What is Heroin Abuse?

What is Heroin Abuse?


Heroin, an opiate, is known by several names, including: smack, horse, and brown sugar due to its varying forms and colors.  Like other opiates, it produces a feeling of euphoria and can become addictive within the first few uses.  The health risks include: vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, fever, weight loss, chronic constipation, HIV/AIDS (if needles are shared), and death.  

Triggers that bring on cravings are the people, places and things the addict associates with heroin and being under the influence. In treatment and sober living people learn from the clinicians various tools and skills to manage the cravings for heroin. Client's are taught what are their own personal & unique triggers so they can develop strategies to avoid the these set ups that could bring about craving and lead to relapse. Learning to keep yourself safe includes avoiding the encounters that activates a powerful craving to use heroin. These tools can be learned with the use of (self hypnosis, thought stopping techniques, thought redirection techniques, guided imagery, relaxation, etc.) to interrupt the craving so that one doesn't do the worst of all things -- act on it and pick up and take that first dose of heroin.

Our program is based on the humanistic and holistic schools of addiction treatment. We also believe that success in recovery involves adopting a "program" of total abstinence from alcohol and every other mood altering substance. We accomplish this by working our recovery program one day at a time, learning and growing in recovery, and when necessary, leaning on our recovery support system to derive strength and resolve to get through difficult periods when ingesting heroin seems like a good idea.

Most addicts have developed a relationship with their drug of choice as medicine to medicate unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings. The one-on-one counseling sessions with his primary therapist are designed to uncover and resolve any issues he may be using behind. The group sessions are about re-learning how to process feelings in a healthy way on a group level. And the recovery education classes are designed to teach your friend and help him begin practicing healthy lifestyle choices consistent with successful long-term recovery.

Heroin addiction is a highly treatable medical problem that involves two different yet related types of dependency. The first is physical dependency where more opiate is needed to get the same effect. There are several excellent detox medications that that the addiction-ology physician can prescribe when the necessity of a medicine assisted detoxification is indicated. Pattern of daily heroin use suggests a probable physical dependence on the addictive opiate and therefore will require a medically managed detoxification.

The other type of dependency is psychological in nature and manifests itself as "cravings" -- overwhelming, overpowering thoughts to ingest heroin that are frequent and powerful during the first six months of recovery. There's no pill or medication to address this type of dependency. Unless the addict acquires some tools and skills to manage the cravings for heroin, he'll ultimately relapse at some point after the detox. Our counselors' objective is to equip him with the necessary tools and skills to manage his "cravings" and to begin living a healthy lifestyle from the standpoint of physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health.

The best analogy I've come up with compares rehab to school where the counselors teach the clients about and help them begin practicing the life-style changes and choices that are consistent with successful recovery. What separates the mediocre treatment programs from the best programs is the quality and commitment of the counseling staff. What you're looking for is a program like ours where the counselors have the special gift to connect with, motivate and inspire recovering addicts to adopt the lifestyle changes and choices consistent with successful long-term recovery.  That's why picking the right treatment program is so important to ultimate long-term success in recovery. We offer referrals to such a programs.


WITS INN Treatment Referral

Loriann Witte, CAC, RAS, CNADI

Heroin Abuse Intervention
Loriann Witte (949) 292 2000

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