Understanding heroin addiction and recovery can be difficult. Read on to find out about how heroin becomes addictive and how recovery can be made possible.
Why is Heroin so Addictive?
Addiction is a form of brain disease because the reliance on the drug changes the brain and makes resisting drugs almost impossible. It also changes behavioural patterns. Often, everything else is less important than the need the addict feels to get hold of drugs. It’s not something that you can ever completely recover from. But it is possible to manage your addiction and stop yourself from relapsing.
Heroin contains chemicals that affect the brain’s communications system. They change and disrupt the way in which cells send and receive signals to and from one another. Heroin fools the brain by changing the messages and making you feel immense pleasure when taking the drug. Dopamine is the chemical that gives you this feeling of joy and pleasure. But over time, the brain adapts to the high levels of dopamine, meaning that addicts have to take more and more of the drug to get a high. This is how heroin addiction escalates and spirals out of the control of the addict.
Some people are more likely to become addicted to drugs than others, but why is that the case? Biology plays a big part of this. Some people with certain genes are more likely to have an addictive personality. So, when these people are exposed to drugs, they’re more likely to become addicted than people without those genes. Social, economic and environmental factors also play a part. People from poorer backgrounds and people who have been victims of abuse are much more likely to develop a drug addiction.
Methods of Recovery
One of the first and most common steps for heroin addicts trying to recover is replacing heroin with methodone. This is quite a controversial treatment because it simply stops you being addicted to heroin but makes you addicted to methodone instead. Having said that, it is a good way to ease people off heroin slowly without them having to experience withdrawal symptoms. It also gets rid of the need for needles, reducing the risk of HIV.
Residential rehabs are good places for people to recover away from the world. These are useful because they remove the addict from their environment and away from fellow addicts and drug dealers. During the rehab process, addicts go through detoxification and talking therapies. Talking about the underlying problems that caused the addiction aids the chances of a long-term recovery. Sometimes, these talking therapy sessions are conducted as a group so addicts can help and support each other. Visit www.firststepdetox.com to find out more about residential rehab.
For people with more mild addictions, it is possible to recover without external help. Some people decide to join self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous. These groups offer help and support while addicts go through their own recovery process.
If you’re concerned about your own addiction or someone else’s, consider all the recovery options.