Heroin is a drug that conjures up images of dirty, homeless “junkies” sticking needles up their arms in the back of an alley, slaves to the drug. In reality, many different types of people become addicted to heroin. Heroin used to be so unpopular that even addicts of other drugs wouldn’t consider stooping that “low.” Now, it’s increasingly common to find even affluent teenagers shooting up heroin in their suburban neighborhoods, also slaves to the drug. There are a few tips on how to quit heroin. Be warned, it will not be easy.
No matter who you are, the decision to end your addiction and quit using heroin isn’t easy. While it’s not by any means impossible, heroin is considered one of the most difficult drugs to quit.
Effects of Heroin
Heroin is an opioid, and it acts as a depressant on your central nervous system. Opioids are used as pain relievers, and people who are addicted to prescription painkillers typically experience similar effects, withdrawal symptoms, etc. as heroin addicts. The tools and techniques for how to quit heroin are similar to methods used to quit painkillers. Heroin can cause its own unique problems because it is a drug that is commonly used intravenously. This heightens risk for diseases such as hep C. Finding ways how to quit heroin can save your life. There is a common saying in the recovery community that “heroin addicts don’t grow old.”
Heroin can cause numbness and relieve bodily pain. It can also bring on a sense of euphoria, sleepiness, constipation, slurred speech, disorientation, headache, and other effects. The “high” that heroin brings is so euphoric that it can be difficult to live without. Heroin is very chemically addictive, but it is also psychologically addictive. The euphoria produces by heroin is a common coping mechanism for addicts. Learning other ways to deal with problems is all part of the process.
Withdrawal from opioids like heroin is a nightmarish experience that lasts approximately one week. It’s so difficult to quit heroin because your body has become dependent on the drug to function. Repeated, long-term use will actually change your brain chemistry, and you’ll require higher doses to achieve the same effects. It is different from quitting cocaine, or quitting ecstasy because each drug has different withdrawal effects.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms include watery eyes, runny nose, depression, chills, headaches, diarrhea, insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, stomach cramps, leg pain, nausea, vomiting, and trembling. Cravings for heroin, nausea, and anxiety are often the strongest symptoms. When people first try to start the process of quitting heroin, many times they quit within the first weak because of the uncomfortably that heroin produces.
How to Quit Heroin
It is possible to quit heroin cold turkey, but severe withdrawal symptoms make doing so an enormous challenge. People feel so sick from heroin withdrawal that they may use again just to make their pain go away. While quitting heroin abruptly in itself won’t kill you, you are at-risk for withdrawal-related deaths like asphyxiation from vomiting. Overdose is one of the most common causes of death for people who have tried to quit heroin. After remaining off the drug for some time, even only several days, their tolerance for it decreases significantly, and the amount of heroin they used to be able to tolerate can kill them.
Because of all these risks, the best way to quit heroin is within a detox center. You can be monitored by medical professionals and prescribed medication to help decrease the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. After detox, a stay in a rehab center is also the best course of action. Rehab will help you learn to cope with life using other methods than heroin.
Methadone and Suboxone
Methadone and Suboxone are two drugs that can help you quit heroin.
The drugs block the effects of heroin, so that taking heroin will either make you sick or not affect your body at all. They also help reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms and cravings. You might be prescribed these medicines in a detox center, and you can also receive them in outpatient clinics.
Methadone is not a replacement for quitting. Again, when researching how to quit heroin, replacing your heroin addiction for a methadone addiction should never be an option. There are risks associated with Methadone and Suboxone, however; many people become dependent on them rather than heroin, essentially trading one addiction for another. This is why outpatient clinics are not the best way to quit heroin and why you should always consult a doctor before you try to quit. Methadone and Suboxone are not meant to be taken for more than several months, and you will need to wean yourself of them. Having the support of a doctor, your friends, family, counselors, and support groups. is essential to maintain your sobriety in the future.