects as well as their relationships with family and friends. Heroin is also illegal and users risk getting into trouble with the law.
Heroin Addiction Treatment
The first stage of a patient’s treatment at Smarmore Castle involves detoxing from heroin to ensure that all traces of the drug are flushed out of their system. This prepares them both physically and psychologically to engage with their addiction treatment and begin their recovery from heroin addiction.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms from heroin can be very strong and unpleasant. They can begin as soon as a few hours after the last dose of the drug is taken. The patient will experience strong cravings for the drug, as well as insomnia, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and cold flushes.
The strongest heroin withdrawal symptoms peak between 48-72 hours after the last dose of heroin is taken, and generally diminish within a week. If detox from heroin is attempted suddenly by a long-term user, heroin withdrawal symptoms can prove fatal. This is why it is of great importance to detox from heroin in a safe environment, under the supervision of an attentive team of medical experts.
At Smarmore Castle, our patients’ safety and comfort are our top priority. We continuously monitor our patients’ physical and mental states during detox and their detox regime is updated in response. Patients detoxing from heroin may be given replacement medication to ease their withdrawal symptoms. This will be administered in ever decreasing doses, until they are completely clean of any drugs. This allows their system to adapt slowly to the absence of drugs.
Residential Heroin Rehab Treatment
Our residential rehab programme at Smarmore Castle aims to improve the patient’s psychological health. It helps them to gain a better understanding of their drug addiction, the reasons behind it and how to change their behaviour.
Our clinically proven rehab programme is tailored to each individual based on their pattern of drug use and current circumstances. The patient experiences an intensive programme of specialised addictive therapies including individual therapy, group therapy, CBT, trauma therapy, grief therapy.
We take a holistic approach to care because we value spiritual well-being in addition to psychological health. At Smarmore Castle, we offer complementary therapies including equine therapy, drumming therapy, mindfulness meditation, aquatherapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Our programme also improves the patient’s physical health with a combination of exercise and healthy, balanced meals.
Discharge and Relapse Prevention
When the patient is ready to leave treatment, we work with them to devise a personalised, two year continuing care plan. This plan guides their recovery process during this period and helps to prevent relapse. It includes engaging with peer support groups on re-entering their daily life, in order to consolidate their recovery in a normal environment.
If you, a family member, friend, or colleague is suffering with heroin addiction, please contact us for help. Our team is available 24/7 to discuss treatment options with you, and answer any enquiries you may have.
Studies of patient outcomes have shown that our residential rehab programme is a very effective form of treatment that ensures long-lasting sobriety.
Last updated & clinically assessed 28 May, 2020