Heroin Addiction


Understanding Heroin Addiction and Your Treatment Options in San Antonio, TX

Heroin is a potent, highly addictive illicit drug. People who become addicted to it often require comprehensive treatment and ongoing support to overcome the physical, psychological, and behavioral aspects of addiction and maintain their sobriety.

Contact the Flourishing Foundations Recovery addiction specialists today to learn about our supportive heroin addiction treatment programs in San Antonio, TX.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an illegal drug derived from morphine, a product of certain poppy plants. It is most commonly available in powder form, which may appear white or brownish in color. Dealers will often “cut” heroin with other substances, such as powdered milk, sugar, starch, and more.

Some users heat and inject heroin, and some snort or smoke it. Regardless of how users ingest it, heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug. Even casual users may quickly develop dependence on heroin, and many will be unable to stop taking it without professional help.

Understanding Heroin Addiction

Heroin is an opioid that binds to receptors in the brain that release dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with reward and pleasure. Users may experience a burst of euphoria and warmth, followed by sedation, calm, and absence of pain.

After the pleasurable effects of heroin wear off, people often want to take more. In time, people may develop tolerance, meaning they need to use greater or more frequent doses of heroin to get the effects they want.  It can take very little time for people to get caught in a destructive pattern of heroin abuse that may spiral into a life-threatening addiction.

In some cases, heroin abuse and addiction occur after someone has developed an addiction to other opioids–primarily prescription opioid pain relievers. When someone becomes addicted to prescription painkillers and can no longer legally obtain them, they may turn to other opioids that are easier to get, like heroin.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 1.1 million people used heroin in 2021, and 1.0 million were addicted to it, indicating that the majority of people who use or try heroin end up getting addicted. Some people believe that you can get addicted to heroin after just one use.

If you or someone you love are struggling with heroin addiction, please contact us today to learn about our heroin rehab programs in San Antonio.

Risk Factors for Heroin Addiction

Anyone who takes opioid pain relievers can develop addiction, even if they have no other risk factors or history of addiction. However, some risk factors may increase the likelihood someone will develop opioid addiction. These include:

  • Heavy tobacco use
  • Depression or anxiety
  • High-risk environment
  • Influence of peers who use opioids or other substances
  • Family or personal history of substance abuse or addiction
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Unemployment

Having these risk factors does not mean that a person will develop addiction. Addiction is a complex condition with roots in a person’s genetics, environment, history, and emotions.

heroin abuse and addiction

Effects of Heroin Use

Heroin use is hazardous. In addition to the desirable effects, it can cause many unwanted short and long-term effects on users’ health and well-being. The effects of heroin are similar to morphine and other opioids, however, they are more powerful and addictive.

Short-term effects

People who use heroin may experience:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Constricted pupils
  • Low body temperature
  • Itching
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Slow breathing and heart rate
  • Blueish skin, lips, and hands

Long-term effects

Prolonged or heavy heroin use can lead to long-lasting effects, including:

  • Damaged teeth and swollen gums
  • Scabs, scars, and skin wounds from excessive scratching
  • Compromised immune system
  • Malnutrition and poor appetite
  • Decreased sexual functioning
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Chronic constipation
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney disease
  • Bacterial infections and abscesses
  • Heart valve infections

People who use heroin often face life-altering legal, financial, and social problems related to their substance use.

Heroin Withdrawal

Using heroin puts people at immense risk for physical dependence and addiction. People may develop markers of addiction in just one use of this potent drug. Over time, physical dependence will likely occur, meaning that people will feel very sick if they do not use heroin.

Withdrawal occurs when someone with physical dependence on a substance suddenly stops using it. Heroin withdrawal can cause a range of incredibly uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms, including:

  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • General discomfort
  • Anxiety
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Shivering
  • Muscle aches
  • Bone pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia

Typically, heroin withdrawal symptoms begin quickly after the last time a person uses heroin and peak around 24 to 48 hours. However, withdrawal symptoms can be so severe and uncomfortable that people relapse (use heroin after a period of abstinence) to get relief.

People who use heroin must seek professional, medically-supported detox services to ensure a safe, comfortable detox process. During detox, medical practitioners and other support staff will monitor patients and provide treatment for withdrawal symptoms. Treatment includes medications, emotional support, holistic therapies for comfort, and a safe, secure environment.

Do I Need Treatment for Heroin Addiction?

If you or a loved one uses heroin, you must seek treatment to stop. Recognizing the signs of heroin addiction can help you get treatment quickly.

Signs of heroin addiction include:

  • Track marks
  • Drug paraphernalia like needles, spoons, and lighters
  • New legal or financial trouble
  • Changes in mood, behavior, sleep, and appearance
  • Secretiveness or lying
  • Using slang when talking about heroin
  • Isolating or only spending time with other heroin users

Heroin addiction can quickly become the center of a person’s life. Watch for signs of heroin use and seek treatment as soon as possible.

heroin rehab center in San Antonio

Heroin Addiction Treatment in San Antonio, TX

At Flourishing Foundations Recovery, we understand the unique challenges that heroin addiction presents. Heroin is a highly addictive substance that can quickly grip its users, leading to physical and psychological dependence. Our experienced and dedicated team is equipped to provide the comprehensive care needed to break free from this grip and achieve lasting recovery.

We offer different levels of care, including Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and standard outpatient, to ensure that you receive the appropriate support at every stage of your journey. Before discharge, our licensed addiction counselors and mental health specialists work closely with you to develop a personalized aftercare plan, preventing relapse and improving treatment outcomes.

Heroin addiction often stems from underlying issues such as trauma, mental health conditions, or emotional distress. Our approach goes beyond just addressing the physical aspects of addiction. We focus on healing the emotional wounds of the past through evidence-based therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and trauma therapy. By getting to the root of the problem, we empower you to break free from the cycle of addiction.

To learn more about our heroin addiction treatment programs in San Antonio or to get answers to any questions you may have, please contact our team at Flourishing Foundations Recovery today.

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