Does a heroin treatment center also deal with other substances used simultaneously? Yes, most rehabs will do this. The reason is partly because drug rehab isn’t really about the particular drug of abuse involved. It’s much more about the reasons behind the drug use driving such dangerous, self-destructive behavior. However, that’s not to say that the particular drug of abuse has no meaning at all. It certainly does. For example, heroin tends to cause profound euphoria and feelings of well-being in susceptible individuals. The word susceptible as used in this context is important because not everyone feels euphoric from heroin or other opioids by any means. Many people will specifically avoid opioids, even though they may heavily abuse other drug classes, because opioids make them feel sick with nausea, vomiting and feelings of dysphoria, which is the opposite of euphoria.
Heroin’s effects of euphoria followed by a dreamy state of pleasant relaxation, called a nod, may provide clues as to the underlying causes of the abuse of this drug. For example, someone may be trying, whether consciously or not, to self-treat a mental disorder like depression because the heroin would tend to provide the feelings of pleasure lacking because of the depression. This situation is called a dual diagnosis because the person needs treatment for both the substance abuse and the underlying depression in order to maintain sobriety in the long-term.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid easily prepared from morphine or morphine base. Morphine is a pain-killing substance naturally present in the sap of the opium poppy. Opium poppies produce exceptionally beautiful flowers of many different colors. When the flower’s petals drop off, a round pod remains. The size of this pod ranges from the size of a walnut to the size of a tennis ball. A special cutting instrument is used to score the outside of the pod. A white sap oozes out, turning brown in the sun and drying to form a sticky resin. This resin typically contains about 10 percent pure morphine by weight, although some poppy species are specifically bred to contain more morphine. Codeine is also naturally present in the sap of the opium poppy.
Heroin and Stimulants
Although many heroin users use only heroin, or perhaps other opioids, especially fentanyl if heroin is not available, concurrent use of the drug with a stimulant, usually cocaine or especially methamphetamine, is also relatively common. This combination is typically called by the slang terms speedball or speedballing. Black and white, with the term black referring to heroin and the word white to the stimulant, is another euphemism for this kind of dual drug abuse. Drug treatment centers are aware of this practice and must be equipped to handle the concurrent abuse of both drugs, especially since heroin and methamphetamine belong to two different and distinct drug classes and produce basically opposite effects. A drug rehab must be able to assess, understand and treat withdrawal symptoms from both the heroin and the stimulant. These symptoms are highly unpleasant and painful, but they can be effectively managed with certain medications.
Withdrawal from Heroin and Stimulants
Withdrawal symptoms are caused by the sudden disruption of normal brain function. When someone takes an addictive substance for any length of time, the brain will become dependent on the drug. It forgets how to function without it. Until the brain restores it normal balance, withdrawal symptoms will persist. For heroin, these may include:
- Muscle and stomach pain
- Restless leg syndrome
- Anxiety and depression
Stimulant withdrawal will also include some of the above symptoms, but this type of withdrawal typically causes an initial crash. This crash will cause the person to sleep nonstop for as long as several days. However, once they awaken, they will not be able to sleep at all. This unrelenting insomnia can last for weeks on end or even longer. Stimulant withdrawal may also cause:
- Back pain
- Severe depression
- Severe anxiety
If you Need Help
If you’re concerned about your heroin use or would like to help someone else abusing this drug, we can help. It doesn’t matter if the abuse is just for heroin or also includes another drug or drugs. We’re a group of professional drug counselors ready to listen and find the best rehab facility for your needs. Just call us anytime at 833-364-0736. We look forward to helping you.