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Heroin

Detoxification (detox) is the first step in any successful drug addiction treatment program. Detox is a natural process. The body rids itself of the presence of any drugs. It readjusts to functioning without heroin, alcohol or other substances. It does this just as it adapted to their presence in the first place.

This readjustment is safest and easiest when medically supervised. The Canyon offers detox services to support a healthy transition into treatment and long-term recovery.

Heroin Tolerance and Dependence

Heroin abuseTolerance and dependence develop when the body responds to the presence of drugs. Harvard Health[1] explains one of these responses to repeated drug use: “Addictive drugs can release two to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards do, and they do it more quickly and more reliably. In a person who becomes addicted, brain receptors become overwhelmed.

The brain responds by producing less dopamine or eliminating dopamine receptors…As a result of these adaptations, dopamine has less impact on the brain’s reward center. People who develop an addiction typically find that, in time, the desired substance no longer gives them as much pleasure.” After continued use, heroin no longer provides the same high.

Dopamine no longer has the effect it once did. Natural dopamine levels are no longer “normal.” The body depends on heroin for basic functioning. When substance use stops in early recovery, there is an abrupt drop in dopamine levels. This results in mental and physical discomfort. It takes time for the brain and body to start producing more natural dopamine or to rebuild dopamine receptors. In the meantime individuals experience withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Dopamine is just one neurotransmitter involved in drug abuse and addiction. It and other neurotransmitters will rebalance during detox. This readjustment is accompanied by withdrawal symptoms.

Neuropsychopharmacology[2] explains that the withdrawal stage of addiction, “can be defined as the presence of the negative emotional signs of…malaise, dysphoria, alexithymia, chronic irritability, physical pain, emotional pain, sleep disturbances, and loss of motivation for natural rewards.”

These are generic symptoms characteristic of most withdrawal experiences. Each drug has its own unique, specific mental and physical side effects. For example heroin withdrawal is infamous for flu-like aches, nausea and elevated body temperatures. Alcohol withdrawal may involve tremors or seizures. Marijuana withdrawal often features depression and anxiety.

If you struggle with addiction, you will experience withdrawal symptoms as you detox. Your symptoms will range in type and intensity throughout detox. They vary from person to person. No two withdrawal experiences will be the same. All can be managed and mitigated with medical supervision.

Medically Supervised Detox Services

Comprehensive addiction treatment programs include and begin with medically supervised detox services.

The Canyon provides a safe, comfortable space and professional, experienced support for detox. The body can and does heal itself after heroin use. It can heal itself faster and more comfortably with medical supervision. Medical professionals address withdrawal symptoms as they arise and ensure health and safety. This may involve administering non-addictive or over-the-counter medications to address symptoms or prescribing maintenance drugs such as buprenorphine or methadone.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine[3] states, “Medical decision-making by the addiction specialist physician includes determining whether, for a patient in acute withdrawal, the indicated intervention is acute management of the withdrawal syndrome or induction into agonist, partial agonist, or antagonist maintenance therapy.” A completely drug-free detox and recovery is the goal.

However if heroin is involved, maintenance drugs may be the best option for your unique situation. Our experienced professionals will help you pursue the best and safest course of action. No matter the detox method you choose, you will receive the most attentive and considered care. No matter the detox method you choose, your withdrawal symptoms will end. You will find balance, health and a positive starting point for your continued recovery.

Recovery After Detox

Detox is not addiction treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse emphasizes, detox is, “…the first step in a drug treatment program and should be followed by treatment with a behavioral-based therapy and/or a medication, if available. Detox alone with no follow-up is not treatment.”[4] Detox is the beginning of your journey toward health, growth and balance. It helps you find physical stability and mental clarity so you can begin the real work, and find the real rewards, of recovery.

Take this first step at The Canyon. We assess your recovery needs and offer a variety of detox and therapy resources to ensure your recovery is comprehensive, individualized and effective. We help you transition seamlessly from detox to therapy. We care about your comfort and health. We care about your future. You can begin this drug-free future today. Talk with us at 424-387-3118, and get more information about pursuing health, purpose and wholeness.


Sources

[1]    http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/how-addiction-hijacks-the-brain. “How Addiction Hijacks the Brain.” Harvard Health. Jul 2011. Web. 26 Oct 2016.

[2]    http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v39/n2/full/npp2013261a.html. “The Development and Maintenance of Drug Addiction.” Neuropsychopharmacology. 6 Nov 2013. Web. 26 Oct 2016.

[3]    http://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/publications/standards-of-care-final-design-document.pdf. “The ASAM Standards of Care for the Addiction Specialist Physician.” American Society of Addiction Medicine. 29 Jan 2014. Web. 26 Oct 2016.

[4]    https://www.drugabuse.gov/frequently-asked-questions. “Frequently Asked Questions.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Aug 2015. Web. 26 Oct 2016.

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