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Heroin Addiction Symptoms and Treatment Options

Heroin is one of the fastest-acting and most abused opioids in the United States. Most heroin abusers use the drug because it is more potent and less expensive than other painkillers. However, it is more dangerous. Heroin overdose is a possibility for abusers because it is impossible to measure what they are taking and how strong the dose is. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, nearly 20 percent of drug overdose deaths involved heroin. Heroin addiction is challenging to overcome without help. Inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab is often the most beneficial treatment for someone who is heroin-dependent. 

Symptoms of Heroin Use Disorder 

There are both short-term and long-term effects of using heroin. 

Short-term effects of heroin use: 

  • Euphoria 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Vomiting 
  • Itching 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Flushed skin 

Long-term effects of heroin use:

  • Collapsed veins 
  • Insomnia 
  • Heart infections 
  • Skin infections 
  • Higher risk for HIV/AIDS, Hep B, and Hep C
  • Mental disorders
  • Liver and/or kidney disease 
  • Menstrual issues 
  • Infertility issues 
  • Chronic pain

Withdrawal Symptoms of Heroin Dependence 

When you have a drug addiction, your body becomes dependent upon it. Once you quit, you suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal and detox can be intense. Heroin withdrawal symptoms may include the following: 

  • Shaking
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Bone or muscle pain 
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Uncontrollable muscle spasms 
  • Difficulty sleeping 

Treatment Options for Heroin Dependence 

Treating heroin dependence is possible. There are many options for addiction treatment to overcome substance abuse and drug addiction. Some treatment options for heroin may include medication, behavioral therapy, detox program,  inpatient rehab or intensive outpatient rehabilitation, sober living homes, etc. Those with more severe addiction may enter a withdrawal and detox program before moving on to a rehab center to help minimize or better manage withdrawal effects. Often inpatient rehab is the most effective treatment for drug addiction, having higher success rates than other options. Rehabilitation offers the emotional and medically assisted support necessary to focus on getting sober without the distractions of daily life. The primary goal is recovery for the patient. Sober living is possible with help. If you or a loved one is suffering from heroin addiction, talk to a trusted medical professional to find the best recovery center or plan for your addiction treatment.