Heroin Addiction Treatment In Illinois

Heroin and other opioids have wreaked havoc on communities across the world, and the problem is only getting worse. For many individuals who struggle with addiction, kicking a heroin habit can be extremely difficult. Thus, if you or a loved one struggles with addiction, then you must explore the following guide on heroin and addiction treatment to find the right rehab program and live a healthier life.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid that is made when producers combine morphine with other substances, and it is generally stronger than morphine. Like all opioids, producers derive heroin from the opium poppy plant. However, as opposed to medical-grade opioids, heroin has many impurities. Thus, it can be even more dangerous for users of the drug. In its basic form, it comes as a white or brownish powder, depending on the purity of the substance and added adulterants. It can be snorted, injected, and sometimes smoked or vaporized, and overdoses are very common.

Morphine, heroin, and other opioids are strong pain relievers, and the side effects of their use include euphoria, intense calmness, and a general sense of escape from life’s worries. Moreover, due to their chemical makeup, opioids tend to be highly addictive. However, although they may make a person feel good, they can be extremely hazardous when mishandled.

This is especially true for heroin because it is not created and distributed in a clinical setting. Instead, street dealers, cartels, and other criminals often mix heroin with other powdery substances to extend their supply and make more money.

As more middlemen are involved in the process, more and more adulterants are added to the already dangerous drug, making it even more hazardous to the person who ends up using it later. For heroin users, there is no tried-and-true method for ensuring the purity of the drug, so the vast majority of heroin users cannot be sure about what dangerous chemicals they may be dealing with.

Signs Of Heroin Abuse

As with most drugs, heroin abuse has some telltale signs and symptoms. However, even though a person may not noticeably exhibit many or any of these symptoms, that doesn’t mean that they are not using the drug. Many people suffering from addiction are very good at hiding their behaviors and the effects of their drug of choice. Similarly, some people may exhibit similar symptoms for more benign reasons. The following symptoms are very common among people who use heroin. However, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions if you notice one or more of these symptoms in a loved one.

Injection Marks and Nosebleeds
These are among the more obvious symptoms of heroin abuse. Users often inject heroin or insufflate it through the nose. Users often inject around the veins in the arm. Eventually, they will move to the hands, legs, feet, and anywhere else with usable veins. Naturally, a needle will leave small marks at each point of injection. When someone snorts heroin in its powder form, there is a chance that they will damage the inside of their nose, resulting in a nosebleed.

Money Troubles
Heroin isn’t cheap, and as the addiction progresses, more and more heroin is required to achieve the same high. As a result, heroin users have to keep spending more money to maintain their habit as time passes. In turn, they may neglect important expenses like rent, car payments, utilities, and groceries. They may also start asking friends and family members for money. When pressed for more information, these requests are sometimes accompanied by elaborate stories or wild tales. However, believable stories tend to fall apart after some scrutiny.

Theft And Dishonesty
Often, individuals who struggle with addiction may not be very honest about their habits or whereabouts. In time, you may catch them telling several white lies. Also, once they are no longer able to borrow money, they may resort to stealing items and money to buy heroin. If you’ve noticed that cash or other valuables have recently gone missing, then that could indicate a larger problem.

Lethargy And Flu-Like Symptoms
Opioids cause users to become very drowsy, so they may not have the drive or ability to exert themselves. Slurred speech, sleepiness, and a general sense of disconnect are very common among individuals who use heroin. When people aren’t using heroin, they may experience withdrawals. Upset stomach, drowsiness, general malaise, and other flu symptoms occur when an individual has not had a recent dose.

Long Or Repeated Bathroom Breaks
Opioids are notorious for causing constipation and digestive issues. When someone abuses opioids, they may be unable to make a bowel movement for days or weeks at a time. People who use opioids often feel like they have to use the bathroom. However, no matter how long they sit on the toilet, they just can’t empty their bowels.

As a result, long and repeated bathroom breaks become frequent as they try to relieve the intense discomfort resulting from constipation. To help move things along, many individuals who struggle with opioid addiction rely on strong laxatives. Sadly, laxatives can have serious effects on the body after prolonged use, and they may exacerbate the problem.


How Does Someone Become Addicted To Heroin?

Most people don’t start with heroin. Often, the cycle of abuse starts when someone has been prescribed prescription opioids for pain management. Eventually, they become physically dependent on prescription opioids. However, between the cost of prescriptions and the unstable supply, they may turn to heroin for a cheaper, more available alternative. As they continue to use the drug, they will require more and more of it to satiate their addiction.

Who Is At Risk Of Becoming Addicted To Heroin?

Anyone who relies on prescription opioids to manage their pain is at a higher risk of addiction. This is especially true for people who are taking prescription opioids after an accident. Once they heal, their doctor will eventually stop prescribing painkillers, but they may already be addicted. Consequently, they may turn to heroin to fuel the addiction that formed during recovery. Also, individuals who dabble in recreational drugs are more likely to try prescription opioids in a recreational setting. This can eventually progress to addiction, and they may turn to heroin later on.

How Is Heroin Addiction Diagnosed?

In conjunction with a drug test to assess drug use, a psychiatrist or other medical specialist will check a patient’s symptoms and reported behaviors against the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. From there, the medical professional will likely recommend detoxification and addiction treatment.

The Effects Of Heroin Abuse

Short-Term Effects Of Heroin Addiction
When someone uses heroin, their heart rate slows down, and their breathing becomes shallow. Individuals who are under the influence of heroin often seem drowsy and carefree, and their speech may be slurred. If too much heroin is consumed at once, then the individual may overdose.

Overdoses can be deadly, and symptoms include shallow breathing, foaming at the mouth, severe confusion, unresponsiveness, and loss of consciousness. If you think that someone has overdosed, then you must call emergency medical personnel as soon as possible. Otherwise, they could die.

Long-Term Effects Of Heroin Addiction
Over time, heroin use will result in mood swings, confusion, and severe organ damage. Skin, heart, and lung infections are common with prolonged use. Because heroin is often injected, users are at a high risk of contracting hepatitis, HIV, and other transmittable diseases.

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Once the addiction is diagnosed, a specialist will usually recommend a detoxification program. Depending on the extent of the individual’s addiction, they may need to be put under supervised inpatient care during the detoxification process. Once detox is over, the patient can begin exploring long-term addiction therapy at a heroin addiction rehab center.

Medical Detox
When someone stops using heroin, their body goes into withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms include severe illness, hallucinations, malaise, physical weakness, vomiting, migraines, insomnia, fever, and a host of other serious symptoms. Detoxification can be very dangerous for patients to experience without medical supervision. Thus, detoxification centers have doctors and other medical personnel on staff to keep patients safe and healthy throughout the process.


Addiction Counseling At A Heroin Addiction Treatment Center

A team of addiction experts will work with a patient to find the best course of treatment for their unique needs. Generally, treatment will include group therapy, the right kind of individual therapy for the patient’s needs, and a combination of other therapies to achieve the best results. During a patient’s treatment, therapists and addiction professionals will consistently evaluate their progress and adapt their approach accordingly. The goal of therapy is to instill lifelong skills that will help the patient adapt to a sober lifestyle. The following treatments are among the most common, but each patient’s treatment will vary depending on their circumstances.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
A person’s habits are often the result of the way that they think about themselves and the world around them. Someone with bad habits may have maladaptive ways of thinking about things that drive them towards negative behaviors. CBT is an individual therapy that helps patients recognize patterns in their thoughts and feelings that may negatively affect their actions. After regular CBT, patients will be more mindful of how their thoughts influence their actions, and they will gain greater agency over their behaviors.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
The primary focus for people with DBT is to help people manage stress, regulate emotions, and experience better relationships. This individual therapy is especially useful for people with interpersonal problems that may contribute to their substance abuse. DBT is also extremely useful for treating co-occurring psychiatric disorders that may exacerbate substance misuse.

Group Therapy
In group therapy, patients can share their struggles, successes, and feelings with several of their peers. Group therapy encourages understanding and empathy, and many patients feel relieved to realize that many others go through similar struggles. With group therapy, patients can make connections with people who have similar issues while contextualizing their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Other Types Of Therapy
Addiction professionals often combine the aforementioned therapies with a host of other supplemental therapies. For example, one patient may benefit from art therapy, and an exercise regimen can help another patient focus their energy. These other therapies give patients a useful outlet for their feelings, and they often inspire or encourage healthy lifelong interests.


Future Sobriety Begins Here At Illinois Recovery Center

The first step for anyone struggling with addiction is to admit that they have a problem. By researching addiction and treatment, you are taking a vital step in getting the help that you need for yourself or a loved one. Nobody should have to tackle their addiction alone, and patients who seek therapy at a heroin rehab program see much higher rates of success and better health outcomes.


Get Help From Our Heroin Addiction Treatment Center

If a loved one struggles with addiction, then there is no time to wait. Heroin has an extremely corrosive effect on a person, and it can even lead to premature death. At the Illinois Recovery Center, a team of experienced medical professionals will help you or your loved one overcome your addiction in a safe and nurturing environment. If you want a brighter, healthier future, then contact us today at Illinois Recovery Center to find the treatment option that works best for you.