The substance abuse counselors of BlueSky's Addiction Treatment Center specialize in treating a range of addictions and substance use disorders, including opiate and heroin addiction. Our trained and licensed addiction counselors create an individualized service plan with each client, building a heroin addiction treatment plan suited to the client's needs and progress in their treatment.
The question is frequently asked: Why does a person become a drug addict? The answer is that they usually do not intend to become an addict. You do not wake up one morning and decide to be a drug addict. You do not really know what “dope sick” is until you have experienced it. When a person uses heroin the first time, they need to use again in order not to experience the withdrawal symptoms.
The questions, of course, is: Why did you ever try heroin or other opiates? Why did heroin users continue using it long enough to become an addict? There is a perception that people who abuse heroin or other narcotics do not have strong motivations in the other direction.
One heroin user noted “I tried it as a matter of curiosity. I drifted along and the next thing I knew, I ended up hooked on heroin.”
Most people who abused heroin or other opiate related drugs have talked to report a similar experience. Whether curiosity, traumatic events, friends using, or whatever the reason. Heroin users did not start using drugs for any reason they can remember. They just drifted along until they got hooked. If a person has never been addicted, they have no clear idea what it means to need heroin or another drug. A person does not just decide to be an addict.
Heroin is a drug that comes from a flower, the opium poppy, which grows in Mexico, Asia, and South America. The drug is highly addictive and has been illegal in the United States since the 1920’s. It can look like a white or brown powder, or black tar. Other names for it are horse, smack, junk, and brown sugar.
Heroin can be snorted, injected or smoked. People who use heroin have one thing in common, the drug gets it into their system, and gets to the brain quickly. It is easy to become addicted to heroin. Even after using it just one or two times, the heroin user will have a hard time from not using heroin again because they become addicted to ease the withdrawal symptoms.
Right after a person uses heroin, there is a rush of good feelings and happiness. This effect might start within 7-8 seconds after the user shoots up. The effects might last for 3-10 hours. Then, for several hours, the heroin user feels as if the world has slowed down. Their thinking is slower; they may walk slowly. Some heroin users say you feel like you are in a dream state similar to a feeling of being “wrapped in a warm and fuzzy blanket.”
The drug can cause dry mouth, a drowsy state, nausea, and vomiting. It also makes some people itch. It blocks you from getting pain messages and slows both your heart rate and breathing. If you overdose, you may stop breathing and die.
Heroin overdoses have been rising sharply in the United States over the last several years. In 2014 over 10,500 people died of heroin overdoses in the U.S. Heroin is sold illegally, so there is no control over the quality or strength of the drug. Also, it is sometimes mixed with other poisonous substances.
Most people who overdose are already addicted, but some people overdose the very first time they try it. Many people who use heroin also abuse prescription pain medicines and other drugs. They may also abuse alcohol. These combinations of substances can be very dangerous. Heroin use in the United States has been growing since 2007.
Use of heroin nearly doubled between 2007 and 2012.
Drug experts say this is largely linked to growing abuse of prescribed painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin, which are also made from the poppy plant. People who abuse or misuse these drugs may be looking for a stronger, cheaper high. Heroin is both. However, it is more dangerous. There’s no way to know how strong what you are taking is or what it is mixed with.
Sometimes heroin is laced with other drugs. Heroin overdose deaths doubled between 2010 and 2012. A spike in overdose deaths early in 2014 is believed to be linked to heroin laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
MI is an addiction treatment option that uses a collaborative therapeutic conversation between the client and substance abuse counselors that addresses the common problem of ambivalence for change with their addiction, and works on ways to encourage the client's commitment to their addiction treatment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT addiction treatment encourages clients to question and examine recurring thoughts to phase out those that are negative and unhealthy and detrimental to their addiction treatment.
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)
Similar to CBT, REBT it helps clients identify, challenge, and replace their destructive thoughts and convictions with healthier and more adaptive thoughts regarding their substance abuse and addiction.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
DBT teaches clients how to regulate their emotions to reduce the self-destructive behaviors that derive from extreme, intense emotions. An effective treatment for drug abuse, drug addiction, eating disorders, anger-related issues, self-injury, and Borderline Personality Disorder.
Seeking Safety Therapy
Seeking safety Therapy is a present-focused therapy that helps clients maintain safety from trauma (PTSD) and drug use and addiction by focusing on coping skills, grounding techniques, and education.
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