Heroin Treatment at Ripple Ranch
If heroin use has become a problem for you or someone you know or love, Ripple Ranch Recovery Center can help.
Heroin use has been on the rise in the United States since 2007. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that in 2016 (the most recent year for which data is available), about 948,000 Americans reported having used heroin in the past year. The greatest increase in use is among young adults ages 18-25.
What Exactly Is Heroin?
Have you or someone you know used heroin, but you don’t quite know exactly what it is? It can be difficult for people to understand something they don’t know much about, so let’s dive a bit deeper into heroin and what it really is.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin is an opioid. It’s made from morphine, which is a substance taken from the seed pods of opium poppy plants.
Heroin can either be a white or brown powder, or it could be a black tar-like substance that’s referred to as black tar heroin. It can be snorted, injected, or smoked. Heroin is effective very quickly, and that could be why some people choose to use heroin versus other substances.
Heroin is also known to be extremely addictive due to the large amount of euphoria (the pleasant “high”) felt when it’s used along with how quickly it takes effect. Once heroin binds to the opioid receptors in your brain, it can then have effects on the parts of the brain that control your heart rate, sleeping, breathing, and also feelings of pain and pleasure.
Signs Of Heroin Use
Being able to identify if someone is engaging in heroin use could be a step toward better understanding how to help them. If they won’t admit to it, you could look for some of the following signs of potential heroin use:
- Sudden weight loss
- Changes in appetite
- Avoidance of life responsibilities
- Needle marks
- Flu-like symptoms in the morning
- Slurred speech
- Mood swings
- Financial issues
Some signs of heroin use can vary based upon how the person uses it. For instance, if they use black tar heroin, you could look for burns on their hands. Changes in behavior are typically the most obvious signs someone close to you may be struggling with a substance use disorder. If you notice behavioral changes, also keep an eye out for some of the more physical signs mentioned above.
Does Quitting Heroin Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?
You definitely can have withdrawal symptoms from stopping heroin. In some cases, people may struggle more with heroin withdrawal because of the positive feelings they get from heroin and also how quickly it takes effect. If you’re experiencing heroin withdrawal, you will be feeling pretty bad, maybe the worst you’ve ever felt. So the urge to return to heroin use to provide immediate relief can be extremely hard to resist.
Because you can have withdrawal symptoms from stopping heroin, it’s important to know what to look for. You should also know that if the drug use has been going on long enough, even slowing down usage without completely stopping can bring on withdrawal symptoms. If you’re worried you may be experiencing withdrawal but aren’t sure, look out for the following:
- Extreme cravings for heroin
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Aches and pains within the body
- The shakes (tremors)
- Mood changes
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can present themselves as early as six hours after the last heroin use. Typically they last less than a week, but in some cases they may last weeks to months.
Trying to stop using any substance on your own can be very difficult, and that’s why it’s highly recommended that you seek out a detox center that can provide you with the tools to successfully detox in a safe, controlled environment. Detox centers, such as Ripple Ranch Recovery, offer a variety of services that can help reduce your withdrawal symptoms and create an easier detox process for you. Many detox centers will use medications to help reduce the discomfort you experience during detox.
What Are Your Treatment Options?
When it comes to treating heroin addiction, there are a few options available to you. Treatment can come in the form of medications and also behavioral treatment, like therapy. When a person is treated with medication along with behavioral therapies at the same time, it’s referred to as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Often, people who are receiving therapy and medication at the same time see better results than those who are only involved in one at a time.
When someone tries to get off of heroin, they will typically experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be awfully uncomfortable. This is where MAT can be useful. Medications can reduce withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to easier detox and more manageable symptoms.
Is MAT right for you?
You must consider many things to determine if medication-assisted treatment is the right choice for you. Seeking out a healthcare provider is the first step. Your healthcare provider will assess your situation, and if they are not certified to prescribe those specific medications, they may refer you to someone who is able to prescribe them or a treatment center such as Ripple Ranch.
Along with medication comes behavioral treatments. Therapy can prove massively useful in treating substance use disorders because many times the disorder started because of a specific trauma experienced or other mental health issues. When those traumatic events or feelings are dealt with, it can make it that much easier to recover.
Keep in mind that the medications associated with MAT may not always be the right fit for everyone, and that’s OK. It’s important to remember everyone has a different journey and may need different treatment methods. The most important thing is finding the path that is the best for you to ensure you recover and are able to sustain your sobriety.
What Medications Are Available, And How Do They Work?
The National Institute On Drug Abuse describes two of the medications that can be used to help treat heroin use disorder. They are called partial agonists and antagonists. Some of these medications are also opioids but are much safer and have fewer negative effects associated with them.
In your brain, you have opioid receptors that are responsible for the feelings of pleasure and pain in your central nervous system. When an opioid such as heroin is used, these opioid receptors will send a signal to the brain that says the person should experience pleasure.
The antagonists are medications that block the receptors completely and will affect the pleasure release associated with the use of heroin. Naltrexone, also known as Vivitrol, is an antagonist. This medication can block the effects of opioids like heroin. It also doesn’t cause the person to become physically dependent upon it.
The other medications are the partial agonists. Medications like buprenorphine are able to relieve withdrawal symptoms without giving any sort of high to the person taking it. There are also variants such as Suboxone, which is a medication made of buprenorphine and naloxone.
Suboxone is only to be taken orally or sublingually (under the tongue), and if someone with a heroin use disorder were to try to inject the medication, it would trigger withdrawal responses because it has naloxone in it. This ensures that the people who are taking it take it orally as prescribed. Naloxone is another medication that’s used to block the receptors we mentioned earlier.
The Importance Of Seeking Treatment
Substance use disorders are well known for causing a lot of awful problems for the person affected, along with their family and friends. Many times people feel more broken as a result of those problems, and they may turn to substance use even more to cope with how they’re feeling and what’s happening around them.
We know that in situations like that, time is of the essence, and considering treatment can be a very sudden and brief occurrence. This is why it’s important to seek help as soon as possible because even after agreeing to treatment, some people are really nervous about such extreme life changes.
Change can be really hard for humans, so seeking out treatment can be difficult for some and therefore very scary. Humans are creatures of habit, but you should always put your health first and take whatever actions you can to care for your health and your happiness.
Your life matters, and you CAN recover.
We’re here to help you achieve that. Ripple Ranch Recovery offers a variety of programs that have been proved useful in the treatment of substance use disorders. We have a drug and alcohol detox center with 24-hour medical support on the premises to ensure our clients are safe and comfortable throughout the detox process. We also offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Clients can transition easily from our detox center into residential treatment once they’ve successfully detoxed and are medically stable. With only 15 beds in our 8,000-square-foot facility, we can provide attention to each client in a personalized, family-style living environment with enough space for private reflection in moderation. Call now at (830) 302-3591!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which medicine is best for heroin treatment?
The “best” medicine depends upon your needs as a client, so you will need to consult with your healthcare provider or a treatment center to learn which medication makes the most sense for you. Recovery and sustained sobriety is more likely when the core issues behind your heroin use disorder have been addressed, so therapy is always highly recommended.
What is the treatment for substance use disorder?
Treatment includes behavioral therapies and medication. You could also do both of those at the same time, and that is called medication-assisted treatment.
How effective is medication-assisted treatment (MAT)?
MAT has proved to be one of the most effective methods of treatment for heroin use disorder.