Heroin Addiction Treatment

Help For Heroin Addiction with Castle Craig

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Learn more about heroin addiction and treatment: Heroin Detox | Heroin Facts | Our Programmes

Heroin is a highly addictive street drug derived from morphine, a common opiate used in medical settings for pain relief.

Heroin works by binding to opioid receptors in your brain, particularly those linked to feeling pain and pleasure and those that control your breathing, sleeping, and heart rate.

Often, people turn to using heroin after becoming addicted to prescription opiates like hydrocodone(Vicodin) or oxycodone(OxyContin). Once you build a tolerance to opiates, you need to take more to feel the same effect – an expensive and dangerous habit to maintain.

As heroin is an illicit drug, it’s unregulated and often cut with dangerous substances. Heroin is often cut with flour, sugar, or other fillers that can clog the blood vessels of anyone who shoots the drug intravenously. More dangerously, heroin may be cut with powerful painkillers like morphine and or Fentanyl, which can drastically increase the risk of overdose.

Heroin abuse has a particularly high risk of fatality. Opiates—mostly heroin—cause four out of every five drug-related deaths in Europe.

The drug goes by many street names, including dope, smack, H, junk, and brown. People typically snort, smoke, or inject heroin.

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The Effects of Heroin

When you use heroin, you first feel intense pleasure: what many describe as a ‘rush’ of euphoria. The intensity and length of this rush depend on how much you take, what you combine it with, and how you administer it.

This rush is often followed by warm, flushed skin, a heavy feeling in the limbs, and/or a dry mouth. Severe itchiness or nausea may also occur.

After these initial effects, you become content and drowsy for a few hours. Then, concentration and mental function become clouded, and your heart rate and breathing slow down significantly from the depressant effects the drug has on your central nervous system. Sometimes, your heart rate might lower so much that you become at risk for a coma or even death. 

Physical Effects of Heroin Abuse

When using heroin, you may immediately notice the following effects:

  • dizziness/drowsiness
  • flushed skin
  • dry mouth/heaviness in limbs
  • itchiness
  • pain relief/nausea or vomiting

With chronic use over an extended period, you may have insomnia, tissue damage in the nose from snorting heroin, or collapsed veins from shooting it. Sexual dysfunction in men and irregular cycles in women have also been reported.

After chronically using heroin for some time, you may struggle with mental health conditions such as depression or antisocial personality disorder.

Behavioural Effects

When using heroin, you may find yourself taking on new behaviours indicative of drug misuse:

  • Hiding your drug use from friends and family
  • Spending all your money on acquiring drugs
  • Letting other life responsibilities fall away to take heroin
  • Obsessively thinking about how and when you’re going to get more heroin
  • The inability to control your use
  • Stealing to buy more drugs

What Causes Heroin Addiction?

Understanding the causes of heroin addiction is crucial in providing effective treatment and support. Heroin addiction, like other substance use disorders, arises from a complex variation of factors. Genetically, some people are predisposed to addiction, making them more vulnerable to substance dependence when exposed to drugs like heroin.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors also play a significant role; those who grow up in environments where drug use is prevalent, or who experience significant life stressors and trauma, are at increased risk. The highly addictive nature of heroin itself contributes significantly.

Its use leads to changes in the brain’s chemistry and function, particularly in the reward and pleasure centres. These changes result in an intense craving for the drug and a compulsion to use it despite harmful consequences.

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors, including mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, often intertwine with heroin use as individuals may initially turn to the drug as a form of self-medication.

At Castle Craig, we aim to help you identify and accept some of these underlying causes, offering a personalised and comprehensive treatment approach that addresses the biological, psychological, and social aspects of heroin addiction. Our goal is to empower individuals with the understanding and tools they need to overcome addiction and reclaim control over their lives.

Heroin Tolerance and Dependence

Drug tolerance takes hold when your body and brain become accustomed to a specific dosage over time. With heroin, tolerance can happen very quickly.

Your body adapts to each dose of heroin you take, requiring you to take more and more each time. Tolerance leads to heroin dependence, which can rapidly develop into an addiction.

You experience cravings for the drug and struggle to stop using it. This dependence can be physical, psychological, or both.

Physical Dependence

Physical dependence occurs when your body can no longer function normally without heroin. Addictive drugs like heroin change the circuitry in your brain.

Each time you use the drug, this rewiring grows stronger and physically compels you to continue using it. If you stop using heroin when physically dependent, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Psychological Dependence

Psychological opioid dependence occurs when you experience the emotional and mental reliance that comes with continued use, such as intense cravings.

When you’re psychologically dependent on heroin, you feel like you have to use it to function normally. This is because so much of your life comes to revolve around thinking obsessively about, acquiring, and using it.

Signs & Symptoms of Heroin Abuse

Heroin addiction can happen very swiftly. What begins as occasional use often devolves into addiction because of how quickly your tolerance builds.

Once your brain comes to rely on heroin to maintain its dopamine levels, you experience withdrawal symptoms without the drug.

  • Suddenly, you need heroin to function normally. As a result, you may try and fail to quit or cut down your use repeatedly.
  • Over time, you may change how you self-administer heroin, moving from snorting or smoking it to shooting it intravenously to feel the effects more intensely.
  • You might begin to experience constant cravings for heroin. Relationships, work, and other life responsibilities fall by the wayside as you become consumed with using.
  • Eventually, you may feel the drug has completely taken over your life. You might continue using heroin despite facing these substance-related problems.
  • If you try to quit, you can experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that feel impossible to withstand because you’ve come to rely on it to function normally.
  • You may find yourself only associating with other drug users or even lying to your loved ones about your whereabouts and the extent of your use.

If you inject heroin, you could also be at risk of contracting hepatitis C or HIV/AIDS from sharing contaminated needles.

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Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin withdrawal symptoms are often the opposite of what you experience when using heroin. For example, when using heroin, you feel a rush of intense pleasure, so you might feel irritable, upset, or anxious when in withdrawal. Other common symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Intense cravings/nervousness
  • Stomach cramping or nausea
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea/anxiety or depression
  • Paranoia/chronic insomnia
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Extreme flu-like symptoms
  • Uncontrollable shaking or muscle spasms

The symptoms of heroin withdrawal are highly uncomfortable, and you could experience life-threatening complications. Therefore, medically assisted drug detox is strongly encouraged for those wanting to quit their heroin addiction, especially where acute withdrawal symptoms occur.

It is extremely difficult and dangerous to detox from heroin on your own.

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

Heroin is classified as a short-acting opioid. This means the drug takes effect rapidly and also leaves the bloodstream relatively quickly. That being said, heroin withdrawal is different for everyone. The exact timeline for withdrawal depends on a few factors, like how long you’ve been using and whether or not you struggle with other addictions or physical and mental health conditions.

  1. Typically, heroin withdrawal symptoms start within 6-12 hours of the last dose.
  2. They peak in the first two or three days and taper off after 5-10 days.
  3. Some people experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome, in which symptoms persist for weeks or even months.

Heroin Detox

Detox is the first step on the road to recovery from drug addiction, and the initial phase of the heroin rehab process. Here at Castle Craig, we operate our specialised medical detox centre to help you stop using heroin and safely move through the withdrawal process before seamlessly transitioning into inpatient care.

Detoxing from heroin is best done with professional support. During medically assisted detox at Castle Craig, your safety and comfort are our highest priority. You’ll receive 24/7 care from our highly trained staff, with the ability to request medical attention at the press of a button.

Quitting heroin on your own is extremely difficult and can be dangerous. At Castle Craig, your detox is overseen by a team of psychiatrists, doctors, and nurses. You receive a custom detox plan fit to your unique medical history and personal needs.

In addition, our team meets regularly throughout the detox process to monitor your condition and update your treatment plan accordingly as you progress.

As you move through the detox process, you’ll have the opportunity to start integrating into our treatment program. This creates a smooth transition to inpatient care, where you’ll begin intensive therapy work to heal from your addiction.

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Dedicated detox unit & 24/7 supervision by doctors and nurses. Safe detox in comfort.

Heroin Rehab Programme

We know that everyone comes to treatment with unique life experiences. That’s why we create a custom treatment plan for every patient that takes into account their unique circumstances.

After detoxing from heroin, you’ll enter our recovery programme, where you’ll benefit from a personalised focus on your unique life situation.

No matter what underlying difficulties or co-occurring conditions in your life may have led to or exacerbated your substance abuse, you can begin to heal the root causes in individual and group therapy sessions. These include targeted programmes which aim to address conditions such as eating disorders, and depression or trauma.

Your days at Castle Craig are thoughtfully constructed to create a restorative experience where you can heal from addiction, address underlying traumas, build lasting healthy habits, and connect with others in recovery.

Situated in the beautiful countryside of the Scottish Borders, Castle Craig’s location is highly conducive to addiction recovery. You receive a variety of wholesome meals and have plenty of opportunities to exercise and rest while receiving clinically excellent, therapeutic care.

Because addiction recovery is a lifelong process, your relationship with Castle Craig doesn’t end when you complete residential treatment. Before you leave, you’ll receive a customised, two-year continuing care plan so you can successfully continue into a meaningful and inspired life in sobriety.

Types of Therapy Used During Heroin Rehab

During heroin rehab, a variety of therapeutic modalities are employed to address the multifaceted aspects of addiction. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is considered the foundation of addiction therapy, helping patients recognise and alter destructive thought patterns and behaviours related to their addiction.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) plays a vital role in enhancing motivation and commitment to change. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is often used to teach coping skills for managing stress, regulating emotions, and improving relationships.

In addition to these, group therapy provides a supportive community environment where individuals can share experiences and learn from each other. Family therapy is also integral, addressing the impact of addiction on relationships and aiding in the repair and strengthening of family bonds.

Complementary therapies, such as art therapy or equine-assisted therapy, offer creative and engaging ways to explore emotions and develop new coping strategies. Lastly, relapse prevention therapy equips patients with skills to maintain long-term sobriety.

At Castle Craig, the therapy plan is tailored to each person’s needs, ensuring a comprehensive and effective approach to rehabilitation and recovery.

What Are My Heroin Rehab Treatment Options?

Exploring your heroin rehab treatment options is a crucial step towards recovery. The primary choices include inpatient and outpatient rehab programs, each designed to cater to different needs and circumstances.

Inpatient Rehab

For substances as potent and dangerous as heroin, inpatient rehab is often recommended. This option involves staying at Castle Craig for a duration, typically ranging from 30 days to several months.

The immersive nature of inpatient rehab provides a structured and supportive environment, crucial for those dealing with severe addiction.

It offers 24-hour medical and emotional support, a safe space away from triggers, and a comprehensive treatment plan that includes detox, therapy, and skills training for relapse prevention. View our foundation programme here to learn more.

Over 10,000 People Have Achieved Sobriety Through Castle Craig

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient rehab allows patients to live at home while attending treatment sessions several times a week. This option can be suitable for those with less severe addictions, strong support systems, and a high degree of commitment to recovery.

Outpatient programmes provide flexibility, allowing patients to maintain certain responsibilities like work or family commitments while undergoing treatment.

While outpatient rehab might be a viable option for some, the intensity and risk associated with heroin addiction often necessitate the more robust, focused care provided by inpatient programmes.

Inpatient rehab’s controlled environment, constant care, and comprehensive approach significantly enhance the chances of a successful recovery, especially in the critical early stages of treatment for heroin addiction.

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At Castle Craig, we assess each person’s specific situation to recommend the most appropriate treatment plan, ensuring the highest chance of successful, long-term recovery.

If you think you may be addicted to heroin, recovery is within your reach. A fulfilling and rewarding life is possible no matter how hard you may be struggling with heroin right now—contact us today to learn how we can help.

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