Heroin withdrawal is not only uncomfortable – it can also be dangerous. Learn about withdrawal causes and symptoms to understand why receiving professional treatment for heroin addiction is so important.
Causes of Heroin Withdrawal
Heroin is an extremely potent opioid that is known both for the intense high it produces and for its addictive properties. When a person ingests heroin, she will experience a relaxing, euphoric high; this pleasurable experience often causes her to return again and again to the drug. Unfortunately, the more she uses heroin, the more she develops a tolerance. When a person builds a tolerance to a drug, she requires more of the drug in order to experience a high.
Greater tolerance to heroin means that a person will be using increasing amounts of the drug over time. However, the more heroin a person uses, the more dependent her body becomes on the drug and the more difficult it will be for her to abstain from use. The truth is, after prolonged use of this powerful opiate, the person requires the drug to simply function. In order to carry out everyday tasks, she must have heroin in her system.
When a person who has been using heroin for a sustained period of time stops using the drug, she can experience a series of unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms arise as a result of the person’s body readjusting to functioning without heroin present and can be dangerous if not addressed with proper medical attention.
Signs of Heroin Withdrawal
There are a number of common signs that emerge when a person is experiencing heroin withdrawal. Although these signs vary from woman to woman, some common indicators that a person is experiencing withdrawal include:
- Overpowering cravings for heroin
- Poor appetite
- Runny nose
- Hypothermia (or drastically low body temperature)
- Muscle cramping / aches / pain
- Bone pain
- Mood changes, including depression and anxiety
When these signs are present alongside other indicators of heroin use (e.g., presence of puncture wounds or track marks, owning drug paraphernalia), it is likely that the person is struggling with heroin withdrawal and is in need of professional care.
Why Seek Treatment for Heroin Addiction
Because of the extreme negative effects that heroin use can have on a person’s life, it is critical that she receive treatment as soon as possible. If heroin addiction is left untreated, the person using the drug can experience severe problems in her work life, leading to demotion, job loss, long-term unemployment, loss of children and family, and financial distress. Heroin use disorder can also strain relationships to the breaking point, ending marriages, causing separations, damaging children, fracturing friendships, and leaving individuals without meaningful social support. Heroin use can also damage a person’s body and mind and result in a potentially-fatal overdose.
Because of these negative consequences, it is understandable that an individual would want to stop using. If she attempts to stop on her own, however, she will experience the extremely uncomfortable and painful symptoms that accompany the withdrawal process. Not only will she continue to struggle with a compulsive desire to continue using, but she will also have to contend with the fact that the quickest way to relieve withdrawal symptoms is to use again. These potent forces can all but ensure that she is unable to quit using on her own.
Fortunately, options for care exist. At Timberline Knolls, we have extensive experience helping women overcome heroin addictions. Our top-of-the-line treatment program and team of compassionate and experienced treatment professionals are uniquely prepared to provide the types of treatment that have helped thousands of women overcome substance use disorders. If you or someone you love might benefit from the care we provide, give us a call. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have. With our help, a better tomorrow awaits.