Heroin addiction is often misunderstood. Here are some of the 4 most important things to understand when someone is addicted to heroin.
It doesn’t happen in a day
Scientifically, it takes an average of 3 days to become “addicted” to heroin. Being chemically dependent upon heroin and addicted to heroin can be very different. It takes time for the brain and body to become dependent upon heroin and ti isn’t always the result of abuse. Indeed, using heroin recreationally at all is an abusive behavior toward the drug. However, most often, one morning someone wakes up sick, after spending days or even weeks without waking up sick. Similar to the way an alcoholic suddenly wakes up with shakes needing a drink, heroin addicts wake up with something similar to a flu, accompanied with physical pain. The only cure is more heroin.
Yes, being “dope sick” is actually the worst
That flu is a symptom of withdrawal from heroin. Commonly referred to as being “dope sick” it is the reason many stay addicted to heroin. Avoiding experiencing withdrawals is worth taking another dose of heroin. Following being dope sick is “kicking” which is the detox process. The effects are so bad, coupled with intense cravings for more heroin, most cannot bear it. Thus they use again.
Yes, there’s a constant fear of death
One of the worst parts of addiction and alcoholism is knowing how bad it is to continue using but feeling powerless over the decision to do so. Acting in despite of negative consequence is a common characteristic of addiction. For heroin addicts, the odds are all too real. Overdose, or death from heroin, is common. Heroin is rarely pure. Intravenous users especially face a risk for overdose when they inject drugs with an unknown potency into their bloodstream. Additionally, the recent fentanyl epidemic makes matters worse. Potency was always a problem, but fatality is now a greater gamble. The synthetic opioid is 100 times stronger than morphine and is almost impossible to detect.
No, it isn’t easy to just stop
With so much risk, it would be easy to assume one would just stop using heroin. It isn’t that easy. Going through the detox process can be life threatening and make someone very sick. Proper treatment is needed to help someone realize they can confront whatever it is in their life they are running from by staying addicted to heroin.
Aurora Recovery Centre offers medically assisted detox and residential inpatient treatment as beginning phases of recovery from heroin addiction. Our dual diagnosis treatment centre is available to provide care for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.