Heroin misuse is a leading cause of overdose deaths in America. The Family Place provides hope and relief to individuals and families struggling with the pain of heroin use disorder (HUD). The treatments we offer help families in our community heal and grow using evidence-based methods and trauma-focused care. We provide rehabilitation programs for men, women, and pregnant women in crisis.
What Is Heroin Addiction?
Heroin is a Schedule I drug made from morphine. Most individuals addicted to heroin transition to illicit drugs after developing a tolerance to prescription medications like painkillers.
The most common forms of heroin misuse include:
- Combining with other substances
Many people who misuse heroin have underlying physical and mental health issues; chronic pain, mood disorders, and trauma-related disorders commonly co-occur with heroin-related substance use disorder (SUD).
Warning Signs of Heroin Addiction
The behavioral changes that can accompany heroin misuse often signal the development of dependency and addiction. Warning signs can include any of the following:
- Wearing clothing that covers track marks, including long sleeves and layers, even in hot weather
- Reduced interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Isolating behaviors
- Spending time with new social groups that encourage the misuse of alcohol or other substances
- Inability to keep up with work, school, and personal responsibilities
- Skin picking or unusual scratching
- Lying, stealing, and borrowing to afford substance use
- Flu-like symptoms like fever, upset stomach, and muscle pain
- Weight loss and changes in eating patterns
- Bruised and scabbed skin
- Visible needle marks
- Inability to concentrate
- Low impulse control
- Mood swings
- Unusual irritation
- Anger when confronted with evidence of substance misuse
If you notice the warning signs listed above in yourself or a loved one, you should reach out to a medical professional. Even short-term heroin misuse can have long-lasting side effects.
Side Effects and Symptoms
The side effects and symptoms of heroin misuse can lead to short-term and long-term mental and physical issues, including:
- Organ damage
- Increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke
- Increased risk of hepatitis A and HIV/AIDS
- Suicidal ideation
Heroin misuse can also increase the symptoms of co-occurring mental health disorders. At The Family Place, we provide holistic therapy and a trauma-focused approach to ensure our clients get the best treatment for any active and underlying issues.
How Heroin Misuse Can Affect Pregnancy
Heroin misuse during pregnancy can cause the baby to become dependent on the drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Heroin use during pregnancy can result in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS),” which “occurs when heroin passes through the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy.” NAS can cause the following:
- Difficulty gaining weight
In some cases, NAS can lead to severe illness and death. Pregnant women with HUD should never try to quit “cold turkey” or stop taking the substance without medical supervision. Any amount of heroin misuse can affect the baby during pregnancy, and pregnant women who misuse heroin should get treatment immediately to ensure their baby’s health.
The Family Place offers high-quality care, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) when recommended by an OB-GYN. We take all the necessary steps to ensure pregnant women in crisis receive personalized treatment that meets their unique needs. Learn more by visiting our Pregnant Program page.
Prescription Misuse and Heroin Addiction
Many of the clients we treat have co-occurring conditions that cause chronic pain. According to NIDA, “About 80 percent of people who used heroin first misused prescription opioids” and in a “study of those entering treatment for opioid use disorder, approximately one-third reported heroin as the first opioid they used regularly to get high.” We understand that it can be challenging to live with the symptoms of chronic or acute conditions. We use cognitive-behavioral therapy and other modalities to help clients find healthier ways to cope with pain, anxiety, and depression.
Research has shown that mindfulness-based techniques and other therapies can help manage pain and other chronic conditions. According to Psychology Research and Behavior Management, “Psychotherapy constitutes a valuable modality for addressing the behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and social factors that both result from and contribute to pain-related dysfunction and distress through enhancement of self-management strategies.” At The Family Place, we provide skill development and coping techniques to help clients find healthier ways to manage symptoms.
The Importance of Relapse Prevention
Relapse prevention is essential during recovery from heroin misuse. According to NIDA, “The chronic nature of addiction means that for some people relapse, or a return to drug use after an attempt to stop, can be part of the process, but newer treatments are designed to help with relapse prevention.” Heroin relapse is incredibly dangerous because it can lead to overdose and severe injury or death. We prepare clients to maintain their sobriety long-term by helping them build new routines and find healthier ways to maintain stability when under stress.
Continuing Care and Maintaining Sobriety
Heroin addiction requires continuing care, including individual therapy, peer support, and community-based recovery programs. A comprehensive aftercare plan can significantly reduce the risk of relapse. We prepare clients for continuing care by doing the following:
- Establishing preventative strategies
- Enhancing support systems
- Creating an emergency plan
- Providing referrals and information on local resources
Clients at The Family Place have access to alumni services after completing our programs. We also provide a continuum of care that allows clients recovering from heroin misuse an opportunity to continue receiving support while gradually increasing their independence.
The Family Place offers rehabilitation for men, women, and pregnant mothers struggling with addiction to heroin. To learn more about our programs and services, call us at 1-800-501-7796 to speak with an intake specialist today.