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Heroin, also known as morphine or opium poppy flowers, is an opioid. It can also be injected, snorted, and smoked.

Heroin addiction, also known as opioid use disorder, refers to a condition where heroin use causes brain and behavioral changes.

Heroin Addiction: What Are The Causes?

Heroin is highly addictive. Heroin is an opioid. It binds the brain’s receptors to release the chemical dopamine. The release of dopamine is temporary, as with most drug side effects.

People who take opioids regularly over time may not produce the same amount of dopamine that they used to. This causes the person to consume higher or more opioid doses for the same high feeling.

Sometimes opioid use disorder is started with legal medications like painkillers, which are prescribed following surgery or any other injury. These pain-relieving medicines act like heroin.

These prescribed drugs can lead to addiction. If they aren’t available anymore, the person might look into illegal drugs like heroin to get the same feeling.

People who take legal painkillers for recreational purposes or legal drugs may not become addicted. However, some people will find it difficult to stop.

Which Symptoms Can You Expect From Heroin Addiction?

The symptoms of opioid addiction may not manifest until the beginning, particularly if the user is hiding their use. As the amount of heroin used increases, hiding it becomes more difficult. Some signs and symptoms of heroin abuse include:

  • Droopiness or agitation
  • Slurred Speech
  • Strict (smaller-sized) pupils
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Needles marks (if injecting the medication)
  • Runny nose/nauseous if you smoke the drug
  • Constipation
  • The sensation of pain reduced

When Is Heroin Addiction Diagnosed?

A thorough evaluation by a psychiatrist and psychologist is required to diagnose any substance use disorder. A licensed drug and alcohol counselor might be able to diagnose some states.

Typically, several tests are used. These include laboratory tests like blood or urine tests as well as a medical interview.

Talk to a professional about your suspicions that someone you care for has a heroin habit. This includes a psychiatrist, a doctor, a social worker, or a licensed counselor in drug or alcohol counseling.

Is Heroin Addiction Treatable?

There is no one-size-one-size-fits-all curetype of drug addiction, including heroin. There are effective treatments that can be used to support the person’s recovery. The type and method of treatment will vary depending on:

  • The individual
  • The substance being used
  • Any coexisting medical conditions

There are many types of treatment for opioid addiction disorder. Multiple forms of treatment are more effective than just one.

The two main methods of treating opioid abuse disorder are pharmacological or medication, and behavioral.

Medical Treatment

Some of these symptoms are serious. These symptoms can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Diarrhea

Heroin detox can be painful, uncomfortable, and cause intense cravings. Some people take heroin to ease withdrawal symptoms or detox.

For most treatments, detoxing is the first step. Further treatment may not be possible if detox proves to be difficult. The best way to increase the safety of detox is to have someone medically monitored. Your doctor may ask to have you admitted to the hospital during detox.

Treatment for behavioral problems

Behavioral treatment can take place in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. This could include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group treatment
  • Contingency management

Behavioral therapy may be an option:

  • Identify the causes of drug abuse
  • You can learn to deal with cravings
  • You can develop strategies to prevent relapse
  • It is important to recognize and resolve any emotional discomfort.

What Do We Know About Heroin Addiction?

Opioid misuse disorder is a serious condition. However, it can be treated. It doesn’t mean that addiction must be permanent or last a lifetime. It is possible to find help, and there are ways to overcome addiction.

Talk to your doctor and other heroin treatment center if you think that you, or someone you care about, have developed an addiction. They can conduct an assessment and give you additional resources to assist with your recovery.