kathy ireland® Recovery Centers

Heroin Addiction

At kathy ireland® Recovery Centers, we offer evidence-based treatments for individuals struggling with substance use disorders (SUDs), including heroin use disorder (HUD). According to the Heroin Research Report shared by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2016, “about 948,000 Americans reported using heroin in the past year,” with nearly 170,000 of them misusing heroin for the first time. The number of individuals abusing heroin has increased substantially in the last five years. At our Williamson, West Virginia location, we offer various treatments and services to help you overcome challenges related to recovering from heroin use disorder and related conditions.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid that legitimate medical doctors do not currently use. According to a report by NIDA, “an estimated 4 to 6 percent [of individuals] who misuse prescription opioids switch to heroin and about 80 percent of people who used heroin first misused prescription opioids.” Repeated use of this drug can lead to heroin use disorder and increases the risk of other conditions, including mental health disorders and permanent changes to the body. For example, frequent use can physically change the structure of the brain.

Short-Term Effects on the Body

The short-term side effects of using heroin can vary considerably from person to person. When heroin enters the body, it is converted to morphine, which binds to opioid receptors in the brain. Individuals typically report experiencing physical reactions including:

  • Euphoria
  • Flushed skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Severe itching

Some side effects can last for several hours after the initial effects have worn off, including:

  • Drowsiness
  • Mental fog and difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Unconsciousness
Methamphetamine addiction
Fentanyl addiction

Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use

Long-term health effects are possible when you abuse any addictive substance. Some of the possible side effects caused by long-term heroin misuse include:

  • Abscesses
  • Heart infections
  • Clogged blood vessels
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Mental health disorders
  • Scarred/collapsed veins
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Lung complications/illness
  • Sexual dysfunction

The Dangers of Hypoxia

Heroin slows the heart rate and breathing which can lead to hypoxia. If the brain does not receive enough oxygen, it can lead to unconsciousness and permanent brain damage. Temporary or permanent changes to the brain can lead to altered behaviors and thought patterns inhibiting your ability to do the following:

  • Make decisions
  • Regulate behavior
  • Respond appropriately to stress
Cocaine Addiction

How We Treat Heroin Addiction

Detox from heroin usually involves medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Our trained clinicians at kathy ireland® Recovery Centers will supervise the withdrawal process and employ medications to relieve discomfort and avoid potentially life-threatening reactions. Medications that might be used include buprenorphine and naltrexone, which can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms and prevent opioids from having an adverse effect during treatment. In addition to MAT, we also offer various psychotherapies to help you effectively manage triggers, stress, and any mental health symptoms.

MAT and Heroin Withdrawal

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is considered a safe and effective method for coping with severe symptoms during withdrawal from substances that contain opioids. MAT has been found to reduce the need for inpatient detoxification services, prevent overdose, and sustain overall recovery. In addition, this program is evidence-based and can be individualized to meet each clients’ needs. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), MAT has been shown to:

  • Improve client survival
  • Reduce illicit opiate use
  • Increase retention in treatment
  • Reduce the potential for relapse
  • Improve birth outcomes in pregnant women
  • Lower the risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C
  • Increase clients’ ability to obtain/maintain employment
Prescription drug addiction
Prescription drug addiction

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin withdrawal is uncomfortable and can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. For most individuals, the symptoms peak within the first two days and dissipate within a week. A few common symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Cold flashes
  • Drug cravings
  • Abdominal pain
  • Severe muscle/bone pain
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Sweating and nervousness
  • Muscle spasms and shaking
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting

How well you manage your cravings and any lingering mental health symptoms through therapy and other treatments will impact your long-term sobriety.

Programs We Offer in Williamson, West Virginia

At kathy ireland® Recovery Centers, we offer a variety of treatment modalities for clients seeking care for substance use disorders involving Heroin. We offer medication management and MAT alongside traditional and alternative therapy options, including:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Relapse prevention
12-step facilitation

Supporting Recovery With Aftercare

Detox and withdrawal stabilization make it possible to cope with the lingering symptoms. However, your recovery does not end after you complete our program. Aftercare services are essential to your continued sobriety. The transition out of the structured environment at kathy ireland® Recovery Centers and into outpatient treatment or a sober living community can be jarring for some individuals, and you may feel more comfortable with the support and encouragement of your case manager to guide you through the process. We can connect you with the following continuing care services:

  • Individual therapy
  • 12-Step meetings
  • Advocacy groups
  • Sober living facilities

Heroin is a highly addictive substance that can impact all areas of your health and life.

At kathy ireland® Recovery Centers, we offer compassionate and quality care to help you heal from heroin addiction. Contact us today for more information.

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