Heroin is an extremely dangerous and highly addictive drug. Anyone who uses heroin, even once, puts themselves at risk for significant harm, including overdose and addiction.
When a person develops heroin addiction, they begin to lose the ability to control their thoughts and behaviors. When a person struggles with both a mental health concern and co-occurring heroin addiction, the effects can be catastrophic.
As described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), heroin addiction is a potentially devastating condition, but it is treatable.
At Tower Behavioral Health in Reading, Pennsylvania, adults of all genders age 18 and older can receive personalized inpatient treatment for mental health concerns and co-occurring heroin addiction.
Common Signs & Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
Heroin use and heroin addiction can cause people to experience an array of symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of heroin use include:
- Fatigue, lethargy, and drowsiness
- Slurred speech
- Constricted pupils
- Problems with memory and focus
- Impaired judgment
- Shifting mood from euphoria to apathy
- Slowed physical movements
- Delayed emotional reactions
Signs and symptoms of heroin addiction include:
- Powerful cravings for heroin
- Tolerance (needing to use larger amounts of heroin in order to achieve the desired effect)
- Withdrawal (experiencing painful physical and psychological symptoms when unable to use heroin)
- Pulling away from family and friends
- Scabs, bruises, and abscesses that never seem to heal
- Wearing long sleeves and long pants, even in warm weather, to hide evidence of heroin injections
- Weight loss
- Continuing to use heroin even after experiencing negative repercussions related to previous use
- Trying but failing to stop using heroin
Heroin Addiction Statistics
The following heroin statistics were reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- In 2018, heroin overdoses were factors in almost 15,000 deaths in the United States.
- From 1999-2018, the annual number of heroin overdose deaths increased by more than 600%.
- From 2017-2018, the heroin overdose death rate decreased by about 4%.
- About 800,000 people reported past-year use of heroin in 2018.
Effects of Heroin Use
Heroin use and heroin addiction can have a profound negative effect on virtually all areas of your life. The potential effects of untreated heroin addiction include lasting harm to your physical, psychological, and social well-being.
Possible physical effects of heroin use and heroin addiction include:
- Damage to the kidneys, liver, lungs, and brain
- Bacterial infections in the heart and blood vessels
- Increased risk of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and other viruses
- Additional medical problems due to poor self-care
- Sexual dysfunction
- Irregular menstruation
- Death due to overdose
Potential psychological and social effects of heroin use and heroin addiction include:
- Ruined relationships with family members and friends
- Academic failure
- Job loss and chronic unemployment
- Financial distress
- Being arrested and incarcerated
- Onset or worsening of mental health concerns
- Diminished self-confidence and self-esteem
- Loss of hope for the future
- Suicidal thoughts
When a person gets treatment for heroin addiction, they can begin to heal from any effects of heroin use they’ve already experienced, and they can develop the skills and strategies that can minimize their risk for future negative effects of heroin use.
Benefits of Treatment for Co-Occurring Heroin Addiction
If you’re struggling with a mental health concern and co-occurring heroin addiction, it’s extremely important to get treatment at a center that can identify and address the full scope of your needs.
When you get treatment for co-occurring heroin addiction at Tower Behavioral Health, you’ll work with a team of experienced professionals who are committed to providing focused programming in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.
Treatment for co-occurring heroin addiction can end your isolation, alleviate any shame or guilt you’ve been experiencing, help you to better understand the challenges you’ve been facing, and assist you in making necessary lifestyle changes.
Comprehensive inpatient care that includes treatment for co-occurring heroin addiction will best prepare you to experience improved health and achieve successful long-term recovery.
Types of Therapy in Co-Occurring Heroin Addiction Treatment
Every person who receives inpatient treatment for co-occurring heroin addiction at Tower Behavioral Health follows a personalized plan.
Depending on a variety of factors, personalized treatment for co-occurring heroin addiction may include:
- Psychotherapy and psychoeducation
- Mindfulness instruction
- Individual sessions
- Group sessions
- Family sessions
- Experiential therapies
People who receive treatment for co-occurring heroin addiction may also benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, and other modalities.
Also, every person who takes part in treatment for co-occurring heroin addiction at our center in Reading, Pennsylvania, receives a detailed discharge plan to support their efforts after they transition out of our care.
What Happens If I Relapse?
When you receive treatment for a mental health concern and co-occurring heroin addiction at Tower Behavioral Health, you will learn many important lessons, including these three: You are not alone. Help is available. There is no shame in asking for assistance when you need it.
As with all aspects of recovery from heroin addiction, responding to relapse is a matter of identifying your specific needs and getting the help that will address these needs.
Depending on your unique circumstances, a healthy response to relapse may include reaching out to a member of your personal support network, attending additional support group meetings, scheduling an outpatient session with a counselor or therapist, or returning to a treatment center.
Recovering from heroin addiction is a long-term effort, and dealing with setbacks is part of the process. Remain focused on your goals, use the skills and strategies you developed during treatment, and know that you are worth the effort.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Tower Behavioral Health.