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Heroin Addiction Programs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Heroin is an illegal street drug that's derived from morphine, which is found in some varieties of poppies. Sold on the street as a white or brownish powder, it can be injected, snorted, or smoked. The effects of this drug include intense euphoria and a keen sense of calm and well-being, which is part of the reason why it's so highly addictive. Using it just once can quickly lead to heroin addiction.

Heroin addiction requires intensive treatment in a qualified drug treatment center. Learn how you can access treatment and support resources when you contact Drug Treatment Centers Pittsburgh at (412) 235-2317.

Why Heroin Addiction is Quick to Develop

Addiction occurs when changes in the brain's function and structure causes withdrawal symptoms to set in, indicating that the brain's chemical systems have grown dependent on the drug for "normal" operation. This happens very quickly with heroin due to its ability to produce a very high level of tolerance in a short time.

This means that higher doses of heroin are needed to get the same effects, and these increasingly high and frequent doses are what causes the brain function to change. For many people who try this drug "just once," the deeply euphoric effects and heightened pleasure sensations makes the drug highly irresistible.

Signs of Heroin Use

If someone you love is using opiate drugs, you may notice some of these signs of abuse:

  • Paraphernalia, such as glass or metal pipes, baggies or balloons, syringes, and burnt spoons.
  • Pupils that are dilated for the four- to five-hour duration of the high.
  • Depressed respiratory function while on the drug.
  • A drop in energy level that occurs seemingly out of the blue.
  • Excessive yawning and taking naps at unusual times.
  • Slurred speech and disorientation.
  • Changes in behavior, such as aggression, mood swings, and social withdrawal.
  • Needle marks or scabs on the arms, legs, hands, or feet.

Signs of Heroin Addiction

Signs and symptoms of an addiction to opiates include:

  • Needing to take higher doses to get the same effects, known as building up a tolerance.
  • The onset of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withheld from the body.
  • Severe cravings.
  • Neglecting duties and abandoning hobbies.
  • Social withdrawal and combative behaviors.
  • A loss of interest in personal hygiene.
  • Continuing to use heroin even though it's causing problems with finances, the law, personal health, and relationships.

Long Term Health Effects of Heroin Abuse and Addiction

Heroin abuse and addiction cause a number of devastating illnesses over time, including:

  • Chronic constipation and other digestive problems.
  • Chronic insomnia.
  • Bacterial infections of the blood and organs.
  • Serious damage to the heart, lungs, liver, and other organs.
  • Collapsed veins due to injecting heroin.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Infections of HIV and hepatitis B and C, which often result from sharing needles.
  • Decreased cognitive function and the onset of mental illness or the worsening of existing mental conditions.

Treating a Heroin Addiction

The first step in treating an addiction is medical detox, which breaks the physical addiction and is available through inpatient and outpatient treatment centers in Pennsylvania. Medical detoxification is supervised by physicians and mental health professionals and involves administering medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, which can be excruciating.

Once detox is complete, treatment therapies address the underlying psychological aspects of the addiction. Therapies usually include cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing and take place in family, group, and individual settings. Through therapy, patients become more self-aware of their issues concerning the abuse and addiction and learn to replace harmful thought and behavior patterns with healthier ways of thinking and behaving.

The final phase of treatment for addiction is an relapse prevention plan, which is individualized based on patients' needs and challenges. The aftercare plan helps prevent a lapse, which can quickly lead to a relapse of the addiction. The aftercare plan will include ongoing therapy, participation in recovery groups, and continual monitoring of the plan to meet emerging and changing needs.

Get help finding treatment centers today when you call Drug Treatment Centers Pittsburgh at (412) 235-2317.

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