Heroin Addiction

How To Prevent Heroin Addiction Relapse

Heroin addiction is a complex condition that can have tragic long-term effects. It can stem from past trauma or present stress, from troubled relationships, and from a feeling of isolation. People who struggle with heroin addiction can lose their jobs, their financial stability, and their relationships with the people they love. They can lose their health, and in some cases, their lives.

As societal attitudes to addiction have evolved, more treatment options have become available to people with heroin addictions. No matter how successful a treatment program is, though, the stresses of life do not just disappear.

The early post-rehab period is when a person in recovery is most susceptible to relapse. It is important to plan for a crisis before the crisis actually happens, so that you can be prepared to deal with challenges without turning to heroin.

How Is Heroin Addiction Treated?

Like most substance use disorders, heroin addiction does not happen in a vacuum. It usually happens as a result of something else: trauma, abuse, stress, relationship difficulties. Addiction often coexists with physical or mental health conditions such as chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and much more.

What this means is that heroin addiction does not look the same in any two people, and in order for treatment to be effective, it should be customized for the person who needs it. Rehab usually takes the form of a combination of therapies that are best suited to the individual, such as individual or group therapy, creative therapies that use music, art or dance, fitness and nutrition counseling, mindfulness and meditation, and family therapy.

What Happens When You Leave Rehab?

Like all good things, rehab has to come to an end sometime. This can be a daunting prospect for those in inpatient rehab programs that are isolated from the real world. There is always the risk that sudden exposure to the stresses of daily life will prove to be too challenging for someone who is fresh out of treatment.

For this reason, it is important to have a plan already in place before you leave rehab. Most addiction treatment facilities have aftercare programs that may include the following:

  • A 24-hour support line to call if you feel that you are in danger of relapse
  • Check-in appointments to monitor how the transition to the outside world is going
  • Education and training sessions
  • Referrals to addiction therapists and services in your area

If you have access to an aftercare program, it is important to avail yourself of it. A wide body of anecdotal evidence indicates that aftercare programs can significantly reduce the chances of relapse.

Why Does Relapse Happen?

emotional relapse

Whether you have an aftercare program available to you or not, it is helpful to know why relapse happens, so you can put plans in place and respond to triggers without using heroin.

Most people regard relapse as an event in time, during which the addicted person physically uses the substance. Relapse is actually a process that takes place over time, in three distinct phases.

Emotional Relapse

The first warning sign that you may be in danger of using the heroin again is the appearance of negative emotions, such as anger, sadness or helplessness. Eating and sleeping patterns may become irregular, and the once-appealing notion of recovery may start to lose its gloss. At this stage, you may not be thinking of using heroin, nor may you realize that you are at risk.

Mental Relapse

People can only handle negative emotions for so long before seeking a way to cope. For people in addiction recovery, this may mean instinctively leaning toward heroin. This phase of relapse can come with intense internal conflict: you want to maintain your sobriety, and yet you also want to use heroin. Eventually, you may start to abandon the notion of sobriety and start to actively think about the logistics of getting and using drugs.

Physical Relapse

Physical relapse tends to happen soon after mental relapse has set in, and it is the point at which you physically ingest heroin. For some people, physical relapse is a one-time event immediately followed by a return to sobriety. For others, it can lead to another stage of active addiction.

What Strategies Can Be Used To Prevent Relapse?

Something that a multitude of physical and mental health conditions have in common is that early detection can prevent a full-blown flare-up. The best way to prevent relapse is to look out for those negative emotions and subtle changes to daily living habits that could be a sign of emotional relapse.

Preventing Or Coping With Emotional Relapse

preventing or coping with emotional relapse

Specific strategies include the following:

  • Ensure that you have a schedule to your day so that boredom doesn’t set in. If you’re not working, take up a creative hobby, learn a new skill, or read that book you’ve been meaning to.
  • Take care of your physical health. This means eating nutritious meals, getting enough sleep, and being physically active. Emotional relapse can be triggered by tiredness or a sense of not feeling well.
  • Avoid social isolation. Ensure that you have access to people who can be a positive part of your life. This could be family members, trusted friends, and people you meet at your Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
  • Stay away from people you used drugs with prior to your addiction treatment. They may trigger those negative emotions that could put you on the slippery slope to physical relapse.
  • Keep your therapy appointments. While you are transitioning from rehab to real life, you are re-learning how to go about your daily life. Taking what you learned in rehab and applying it to the big wide world can be overwhelming, and ongoing therapy can help.
  • Consider mindfulness or meditation classes. These can help you teach yourself how to accept negative thoughts and feelings, and then let them go. Not only do these practices reduce stress, they can help you cope better.

Mental Relapse: It’s Not Too Late

If you do progress to the stage of mental relapse, it is not too late to avoid using the substance. Getting through this phase could depend on a simple factor: ensuring that you do not have access to heroin. This will require prior planning. Some things you could consider doing as soon as you are out rehab include the following:

  • Get rid of any drugs or drug paraphernalia that might still be in your house. If you have a history of using other substances along with heroin – such as cigarettes or alcohol – get rid of them too.
  • Make a list of emergency contacts you can call if you feel that you are in danger of relapse. This could include your rehab centre support line and your NA sponsor.
  • Avoid keeping large sums of cash. Consider asking a trusted friend or family member to safeguard your bank card to prevent you from being able to buy heroin on the street.

What If Relapse Happens?

For some people, physical relapse will happen in spite of their best efforts. If this happens to you, you need to remember that relapse does not mean your treatment has failed. As with any illness, you can face setbacks in your addiction recovery. The thing to do is get yourself the help you need, without delay. This may mean a brief stay in your rehab centre, or it could mean a series of outpatient appointments.

You want to avoid relapse if at all possible – but if it happens, it is not the end of the world.

Getting Help For An Addiction

If you are struggling with heroin addiction, either for the first time or after a physical relapse, help is available to you. At Thousand Islands Rehab Centre, we treat people, not addictions. We will create a customized treatment program that takes into account your unique needs and circumstances. For more information about our programs, or to book your treatment, call us today.

Heroin Addiction

What Happens During Heroin Addiction Treatment?

Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid that can be ingested by sniffing, smoking or injection. What makes it desirable to users is the rush of euphoria and the feeling of being detached from pain. These effects can produce a strong psychological dependence that leads to users seeking out larger doses of the drug to produce the same effects. Before long, users can find themselves in a position of having to take heroin multiple times a day in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, border restrictions have cut off the supply of several street drugs. During this time, a dangerous mix of heroin and fentanyl has taken hold as the most popular street drug in parts of Ontario and Manitoba. This combination can produce intense, unpredictable effects, and it comes with a high risk of accidental overdose.

If you or someone in your life uses heroin, it is important to know what the short-term and long-term effects are, how to recognize a possible overdose, and how to safely withdraw from the drug and get the help that is needed.

What Are The Effects Of Heroin?

The general effects of heroin are well documented, but in recent years there has been a troubling rise of heroin combined with other substances, often without the user’s knowledge. As a result, the effects can be unpredictable, which poses a challenge for health care professionals responding to possible overdoses.

In addition, many people who use heroin also use other substances like alcohol, and this too can produce effects that are unexpected or unusually intense.

It should also be noted that the effects of heroin depend on several factors, such as the dosage taken, the age and state of health of the user, and the chemical makeup of the drug.

Short-Term Effects

Heroin is used because of the rush of euphoria that it produces. Other less pleasant side effects include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mental “fog”
  • Dry mouth
  • A sensation of weights in the arms and legs
  • The skin feeling warm and flushed or clammy
  • Drifting in and out of full consciousness
  • Decreased respiration

Heroin Overdose

Long-Term Effects

If you take heroin regularly over an extended period of time, you may be at risk of serious long-term effects. These include the following:

  • Heart problems, such as infection or inflammation of the heart lining and valves
  • Complications of the lungs, liver and kidneys
  • Digestive complaints, such as constipation and stomach cramps
  • Menstrual cycles that are irregular or absent
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Disrupted sleep cycles
  • Collapsed veins for those who take the drug through injection
  • Damaged nasal tissue for those who take the drug through sniffing
  • Depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or behaviour

What Is The Heroin Overdose Risk?

When heroin is used in high doses, breathing can slow down significantly, resulting in a shortage of oxygen to the brain. This can result in loss of consciousness, and in some cases, this can be fatal.

If you or a loved one are a regular user of heroin, it is important that you keep a naloxone kit nearby. Naloxone is available free of charge in most parts of Canada. It is an opioid antagonist that works by binding to the opioid receptors. This blocks the effect of any opioid drugs that are present, including heroin.

Naloxone should never be regarded as the sole treatment for heroin overdose; instead, buys time for you to get the heroin user to a hospital emergency room.

Heroin Risks To The Unborn Child

The use of heroin during pregnancy can be harmful to both the pregnant parent and the baby. Risks include death during or after childbirth, preterm delivery, low birth weight, and stillbirth. Babies may develop neonatal abstinence syndrome, where they suffer withdrawal symptoms from substances they were exposed to in utero.

Heroin Withdrawal

The withdrawal from heroin can produce symptoms that are uncomfortable and potentially harmful. These symptoms include nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, diarrhea, anxiety, hot and cold flushes, and a watery discharge from the eyes and nose.

One of the dangers of heroin is that it is frequently mixed, or ‘cut’, with other substances without the user knowing about it. What this means is that withdrawal from heroin may be accompanied by withdrawal of another substance as well.

Safe Withdrawal Via Medical Detox

In order to stay safe during heroin withdrawal, it is recommended that you seek medical detox services. This way, you will have access to medical care throughout the withdrawal process. Symptoms will be treated as they arise, and you will come out of detox in a state of good health, ready to start the rehab phase of your recovery.

What Does Heroin Addiction Treatment Look Like?

A good heroin addiction treatment program is customised to the person who needs it. No two paths to addiction look the same, so the paths to recovery should cater to each individual. Addiction to any substance is rooted in context: it stems from trauma, stress, physical or mental illness, relationship difficulties, or some other cause. In order to treat the addiction, it is important to identify and treat the underlying cause.

Several therapies and methodologies are used in the treatment of heroin addiction.


Individual therapy allows you to talk through your issues in a safe, confidential environment. You may also benefit from group therapy, where you can listen to the stories of other people who are struggling, and share your own experiences. Family therapy can help those who are struggling with their relationships with their loved ones.


Practices like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness training are being used with increasing success in addiction treatment. These are effective tools for creating mental clarity, reducing stress, and improving concentration and self-awareness.


Creative Therapies

Many people need a creative outlet to facilitate their healing. Music, art, dance, and drama therapies provide avenues for self-expression and stress relief. These methods also give people a way to communicate ideas and memories that they are unable to put into words. If you do not feel capable of talking about your feelings, a more creative form of therapy can give you a safe way to work through those difficult emotions.

Health & Wellness

Heroin addiction can do a lot of damage to a person’s health. Most addiction rehab programs include a focus on healthy eating and physical activity, with a view to boosting the immune system and restoring health. With a healthy body, you are far more likely to be able to focus on other aspects of your recovery.

Preventing Relapse

Addiction rehab aftercare is important, especially for those leaving inpatient treatment programs. During rehab, you are in a protected environment, away from your usual stresses and triggers. Once you are back in the real world, you may be susceptible to the same triggers that kept you addicted in the first place. Addiction aftercare programs provide you with support to get you through those difficult times. They may include support lines, training and education, and check-ins with your addiction rehab team.

How To Get Started With Heroin Addiction Treatment

If you need help with a heroin addiction, either for yourself or a loved one, the staff at 1000 Islands Rehab Centre are ready to welcome you. We will provide you with a safe environment that is free from judgment, where you can heal and learn the tools to cope without needing substances. Give us a call at (855) 929-4045. We look forward to being part of your recovery journey.

Heroin Addiction

How to Help a Loved One You Suspect of Heroin Addiction

When you want to help a loved one with a heroin addiction, you need to exercise patience. Of course, you love this person, and as such, you want to help them as fast as possible.

But, you don’t want your good mindset to cause avoidable problems with that loved one. So, if you care about them, you’ll take the necessary steps to help without compromising your relationship with them.

The first step you can use to protect a loved one you suspect of heroin addiction is knowledge. You need all the info you can get about heroin and its abuse.

Firstly, heroin is an opioid drug with highly addictive properties. Heroin is highly addictive and dangerous. Between 2002 & 2015, information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported a sixfold increase in deaths related to heroin overdose.

When heroin enters your body, it activates the brain receptors, and in turn, the brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in our brains that gives us a joyful feeling. So, when you take heroin frequently, you start to feel good only under its influence. And, your brain starts to adjust to this reality.

Heroin disrupts dopamine production making sure you’ll rely on the medication to feel great. That’s why it’s easy to get addicted to the drug. It’s the same reason it can be hard to help a loved one you suspect of heroin addiction.

In this article, we’ll be showing you some signs to watch out for if you suspect a loved one for heroin addiction. After that, we’ll explore how to approach and help a loved one with a heroin addiction. Let’s get your loved ones the help they need!

How to Tell if Your Loved One is Addicted to Heroin

Before you can help a loved one with heroin addiction, you have to be sure they’re addicts. To confirm this condition, you need to pay close attention to that loved one’s attitude and behaviour. Although, you have to make this attention as discreet as possible. If your loved one notices unwanted attention, they may react harshly to you.

For example, let’s assume you suspect your cousin is a heroin addict. If you start sneaking up on them and intruding on their privacy, they may avoid you. In some cases, they may even get furious with you.

Let’s take a look at common signs of heroin addiction you can look out for in a loved one.

Tools for using heroin

The best way to verify if your loved one is a heroin addict is to see them take heroin. However, most heroin addicts will do all they can to use the substance privately.

As a result, no matter how addicted they can get, you may never see them use heroin. They may keep secrets about the actual smoking of heroin, but they don’t always keep the devices. The best way you can confirm if your loved one is a heroin addict is to find the tools they use to take heroin. The question you need to ask yourself is, what are the devices for taking heroin?

To answer that question, you need to first know the different ways to take heroin. In most cases, users usually inject heroin into their veins. The primary tool they use to do that is a medical needle syringe. So, you can start looking around for it to help a loved one struggling with heroin addiction.

However, injecting heroin is only one of multiple ingestion methods. Heroin addicts can also choose to smoke or snort heroin. For these methods, the tools they’ll need are mostly pipes, lighters, and spoons. So, if you have any suspicions, you can check around your loved one’s space for those objects.

You can also check for crumbs of heroin leftovers in the immediate environment of your loved one. Heroin can come in three different colours namely white, brown, and black. The most popular colour you’ll often see is the white powdered form.

Look out for these particles in your loved one’s space. A good place to start the search is their pile of dirty clothes.

Misplaced focus

Once you notice a loved one who has a drug abuse history having problems focusing, there’s a possibility they have issues with heroin.

Of course, this doesn’t mean anyone who is struggling to focus is a heroin addict. What it means is most heroin addicts naturally find it hard to concentrate on their everyday life activities. All they want to do in most cases is use heroin.

For instance, let’s assume you want to help a loved one who’s a doctor with heroin addiction. One of the signs you’ll notice is a total loss of interest in their job. They’ll suddenly stop taking medical-related classes and scenarios seriously.

To confirm this, you can try to bring up conversations relating to a topic they love. If your loved one has that conversation with their regular gusto, they may not be addicts or are in the early addiction stage.

But if you notice their reaction is anger or disinterest, you can suspect a heroin habit — especially if they have a history of drug abuse.

heroin addict

Negative physical changes

Heroin abuse, like any other hard drug addiction, will naturally affect your physical appearance when you abuse it. The mouth of a heroin addict is primarily dry when they are high on heroin. Also, their skin may begin to react and start looking flushed.

Another sign that comes with heroin addiction is a loss of interest in physical appearance. For instance, let’s assume you suspect a loved one who is a ‘fashionista’ with heroin addiction. A great sign to look out for is a lack of interest in their fashion choices and appearance.

Psychological changes

When heroin is always in the body of an addict, it begins to affect their psychology. They begin to showcase new behaviours you haven’t noticed before. A self-explanatory one is a total replacement of old friends with new ones. In most cases, these new friends happen to be the source of their heroin addiction.

Also, heroin addicts may have rough relationships with their family, friends, and loved ones. So, say you are close friends with a loved one, you want to help with heroin addiction. You have to be careful enough to help with their condition intelligently. If you don’t, the relationship may suffer.

Furthermore, the average heroin addict will drop their usual daily activities and habits. They may suddenly become very secretive with their daily lives. If they loved talking, they may suddenly become reluctant to hold conversations. So, you can keep an eye on these behavioural changes in someone you love.

Financial problems

Heroin is not a drug you can find in any drug store in Canada. In most cases, you can only buy heroin from illegal sources. That means these illegal sources have total authority over the price of heroin. As a result, heroin often falls on the expensive side.

Despite the cost, heroin is still one of the primary sources of widespread opioid addiction across Canada. That means many addicts spend thousands of Canadian dollars trying to get heroin. So, if you have a loved one with a heroin addiction, you may want to help before their finances take a permanent downturn. Lack of money is another sign you can look out for in a heroin addict.

All of a sudden, they may begin to need more financial help than usual. For instance, let’s assume your loved one earns about $2,000 at the end of every month. If at the early stages of a new month, they need loans, you can suspect an addiction. Again, you need to confirm this claim before you try to help.

Crime activities

At some point in the life of a heroin addict, they may get into a lot of debt. Yet, they’ll need money to buy heroin.

To fill this need, heroin addicts may get involved in criminal activities like stealing to earn money. If you have a loved one you suspect with heroin addiction, watch out for any criminal activities.

If they are being shady in the bid to make more money, they are likely stealing to fund an addiction habit. However, you need to look out for the other behavioural changes we have discussed before you confirm your assumption.

Related Article: Is There Hope for Someone Dealing with Heroin Abuse?

How to Help a Loved One Struggling with Heroin Addiction

The best thing you can do for a loved one with a heroin addiction is to offer help. However, you must know that heroin addiction is a complex situation to manage for the addict. In some cases, they do not believe they need help to conquer their addictions. In other instances, they know they need the service but have no idea how to get the help they need.

That leaves you with a daunting challenge if you wish to help a loved one with a heroin addiction. You can’t just wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I think you are a heroin addict.” The reaction you’ll most likely get is probably extreme anger from the addict. If they do not get angry, then they’ll try to avoid you at all costs.

The first thing to do, as we have mentioned earlier, is to confirm your suspicion silently. For you to do that, you have to do adequate research about the signs of heroin addiction. It’s a procedure that will require your time, focus, and attention. So, you must be willing to give that amount of work and attention to your loved one.

Depending on the extent of the heroin addiction, the work you have may reduce or increase. If you want to help a loved one with early-stage heroin addiction, the path may be easier.

But if the situation is worse, you have to put in more work and may need to involve heroin addiction rehab services. Let’s take a look at the steps to help a loved one get help with heroin addiction.

stop addiction

Prepare your mind

If you think heroin addiction treatment is an easy process, you need to reconsider your stance. It’s a procedure that requires a lot of research, patience and attention. Also, helping someone with a heroin addiction may take a lot of your time. So, if you don’t have the right schedule, you may need to involve another person.

That person must have the required freedom and free time to handle this task. Some addiction treatment programs may last as long as 12 months. In some other cases, some people get free from heroin addiction within a few weeks.

At some point through the recovery process, it’s very typical for you to get frustrated. In some cases, that loved one may pick a fight with you for trying to help. That’s why when you want to help a loved one with heroin addiction, you need to prepare your mind for a few bumps in the road.

Do adequate research

You can’t convince yourself that your loved one is a heroin addict if you don’t understand heroin addiction. Like we have explained above, there are many behaviours to expect from a heroin addict. You need to understand them.

However, that’s not where your heroin addiction research should end. When you want to help a loved one with a heroin addiction, you have to trace why they became addicts.

There are a lot of reasons why the person you care about is using heroin:

  • Heavy smoking: Sometimes, heroin addiction didn’t just develop overnight. It starts from somewhere, and in many cases, it begins from smoking heavy amounts of tobacco.
  • Depression: Sometimes, the rigours of life may cause overthinking which leads to depression. For someone who is depressed, they’ll feel moody most of the time. In that situation, it’s easier to crave happiness from every source possible.

When a depressed loved one comes in contact with heroin, they’ll feel happy after use. Of course, you can trace that to the release of dopamine in the brain. So, if you want to help a loved one with a heroin addiction, they may need a mental evaluation. Sometimes, substance use disorder is an indication of a higher problem.

  • Peer pressure: The average Canadian has no idea what heroin looks like or where to buy it. However, if they start to move with addicts they may get introduced to heroin. This drug is an opioid with highly addictive properties. So, your loved one may want some more after using it only once.
  • Addiction history: Sometimes, people can become addicts because of a family addiction history. It may be another substance, but that addiction history can influence new addiction behaviours. Before you help a loved one with a heroin addiction, try to confirm if they have an addiction history. Whether it’s a personal addiction or a close family member, it can influence a new addiction.

These are some of the risk factors of heroin addiction that we have listed above. However, it doesn’t mean that when someone has these risk factors, they automatically become heroin addicts.

It’s only a measure of the possibility of addiction. More importantly, these risk factors can be a roadmap that guides effective heroin addiction treatment.

Plan your approach

The way you choose to help a loved one with heroin addiction is a crucial part of their recovery. If you get it right, you will most likely succeed in helping them. However, if you get it wrong, you may worsen the situation. In some cases, you may even lose the relationship.

You cannot approach a loved one with heroin addiction aggressively and expect a change. In most cases, you’ll only affect the relationship between the two of you. What’s better is for you to approach them from a place of love and compassion. That way, you can even get them to trust you enough.

The first thing you should do is to make them understand why they are addicts. After that, make them believe they have what it takes to break free from heroin addiction.

However, you should note that they are fragile at these points. With that in mind, you should choose your words carefully. Here are some of the common mistakes you should avoid:

  • Do not try to preach or lecture a heroin addict about religion or morals
  • Do not lie on behalf of the heroin addict
  • Do not rub the guilt of addiction in their faces
  • Do not fight or argue with them when they are high on heroin
  • Do not feel guilty that you can’t stop them. It’ll take a while for them to stop. Their addiction isn’t your fault.

Provide treatment options for heroin addiction

If you want to help a loved one with heroin addiction, you will need help. Of course, you may feel like a third party is risky. However, it’s only dangerous if that third party is not a professional with experience helping heroin addicts.

You may ask why you need help to treat a loved one with a heroin addiction. The simple answer is, you can’t do it alone.

Heroin addiction can’t be reversed with stern words and punishment. It is a disease that changes the way the brain works. As such, recovery will require medication and extensive therapy.

There are two ways to treat heroin addiction;

  • Medical treatment: This treatment is the best option to go for heroin addiction. You can choose to get treatment in the rehab centre as an inpatient. Also, you can get the treatment on specific visits to the hospital as an outpatient. Whichever one you choose, depends solely on the extent of addiction and the choice of medical centre you’re using.

The first step is the detoxification stage, where the patient clears their body system of all heroin particles. You have to do this under close supervision from doctors and family. It’s at the detoxification stage that withdrawal symptoms begin to reflect within the patient. So, in most cases, it’s safer to contact a medical facility to handle these conditions.

Some drugs can help with withdrawal symptoms when they come. An example is methadone which is also an artificial opiate drug. Another example is Buprenorphine.

  • Psychology treatment: Psychological treatment is the treatment that focuses on behaviour. Mostly, it’s often used in combination with medication-based treatment. Psychology treatment involves using methods like cognitive behavioural therapy to reverse the patterns that encourage

Related Article: What is the Cost of Heroin Addiction Treatment in Toronto?

Get Help for Your Loved One Now

Trying to help a loved one with heroin addiction can be a daunting process. It may require you to drop your daily activities for the cause.

The good news is you don’t have to try to help that loved one with heroin addiction on your own. It’s a brilliant idea to seek some help. All you have to do is ensure the person is a professional with experience in heroin addiction treatment.

Here at 1000 Islands Rehab Centre, we are home to specialists who have experience treating heroin abuse and related symptoms. Let’s chart a recovery path for your loved one today!

Heroin Addiction

What is the Cost of Heroin Addiction Treatment?

The cost of heroin addiction treatment can be overwhelming. For many, insurance tends to be their final resort to receiving treatment. However, not all insurance plans cover the cost of heroin addiction treatment.

This isn’t the only consideration you have to make as regards the pricing for heroin rehab. You should also consider the type of treatment program. Typically, inpatient programs cost more than outpatient programs. Also, how long you receive heroin addiction treatment can impact your total bill.

Although the cost of treatment is expensive, the cost of heroin addiction is more expensive. One way to get the best out of heroin addiction treatment is to view it as an investment.

In a year, the total amount you’ll spend on heroin will outpace the cost of heroin addiction treatment. Also, heroin rehab is worth it because it saves you from legal problems arising from your addiction.

Do you want to know the cost of heroin addiction treatment in Toronto? This article discusses different pricing models and factors that determine the cost. In the same vein, here we discuss insurance as a payment method for heroin addiction treatment.

Cost of Heroin Addiction Treatment

The cost of heroin addiction treatment typically ranges from $2000 to $25000 for standard treatment. If you’re looking for something more luxurious, your heroin rehab costs can climb up to $80000.

The cost of heroin addiction treatment is different among rehab centres in Toronto. The pricing model for heroin rehab is dependent on some factors like your treatment program and your location.

Government-owned vs private heroin rehab

Going for government-owned rehab centres can help you save costs as it’s often free. However, privately owned rehab centres will require you pay for the treatment. While government-owned rehab centres seem like a good option, there is always a long waiting list.

Furthermore, government-owned rehab centres are often short on resources and lacking some facilities. The simple truth is there are lots of people to cater to with limited resources. Getting into a government-owned rehab centre can be difficult as you have to find out if you’re eligible. To verify your eligibility, you have to visit the nearest government-owned rehab centre to make inquiries.

While on the other hand, private-owned rehab centres are more straightforward and less time-consuming. For instance, patients at private rehab centres are quickly admitted into the rehab centre. Unlike government-owned rehab centres, there is no waiting list. Waiting can often prove more dangerous as it means patients can plunge deeper into their addiction.

Also, private rehab centres, although more expensive, attend to your personal needs. Patients are monitored round the clock and their care is tailored according to their needs.

You’ll also have access to medical staff to discuss any issue you may be experiencing. Additionally, compared to government-owned rehab centres, patients have access to more resources.


Factors that determine the cost of heroin addiction treatment

Heroin rehabs in Toronto have varying prices depending on some factors. It’s true the cost of heroin addiction treatment increases the longer you stay in the rehab centre.

Also, rehab centres in high-brow areas can influence the cost of heroin addiction treatment. Here are some factors that determine the cost of heroin addiction programs.

Length of treatment

Typically, heroin addiction treatment lasts for a minimum of three weeks with 30 days being the standard. In some cases, the addiction treatment takes 90 days.

However, only a treatment specialist can determine how long you will spend at a heroin addiction treatment centre. Your level of addiction and related symptoms will determine how many days you spend at a heroin addiction centre.

Patients spending 30 days at the rehab will not pay as much as those spending 90 days. In rehab, your accommodation, feeding and medications will be summed altogether. So, a longer timeline will mean a higher cost of treatment.

Type of treatment program

There are different types of addiction treatments. Depending on your level of heroin addiction and duration of addiction, your addiction treatment program will differ. Below are the types of treatment programs and how they affect the cost of heroin addiction treatment.

Detox process

When undergoing heroin addiction treatment, chances are, you will need medical detox. Medical detox is the process of removing concentrated amounts of heroin from your body system. Medical detox can be challenging for some and mild for others.

During medical detox, patients tend to show withdrawal symptoms shortly after. Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be mild or life-threatening. To better manage the situation, medical personnel are on standby to ensure the smooth running of the process.

Medical detox is effective in heroin addiction treatment in that it aids recovery. However, detox programs for heroin have a select cost. The cost of medical detox in heroin addiction treatment ranges from $1000 to $1700.

In-patient rehab program

For in-patient addiction treatment, patients stay in a confined space all through the process. In-patient treatment programs are more challenging in that they regularly engage patients in recovery activities.

Some of the activities in-patient programs offer include yoga sessions, meditation sessions and therapy sessions. For therapy sessions, patients can have individual sessions or group sessions.

During individual sessions, patients get to meet counsellors or previous addicts and get motivated. For group sessions, patients gather around and discuss their addiction journey.

Moving on, in-patient programs will require a change of daily routine to concentrate on your recovery. This may put some people at a disadvantage if they are catering to their cost of treatment. The cost of in-patient rehab programs ranges from $6000 to $12000 for 30 days.

Out-Patient Programs

Out-patient programs do not require much of your attention like in-patient programs. For out-patient programs, patients can still go about their daily routine and still receive treatment. As such, out-patient programs are a better option for patients footing their heroin rehab bills.

Unlike in-patient programs, out-patient programs do not include the cost of accommodation, feeding and medication. For out-patient programs, medication is not strictly supervised by medical personnel. Patients only come back to the addiction centre for regular monitoring of their symptoms.

Although out-patient programs are not as effective as in-patient programs, they are more affordable. They also offer great results for people who are still in the early stage of addiction. Averagely, the cost of an out-patient addiction program ranges from $5000 to $10000.

Rehab centre’s facilities

As you will expect, not all addiction treatment centres have the same facilities. Common rehab facilities include:

  • Drug counselling
  • Animal psychology
  • Psychodrama
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Yoga
  • Massage therapy
  • Animal associated therapy
  • Individual therapy

The presence of each of these facilities adds to the cost of heroin addiction treatment.

Location of the rehab centre

Another important factor that will affect the cost of heroin treatment is the location of rehab centres. For some patients, staying close to homes can slow their recovery process.

During addiction treatment, staff at the rehab focus on helping patients recognize their triggers. When you recognize your triggers, it becomes easier to overcome them. To overcome them, rehabs employ several strategies one of which is “distancing”.

Since most triggers include friends, places and locations, it’s always a good idea to enroll at a rehab centre far away from your primary residence.

Also, treatment centres in places with a high standard of living will cost more. So, if your addiction centre is in a place with a high standard of living, be ready to spend more for heroin addiction treatment.

Medication used for treatment

During rehab, patients will receive medication to make their withdrawal and recovery process less painful. The types of drugs administered can affect the cost of heroin addiction treatment.

The common medications given to patients during rehab are buprenorphine, methadone, suboxone and naltrexone. For illustration, methadone prescriptions can cost up to $4700 for a year of treatment.

Size of treatment centre

If you want a home away from home rehab centre, you should expect to pay more. Luxurious rehab centres don’t always have too many patients because of how expensive they are.

These treatment centres allow for more privacy and space to recover. They also offer world-class facilities like gyms, spas, jacuzzis, sports centres and more. All of this will come at a price higher than the average cost of heroin addiction treatment in Toronto.

Paying for Heroin Addiction Treatment Using Insurance

For most rehab centres, patients can pay for treatment using insurance or other financing options. First, you have to confirm if your insurance coverage includes heroin addiction treatment.

Different types of insurance cover addiction treatment. They are:

  • Military insurance
  • Medicare
  • Private insurance
  • Medicaid
  • State financed health insurance.

What does insurance cover?

Although many insurance companies cover the cost of heroin addiction treatment, it’s not always a complete coverage of costs. The percentage of the expenses your insurance company covers is dependent on your deductibles.

Insurance typically covers detoxification but ultra-rapid and rapid detox aren’t usually covered. Also, it’s common to find insurance companies generally cover outpatient treatment. However, you will find that inpatient rehab isn’t fully covered as it costs more than outpatient rehab. Finally, insurance companies fully cover assessment and consultation expenses.

Medicare is used for people above the age of 65 and people with disabilities. Thankfully, it also covers inpatient rehab but to a certain degree. Its coverage depends on your insurance plan and needs. Medicare equally covers outpatient rehab as long as it is important for the patient’s recovery.

Like Medicare, Medicaid covers both outpatient and inpatient rehab. However, your rehab centre must be accepting Medicaid if you’re to use the insurance.

Does the timeline of heroin rehab affect insurance coverage?

There isn’t a specific treatment length that insurance covers. The coverage is dependent on your needs and your plan. Insurance often covers treatment lengths longer than the standard 30 days treatment period.

At the beginning of your treatment, your insurance company will approve your treatment length. However, when the treatment length elapses, you may be able to request additional coverage.

How to know if insurance covers the cost of heroin addiction treatment?

Finding out if your insurance plan covers the cost of heroin addiction treatment is important. It is one way to determine how much to pay for heroin addiction treatment.

Below are steps to help you determine if your insurance plan covers addiction treatment.

  • Call your insurance company and speak to a customer care representative. You must have your insurance ID ready.
  • Take notes during the conversation so you won’t leave out any important detail. Also, write down the name of the customer care representative you speak to.
  • Find out their coverage level for addiction treatment. Remember to include detox, outpatient rehab, inpatient rehab, medications, assessment, partial hospitalization, hospital-based, residential, etc
  • Also, inquire about out-of-network and in-network providers and their insurance coverage percentage.
  • Ask about deductibles and copays.
  • Find out your maximum out-of-pocket expense.
  • Additionally, find out the criteria your insurance company uses to determine what is a medical necessity and what isn’t.

Related Article: The Long Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

The Cost of Heroin Addiction Treatment is Worth it

In determining the cost of heroin addiction treatment, it’s important to consider some factors. Your rehab program whether outpatient or inpatient can affect your treatment cost.

Also, it suffices to know that not all insurance plans cover the cost of heroin addiction treatment. While some plans cover all expenses, some partially cover treatment expenses. You can however discuss payment options with your rehab centre to find out which works for you.

The cost of heroin addiction treatment may seem too much especially if you’re going to a private rehab centre. However, the benefits of being sober outweigh how much you will pay for heroin addiction treatment.

With sobriety comes peace of mind and a more stable source of income. For many former heroin addicts, zero dependence on heroin makes their lives worth living.

That’s why at 1000 Islands Rehab Centre, your recovery is paramount as we offer comprehensive heroin addiction recovery services. More importantly, we do it at affordable pricing too. Book an appointment with us today!

Heroin Addiction

Heroin Addiction Treatment Cost in Canada

Compared to the devastating effects of addiction to the substance, the cost of heroin addiction treatment is nothing. Heroin addiction is one of the most problematic social problems people face in Canada. Typical of every form of addiction, it doesn’t only affect the victims. The crisis also extends to family and close friends.

There has been a steady increase in the occurrence of heroin addiction over the past few years. Despite the readily available information on how destructive such a habit can be, more people fall into it. Once a person reaches the addiction stage, it becomes difficult to stop using such a substance.

Heroin is highly psychoactive. Its stimulation of dopamine occurs faster than other drugs, irrespective of the mode of application. This makes it more probable for people to get addicted even after first use. Hence, to avoid the addiction to heroin, the best solution is not to start using the substance.

However, with an increasing amount of people using the substance, heroin addiction services have become more critical. The presence of these facilities to tackle the problem is good.

Recovery from heroin addiction is not easy. It’s a lifelong process, with the possibility of the cost of heroin addiction treatment eating deep into the victim’s income. Relapse is also a real possibility, which takes the victim steps backward on the journey to recovery.

If you’re thinking of pursuing heroin addiction treatment, it’s essential to prepare for the cost and associated expenses. Here, we will explore the cost of heroin rehab, detox and lifelong treatment.

What is Heroin Addiction Treatment?

Heroin only provides momentary relief or happiness to the user. The result is dependence, which is a terrible situation to be in. With dependence, the user will feel incapable of going about everyday activities without the substance.

The use of heroin releases dopamine in your brain. This release makes you feel good for the moment. The situations that cause you to take heroin are known as triggers. For many substances, you may have to take them for quite some time before you get addicted. It’s faster with Heroin.

Heroin is an opioid substance, and they function mainly to change how your brain operates. These changes occur rapidly. Hence, you can become an addict after a single-use. This brings you to the stage where you feel a compulsive urge to use the substance, despite the harm.

The process of helping an addict back to normalcy is known as heroin addiction treatment. However, overcoming this alone is somewhat impossible. You can’t simply wake up to make the decision that you don’t want a part of the substance again.

Most times, the urge overrides your will. You feel helpless against the substance. This is due to the changes the substance has caused in the brain.

While it’s challenging to overcome heroin addiction alone, there are still chances of recovery. With the help of a professional, the disease is treatable. However, the rate of recovery varies on different factors. This variation in recovery rates will also influence the cost of heroin addiction treatment.

Heroin addiction treatment is not a straightforward process. There are so many variables involved, which are peculiar to different individuals. Beyond recovery rates, the form of treatment you need may differ from that of another person.

Heroin addiction is a chronic disorder, one which comes with frequent relapses. This makes it difficult to employ a short-term, one-off treatment. There are numerous interventions you need in combination with a great deal of monitoring.

There are different types of treatment, which we will take a look at in the following section. These different treatments have other effects. They work on different aspects of the problem.

Hence, it’s more effective to combine more than one treatment type. However, you have to bear with the cost of heroin addiction treatment that will follow this strategy.

The heroin addiction treatment process is complicated. It’s a complex mix of side effects, withdrawal symptoms, support, relapses, cravings, amongst other things. This makes it vital that you commit to professional heroin addiction treatment in Canada.

The Types of Heroin Addiction Treatment

Beyond the heroin addiction treatment pricing in Canada that seems on the high side, the struggle to normalcy can also be overwhelming. If you leave it in the hand of a non-professional, you’ll never be free.

There are physical and psychological aspects to heroin addiction treatment. The latter is always the most difficult to tackle.

The aims of heroin addiction treatment are simple;

  • To stop you from using drugs
  • To rid you of dependence on heroin
  • To ensure you are back to normalcy and achieve productivity again in society.

As simple as these goals sound, the journey takes time. How much you have to pay for heroin addiction treatment then reflects this.

Over the years, several treatment options have shown effectiveness in dealing with heroin addiction. These are:

  • Behavioural therapy
  • Medications
  • Use of medical devices and applications in dealing with withdrawal symptoms
  • Treatment for mental health issues occurring at the same time
  • Support

As we established earlier in this article, professionals leverage a combination of these options. Combining these options has greater effectiveness compared to when used alone. Also, you should know that the treatment process for individuals is peculiar. The treatment process and prescriptions should be tailor-made to each patient.

This is due to differences in body physiology, as well as the degree of addiction. Hence, you shouldn’t try to place yourself in a treatment because your friend is doing it too. This can end up being a waste of time and resources.

Behavioural Therapy

Behavioural therapy is arguably the most popular heroin addiction treatment. The cost of heroin addiction treatment, in this case, is most likely recurrent. This is because leveraging behaviour therapy ideals, despite the advantages, can take a very long while.

Behavioural therapy is a treatment approach that uses different tricks and tips to try to enact changes in the attitude and psychological disposition of addicts. Some of the standard processes involved in this therapy include using incentives, skilling up to avoid triggers, etc.

There are several subsections in this category. The various types of therapies are geared towards particular abuse or addiction. According to Drug, some of these behavioural therapies (and what they tackle) include;

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy: This is best for substances like Alcohol, Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Nicotine.
  • Contingency Management Interventions/Motivation incentives: This therapy is best for alcohol, stimulants, opioids, Marijuana, and Nicotine.
  • Community Reinforcement Approach Plus Vouchers: This includes alcohol, cocaine, and opioids.
  •  Motivational enhancement therapy: This is for substances like alcohol, marijuana, and Nicotine.
  • The Matrix model: This is a therapy mainly for stimulants
  • 12-step facilitation therapy: This is for alcohol, stimulants, and opiates like heroin
  • Behavioural therapies primarily for adolescents.

All these therapies are geared towards resolving mental issues in relation to these substances. The basic idea behind this therapy is that heroin addiction was learned. Hence, the way to overcome them is through an unlearning process with healthier habits as a replacement.

We cannot overemphasize the effectiveness of behavioural therapy. According to reports by, about 75% of people who took part in behavioural therapy experienced the benefit.

Though because there is no telling how it may take for an individual to see the benefits of this therapy, it’s hard to estimate a round figure for the cost of heroin addiction treatment.

You should note that with behavioural therapy, the earlier you start post-addiction, the better. This is why there is a very high effectiveness rate of therapy with adolescents — they are still at a stage where it’s easier to learn. You shouldn’t wait till the side effects of heroin take a lethal toll before seeking help.

Related Article: Is There Hope for Someone Dealing with Abuse?

Use of Medications

Medications also play a huge role in overcoming heroin addiction. However, it is not advisable to rely solely on meds to recover. In fact, this may lead to the previous addiction being replaced by a new one — your meds.

Also, as much as you can, ensure you don’t take these meds without a medical professional’s proper prescription.

  • For chronic heroin addiction treatment, methadone is the most commonly used medication. Thanks to federal regulation, the use of this drug without professional help is deemed illegal. The simple function of methadone is to aid heroin detoxification. Although, this cannot solve the addiction problem alone. You have to combine it with the right behavioural therapy.
  • Suboxone treatment is another medication approach to heroin addiction treatment. Suboxone is best for people with mild heroin addiction. Once you have a prescription, you may not need to go to the doctor now and then.
  • The inpatient treatment option is another medication treatment. Unlike the others, this treatment starts after withdrawal. Whenever you withdraw from the use of heroin, there are withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can get unbearable and lead to relapse. This is where this drug comes in. You will take the medication to treat the aches and pains that come with withdrawal. You can also decide not to use these drugs through the withdrawal process.

For whatever medication or therapy you decide to leverage, support is critical. Without adequate support, relapse can occur. This relapse occurs mostly when the person is alone. Hence, the need for a dedicated support system with professional monitoring. It makes it easier to avoid triggers and prevent a possible relapse.

Principles of Effective Heroin Addiction Treatment

Drug addiction is a very complex illness. With heroin, it happens almost immediately. Recovery from the slump of heroin abuse takes discipline.

You need to understand and accept the following principles. Not abiding by these is tantamount to wasting money on the cost of heroin addiction treatment.

  • You can always be back to normal, irrespective of the complexity: While the urge and craving are always intense and seemingly uncontrollable, you can be normal again. In the heat of it, it overrides the brain’s structure and functions. The consequences of this can be damning. Hence, you must believe that you can overcome it. That’s when you’ll have the confidence to start.
  • There is no single treatment for everyone
  • An effective treatment does an all-around job: An effective treatment is one that attends to the heroin addiction issues, as well as other psychological, social, mental, or legal problems. These additional treatments, amongst other factors, are what makes the cost of heroin addiction treatment high.
  • You should stay in treatment for as long as possible: Treating addiction is a long process. The timing also varies from one person to another. Hence, you shouldn’t only plan for three months because your friend spent 3 months at a heroin rehab. You should visit a professional to examine your situation.
  • Therapies are very important
  • Medications are also important but should be more of a support to counselling and therapy.
  •  Your therapy or medication treatment should be under continuous monitoring. This would allow for modification, changes, or additions.
  • Heroin abuse can lead to other mental disorders
  • The first stage of heroin addiction treatment is heroin detox.
  • You can also be forced to get treatment, which will still be effective. Even if you don’t willingly want treatment, situations and sanctions can force you to get one. In such a case, the treatment will still be effective. All that matters for treatment to be effective is that you get it consistently.
  • You should duly monitor medication use during treatment. This way, you can avoid subconsciously replacing your opioid addiction with dependence on another substance.
  •  In a professional treatment program, the professional will test you for other conditions. Some of these conditions include; HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis.

What is the Cost of Heroin Addiction Rehab?

The cost of heroin addiction treatment you incur depends on several factors. The type of recovery treatment you are taking also determines how much you pay. In the same vein, there are different treatments for different degrees of heroin addiction.

Hence, you need to visit a professional for an examination first before worrying about the price. If you want to have a general idea of how much these treatments cost, below is a breakdown.


This is usually the first stage of heroin addiction recovery. There are several ways you can get detox done. However, the price for it always ranges between $1000 and $1500 in total. If you are an inpatient (on admission to the facility), the cost of detox will be pre-included in the total program cost.

Factors that come into play in the cost of detoxification are; whether you are an inpatient or not, as well as the amount of heroin in your system. The process of detoxification needs careful monitoring, which also increases the price.

Inpatient rehabilitation

This is the form of rehab and therapy that needs the addict to remain in the facility. This is mainly for people with chronic addiction. Basically, it costs an average of $6000 to $30000 for more affordable centers.

Other popular centers can charge about $20000 for just 30 days. Remember, the time each patient needs for heroin addiction treatment varies. For those that will be up to 60 or 90 days, the price ranges between $12000 and $60000.

Outpatient rehabilitation

This is the best program for those with mild heroin addictions. This program is relatively cheaper than the inpatient program. For a three months program, the heroin rehab cost averages $5000.

Some centers are more popular and can cost an average of $10000. The frequency of your visit to the outpatient rehab centre also affects the cost of heroin addiction treatment.


Medications also play an important role in addiction recovery. There are different meds for heroin abuse. Hence, the exact type you require may be cheap or costly, relative to others.

There are also cases where you don’t need any meds. But when you do, the yearly cost may wind up to some thousands of dollars. For instance, standard methadone treatment for heroin addiction can cost up to $4700 yearly.

The Combination of all these treatment options, for whatever duration your recovery needs, costs a lot. While this cost is high on its own, it’s not as costly as remaining an addict. Beyond the fact that heroin addiction costs you your health, it also costs so much money to stay an addict. The continuous use of the substance ends up sapping out more money than you can account for.

In severe use cases, addicts end up stealing or selling properties just to afford the substance. The financial instability that results from the addiction can lead to other issues at work, marriage, family, etc. Former heroin addicts state that they spend tens of thousands of dollars on the substance. This amount of money is not easy to come by — not in today’s world.

Factors that Determine the Cost of Heroin Addiction Treatment in Canada

Several factors play vital roles in the cost of heroin addiction treatment. The influence of these factors may not be much, but they are worth considering.

Type of center you visit

To start with, the disparity between the cost for inpatient and outpatient treatment is extensive. Inpatient treatment includes other expenses like housing, intensive care, amongst other things.

Treatment process

There are cases where you don’t need detoxification when you start your recovery process. There are also cases where you don’t need medication for heroin addiction treatment. The experiences are peculiar for different persons.

You can’t diagnose your condition by yourself. You need to visit a heroin addiction treatment expert for that. The doctor will then draw out a peculiar treatment process. The pricing of this peculiar treatment process will undoubtedly be different from that of your friends.


Different rehab centers come with unique amenities. These treatment amenities influence the overall cost of heroin rehab. Some centers include facilities like massage, acupuncture, swimming pools, etc.


How long you will keep getting treatment directly influences how much you pay. Facilities will recommend a particular duration your treatment will take at the beginning. However, there are cases where you may need more time.

Treatment may go on for years, which considerably influences price. There are also cases where you only get to move from being an inpatient to outpatient.

Some treatments also involve scheduled checkups with a specialist, even when you are heroin-free. These subsequent consultations come at a price. To avoid needing to have a lengthy recovery process, it’s best to get treatment early.

Support activities

When recovering from addiction, specialists will recommend that you take up some activities. These activities are to prevent your exposure to triggers or to substitute the ‘happy feeling’ the substance gives. Most of these activities have the aim of correcting your mental disposition.

This can require you to go out of your way to be in the midst of people, to prevent relapse from loneliness. While the cost of these activities may not seem like much, they play a role in the overall recovery cost. For instance, signing up for a yoga class will require money.


Relapsing is when you go back to consuming the substance you are trying to avoid. When relapses happen, they end up extending your recovery time or process. They may also be an indication your current treatment processes are futile.

Hence, the need to adopt a new one that’ll cost extra. Relapses can, however, be frequent or infrequent. If it’s infrequent, there is probably no need to change your recovery process.

Related Article: How Do You Know If Someone You Love is Addicted to Heroin?

Final Take

The cost of addiction recovery treatment is way lesser than the price of remaining an addict. Hence, there is no reason why you shouldn’t seek to get better. Heroin addiction results in financial dents, alongside the health complications that can potentially result. While recovery may take a long time to achieve its aim, the time and money are always worth it.

Start by visiting 1000 Islands Rehab Centre. Our experts are ready to diagnose you and build a heroin addiction recovery framework that’ll work for you. Call (855) 929-4045 to speak to any of our heroin addiction recovery experts today!

Heroin Addiction

Is There Hope for Someone Dealing with Heroin Abuse?

With the way the effects come at you, it is easy to lose hope in recovering from heroin abuse. However, like with any other addiction, you can get better.

A lot of effort must go into understanding your condition, right from knowing how it starts. Knowing how to manage heroin addiction also helps to be confident in your treatment options when you seek them.

In this article, we will show you that there is hope for heroin abuse. We will also discuss what to expect during treatment and how to get ready for it.

Heroin: Drug Fact Sheet

Below are the important details to know about heroin addiction:

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is part of a class of drugs called opioids or narcotics. It is an addictive processed drug made from morphine. Heroin can be said to be the most abused opiate drug.

It is produced from the seed pod of a plant called opium poppy. It may appear in a powder or sticky substance called black tar. Depending on how it is produced, the colour ranges from white, brown, rose gray, or black. It often includes particles of sugar, powdered milk, starch, or quinine.

Signs And Effects Of Heroin Addiction

The signs and symptoms of heroin addiction may differ as no two people have the same peculiarities. However, some generic signs exist for recognizing the consumption of heroin. These occur after the rush or euphoric feeling that comes from using heroin. They include:

  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Shortness of breath
  • Looking untidy and unkempt
  • Pupil dilation and rapid eye movement
  • Warm flushing of the skin
  • Twitchy body movements
  • Heavy feelings in your arms and legs
  • Facial twitching
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Frequent itching of the body
  • Pain in the heart and chest
  • Obsessively picking at the hair and skin, causing cuts and bruises
  • Lack of sleep and inconsistent sleeping pattern
  • Consistent and intense headache

The behavioural pattern of a person consuming heroin may be affected. The signs of this include:

  • Incoherent, slurred, or garbled speech
  • Unclear and clouded mental judgment
  • Lack of motivation and decrease in productivity
  • Dressing in unusually long clothing to hide needle marks
  • Hyperactivity, higher energy, and restlessness
  • Decline in self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Anxiety, nervousness, irritable behaviour, and disability
  • Avoiding eye contact and withdrawing from favourite activities and relationships

Heroin also has long term effects on your body. Some of them include:

  • Disease of the liver and kidney
  • Insomnia
  • Complications with the lungs like pneumonia
  • Heart lining and valves infection
  • Mental illnesses like depression
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Irregularity in menstruation
  • Contracting infectious diseases like HIV, Hepatitis, etc.

Considering the severity of these effects, it is easy to think there is no hope for heroin abuse. However, as we will highlight over the course of this article, heroin addiction treatment and recovery is very possible!

How Is Heroin Consumed?

Heroin is consumed through the process of injecting, sniffing, snorting, inhaling, or smoking. Of these methods, the most dangerous of all is the process of injecting heroin.

Heroin is often injected with a needle into the veins. This drug goes straight into the body and brain, leaving users prone to risks of overdose.

Another issue is the ability to get infected through the use of needles. Heroin abusers take little or no precaution when using. As such, they resort to using unhygienic practices. The practise of sharing needles also makes it easy to contract diseases.

How Long Does Heroin Stay In The System

The presence of heroin in the body begins instantaneously as soon as you take the drug. If it is injected into the veins, the euphoria starts from the seventh second. It takes two to five minutes if injected into the muscles.

On average, the euphoria sets in between 45 seconds and a few minutes. The high moments last from about ten to thirty minutes.

This is usually followed by lethargy, sleepiness, apathy, commonly known as sedation. This is a common effect accompanying the use of heroin, and it lasts longer.

Heroin can be detected in a drug test between one to three days. It will take an average of two to four days for the substance to leave the body and go undetected in a urine test. This is usually dependent on the quantity consumed and the peculiarity of the user.

Heroin And Addiction: Why All The Questions About Hope

Heroin addiction occurs when a person becomes physically and mentally dependent on the drug. This can arise from consuming the drug a few times.

You should know you cannot get addicted after just one dose. According to Drug, an estimate of 80% who consume heroin do not become addicted to it.

There is an interaction between heroin and the opioid receptors in the brain. After administering, it moves from the blood to the blood-brain barrier, creating a reward sensation in the brain.

Once this happens, an artificial sensation occurs. This eventually reduces the ability of the brain to produce a natural feeling of pleasure. Repeated usage of heroin further worsens this process leaving an addict to rely on the drug before getting any rewarding feelings from the brain.

You see, the body gets conditioned to it over time. This leaves the user with little option as regards quitting the usage of the drug. Finally, addiction sets in, and the person becomes dependent, physically and mentally, on heroin.

This condition can be very detrimental to the brain leaving short and long-term mental effects on the brain. These effects include damage to the nervous system, coma, or complete brain damage. At such a point, it is only natural to wonder if there is hope for heroin abuse.

Is There Hope for Heroin Abuse: Recognizing a Heroin Addiction

It is hard to miss heroin addiction. The drug significantly alters your brain physically, thereby affecting eventual body function. Some of the specific signs you can expect to see are listed in this section.

Inability To Stop Using

A heroin addiction, as with any addiction, is difficult to stop. The more you use, the more your brain changes, reinforcing the need for the drug.

Heroin addicts are very aware of their addiction. They sometimes understand the dangerous extent of the drug. But it does not make it any easier for them to stop.

What is common among heroin addicts is they often attempt many times to put a halt to the habit. However, they are continuously unsuccessful. Some may even find it tougher to try to stop and so, refuse to make any attempt. This is a classic sign of a heroin addict.

Drug-crazed Behaviour

Heroin dependence happens fast. In only a few days after the first hit, users may start craving the drug. If they go without the next possible dose of heroin, they may begin to go into withdrawal.

On the severity scale, withdrawal symptoms can range from bearable to excruciating. Generally, those symptoms are hated and avoided at all costs.

The only solution seemingly available to the addict to avoid withdrawal is to get another fix. The compulsion to continue using the drugs, regardless of the condition, makes a heroin addict develop drug-seeking behaviour. As such, it is easy to lose hope in recovery from heroin abuse considering the intensity of the cravings.

For most people using heroin, it automatically becomes their top priority. They start to channel all of their energy into finding and using the drug. This may lead them to engage in some untoward actions like:

  • Stealing, from friends and family, anywhere possible to fund the drug habit
  • Abandoning essential responsibilities to oneself, to friends, at work, and to family to obtain and then use the heroin
  • Visiting emergency rooms often, with the hopes of leaving with an opioids prescription
  • Secretly using from a loved one’s opioid prescriptions

Generally, you can expect to see the addict behave as they have never before. They can go to any length to get the drug!

Related Article: The Long Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

Poor Health

Of course, anyone snorting, smoking, or shooting up heroin will be fully exposed to its effects. A drug as potent as heroin has multiple negative outcomes that result from its use. Naturally, the results will depend on how much and for how long the drug has been used.

Some of these effects include pulmonary, skin and heart infections, collapsed blood vessels, and physical changes in the brain. Also common among heroin users are sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and hepatitis, chronic constipation, and depression. The possibility of an overdose, which can be fatal, also adds to this gory picture of health.

These peculiar conditions are highly debilitating, with some even fatal. With some of these conditions, the impact may stay for the rest of their lives

Furthermore, the focus on heroin by its users affords them little time to focus on their health. This only worsens the health status as they are unable to pay enough attention to themselves.

A Depressed Feel

Although heroin is said to produce a ‘high’, it actually works to generate a low. Heroin is a central nervous depressant. It essentially slows down your brain and body.

This implies that an addict will also experience slowness of their mental processes and physical function. If you are observing such a person, you will recognize a depressed feel in their behaviour.

These feelings occur most frequently and significantly while the person is under the influence. But you should not be surprised to see these effects while the person is not on the drug.

Signs of depressed feelings include:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Slow body movements
  • Slow reactions and reflexes
  • Nonchalant attitude
  • Reduced mental sharpness
  • Sleeping off mid-activity such as during conversations

All these effects combine to make a heroin addict seem like a shell of their former self.

Is There Hope For Heroin Abuse?

According to Drug, no addiction, no matter how deep-seated it is, is unbeatable. Even people with severe and longstanding drug problems have overcome the problem and regained their lives.

If you want to get better, it starts with your mind.

  1. You are already aware of your problem. Many heroin users are aware that the drugs are dangerous. While that is not in question, you must also recognize that the drugs are leading you down a horrible path.

Apart from greatly damaging your health, it is leading you to ruined relationships and financial insecurity. It is not uncommon for heroin addicts to lose their jobs and homes. These are not situations to aspire to. Therefore, as much as possible, you must have a determination to get better.

Once you can admit this to yourself, then you may well be on the way to recovery already.

  1. Heroin addiction is not a fancy thing to ascribe to yourself. At the same time, it is not the end of the world. Therefore, while you have made a conscious decision to get better, you must have faith in the treatment options available to you.

Believe you can actively get better. You may read about your condition to learn more about it. Understand how you got into the habit. Also, when you read reports of studies evaluating success rates, it may help you feel more confident.

Even while reading about such, it may not seem like you can achieve this kind of success with recovery. However, you need to shore up confidence, and the best way you can do that is to see a professional. By enrolling at a heroin addiction treatment center, you’ll get the opportunity to speak to counsellors and experts.

  1. Because it often leads to alienation, it is easy to feel there is no hope for heroin abuse. Times like these are the best to reach out to friends and family and start making amends. By coming clean about your addiction, they will be able to understand you and care for you.

The most likely thing is your loved ones will have noticed the changes in you. So, don’t be surprised when they react more calmly than you expect. But also, be sure of their love for you and their wish for you to get better.

  1. As your addiction counsellor may tell you, going through recovery is not usually an easy process. The stronger the addiction, the more difficult the recovery. This is why it is better to seek help as early as you can.

With this, you need to have a strong commitment to it. During recovery, you may have a strong urge to use again. You may even relapse. Recovery is usually a life-long journey, so you should not get discouraged. As long as you keep recommitting to it, you will get better at it.

So yes, there is hope for heroin abuse. It does not come easy, but it is possible. We will discuss the actual treatment options available to you in the next section.

The Path to Recovery from Heroin Addiction

The path to recovery from heroin addiction involves professional help. It starts by going in to see an addiction counsellor or any other professional dealing with addiction treatment.

Generally, a whole addiction treatment cycle may span between thirty and ninety days. It can be longer depending on your need.

Regardless, all treatment programs start with a detox.


Detox is a process of removing all the heroin in your system. During heroin detox, you are not going to top up with another fix. As you can imagine, this means your body will start to go into withdrawal.

Although the timeline differs, you can expect to start feeling withdrawal symptoms within a few hours and up to a day. The withdrawal symptoms reach the peak after 48 to 72 hours and may continue for up to a week.

Withdrawal symptoms can be debilitating. You may expect to feel bone pain, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Restlessness, insomnia, and depression are also usually seen during this period.

Furthermore, there are different methods of detox, depending on the presence or otherwise of medical personnel. Under the supervision of medical personnel, you will be given certain medications to help with symptoms.

Getting through the detox process infuses a lot of hope of recovery from heroin abuse. It’s proof that if you keep on the path, you can achieve long-term sobriety.

Medication-assisted Treatment

The hallmark of heroin treatment is the medication-assisted method. The idea is to reduce cravings for heroin as much as possible. The therapy also helps with the presence of withdrawal symptoms, staving them off as you go through detox.

There are specific drugs that are commonly prescribed for this purpose. They work using the same receptors in the body that heroin works through. But they are safer and less likely to produce the same effects as heroin.


This drug has been in use in treating heroin abuse and providing hope for many decades. Interestingly, it is an opioid receptor agonist, like heroin, but acts slowly and does not produce a ‘high’. It is used to suppress the cravings for heroin and reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Ironically, methadone is habit-forming and must be used carefully when employed as a part of heroin addiction treatment. It is the go-to option when other medications are not as effective as expected. It is often used for long periods, making it easier to abstain from heroin.


Buprenorphine is a partial opioid receptor agonist. It produces similar effects to heroin but at an intensity that is considerably less. It is also less potent than methadone, though they share the principle of action. It reduces cravings and is particularly useful during withdrawal, even working to alleviate chronic pain.

The drug may be formulated alone but often comes with naloxone, an opioid receptor antagonist. Naloxone helps to prevent getting high by injecting heroin. Attempting to use heroin while on this drug is dangerous as you will need higher amounts of heroin for the same effects. This can eventually lead to an overdose.

Buprenorphine is also habit-forming, and its use must be carefully monitored.


This is the third drug commonly used in medication-assisted treatment of heroin abuse. Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist – it counters the effects of heroin. You will not feel the euphoric effects of the drug. This way, you will be able to abstain from the drug.

Naltrexone is non-addictive and non-sedating and does not result in physical dependence. It has been considerably successful, providing hope for recovery from heroin abuse.

Adjunct Treatment

After detoxification and medication, the other vital steps in heroin recovery involve behavioural therapy. Like with treating other addictions, the available options are cognitive behavioural therapy, contingency management interventions, and motivational incentives, among a host of methods.

The most common is counselling for heroin abuse. This may be done individually or in groups. The idea is to be able to open up and confront your drug problem. Typically, this can take many forms:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is a form of therapy with the eventual goal of modifying your behaviour and helping you recognize your drug triggers.

With it, you realize how you react to certain events, which make you resort to drugs. You are then able to abstain from such behaviour, and consequently, stay drug-free. This method anchors on providing hope for your heroin abuse and makes you realize that you can get better completely.

This method of cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the most effective ones available. You can rest assured that you are well on your road to recovery.

Contingency Management Intervention

This is also another of the available options for treatment. It involves using incentives to encourage an addict to get treatment and continue staying away from drugs.

It is usually not used alone. You can expect to continue undergoing other forms of therapy in combination with contingency management sessions.

Related Article: Heroin Addiction: The Obvious Signs To Look Out For

There is Hope for Heroin Abuse

There certainly is hope for someone dealing with heroin abuse. The path to recovery is usually winding, but the destination is reachable.

If you have decided to get help, you should contact 1000 Islands Therapy Centre for our world-class heroin addiction rehab services. Apart from having seasoned professionals, we have also created the right environment to help you begin your recovery journey. Reach us today!

Heroin Addiction

How Do You Know if Someone you Love is Addicted to Heroin?

How to tell if someone you love is addicted to heroin is not as easy as it seems. Except you are an expert, knowing how to tell if someone you love is addicted to heroin requires some quick study. If you don’t know the things to look out for, confusing moodiness as addiction can occur.

And it’s not a question of asking the person in question. They’ll get defensive and you’ll not be able to step in to help.

The signs of heroin addiction can be somewhat elusive. Understandably, you will be apprehensive when you suspect a loved one of using heroin. However, there is a lot more to consider before resigning to think the person is addicted.

Also, it’s not just about knowing how to recognize heroin addiction. There is a further need to know to be there for such a person. During their addiction period, your loved one needs you to do more than call out their faults. They need to experience support, especially when they decide to quit.

Owing to this, this guide answers the question of how to know if someone you love is addicted to heroin. But perhaps more importantly, we explore the steps to take if you find out a loved one is abusing heroin.

What is Heroin Addiction?

Heroin, as a substance always spoken of, in the context of addiction, actually comes from a flower. This flower is known as the opium poppy. This flower grows mainly in Mexico, Asia, and South America. Its addictive property is one of the major reasons its usage is illegal in the US, since 1924.

The appearance of heroin can either be white or brown powder. In several places where users indulge in, they call it different names. Some call it ‘horse, smack, junk or brown sugar’.

How Does Heroin Addiction Happen?

However illegal it is, heroin use in today’s world is common amongst young folks. There are several factors responsible for this. The most common of these influencing factors is peer pressure. In a bid to “fit in”, relieve stress, or have fun, individuals may abuse heroin.

It almost always starts with the person thinking they will use it just once. With the first use, all they want to do is to have that one-time fun. However, due to the addictive nature of the substance, it doesn’t stop there. The second use comes and then a third follows. It continues, and before you know it, dependence occurs.

Heroin addiction in plain terms is a situation where your loved one cannot do without frequent use of the substance. Heroin is an illicit drug, a very addictive one. According to, heroin belongs to a class of drugs referred to as Opioids.

Other substances in this class include; fentanyl and other pain relievers. Most of these pain relievers offer maximum benefit when you use them properly. However, if you misuse them, they can lead to symptoms of drug abuse. defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing disorder, which possesses characteristics such as compulsive drug seeking and use. The user persists with this action despite the adverse consequences.

Scientifically, drug addiction is termed a disorder of the brain. This is because parts of the brain play an active role in its manifestations and process. Addiction to heroin alters and modifies the function of parts of the brain responsible for reward, stress, and self-control.

One thing you should know about drug addiction is that symptoms may persist, even if your loved one stops taking the substance. For instance, if your loved one is addicted to heroin, the constant abuse may affect specific organs. This leads to chronic health effects. If you don’t do anything about it, they may suffer from this throughout their lifetime. In the worst case scenario, it may lead to death.

The good news is, heroin addiction is preventable. With proper care and monitoring, it is also treatable. Prevention is the best option. But in the case where the person is already addicted, heroin addiction treatment is what you should pursue.

Why You Should Be Worried About Heroin Addiction

To be curious about how to tell if someone you love is addicted to heroin, it shows your worry. To put your mind at ease, saying there is nothing to worry about may have been handy. However, it’s not the best advice for you.

You need to worry, and there are several reasons why you should. The damage resulting from long-term heroin addiction is intensive.

This damage ranges from short term effects to long (life-lasting) term effects. If the addict in question does not take heed, they can get to a level of irreversible damage. Continuous use of the substance changes the brain’s physical structure.

It goes further to change the physiological structure of the brain. This creates an imbalance in the neural and hormonal systems. Once these happen, it’s near impossible to effect a reversal.

Related Article: The Long Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

How Heroin Affects The Brain

It is possible for the white matter of the brain to deteriorate due to heroin use. When this takes place, your loved one will start to find it harder to make decisions. They also become unable to regulate their behaviours. It changes them from who you used to know them as. They become very incapable of handling stress, an element that characterizes everyone’s daily life.

Heroin abuse may occur in different forms. A classic way of using the drug is by injecting it. You can also snort, sniff, or smoke the substance. What determines how you use the substance is primarily the purity of it. There is also the factor of your preference.

Whichever way your loved one uses the substance, its trip to the brain occurs fast. This makes addiction to it very fast. You can get addicted after first use. Hence, if you can closely monitor your loved one — children, brother, spouse — ensure they don’t even experience the substance.

What Does Heroin Feel Like

Upon usage, heroin fills users with a rush of good feeling and happiness. The events that follow this are a slowed movement of everything around. It begins to seem as though the world is slowing down. Thinking happens slowly, the same as walking. A first-person recap of the experience states that it feels as though you are in a dream.

For the moment when the substance is in effect, your body loses the sense of pain. It slows down your heart rate and breathing. This surreal feeling is enough to cause your loved one to indulge the next time. This easy path to addiction is why heroin addiction treatment is one of the toughest to administer.

If the user doesn’t know to stop during a heroin abuse session, an overdose may occur. Overdosing on heroin stops the natural breathing process. If you don’t want this to be the fate of your loved one, you should step in.

If you step in proactively for someone who has bad company, you can save them from the risk of such addiction. Even in the early stages of heroin usage, your help can be a significant influence on their life. The longer it takes for an intervention, the harder it is to stop using heroin.

Additionally, there are varying reasons why your loved one may use heroin. The reasons behind this indulgence are always plausible. For some, it’s anxiety, worry, amongst other stressors.

But using heroin is not the best answer to these. It only provides temporary relief while leading your loved one on the highway to depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder.

What are the Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal?

Getting rid of heroin addiction is important. But you should know you can’t achieve it in-house. You need medical monitoring and the input of a heroin addiction treatment expert. This is thanks to the possibility of heroin withdrawal symptoms.

The effect of heroin on your loved one may last five hours before they need another dose. However, in some persons, it can be ten hours. If they don’t indulge at the time they begin to crave again, they may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms.

WebMD lists the following as withdrawal symptoms of heroin.

  • Jitters
  • Chills
  • Pain in the muscles and bones
  • Insomnia
  • Cold flashes
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Uncontrollable leg movements

How to Tell if Someone you Love is Addicted to Heroin

How to tell if someone you love is addicted to heroin is not straightforward. For the most part, you can’t simply seat them down to have a conversation about it. They will never give you an answer that affirms their condition.

It is most probable for them to not have accepted that they are in such condition. That’s how it happens with almost all addicts. They may not accept their condition believing they can quit just whenever they want to. This is not true.

How then can you, a family member or a friend, be able to ascertain that your loved one is addicted to heroin? How do you know if someone is using heroin? There are more than enough signs and symptoms to look out for. These are categorized in the different aspects of life they fall in.

Physical signs of heroin use and addiction

Physical reactions are the fastest pointers that answer how to know if someone is on drugs. There are many of them, which vary from individual to individual. One major cause of this variation in physical symptoms is the mode of consumption. A person who injects heroin into the system may suffer from track marks on the part of the body they use frequently.

Here are some of the physical side effects you’ll notice in the short term:

  • Frequent sedation
  • Development of flu-like symptoms
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Suffer from drowsiness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Loss of weight
  • Limbs get heavy
  • Slow heart rate
  • Frequent itching
  •  Incoherent speech
  • Loss of menstrual cycle (women)
  •   Infections at the injection site

Emotional signs of heroin use and addiction

Emotional and psychological issues may occur if your loved one is abusing heroin. More often than not, it is possible to notice these emotional and behavioural indicators. The common symptoms include:

  • Disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • Cloudy thoughts
  • Quick irritation
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of interest in activities that once delighted you
  • Uncontrollable craving
  • Paranoia
  • Lack of motivation
  • Euphoria

Behavioural signs of heroin use and addiction

The continuous use of heroin can lead to changes in how a person behaves. This is because the person begins to put heroin use first, above other things. This leads to;

  •  Neglect of duties and responsibilities at home, workplace, with friends and family, etc.
  • Unstable financial life
  • Incessant borrowing from friends and family
  • Overly secretive
  • Lack of self-control
  • Impulsiveness
  • Change in lifestyle
  • Change of friends
  • Solitude
  • Use of long-sleeve dresses to hide injection marks
  • Hostility
  • Tardiness
  • Erratic behaviour
  • Legal problems
  • Loss of attention to hygiene and appearance

Beyond these signs and symptoms, it may also be necessary to know how the substance or its accessories look like. This will help your quest to tell if someone you love is addicted to heroin. When you know what devices they use, or what the drug looks like, you’ll be on the lookout.

More often than not, there is always the need for paraphernalia to get high. There are several of these including:

  • Injections
  • Needles
  • Pipes
  • Spoons
  • Lighters
  • Rubber tubing
  • Elastic bands.

Normally, some of these things seem regular. You probably have them in your home too. However, they serve different purposes with heroin addicts.

Also, heroin itself is a powdery, crumbly substance. It’s not purely white. Off-white will better categorize its colour. In some cases, it can be dark brown or black.

You should also know about black tar heroin. It gets its name from how it looks. It is black and very sticky. Different age groups of people take these substances.

One age group with an increasing number of heroin addiction cases is adolescence. It’s becoming alarming in countries like the United States and Canada. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states the symptoms of addiction at this level to be similar to normal adolescent behaviour.

For instance, adolescents tend toward being moody, even when not on drugs. This sign is also what you find in someone using heroin at that age. Hence, it’s easy to pass signs of heroin addiction as a general occurrence in the age group.

This calls for parents to take critical note of their children, especially their friends. At this age, the major cause of heroin addiction is peer pressure. Kids want to be like their ‘cool friends.’ Such children begin to miss classes; experience distortion in feeding and sleeping habits. As a parent, you’ll also notice such children addressing drug substances in slang.

Some of these symptoms may play out in a kid though not addicted to heroin. In any case, you should seek prompt help. You should reach out to a counsellor. If you are not sure of what exposure your child may currently have, visiting a physician is good advice.

Remember earlier in this article, we pointed out that painkillers may also contain artificial opioids. Hence, you should watch out for the kind of drugs your child takes. Abusing painkillers will get teenagers high, and exposes them to side effects. These side effects can be lethal in some persons, and not, in others. It depends on the physiological makeup of the child.

Early intervention is always critical. It increases the chance of bringing the loved one in question back to normalcy. The intervention process starts with friends and family. But it doesn’t end there.

How to Help someone suffering from Heroin Addiction?

It’s not enough to know how to tell if someone you love is addicted to heroin. You need to take steps. More importantly, you should do something quickly. When you take steps later, it becomes very difficult.

Heroin addiction recovery can be a very heartbreaking journey. You may have to watch your loved ones struggle with addiction withdrawal symptoms. They may even suffer a relapse. It gets overwhelming, and you’ll be tempted to quit helping. You probably have personal issues to deal with too.

However, you should know that not solving the addiction problem is just you postponing doom day. The results can be detrimental to you, the person, and the whole family. It’s not the time to run, it’s the time to encourage such loved ones through the recovery journey. Here are some things you need to do:

Educate yourself about the problem

Just like you have started by scouring this page, there’s a lot more to do. You should brush up your knowledge about addiction; heroin specifically. The more knowledge you have about the concept of heroin addiction, the easier it becomes to deal with your loved one.

Show support

There are always plausible reasons for addicts to continue down the path. Hence, you need to help such a person better understand their situations. You need to let them know you understand. You need to relate with them, at their level. Where possible, you can help them navigate some of their daily struggles.

Encourage them to get professional help

Addicts find it hard to admit their situation and that they need help. Just like you will do for a loved one suffering heart disease, do the same for them. Be emphatic towards them. They technically have no control of the situation. They can’t help it. Don’t give up on them. Help them know they need help and should get one.

Once you know how to tell if someone you love is addicted to heroin, don’t make them feel uneasy. Avoid making them feel ashamed of themselves. This becomes more important when they start with the recovery process. They can’t go through it alone. Be there for them, it helps their confidence.

Your Loved One can Achieve Sobriety

Knowing how to tell if someone you love is addicted to heroin doesn’t solve the problem. You will be met with denial when you confront them. You need to do all you can to get your loved one to commit to heroin addiction rehab.

Beyond taking care of them, you also need to take care of yourself. Supporting them effectively means supporting yourself. Be the confidence they need to seek recovery.

Here at 1000 Islands Rehab Centre, we can help you organize an intervention for your loved one. But it doesn’t stop there, here, we offer addiction treatment services that can be tailor-made for your loved one. Get in touch with us today!

Heroin Addiction

What Is Heroin Addiction?

Heroin is a class of opioids with origin from morphine. Its mode of consumption often includes sniffing, snorting, smoking, and injecting. Heroin addiction is a disorder that includes mental and behavioural changes as a result of excess heroin use.

Heroin is one of the swiftest acting and commonly abused substances of opiates. According to scientists, we can classify heroin as a semi-synthetic opioid derived from poppy plant extracts.

Often, heroin use starts with the casual misuse of a prescribed opioid. A person may then switch to heroin because of its lower cost, despite the greater danger of using it.

Someone who uses heroin regularly will end up needing more doses daily to attain the same effect. This is known as tolerance. Also, using this drug often means you’ll need more quantity for your body to function properly. This is known as physical dependence.

Heroin abuse can be difficult to talk about, even with a loved one. Individuals who experience addiction aren’t always honest about their drug abuse. Most may not be aware of how far things have gone out of control. Though it may be difficult, having a conversation about heroin addiction can potentially save your life.

If you or someone you care about is battling heroin addiction, pay close attention to their lifestyle, habits, and characteristics. This may help you uncover the truth and understand the depth of the problem.

Identifying the symptoms of heroin addiction is a significant first step toward a better healthy lifestyle. Here, we’ve put together everything you need to know about heroin addiction; the symptoms, and treatment options.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug made from naturally-occurring morphine taken from the seed pod of several opium poppy plants. These plants are often grown in areas like Southwest Asia, Southeast, Colombia and Mexico. Heroin can come in the form of a brown or white powder, or a black sticky form known as black tar heroin. Other popular names for heroin include smack, horse, hell dust, big H, etc.

Furthermore, pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste that widely originates in South America, and dominates the North American markets. It also extends to some extent, Southeast Asia and markets east of the Mississippi River. Highly pure heroin can be snorted or smoked and is typically more appealing to new users. This is because it alleviates the stigma relating to injection drug use.

Also, the Black tar heroin is considered sticky because it’s hard like coal and looks like the roofing tar. This type of heroin is popularly produced in Mexico and sold in the U.S. areas around the west of the Mississippi River.

The dark colour of black tar heroin results from its crude processing methods. As a result, it may contain impurities. Impure heroin is often dissolved, diluted, and injected into muscles, under the skin, or veins.

What does heroin look like?

In its pure form, heroin is a fine white powder that is bitter to taste and readily dissolves in water. In the streets, the colour of heroin varies according to the additives.

Substances like sugar and powdered milk are added to increase its street weight and boost retail sales. In recent times, fentanyl as an additive can increase heroin’s potency. According to the CDC, fentanyl is one hundred times more deadly than morphine.

How Does Heroin Make You Feel?

There are several ways to use heroin. Injections, for instance, offers a more immediate feeling, unlike other methods. Some of the other ways people use heroin include:

  • Injecting into a vein, muscle or under the skin
  • Snorting or sniffing
  • Smoking or inhaling through a straw (also known as chasing the dragon). This is a process of systematically heating the substance on an aluminum foil and inhaling the vapours through a tube.

However, the choice of how to use heroin depends mostly on the purity of the drug and the preferences of the user. When you consume heroin, it forces your brain to produce dopamine — the feel-good hormone. However, this forcefully generated dopamine also creates some general effects on the body.

Generally, when heroin enters your brain, it sticks to molecules on cells known as opioid receptors. These receptors are found in several parts of the body and brain. Most especially areas involved in the perception of pressure and pain. Also, this may include the part of the brain that regulates breathing.

If you’re a new user, you may experience the general heroin side effects like vomiting and nausea. However, the desired effects involve detachment from emotional and physical well-being, feelings and pains. Other effects consist of slow breathing, sweating, itchiness, and pinpoint pupils. Regular usage results in loss of libido and sexual interest missed or irregular periods in women, and constipation.

In general, the way heroin affects you usually depends on several factors, including:

  • How often you consume heroin and the quantity
  • Your age
  • Your environment
  • Whether or not you’re using it with other substances including alcohol
  • How long you’ve been using the drug
  • Your method of consumption

What Happens During Heroin Addiction?

Essentially, symptoms of heroin addiction can appear immediately after last use or between six 6 to 30 hours later. However, this may vary depending on how long you’ve been taking the drug. Furthermore, you may experience prolonged symptoms even after 72 hours of your last dose. These symptoms can extend up to a week, depending on your level of addiction.

Additionally, the symptoms you’ll experience often depend on the addiction level you’re experiencing. Also, several factors may dictate the timeline at which you’ll go through the heroin addiction symptoms. This is why everyone experiences addiction symptoms differently. Notwithstanding, there’s usually a timeline for work progression and symptoms.

The Physical Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

Early signs of heroin addiction usually start between the first 24 hours after quitting the usage. The symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Slow breathing
  • Falling asleep suddenly
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Loss of self-control
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Slurred speech
  • Yawning often, etc.

Other Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

Other symptoms, which can be more intense, start after the first day or beyond. They include:

  • Behavioural changes, like sudden aggression or secrecy
  • Money issues, such as missing money or needing more and more money without any logical reason
  • Problems at school or work
  • Changes in appearance or decline in personal hygiene
  • Confused thinking or disorientation
  • Feelings of heaviness
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Memory loss

Individuals who use heroin regularly usually need stool or laxatives softeners because the drug can cause constipation.

Related Article: The Long Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

Heroin Addiction: The Side Effects of Heroin

Heroin users have described the drug’s high as intense. When someone injects heroin, they often experience a “rush” from the drug reaching the brain so quickly.

The rush from intravenous heroin use lasts about two minutes. In terms of pleasure, intravenous users have likened the rush to an orgasm. As heroin travels through the bloodstream, the high lasts for four to five hours.

The effects of heroin can seem harmless to those who are experimenting with the drug. Although it may produce some dizziness and drowsiness, these effects feel enjoyable. Unlike substances such as alcohol or ecstasy, there generally isn’t a hangover or comedown from initial heroin use, which is an attractive benefit to new users.

What may seem like “harmless” or occasional heroin use often devolves into heroin addiction because tolerance builds quickly. Eventually, the user cannot feel normal without taking the drug because their brain cannot produce natural amounts of dopamine on its own.

As the user increases their doses, they are at a greater risk of a fatal heroin overdose. At this point, it’s best to undergo heroin detox and addiction treatment in a controlled, medical facility.

Short-term Side Effects of Heroin Addiction

Soon after injection or inhalation, heroin crosses the blood-brain barrier. In the brain, heroin is converted to morphine and binds rapidly to opioid receptors. Abusers typically report feeling a surge of pleasurable sensation, a “rush.” The intensity of the rush is a function of how much drug is taken and how rapidly the drug enters the brain and binds to natural opioid receptors.

Heroin is particularly addictive because it enters the brain so rapidly. With heroin, the rush is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in the extremities, which may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe itching.

After the initial effects, abusers will be drowsy for several hours. Mental function is clouded by heroin’s effect on the central nervous system. Cardiac function may also slow.

Breathing is also severely slowed, sometimes to the point of death. Heroin overdose is a particular risk on the street, where it is impossible to gauge the purity of the drug.

Long-term Side Effects of Heroin Addiction

If you indulge in using heroin over the long-term, you may develop a tolerance to it. Essentially, tolerance means you will always need to increase your doses to attain the necessary pain relief you want. These long-term effects are mostly harmful, especially at the point of extreme usage.

One of the most detrimental long-term effects of heroin is addiction itself. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, and by neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain. Heroin also produces profound degrees of tolerance and physical dependence, which are also powerful motivating factors for compulsive use and abuse.

As with abusers of any addictive drug, heroin abusers gradually spend more time and energy obtaining, as well as, using the drug. Once they are addicted, the heroin abusers’ primary purpose in life becomes seeking and using drugs. The drugs literally change the way you think.

Physical dependence develops with higher doses of the drug. With physical dependence, the

body adapts to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced abruptly. Withdrawal may occur within a few hours after the last use.

Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle
  • Bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold flashes with goosebumps (“cold turkey”)
  • Leg movements.

Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 24 and 48 hours after the last dose of heroin and subside after about a week. However, it is also possible to experience persistent heroin withdrawal symptoms for many months. Heroin withdrawal is never fatal to otherwise healthy adults. However, it can cause death to the fetus of a pregnant addict.

At some point during continuous heroin use, a person can become addicted to the drug. Sometimes addicted individuals will endure many of the withdrawal symptoms to reduce their tolerance for the drug so they can again experience the rush.

Physical dependence and the emergence of withdrawal symptoms were once believed to be the key features of heroin addiction. We now know this may not be the case entirely, since craving and relapse can occur weeks and months after withdrawal symptoms are long gone.

We also know that patients with chronic pain who need opiates to function (sometimes over extended periods) have few if any problems leaving opiates after their pain is resolved by other means.

Some of the long-term side effects of heroin addiction include:

  • Insomnia
  • Skin infections like cellulitis and abscesses
  • Collapsed veins
  • A higher chance of getting Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Mental disorders
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Lung diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis
  • Menstrual problems and miscarriage, etc.

Heroin Addiction Treatment and Recovery

Generally, heroin addiction treatment includes altering deeply rooted behaviours. It involves therapy sessions to find out the behavioural triggers that lead up to heroin abuse.

There’s also the need for medical detox and treatment to help you back to full health. Depending on your unique heroin addiction treatment needs, your treatment expert may recommend any of the following:

In-patient treatment

In-patient therapy is a type of treatment where you reside at the treatment centre. In-patient treatment is often helpful for people suffering from severe addiction. Also, it’s useful for those who struggle with specific challenges of mental wellbeing.

Undertaking your recovery in a rehab centre helps you avoid influences and temptations that provoke daily heroin abuse. Typically, living in a serene environment will aid your recovery faster.

Licensed in-patient rehab facilities often provide 24-hour intensive care and support. They also combine 3 stages of recovery into their rehab programs, i.e. growth, reflection, and detox. In-patient facilities focus on teaching you how to adopt a substance-free lifestyle and maintain sobriety. This plan typically involves a step-down method to help your transition from in-patient care to group counselling or behavioural therapies.

Group therapy

Group therapy is a specific form of counselling used to treat psychological disorders, including heroin abuse and addiction. Typically, it involves regular sessions where therapists work with several individuals receiving treatment for the same health issue.

Individuals who participate in a therapy group usually take turns to share their feelings, struggles, goals, and experiences. Sometimes, therapy groups may focus solely on a specific recovery topic. Examples include recognizing and avoiding triggers, handling complicated family, peer, work, or other interpersonal relationships.

One of the most significant benefits of group therapy for addiction recovery is that groups give you the ability to bond with others. It also gives you an avenue to build a support system to connect with once you leave treatment.

Behavioural therapy

Several effective behavioural therapies for heroin addiction are available for both residential and outpatient settings. Typically, approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and contingency management are effective treatments for heroin use disorder. Most especially when delivered simultaneously with medications.

Generally, CBT aims at helping patients modify their behaviours and expectations. Essentially, it alters everything relating to drug use and helps devise coping skills for different life stressors.

On the other hand, contingency management uses a point-based procedure in which patients earn certain “points” based on their negative drug tests. The points are usually exchangeable for items that encourage leading a healthy lifestyle. The reward also extends to other activities like attending and participating in addiction counselling sessions, or for taking your medications as prescribed.

Other behavioural therapies include:

  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) uses different approaches to make the most of your readiness to change your behaviour and enter treatment.
  • Family therapy helps individuals especially young people with drug use disorder, as well as their families. It’s a process of addressing the influence on drug use patterns and improving overall family functioning.

The Principles of Effective Treatment of Heroin Addiction

Research indicates that the first line of treatment for heroin or other opioids addiction is medication. Usually, the best way to perm ambient sobriety is combining medication with some form of counselling and behavioural therapy.

Furthermore, medication is hugely important for people going through drug detox. Though detoxification isn’t the same as addiction treatment, it helps set the pace for successful recovery. However, detoxification without continuing heroin addiction treatment often leads to the resumption of drug use.

How to Ensure The Successful Treatment of Heroin Addiction

Different forms of medications may be effective at different stages of treatment. However, maintaining sobriety and a healthy post-addiction treatment requires more. Some of these include; treating withdrawal, staying in treatment, and avoiding relapse.

Treating withdrawal

When patients first stop using drugs, they can experience various physical and emotional symptoms, including restlessness or sleeplessness, as well as depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Certain treatment medications and devices reduce these symptoms, making it easier to stop drug use.

Staying in treatment

Some treatment medications are useful in helping your brain adapt gradually to the absence of the drug. These treatments act slowly to help prevent drug cravings and have a calming effect on your body. They can help patients focus on counselling and other psychotherapies related to their drug treatment.

Preventing relapse

Science has taught us that stress cues linked to drug use such as people, places, things, and moods, and contact with drugs are the most common triggers for relapse.

This is why behavioural therapy sessions are important. During these sessions, you can develop coping mechanisms to help you cope and manage relapse triggers.

Related Article: Heroin Addiction: The Obvious Signs to Look Out For

That’s All You Need To Know About Heroin Addiction

If you’ve been following us till this moment, you’re welcome. By now, you should know more about heroin addiction than you did before this article. We tried to cover as many important details as possible without risking an information overload.

If there is any part of this article you need to pay close attention to, it’s the section on ‘what happens during heroin addiction” and “heroin addiction treatment and recovery.” Those sections are essential to staying sober and staying drug-free.

We are aware it’s not easy to stop using heroin on your own. This is why it’s hugely important to speak with a professional about heroin addiction. Here at 1000 Islands Rehab Centre, our heroin addiction experts will listen to you and develop a custom plan for your treatment. Contact us today!

Heroin Addiction

Heroin Addiction: The Obvious Signs to Look Out For

People find it hard to talk about their heroin addiction. However, there are obvious signs of heroin addiction that can tell you someone is battling with drug use. Most times, these people may not be sincere about their heroin use. They tend to believe they are not addicted to the drug. 

The more they believe they are not addicted, the more they get stuck to heroin. Most times, this leads to worsening symptoms and potentially deadly outcomes. Hence, it is very important to take note of heroin addiction symptoms. Early detection of these symptoms can save your life or that of a loved one. 

In this article, you will learn about how to recognize heroin addiction in yourself or another person. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, you will find out how to get effective treatment. There is so much to learn here. Let’s get going!

What is Heroin? 

Heroin is an opioid drug. It is made from morphine, a natural substance found in the seed pods of opium poppy plants. You can find these plants in the southeastern and southwestern parts of Asia, Colombia, and Mexico. Heroin is usually found as a white or brown powder. It can also be in the form of a black sticky substance called black tar heroin. 

On the streets of Canada, heroin is also called H, smack, hell dust, horse, junk, black tar, dope, or snow. Heroin addicts usually take the drug by injecting it into their bloodstream. They also sniff, snort, or smoke it. Some people mix heroin with cocaine. This mixture is also known as speedballs. 

Heroin addiction

What is Heroin Addiction? 

Before going into the signs of heroin addiction, it is important to understand what it is. Heroin is a very addictive drug. When you take it, it binds to opioid receptors on your cells, especially those controlling feelings of pain, pleasure, heart rate, sleeping, and breathing. 

Besides relieving pain, heroin causes your brain to release endorphins. This will cause you to experience happiness, euphoria, and highness. Addicts find it hard to let go of these feelings and keep going back to the drug to experience it. 

When you use heroin often, your body’s tolerance for the drug increases. This increased tolerance level means you usually have to take heroin frequently or take higher doses to feel the desired effects. 

With continued heroin use, you will develop a substance use disorder. You will find it difficult to do without the drug and believe you are incomplete without it. Typically, you will begin to experience health and societal problems. Most of the time, most heroin addicts find it hard to meet their obligations and responsibilities. In fact, this is one of the signs of heroin addiction.

The problem with heroin addiction is that you may not even know you are addicted. However, if you notice changes in your lifestyle habits or physical characteristics, it may be a sign you are hooked on the drug. In the next section, we will highlight the signs to look out for.

How to Recognize Heroin Addiction

It is easy to sense signs of heroin addiction in another person. Some of the early symptoms of heroin addiction come with behavioural changes. They may have mood swings, lose interest in things, or withdraw themselves from others.

Being able to recognize these behavioural signs of heroin abuse early is important in dealing with it. Generally, the symptoms of heroin abuse can be behavioural or physical. 

Behavioural Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

You are prone to experience changes in your behaviour once you become addicted to heroin. This is because the drug will alter your normal lifestyle. 

Therefore, if you notice these lifestyle changes in yourself or a loved one, it is a sign of heroin addiction. Some of the behavioural changes you may experience due to heroin use include:

Inability to Meet Your Obligations

Heroin addicts find themselves so hooked on the drug that they forget about their obligations. All they worry about is how to satisfy their cravings. Most times, addicts spend their time using the drug and getting over withdrawal symptoms. Hence, there is no time for anything else. 

Loss of Interest

One of the signs of heroin addiction is a sense of apathy and disinterest in activities. You become uninterested or motivated to do things that used to make you come alive. You also struggle to make decisions or remember things you set out to do. 

A Drop in Performance

Heroin addicts, like most drug users, struggle to keep up with their academic or job performance levels. You may find yourself sleeping in class or at work and unable to carry out assignments. This usually leads to low grades or unemployment. 

Relationship or Marital Problems

One of the signs of heroin addiction is the development of relationship issues between the addict and their partner. Different levels of conflict will arise in the relationship, causing fights, separation, or divorce. Addicts also struggle to relate well with their friends at work or school.

Financial Problems

Heroin addicts spend all their money on buying the drug. They continue to buy more quantities to satisfy their cravings. Some addicts will end up borrowing money to acquire the drug and run into debt. 

Withdrawal from Society

A heroin addict enjoys spending time alone and away from society. Sometimes, they prefer to be alone to hide away their addiction. 

Mood Swings

Mood Swings

Heroin may cause you to have unusual mood swings. One moment you are happy. The very next moment, you are sad and depressed. These mood changes likely occur when you are battling with withdrawal symptoms of the drug. 

Engaging in Risky Acts or Behaviours

One of the signs you’re using heroin comes with the feeling of euphoria and invincibility you get. These feelings can sometimes drive addicts to engage in risky behaviours they would typically avoid. Some of these behaviours include DUI, unprotected sex, thuggery, stealing, etc. 

Poor Personal Hygiene

Heroin addicts struggle to keep up with their hygiene. They hardly take their bath or brush their teeth. They spend most of their time locked indoors, dealing with withdrawal symptoms and barely able to care about their wellbeing. 

If you notice any of the behavioural changes described above, it’s time to get help. Here at Canada MedLaser, we offer professional heroin addiction treatment that will get you clean. More importantly, we will help you develop much-needed tools for long-term sobriety.

Related article: The Long Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

Physical Signs of Heroin Addiction

Physical Signs of Heroin Addiction

Besides affecting your behaviour, heroin also affects your physical wellbeing. Hence, if you believe you or a loved one is addicted to heroin, you may have to go beyond looking for behavioural changes. For one, the person may find it easy to hide the changes in their behaviour. However, the physical changes will be visible for all to see. 

The physical changes you may suffer from heroin use usually occur quickly. After injecting it into your bloodstream, the drug-induced euphoria occurs rapidly. However, if you take the drug through other means, you don’t get that feeling immediately. Instead, it comes with physical symptoms that include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Small Pupils
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Drowsiness
  • Itching Skin
  • Lack of Self-control or coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Memory loss
  • Feeling Heavy
  • Slurred Speech
  • Irregular or slow breathing

If you are observant, you may also find needle marks on the hands of heroin users. However, most people wear long-sleeved dresses to cover them up. 

Effects of Heroin Use

When you use heroin, you may experience the following short-term side effects:

  • An initial feeling of euphoria
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Flushed or itching skin
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Feeling drowsy for long hours.
  • Heavy limbs
  • Clouded thinking

You may also experience some atypical symptoms of heroin addiction. These atypical symptoms usually occur when you take adulterated heroin. These symptoms can last for a day and may last even longer. They include:

  • Anxiety
  • Palpitations
  • Tremors
  • Chest pain
  • Headache

What If I Overdose on Heroin? 

Sometimes, heroin addicts may take a high dose of the drug. They do this because they wish to enjoy the highest form of euphoria or highness that heroin gives. This behaviour is dangerous and can lead to death. Some of the symptoms associated with heroin overdose include: 

  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Yawning
  • Depression
  • Heightened drug cravings
  • Aches in the legs, back, and other parts of the body
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea and vomiting
  •  Diarrhea
  • Heart attack

Medical Effects of Heroin Addiction

If you are addicted to heroin or know someone showing signs of heroin addiction, it is important to seek help immediately. For one, you run the risk of contracting infectious and viral diseases like HIV, Hepatitis, etc. This happens when you share needles or use unsterilized needles to inject yourself with the drug. 

Persons using heroin over an extended period may harm their organs. You see the ong-term use of heroin can damage the liver, kidney, and heart. It also leads to a depletion of the immune system, making addicts prone to infections. 

When you use heroin in conjunction with other drugs or additives, there are medical risks involved. It can cause your blood vessels to coagulate and clog. When this happens, it results in heart attacks, permanent organ damage, and strokes. It can also lead to death. 

Pregnant mothers who take heroin can experience miscarriages. Mothers who abuse heroin are likely to give birth to underweight babies. A mother who abuses heroin may give birth to a baby who is physically addicted to the drug. The baby will likely suffer neonatal abstinence syndrome. Hence, the baby will undergo detoxification and withdrawal after delivery.

With all these signs of heroin addiction in mind, it is important to find treatment for your addiction. Before we go into detail with treatment, let’s discuss the withdrawal symptoms of heroin addiction.

What are Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms?

When you become physically dependent on heroin, or after taking a large dose of the drug, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms usually begin 6-12 hours after you use the drug. The symptoms reach their peak after a day or two days. They eventually clear out after about 5-7 days. 

There is no given timeline for withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes it can last even longer, especially for long-term addicts. Some of the common withdrawal symptoms related to heroin use include: 

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Yawning
  • Dysphoria or bad mood
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • High sweating
  • Blurry vision
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Runny nose
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Body Aches
  • Cravings for drugs. 

Now, that you are conversant with how to recognize heroin addiction, let us learn how to get treatment. There are several treatment options available in Canada.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

How Can I Treat My Heroin Addiction? 

The first step towards getting treatment for heroin addiction is realizing you need help. If you don’t accept you need assistance, nothing can change your situation. It begins with you. Once you accept you need help, you can enrol for addiction treatment. 

You don’t have to wait until it is too late before getting treatment. Once you notice signs of heroin addiction, seek professional help to deal with it. There are many centers available where you can treat your addiction. The best centers have treatment types tailor-made to satisfy your needs. 

There are various types of addiction treatments. Some of them may involve taking medications. These medications will help you deal better with the withdrawal symptoms. Some other treatments involve behavioural therapy. Here, you will learn how to control the negative thoughts or behaviours leading to your heroin addiction. 

Other treatments may inculcate wellness and well-being programs. Some others will need you to join support groups to ensure you limit the risks of having a relapse after recovery. Let us take a look at the various types of addiction treatments available. 


Some medicines can help you to deal with the withdrawal signs of heroin addiction. The drug lofexidine, which does not contain any opioids, helps to reduce symptoms of withdrawal. There are also drugs like buprenorphine and methadone. 

They reduce withdrawal symptoms and your heroin cravings. Naltrexone is a medication that blocks opioid receptors in the brain. This way, it stops opioids like heroin from affecting you.

Outpatient Treatment

This type of heroin addiction treatment involves you visiting a treatment facility and going home after treatment. With this heroin recovery program, you can carry out your daily activities while receiving treatment. 

The intensity level of outpatient treatments varies depending on the patient. However, they will include the following: 

  • A period of detoxification, which is the removal of heroin from your body. 
  • Medication, if necessary and appropriate, to help you deal with withdrawal symptoms. 
  • Group therapy. 
  • Individual therapy.
  • Relapse prevention therapy and education. 
  • Continued support after treatment and recovery. 

Inpatient Treatment

This is also called residential treatment or rehab. In this type of treatment, you will have to live in a residential facility for the duration of treatment. People who tend to struggle with relapse prefer this treatment. It helps them avoid distractions and focus solely on recovery. 

During their time in inpatient rehab treatment centers, patients receive close medical supervision from professionals. They also come in contact with other patients passing through similar circumstances. Hence, they always have the support they need from medical staff and patients. Patients get to share their experiences and learn from each other while they recover from their addictions. 

Some of the features you will find in inpatient treatment centers include: 

  • A safe and secure recovery environment.
  • Supervised detoxification from symptoms of heroin addiction. 
  • Support from other patients and medical staff throughout recovery. 
  • Supervised medical treatment. 
  • Individual therapy.
  • Group therapy. 
  • Therapeutic activities like meditation, exercise, yoga, dancing, sports, etc. 
  • Family therapy and outings. 
  • Family weekends. 

These activities vary depending on the rehab facility you register with. Good treatment centers will always provide you with the necessary care you need to get over your addiction and live a normal life. 

There are luxury residential treatment centers where patients get extra therapies and activities. These luxury rehabs operate similarly to standard inpatient centers. However, patients also get access to special activities like spa treatments, horse riding, swimming, yoga, art therapy, etc.

Behavioural Therapies

Outpatient and inpatient treatment centers inculcate behavioural therapies as part of heroin addiction treatment. These behavioural therapies include contingency management and cognitive behavioural therapy. 

With contingency management, you will earn points for testing negative for heroin. Your negative test shows you stayed away from the drug and are staying sober. You can exchange the points you earn for items. These items will encourage you to continue with a healthy lifestyle as you recover from your addiction. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a treatment designed to help modify an addict’s expectations and behaviours in relation to heroin use. The therapy checks to find the root cause of your addiction. It also trains you to cope with things that stress you. Therefore, you manage these stress factors adequately without letting them cause a relapse. 

Support Groups

Support Groups

During and after your heroin addiction treatment, it is good to join support groups. These support groups are not substitutes for treatment. Instead, they act as a great source of encouragement and support to addicts during and after treatment. Most members of these groups share similar experiences, channelling them to help one another. 

Some examples of support groups include: 

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Cocaine Anonymous, etc. 

These are the most common support groups. They function based on self-help groups like the 12-step programs. Most treatment centers advise their patients to join these groups. With these groups, you, as a recovery patient, will get the communal support and encouragement you need to remain sober. 

Besides these groups, it is also essential to have close friends and family members encouraging you to go on with treatment. It is easier said than done to go through heroin addiction treatment, but you can scale through with the right support system. You also need support to remain sober after your recovery to avoid a relapse. 

In the worst-case scenario, remember that a relapse is not the end of the world. You need to get back on your feet, analyze why you relapsed and take measures to avoid a repeat occurrence. If you need to go back to a treatment center, do so. If somethings are causing you to relapse, cut them off. 

The journey to sobriety is long and filled with ups and downs. Hence, it’s vital for you to have a clear mindset of what you wish to achieve. That alone should be your focus. 

Now That You Know The Signs of Heroin Addiction

Having reached this point, you should be able to tell the signs of heroin addiction. You are now able to recognize addictive behaviours and symptoms better. You also understand the terrible effects heroin has on your body. Hence, you know you need to seek help if you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms. 

Finding help with your heroin addiction treatment starts with you. If you accept you need help and are ready to treat your addiction. It is a step in the right direction. The next step to take is finding a treatment service that suits you.

Call 1000 Islands Addiction Rehab & Treatment Centre for addiction treatment programs.

Related article: Cocaine Withdrawal: What To Expect

Heroin Addiction

The Long Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

If you have been trying to quit heroin, perhaps considering the long-term effects of heroin abuse can serve as a motivation. With the repeated use of this substance, there is a significant change in the brain’s structure, both physically and physiologically. Also, heroin abuse is detrimental to the body and can result in several health conditions that most people don’t know about.

According to metrics, about 35,000 persons have hepatitis every year and about 70% of these results from addicts that use needles to inject the substance. The lifestyle of an addict is very damaging. Apart from the risk of contracting infectious diseases, there’s also the risk of damaging your liver.

It may seem like an uphill task to face the horror that comes with total withdrawal. However, it is better than continuously subjecting yourself to the long-term effects of heroin abuse. You see, the consequences of heroin abuse factor in every aspect of life. 

Addicts suffer from a messed up life. From broken family and personal relationships to issues in the workplace, heroin abuse has dangerous implications. Additionally, there’s the mental side of heroin abuse. Depression, anxiety and other mental disorders are just a few of the possible effects of heroin abuse

In this guide, we will explore the symptoms of heroin addiction, its long-term effects, and what you can do to get yourself out of the loop.

What You Should Know About Heroin Abuse

What You Should Know About Heroin Abuse

Heroin is an opioid substance produced from morphine. Furthermore, there are several ways the substance can be used. It can be sniffed; it can be snorted, injected, and is most commonly smoked. While users feel they are in control, most fall into dependence on the substance, which leads to an uncontrolled level of addiction. 

Heroin is a very addictive substance. For starters, it adheres to the receptors situated in the brain and causes the release of a chemical known as dopamine. The release of this substance is the start of what later becomes an addiction. 

Dopamine’s effect on the brain is only temporary, and since it comes with a ‘good feeling,’ the brain wants more of that. This leads the individual back to smoking heroin. Furthermore, this continuous cycle leads to dependence on the substance, as it “makes you feel good whenever you use it”.

With continuous exposure to this substance, your body will not be able to attain the level of feeling good naturally. As a result, you have to use more of the substance to trigger the release of the same levels of dopamine. 

You should know that opioid use disorder can result from the use of painkillers. The activity of these drugs is similar to that of opioids, making it essential that you stay wary of heroin, which can worsen this condition. 

Related article: Heroin Addiction: The Obvious Signs to Look Out For

Symptoms of Heroin Abuse

To avoid the side effects of heroin abuse, it is important to know the signs of addiction. These symptoms mark the start of dependence on the substance. If the symptoms are quickly spotted, with heroin addiction treatment, it is possible to manage the situation effectively. 

There is a whole repository of symptoms you need to look out for, ranging from behavioural to physical and psychological effects.

The behavioural effect of heroin abuse include the following:

  • You get absent from work or school, frequently
  • A drop in your performance.
  • Wearing dresses that cover your bruises and injuries from heroin injection
  • Total disinterest in personal grooming
  • Secrecy and lying become second nature.
  • To afford the substance, you start to steal.
  • You start to lose interest in the things that were once important to you.
  • You can’t stop using the substance, despite its effects.
  • You distance yourself from family and friends.
  • You only pursue relationships with people that are addicted to the substance too.
  • You are no longer financially stable.
  • You may end up losing your job due to inadequacies brought on by heroin addiction
  • Crime and legal issues

Physically, the signs of heroin abuse include the following:

  • You notice a drastic weight loss
  • You start to look malnourished
  • You suffer from exhaustion and lethargy
  • Your eyes become watery, coupled with a running nose.
  • You have symptoms that come off as flu.
  • You are prone to experience difficulty in breathing.
  • You get constant chest infections.
  • Suffering from constipation
  • Bruises and injuries on the skin
  • Uncontrolled itching.
  • Constriction of the pupils
  • Your vein may collapse
  • Clotting of the blood
  • As a woman, a disruption in the menstrual cycle may occur
  • Frequent shortness of breath

The psychological signs of heroin abuse include:

  • Depression starts, coupled with anxiety
  • You feel ashamed and guilty
  • You get knocked down by severe low self-esteem
  • You suffer from drastic swings in mood
  • Hopelessness and despair
  • You start making the wrong judgments
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • You can’t stop thinking of how to get another dose of heroin into your system
  • You start feeling as though you no longer control your life, but the heroin does. 
  • It becomes increasingly difficult to find your focus at work or in school.

These signs are proof that you are dependent on the substance, and the next thing is to seek help. 

You see, the long-term effects of heroin abuse result from the continuous use of the substance. Therefore, the earlier you deal with addiction to the substance, the better. 

The Effects of Heroin Abuse: All You Need To Know

The effects of heroin abuse are both long-term and short-term. Here are some of the short-term effects you may suffer from, with the continued abuse of heroin.

  • You experience dry mouth
  • Your skin looks pale and flushed
  • Your legs and arms begin to feel heavy, making it difficult to engage in the activities you would typically love to engage in.
  • The continuous use of heroin can result in an upsetting of your stomach, coupled with intense vomiting.
  • You feel itchy all over your body.
  • Your brain gets fuzzy, and it becomes more difficult to think straight.
  • You get drowsy very quickly.

On the other hand, the long-term effects of abusing heroin are:

  • Collapsed veins
  • You suffer from immense mental disorders, which may be augmented with infections of the heart and its valves. You also start to exhibit several liver and kidney diseases.
  • If you share needles with someone, you are prone to contracting HIV/AIDS. You also stand the risk of contracting hepatitis B or C.
  • In most cases, lung diseases result from heroin abuse — for instance, pneumonia and tuberculosis.

As stated earlier in this article, addiction to heroin can be very intense, and in most cases, will result in one or more accompanying health disorders. 

Furthermore, the continuous use of the substance, just like any other, results in the body developing tolerance. Once you get to this stage, it becomes doubly harder to turn back, even when the negative health effects are crystal clear.

It would almost feel like your body needs it to function correctly. In cases like this, the best solution is to undergo heroin withdrawal with the help of addiction treatment experts. Below are some of the physical manifestations you can expect during heroin withdrawal:

  • Jitters and chills
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • You feel pain in your bones and muscles.
  • You find it very difficult to sleep, as you haven’t taken heroin.
  • Cold flashes.
  • Uncontrolled leg movement.

How to Beat Heroin Addiction

It is nearly impossible to overcome heroin abuse all by yourself. Instead, you need a support system. When you reach out to a professional, your problems, symptoms, and conditions will be noted. As a result, they can develop a personalized treatment plan for you. 

The most common approach to treating heroin abuse is therapy, and in most cases combining this with medication. Through medication, the craving for heroin can be reduced. The drugs operate similarly to heroin, in that they have a long-lasting dopamine production than heroin. This nullifies the effect of heroin on your brain and reduces the pleasure you derive from taking it.

With therapy, the things you do, think of, as well as behaviours that support addiction will be modified and controlled. This way, you cope better with the stress and other triggers that lead to heroin abuse. This is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. 

Depending on your unique condition, there is also contingency management therapy that offers rewards for staying free from the drug.

Final Take

From the above, it is easy to see that the long-term effects of heroin abuse can take a serious physical toll on the body. As a result, it is best to seek expert heroin addiction treatment as soon as possible. Call 1000 Islands Addiction Rehab & Treatment Centre for addiction treatment programs.

Related article: Drug Abuse and Addictions: Warning Signs To Look Out For