Drug abuse or substance abuse is a global phenomenon that has a snowball effect. A study shows that over 190 million people in the world consume one or the other drug. While the effects of drug abuse are widespread, India is one of the countries that is facing drug abuse. According to a report issued by the UN, there are 1 million registered users of heroin addicts. On the other hand, it is estimated that there are over 5 million unregistered heroin addicts in India.
In India, heroin, opium, hashish, and cannabis are some of the most used drugs among adolescents. These drugs are the most sought-after alcohol. However, the number of heroin addicts is increasing by the day at an alarming rate. The study shows that most of the people with a substance use disorder are males, among which 49% of them have a family history of drug abuse.
In this article, you will understand how you can identify if someone is on heroin, how long heroin withdrawal lasts, why heroin is so addictive, how long heroin stays in urine, and the before and after effects of heroin.
Why is heroin so addictive?
In a National Survey in 2004, it was shown that the majority of drug addicts were from a rural background. They obtained those drugs from their local chemists in the village. Heroin is procured from a plant called the opium poppy plant. It is found in Asia and South America. This substance is known as brown, smack, tar, or black tar.
Heroin use at the initial stage gives a feeling of pleasure, joy, and overall well-being. Over time, they get used to wanting it more, and this becomes the reason for increasing the dosage. Initially, they felt good with just a little of it, but now their mind and bodies are used to that amount. The dose increases, hence the dependence on the substance.
People find different ways of consuming heroin. They consume it by injecting, smoking, or inhaling. When heroin gets into the brain, it changes the dynamics of the brain. When in the brain, it converts into morphine, which has a rewarding feeling. It reaches the opioid receptors in the brain and body. These opioid receptors are linked to pain cognizance. The body feels the before and after effects of heroin and hence gets addicted to it.
How do you tell if someone is on heroin?
Nobody wants to get addicted to heroin, but people who have already used it before find it difficult to feel normal without consuming it. Many people are good at hiding it. However, you can still find out if someone is on heroin.
Signs of Using Heroin
Even though some people hide it well, some signs can indicate that they are using heroin. First and foremost, which could be a telltale are needle marks. Others can be:
- Feeling unmotivated
- Bloodshot eyes
- Appearance changes
- Financial problems
- Extreme drowsiness
- Hopelessness and despair
- Feeling shameful, depressed
- Poor judgement
- Watery eyes and runny nose
- Over exhaustion
- Euphoria, mood swings
- Constricted pupils
- Shortness of breath
- Slurred speech
These are just some of the signs and symptoms from which you can tell if someone is on heroin or not.
What is heroin rehab?
Generally, the rehab duration depends on the severity of the case. The rehab can last anywhere between 10 to 90 days or sometimes longer. It highly depends on the patient.
Heroin rehab or rehabilitation is a treatment that helps the person to stop or eliminate the use of heroin. The main motive behind this treatment is to help him live a healthier and productive life in the long term.
Heroin Rehab Process or Treatment
The treatment starts with the medical detox of heroin. Heroin detox is a process in which a person is on medications for the withdrawal of heroin. This is the initial stage of a comprehensive treatment.
There are two types of heroin rehabs: Inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. In Inpatient rehab, the person receives medical treatment 24/7. On the other hand, Outpatient rehab means the person can go on living an everyday life with partial hospitalizations. However, the patient may experience withdrawal symptoms anywhere, anytime.
There are therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), that can be beneficial for a person. It is a different kind of therapy in which the addicted person learns to think differently about the drugs and addiction and develops resistance to the relapse.
Licensed healthcare providers, such as primary care providers or psychiatrists, are a great help to the heroin rehab process.
How long does heroin stay in your system?
There are different durations of heroin to stay in our system. Heroin is supposed to be not detectable in urine after two days. However, it depends on the tests that are being taken. Because in some tests, it can be detected in your system even after seven days.
The test that can detect the presence of heroin is the hair follicle test. In this test, heroin can be detected even after three months of consuming it. The excessive use of this substance makes it stored in fatty tissues of the body. However, it is in the case of heavy drug users.
Heroin exits the different parts of the body in the following durations:
Urine: From two days to seven days (with specific drug tests)
Blood and Saliva: Within five or six hours up to two days (with specific drug tests)
Hair: Up to three months or more
Some drug tests can detect heroin in your system even after months. Urine, blood, and saliva tests are generally less effective than the hair follicle test. Although, it depends on the type of heroin user.
Before and After Effects of Heroin
Drug abuse is a national concern that is taking over the youth so fast. And it is slipping through hands like sand. It does not only have physical effects but emotional effects, too.
The degradation of mental and physical health can be seen if the person is addicted to heroin. The most common after-effects of heroin abuse are bloodshot eyes, appearing tired and lethargic, dilated pupils, and changes in skin tone.
The after-effects may vary on the type of drug, but they usually show on the face of the person with an addiction.
How long does heroin withdrawal last?
The withdrawal experience can be daunting for people with an addiction. But it is the phase that every affected individual goes through. Heroin withdrawal duration depends on the individual and for how long they have had an addiction. Sometimes, it can be a few weeks long or may take months for heroin detoxification.
Early withdrawal symptoms may appear within six hours only, but the severe one can reach the severity in a day or two. The severe symptoms may last for more than a week. The worst symptoms can appear at a two-week point. At the same time, the individuals sustain their withdrawal symptoms in these weeks. The cravings may kick in about two months after it.
In the inpatient process or treatment, the most common withdrawal symptoms logged by the healthcare experts are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle pain
- Hot and Cold flushes
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Is heroin addiction treatable?
Yes, heroin addiction can be treated. And you can go back to live your everyday life with your loved ones. There are several treatments available for everyone, for example, medical detox, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Inpatient and outpatient treatment. You can talk to a healthcare professional for the treatment that best suits you.
- What are Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?
Inpatient treatment includes the hospitalization of a person with a substance use disorder who is under treatment 24/7 in a healthcare facility. Outpatient treatment allows the patient to live everyday life with timely or scheduled hospitalizations along with medications.
- How do you support someone who is facing withdrawal symptoms or is in heroin rehab?
You can support them morally and help them take on a healthy lifestyle. Along with them, you can try changing your life to become a healthier version of yourself. Mental support is necessary for people with an addiction.
Heroin addiction has an intense effect on an individual. Along with the person with an addiction, it also affects other people, such as family and friends. No one wants to get addicted to drugs. Certain situations make them do that. These situations may include peer pressure, family history, and many other factors.
People who are addicted to heroin or other drugs are reluctant to seek any help. Their loved ones need to talk to them or jump into the situation. Drug abuse might not be a problem for those who have taken it a few times only, but it can be depressing for those who have been addicted to it for a long time now. Take the help of healthcare professionals as soon as possible. It can change your life and that of others who are related to you.
Treating heroin addiction can be more daunting and seems like an impossible task due to the immense withdrawal symptoms. Heroin Addiction Treatment Plan by Relevance Recovery applies various techniques for their clients to get out of heroin addiction. One of the factors that stands out is that the clients have the opportunity to participate in dynamic and innovative group counseling 3-5 days per week, depending on their schedule.