Heroin is one of the most widely abused opiates in the world. This could be attributed to the fact that it is readily available compared to other similar drugs. Heroin also happens to be the most addictive of the opiate family. According to a report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is estimated that over 14 million people happen to have consumed heroin in just 2009 alone. Using heroin results to physical dependence, this means that you are unable to function normally without having the drug in your system. With time, you realize that you need greater amounts of the drug to create its tolerance effects.
So what does heroin detox do?
Simply put, heroin detox is a program designed to help heroin users learn how to cope without the use of the drug. The program is usually gradual and helps the addicts get to live normal lives free from the effects of heroin. It helps the patients cope with the withdrawal symptoms until when they are totally free from being slaves to the drug. The success and period of heroin detox programs cannot be measured as it varies depending on a number of factors which include : level of addiction; the will to reform; and the support gained from the immediate and external environment of the patient.
Be it that you have been using heroin on a consistent pattern, in binges, or you are totally dependent on it. You are bound to experience some withdrawal effects once you quit taking it. Usually, the time it takes for one to be addicted to heroin differs from one person to another. But it is expected that once you stop taking the drugs, you body will need time recover as you suffer the withdrawal symptoms. Users of heroin will experience withdrawal effects anytime the chronic use is interrupted or reduced.
What symptoms are addressed in the detox?
The symptoms of heroin withdrawal arise just within hours of the last bit of the drug circulates through the system. Every day that the body is left without the drug, it is in the detox process. Within the next three days of abstinence from the drug, the withdrawal symptoms get stronger and worse. The severity will usually lessen in a week’s time or may persist for longer. Symptoms include severe depression, insomnia, uncontrollable shaking, physical pain, anxiety, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, dilated pupils and abdominal cramping.
Heroin detox alternatives
– Holistic treatment: This is ideal for those that want an approach that gets rid of chemical use permanently. Both in-patient and out-patient rehab centers are now incorporating holistic drug treatments into their programs to give patients a more natural way of kicking off their drug habits.
– Use of medication: Medicines used to treat the addiction of opioid work via the same opioid receptors as the that of the addictive drug, but are milder and do not produce harmful habits that characterize addiction. There are 3 types of medications that are used and they include: agonists that trigger opioid receptors; partial agonists that also make active opioid receptors but they generate a smaller response; and antagonists that block the receptor which interferes with the rewarding effects of opioids. The exact medicine to be used will depend on the patient’s specific medical needs and other relevant factors. This process is usually lengthy but the objective is to keep the withdrawal symptoms at a manageable level throughout the heroine detox process. Medications are provided on regular intervals, and most of the times, in an outpatient capacity.
– In-patient rehab: This is often recommended for patients that have a history of relapsing and those suffering from severe long-term addictions. Such persons do not promise much success from outpatient based treatment and therefore they need to be in a facility where they are consistently monitored and encouraged to stay on the reforming path. Although inpatient rehab treatment is good and beneficial to any heroin addict, with some it is the only way that they can successfully complete their heroine detox program.
The biggest challenge experienced by patients trying to quit using the drug is the consistent carvings accompanied by pain as a result of the withdrawal. Most patients often relapse because they find it difficult to tolerate the discomforts that arise after withdrawal. But with medical monitoring and support from friends and family, patients develop a powerful will as they no longer feel like they are battling alone.