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Addiction, Addiction Treatment Centers, Alcohol Addiction, Alcohol Rehab, Dependency, Heroin Addiction, Passages Rehabs, Prescription Drug Addiction, Recovery, Rehab, Relationships

How to Talk to Your Loved One About Addiction

By Jennifer McDougall

Sitting back and watching a loved one spiral out of control is heart-wrenching. The person you once knew has become angry, unstable, and quite possibly irresponsible. We know that you want to help them as best as you can. Without forcing them into rehab, it’s better if they see the choice as their own, but that you helped open their eyes to acknowledge a life-threatening problem. Don’t wait for them to lose everything before you step in and lend a helping hand. There are many things to expect, as this is not always a comfortable or easy process. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you initiate the conversation to motivate them into the right direction.

  • The person you love and care deeply about is most likely in denial. They may not believe there is a problem to begin with. It will take time for them to accept the fact that they are on a dangerous path that could be fatal and completely detrimental to everyone involved. They may think they’re behavior is normal and since they are alive and functioning there is nothing to discuss. This is where they are wrong and you shouldn’t give up persistence on the matter.
  • Expect volatile and emotional behaviors as this confrontation will be upsetting for them. Try your best not to fuel the fire with more anger. Make your points clear to them in a way that will stop them from yelling after they’ve screamed at you, told you how wrong you are, and how little you know about anything they are experiencing.

Many of those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol spiral out of control whether it is immediately after being hooked on a substance or gradually over time. They desperately want to grab a hold of something that gives them purpose and fills void. Typically, they feel as though their lives are meaningless and no one really cares what they are experiencing.

Reaching for the bottle or a syringe to get high takes them away from the place they feel unwanted and forgotten. It’s painful for everyone involved: the addicted person, the family members, co-workers who witness the destruction, and friends who want to help. The addict may begin hearing that their condition is a disease and they are powerless over their own demons. That is not true. At Passages, we don’t believe that addiction is an incurable disease.  We believe in the empowering nature that as humans, we can overcome any obstacle that is put in our way; that if we look at what is causing the problem and focus on healing the underlying conditions then it is absolutely possible to break free and live an addiction-free life.

We believe that those who become dependent on drugs and alcohol do so for the following reasons:

  1. A chemical imbalance
  2. Events of the past you have not reconciled
  3. Current conditions you can’t cope with
  4. Things you believe that aren’t true

Chances are your loved one is struggling with one or more of these factors. In order for them to overcome their addiction they will need to enter a treatment center, such as Passages Addiction Treatment Centers where the healing process is focused on treating the underlying conditions. Talking to your loved one may seem uncomfortable at first, but it’s important that you don’t hesitate as the problem could grow increasingly worse. Here are 7 key points to focus on.

  1. Put a stop to enabling You may not realize it, but you could be making the problem worse by creating excuses for them, or sugarcoating the condition. Be stern about ground rules and the expectations you have for them. Hold them to their promises and commitments. Let nothing slide.
  2. Educate yourself as well as friends and family on everything there is to know about addiction. Start by purchasing a copy of The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure, written by Pax and Chris Prentiss.
  3. Ask questions. Find out what it is that is driving them to use drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. Let them open up to you. Listen attentively and make eye contact assuring them that you care and hear what they are saying.
  4. Make them feel loved instead of judged. Avoid using the term “addict” when addressing them. Don’t yell or make harsh threats. Try to avoid using phrases that belittle their worth. Instead, empower them and remind them of their strengths, aspirations, accomplishments, and how much they matter to you.
  5. Consider hiring a professional interventionist to conduct an intervention at home or somewhere private.
  6. Provide them with information on treatment centers. Give them brochures, contact information, photos, and enlightening reading material. Talk to them about the many treatment options available for them to get help and put a stop to this brutal battle.
  7. Suggest alternative options for coping with pain, social anxiety, or trauma. Provide them with a list of things to do and give them a sense of hope that things can get better with change. Life doesn’t have to be unmanageable or painful. It can be fulfilling and full of life if you’re willing to make real lifestyle changes.

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

Follow Passages Malibu on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

Photo courtesy of: Jennifer McDougall

Addiction, Addiction Treatment Centers, Alcohol Addiction, Alcohol Rehab, Amphetamine Addiction, Amphetamines Withdrawal, Chemical Dependency, Cocaine Addiction, Crystal Meth Addiction, Dependency, Drug Rehab, Ecstasy Addiction, GHB Addiction, Heroin Addiction, Inpatient Alcohol Rehab, Inpatient Drug Rehab, Inpatient Rehab, Ketamine Addiction, LSD Addiction, Marijuana Addiction, Marijuana Dependency, Nicotine Addiction, Opiate Addiction, Outpatient Rehab, Passages Malibu, Passages Rehabs, Prescription Drug Addiction, Psychedelic Mushrooms Addiction, Recovery, Rehab, Rehab Facilities, Rehab Programs, Residential Treatment Facilities, Spirituality, Teen Addiction, Withdrawal

Passages Malibu & Passages Ventura Drug & Alcohol Treatment Centers Support National Prevention Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Malibu, Calif. (May 17, 2012) Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura, the world’s leading drug and alcohol rehab centers, are proud to support the first annual National Prevention Week, which is held from Monday, May 21, 2012 through Friday, May 25, 2012. This health observance is an opportunity for community members and leaders to learn more about behavioral health issues and get involved in ongoing prevention efforts.

National Prevention Week is a new annual health observance week that is supported by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to celebrate and support the work that community organizations, individuals, healthcare providers, and treatment centers, such as Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura, do year round to help heal and to promote mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being.

National Prevention Week’s themes are as follows:

Monday, May 21: Prevention of Underage Drinking
Tuesday, May 22: Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Use
Wednesday, May 23: Prevention of Alcohol Abuse
Thursday, May 24: Suicide Prevention
Friday, May 25: Promotion of Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Well-Being

Being a drug and alcohol treatment center that takes the holistic approach to healing the mind, body, and spirit to help promote overall wellness, balance, health, and freedom from substance and alcohol dependency, Passages is thrilled that this new observance has been placed on our national calendar.

“My hope is that we can bring more awareness to the growing problems of underage drinking, prescription drug abuse, and illicit drug use this year and the years to come. National Prevention Week gives us the opportunity to just that. Bringing awareness to these important issues in our society is exactly what’s going to create positive change. Hopefully, everyone will participate in spreading the message during this week and beyond,” says Pax Prentiss, CEO and co-founder of Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura.

National Prevention Week 2012 is timed for the start of summer because, as SAMHSA explains, “Summer is a season filled with celebrations and recreational activities that can potentially be linked to substance use and abuse, such as graduation parties, proms, weddings, boating, and camping excursions. It is also timed to allow schools to take part in a prevention-themed event before the school year ends, raising awareness in students of all ages. The percentages of marijuana, cigarette, and alcohol initiates among youth increase between spring (April and May) and summer (June and July), and the timing of National Prevention Week 2012 will help to raise awareness in youth at this crucial time of year.”

If you or a loved one is in need of help with an addiction to any type of substance – alcohol, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, prescription medicine, painkillers, or any other type of addictive substance – help is out there. Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura offer customized, holistic, non-12 Step treatment plans for every type of addiction. Their addiction treatment centers in Malibu and Ventura, California are two of only 6% of the nation’s behavioral health treatment programs that have earned the coveted JCAHO accreditation.

Please join Passages Malibu, Passages Ventura, and SAMHSA in spreading the word of National Prevention Week.

About Passages Malibu & Passages Ventura:

Founded by Chris Prentiss and Pax Prentiss, Passages Malibu opened in 2001 with its second location, Passages Ventura, opening in 2009. The two drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers offer an alternative to the 12 Step/AA model of addiction treatment by taking a holistic approach with a program that focuses on the underlying issues of substance dependency, rather than suggesting that addiction is an incurable disease. Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura have earned the coveted JCAHO (Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) accreditation, which has only been given to 6% of the nation’s behavioral health treatment programs. The co-founders are also authors of the acclaimed series of treatment books that include their groundbreaking flagship book, “The Alcoholism & Addiction Cure.” At Passages, we believe: Addiction Ends Here™.

For general inquiries about treatment, contact: 866-233-1753

For more information:
www.passagesmalibu.com
www.passagesventura.com
www.facebook.com/passagesaddictionrehabcenter/
www.twitter.com/passagesrehab
www.youtube.com/passages

For media inquiries, contact:
press@passagesmalibu.com

Addiction, Addiction Treatment Centers, Alcohol Addiction, Alcohol Rehab, Amphetamine Addiction, Chemical Dependency, Cocaine Addiction, Crystal Meth Addiction, Dependency, Drug Rehab, Ecstasy Addiction, GHB Addiction, Heroin Addiction, Inpatient Alcohol Rehab, Inpatient Drug Rehab, Inpatient Rehab, Ketamine Addiction, LSD Addiction, Marijuana Addiction, Marijuana Dependency, Nicotine Addiction, Opiate Addiction, Outpatient Rehab, Passages Malibu, Passages Rehabs, Prescription Drug Addiction, Psychedelic Mushrooms Addiction, Recovery, Rehab, Rehab Facilities, Rehab Programs, Residential Treatment Facilities

Passages Malibu Launches Innovative New Website

Passages Malibu is a pioneer in drug and alcohol addiction treatment with its holistic, groundbreaking, alternative to the 12 Step/AA method of addiction treatment and recovery and now the world renowned treatment center has created an innovative way to experience their 5-star facilities through the Passages Malibu Treatment Experience virtual tour.

The new tour is the centerpiece of Passages Substance Abuse & Addiction Treatment Center’s revamped website (www.passagesmalibu.com), which re-launched this week with more video and more ways to interact via social media, such as the inclusion of Google+ to our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube offerings. The new website and virtual tour are just few new ways that Passages stays on the cutting edge of the recovery industry.

“We didn’t just want to produce the typical virtual tour that you often see, but rather give the viewer an in-depth look at what the Passages treatment experience is all about. We wanted to tell a personal story about how we can change, and often times save, our clients’ lives, and show them exactly what they will be getting when they check into Passages. We are passionate about recovery and I think this new virtual tour shows just that,” says Pax Prentiss, CEO and co-founder of Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura.

The extended version of the beautifully shot video tour (available at www.passagesmalibutour.com) not only gives a never-before-seen look at what treatment at Passages Malibu is like on their ocean view, 10-acre facility known for cutting-edge recovery methods, a picturesque tranquil environment, and 5-star luxury amenities. But the tour also tells the tale of a typical client, “Ben,” whose career and self-esteem struggles have caused his life to spiral downward. “Ben” has tried and failed to get sober at other treatment centers only to find his way to Passages for a life-changing experience.

Before the existence of Passages, the majority of treatment centers used the 12 Step method of addiction treatment, which depends on the client declaring him or herself an addict or alcoholic for the rest of his or her life and using group therapy as a core source of recovery. This method of staying sober certainly works for some, but it does not work for everyone. In fact, many people are apprehensive of the 12 Step model and refuse to sit in meetings where they must declare themselves as addicts or alcoholics to move forward. For those who find this to be ineffective, there needs to be an alternative way of getting sober.

That’s where Passages Rehab Center comes in. In 2001, Passages introduced a new and exciting alternative to the 12 Step model of treatment with its luxurious facility in Malibu, California and then its second more affordable center in Ventura, California in 2009. And the people came. Why? They came because many people were ready for something different – something better. Passages introduced an entirely new way of looking at addiction, which is reflected in their addiction treatment program. They emphasize one-on-one therapy (instead of group meetings) and holistic treatment. But what really sets them apart from the rest is their belief that addiction is not a disease. Rather, it is a symptom of underlying conditions that are treated through various modes of therapy at their treatment centers, including individual counseling, marriage and family therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, hypnotherapy, life purpose counseling, spiritual counseling, and healthy living (yoga, physical fitness training, and equine therapy), among others.

Our program places a lot of importance on holistic treatment that empowers the client rather than breaking them down and making them feel powerless,” explains Prentiss. “I strongly feel that there is something to be said for a holistic approach to addiction. I’m not denying the relative successes of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step programs. I just think there’s something more than what AA has to offer.”

Truly the crème-de-la-crème of treatment centers, Passages Malibu and its sister facility, Passages Ventura, earned JCAHO (Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) accreditation, which has only been given to 6% of the nation’s behavioral health treatment programs.

At Passages Malibu: “Addiction Ends Here™”

About Passages Malibu & Passages Ventura:

Founded by Chris Prentiss and Pax Prentiss, Passages Malibu opened in 2001 with its second location, Passages Ventura, opening in 2009. The two drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers offer an alternative to the 12-step/AA model of addiction treatment by taking a holistic approach with a program that focuses on the underlying issues of substance dependency, rather than suggesting that addiction is an incurable disease. Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura have earned the coveted JCAHO (Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) accreditation, which has only been given to 6% of the nation’s behavioral health treatment programs. The co-founders are also authors of the acclaimed series of treatment books that include their groundbreaking flagship book, “The Alcoholism & Addiction Cure.” At Passages, we believe: Addiction Ends Here™. For general inquiries about treatment, contact: 866-233-1753

Addiction, Addiction Treatment Centers, Alcohol Addiction, Alcohol Rehab, Amphetamine Addiction, Amphetamines Withdrawal, Chemical Dependency, Cocaine Addiction, Crystal Meth Addiction, Dependency, Drug Rehab, Ecstasy Addiction, GHB Addiction, Heroin Addiction, Inpatient Alcohol Rehab, Inpatient Drug Rehab, Inpatient Rehab, Ketamine Addiction, LSD Addiction, Marijuana Addiction, Marijuana Dependency, Nicotine Addiction, Opiate Addiction, Passages Malibu, Prescription Drug Addiction, Psychedelic Mushrooms Addiction, Recovery, Rehab, Rehab Facilities, Rehab Programs, Relationships, Residential Treatment Facilities, Spirituality, Teen Addiction, Withdrawal

Worldwide Drug Abuse

Many of the articles we read and the studies we observe are discussing drug and alcohol abuse in the United States.  However, drug and alcohol abuse is a problem that is occurring all around the world, and has been an issue in numerous countries for centuries.

Research studies do show that specific drugs used vary from country to country and from region to region. Throughout the world, the main substance of abuse is alcohol, and the three main illegal drugs of abuse are marijuana, opiates (particularly heroin), and cocaine.  Drugs have been present in every culture throughout history, whether used for medical, religious, or recreational purposes.

The problem of drug abuse around the world has dramatically increased during the past 100 years, as advances in chemistry and science have allowed new drugs to be mass-produced and created synthetically from old sources.  Unfortunately, these new drugs that are refined and created synthetically are often more dangerous, powerful and addictive than any drugs in the past. While great advances have been made in the creation and use of drugs for medical purposes, drug use for recreation and pleasure has increased sharply, resulting in a much higher occurrence of addiction around the world.

 

Image via We Heart It 

Addiction, Addiction Treatment Centers, Alcohol Addiction, Alcohol Rehab, Amphetamine Addiction, Amphetamines Withdrawal, Chemical Dependency, Cocaine Addiction, Crystal Meth Addiction, Dependency, Drug Rehab, Ecstasy Addiction, GHB Addiction, Heroin Addiction, Inpatient Alcohol Rehab, Inpatient Drug Rehab, Inpatient Rehab, Ketamine Addiction, LSD Addiction, Marijuana Addiction, Marijuana Dependency, Nicotine Addiction, Opiate Addiction, Passages Malibu, Prescription Drug Addiction, Psychedelic Mushrooms Addiction, Rehab, Rehab Facilities, Rehab Programs, Residential Treatment Facilities, Withdrawal

Denial and Substance Abuse

Many people often hear the term “denial” or the phrase “being in denial” when discussing an individual with a substance abuse issue.  Many individuals who have been abusing drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time get very good at hiding and covering up their actions, and have a hard time admitting to themselves or their families the true extent of their usage.

In a recent study conducted by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, millions Americans admitted to habitually smoking pot, drinking alcohol, snorting cocaine or taking prescription drugs, yet many of them were not completely honest about their level of use and many of them who met the criteria for needing treatment did not recognize that they have a problem. The study estimates that those “in denial” of a problem is close to 5 million, which is a much higher number than the people that actually seek and get professional treatment.  It seems as though there is a large and growing denial gap when it comes to drug abuse and dependency in our society.  Drug and alcohol abuse is often glorified and readily accepted in the media, which may in part add to the nation’s large issue with denial.  At Passages, we help our client come to terms with and be honest about their behaviors and help them get back to healthy, drug free lives.

 

Image via We Heart It

Heroin Addiction

Physical Effects of Heroin Abuse

What Does a Heroin High Feel Like?

Known as “slamming,” intravenous heroin injection results in these feelings with a delay of only 10 seconds or less from the time of injection to the rush’s onset. If heroin is injected into a muscle instead of vein, these effects can take 5 to 10 minutes to onset, or 10 to 15 minutes to appear when smoked or snorted. This leads many heroin users to opt for intravenous injection as a means of use.

When heroin first hits, users feel mixture of intense feelings known as a “rush”—particularly noted for its euphoria and intense relaxation. Users also report feelings of intense heat and warmth as the heroin moves from the injection site into the bloodstream. It’s commonly reported that the first heroin high ushers users into a dream-like state that is intensely euphoric—so much so that it’s nearly impossible to reach again. Euphoric feelings tend to dissipate as tolerance builds and with repeated use, leading many heroin users to up their dosages to unsafe levels.

What Are the Physical Effects of Heroin?

Heroin has many noticeable short and long-term effects. In addition to the euphoric feelings associated with heroin, the body begins to feel heavy and sleepiness sets in. Many heroin users also experience difficulty breathing. Often heroin users experience a pervasively dry mouth, have difficulty coughing, and experience nausea or an upset stomach. Long-term heroin users often experience digestive problems that can result in near-permanent constipation. Those who inject heroin face a host of additional physical problems including the telltale scarring, abscesses and infections along the inner arms which collectively are known as “track marks.” Additionally, intravenous users place themselves a significant risk for contracting blood-borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis.

Can You Overdose From Heroin?

Heroin is a powerful narcotic, and heroin overdose is a highly likely occurrence for both new and long-term users. A central nervous system depressant, heroin slows down both heartbeat and breathing until the user loses consciousness and ultimately starves the body of oxygen. Since death is not instantaneous, proper medical treatment during a heroin overdose can save your life. New users frequently take too much heroin out of inexperience, whereas long-term users have developed a tolerance to heroin and need increasing large doses—making taking a lethal dose more likely. The purity of heroin can vary greatly, resulting in accidentally ingesting a much larger dose than anticipated. Furthermore, taking heroin in combination with other drugs or alcohol can heighten the negative side effects—making a heroin overdose more likely.

Heroin Addiction

Symptoms and Effects of Heroin: What You Need to Know

By Jennifer McDougall

Heroin is a morphine version of morphine and highly addictive. Like other opiates, heroin blocks the brain’s ability to sense pain, therefore it gives a person a relaxing sensation that is so extreme the use of this drug often times leads to death. Many times, those abusing drugs and alcohol will do their best to conceal the use from loved ones or co-workers.

What is Heroin?

Known as “smack,” “china white,” or simply “dope,” heroin is a powerful narcotic and a member of the opioid class of drugs. The opium—from which heroin is ultimately derived—comes from poppies grown in Asia and in particular regions of Afghanistan (a country that produces almost 80 percent of the world’s supply). To collect the alkoloids necessary for heroin production, workers make small cuts on the seed pods of poppies, collecting the milky juice that they produce. Alkalaids in poppy juice can then be refined into three main chemicals—the sedatives morphine and codeine, and the stimulant thebaine. Those who manufacture heroin synthesize the drug from morphine, creating an extremely addictive painkiller that will produce an intensely euphoric high.

What Does Heroin Look Like?

In its purest form, heroin is a fine white powder—though different manufacturing methods can results in lower quality heroin that will take on a brown, granulated appearance. On the street, heroin can have a wider variety of appearances, depending on creation methods and purity levels. Distributes and heroin dealers often mix less expensive drugs or chemicals with pure heroin, in order to increase profits and lower production costs. Powdered heroin is often encased in vials or enveloped in folded pieces of paper when a single dose is purchased.

Signs of Use or Abuse:

  • Sudden changes of behavior
  • Small pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Disorientation
  • Needle track marks on arms
  • Hyperactive alertness followed by suddenly nodding off (fading in and out of consciousness)
  • Burnt silver spoons laying around
  • Foil or wrappers with burn marks
  • Needles or syringes with no known medical purpose
  • Pipes
  • Users tend to avoid eye contact
  • Lack in interest of hobbies or motivation
  • Poor work performance or sudden loss of employment
  • Makes frequent comments about poor body image or a lack of self-esteem
  • Stealing or borrowing money from loved ones then disappears for an extended time
  • Wears long pants and long sleeves in hot weather to cover up track marks

Is Heroin Legal?

No. Heroin is considered a Schedule I Drug in the United States, it is illegal to make, sell, trade, or possess. According to the Controlled Substances Act in the United States, Schedule I drugs like heroin must induce a euphoric “high,” carry a high likelihood of abuse, and be unsafe to use, with commonly accepted medical use.

Side Effects of Heroin (Short Term & Long Term):

  • Reduce feeling of pain
  • Sedation
  • Slow heart rate
  • Lower than usual body temperature
  • Itchy skin
  • Weight  loss
  • Liver disease
  • Bacterial infections
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty taking deep breaths
  • Shortness of breath
  • Clouded mind
  • Collapsed veins
  • Risk of overdose, cardiac arrest, heart attack, and death

 

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

Follow Passages Malibu on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

Image via We Heart It

Heroin Addiction

How Heroin Addiction Works

Is Heroin Physically Addictive?

Heroin is one of the most physically addictive drugs in existence. In fact, many people become hooked on heroin after only a single use. Almost a quarter of all heroin users are physically dependent on the drug, and it is considered much more addictive than other drugs in its class, including opioids such as codeine and morphine.

What Causes Heroin Addiction?

Heroin addiction develops due to chemical changes that heroin instigates in the brain. The “rush” felt with heroin use is experienced due to a flood of dopamine—the body’s “happy hormone”—that takes place within the brain when heroin is ingested. With regular use, the brain naturally detects this overabundance of dopamine and scales back natural dopamine production. As a result, when heroin users enter withdrawal (either from an attempt at kicking heroin addiction or due to lack of supply in between uses), the severe dopamine imbalance in the brain is felt, triggering a host of physical and psychological symptoms. In an attempt to reachieve chemical balance, heroin users reengage in use, further feeding the cycle of addiction.

Heroin also serves to act upon the brain’s reward centers. With repeated use, the brain becomes operantly conditioned to associate pleasure with heroin use—sometimes even anticipating the rush when paraphernalia is spotted or initial preparations for injection are made with a heroin “kit.” Over time, heroin users build up a natural tolerance to the euphoric effect of the drug—usually detectable by the second usage. The initial high becomes virtually impossible to reachieve, leaving users “chasing” their initial experimental rush. Tolerance to heroin also ensures that higher dosages are necessary in order to achieve the drug’s euphoric effects at all, causing dosage to increase over time.

What Are the Signs of Heroin Addiction?

Signs of heroin addiction include the contents of a heroin “kit,” indicating by the presence of needles, syringes, long lengths of rubber or plastic used to “tie off” the arm prior to injection, or glass pipes. Folded tin foil or dirty spoons used for cooking can also be used as part of a heroin kit. Heroin users will often display “track marks”—scars or infections at injection sites. Physically, heroin addicted individuals will often display constricted pupils, poor hygiene, lethargic or depressed behavior, mood swings, runny noses, or slurred speech.

Heroin Addiction

How Does Heroin Addiction Work?

Is Heroin Physically Addictive?

Heroin is one of the most physically addictive drugs in existence. In fact, many people become hooked on heroin after only a single use. Almost a quarter of all heroin users are physically dependent on the drug, and it is considered much more addictive than other drugs in its class, including opioids such as codeine and morphine.

What Causes Heroin Addiction?

Heroin addiction develops due to chemical changes that heroin instigates in the brain. The “rush” felt with heroin use is experienced due to a flood of dopamine—the body’s “happy hormone”—that takes place within the brain when heroin is ingested. With regular use, the brain naturally detects this overabundance of dopamine and scales back natural dopamine production. As a result, when heroin users enter withdrawal (either from an attempt at kicking heroin addiction or due to lack of supply in between uses), the severe dopamine imbalance in the brain is felt, triggering a host of physical and psychological symptoms. In an attempt to re-achieve chemical balance, heroin users reengage in use, further feeding the cycle of addiction.

Heroin also serves to act upon the brain’s reward centers. With repeated use, the brain becomes operantly conditioned to associate pleasure with heroin use—sometimes even anticipating the rush when paraphernalia is spotted or initial preparations for injection are made with a heroin “kit.” Over time, heroin users build up a natural tolerance to the euphoric effect of the drug—usually detectable by the second usage. The initial high becomes virtually impossible to re-achieve, leaving users “chasing” their initial experimental rush. Tolerance to heroin also ensures that higher dosages are necessary in order to achieve the drug’s euphoric effects at all, causing dosage to increase over time.

What Are the Signs of Heroin Addiction?

Signs of heroin addiction include the contents of a heroin “kit,” indicating by the presence of needles, syringes, long lengths of rubber or plastic used to “tie off” the arm prior to injection, or glass pipes. Folded tin foil or dirty spoons used for cooking can also be used as part of a heroin kit. Heroin users will often display “track marks”—scars or infections at injection sites. Physically, heroin addicted individuals will often display constricted pupils, poor hygiene, lethargic or depressed behavior, mood swings, runny noses, or slurred speech.

 

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Center today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by dialing our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Image via We Heart It