heroin abuse and withdrawal

You often hear that starting is the hardest part. But that statement doesn’t apply to drugs. If you struggle with addiction to the worst drugs, quitting is the hardest part. It doesn’t take long, and you’re quickly a slave to the euphoria that drugs bring. You want to wrestle free. But you feel powerless. Well, you’re not powerless. Yes, it’s going to be a struggle. And you’ll probably feel like you’re going to fail. How do you quit without a relapse? How do you escape and recover from drug addiction?

Humans have an inherent longing for happiness. Opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamines can fill that need. Then they turn people into a statistic. But that’s not going to happen to you. Imagine starting a new life! Free from a life of addiction! You’re getting out! You can beat any of the hardest drugs to quit!

1. Opioids (Heroin)

More than 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day. The misuse of opioids prescription opioids costs the United States $78.5 billion per year. And an estimated 4-6% prescription opioid abusers transition to heroin.

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a health emergency due to an epidemic. Like you, they decided to act, and they are now focusing on five major priorities.

  1. Improving access treatment to recovery services
  2. Promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs
  3. Strengthening the understanding of the epidemic
  4. Providing support for research on pain and addiction
  5. Advancing pain management practices

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are medications prescribed by doctors to treat persistent or severe pain. Common prescription opioid drugs include oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and morphine. Opioids are usually injected, smoked, or snorted. Heroin is an opioid that comes in the form of a white powder and has a bitter taste. Suppliers may cut it with another powder. With no way to test a batch, there is potential to overdose with every use.

What Do Opioids Do?

This stuff acts fast! Heroin and other opioids produce intense feelings of euphoria. Pain is also quickly relieved. It typically produces a mellow high. It causes a rush of pleasure. It can really get a stranglehold on you.

Opioids also provide a relaxing feeling. These drugs give the user a temporary escape from reality. It quickly hits the brain, turns into morphine, and mimics endorphins. The body’s already wired to feel good from this substance. The American Society of Addiction Medicine says 25% of heroin users become addicted. Over 500,000 Americans suffer from heroin addiction. Another 2 million habitually abuse prescription opioids.

What’s Opioid Withdrawal Like?

Opioids have nasty withdrawal symptoms. In many ways, they’re the worst drugs to quit. To keep feeling good, people have to take more. Without another hit, withdrawal starts about 12 hours from the last dose. Withdrawal reaches its peak within a day or two.

Withdrawal feels like a bad case of the flu. A very bad case. Users experience the shakes, the sweats, chills, nausea, and vomiting. Oh, and muscle aches, headaches, insomnia, runny nose, dehydration. It can leave you in a hopeless panic. One may experience erratic emotions, depression, anxiety, irritability, and mental haze.

Social Considerations

When someone becomes addicted to opioid prescriptions, there are special considerations. A doctor prescribed the drugs to manage pain. Once the pain resumes, the risk of relapse significantly increases. Quitting opiates is going to be painful. Opiate withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant. But it’s far riskier to keep taking them. Most deaths associated with opiate withdrawal come from patients who overdose on methadone. Many say quitting heroin is the hardest thing they’ve ever had to do.

What Can Help Opioid Withdrawal?

Working with a medical detox professional can empower someone who wants to quit. This is not a time for pride or embarrassment. It’s possible to go into respiratory arrest. It’s not going to be easy to beat this habit. Do it safely. Opioid detox usually involves a prescription of buprenorphine or methadone. These drugs fill the opioid receptors, but they have a lesser effect for a longer period of time.

Some take anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants to help with the psychologic withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine can lower some of the heightened functions of the nervous system. It can manage blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. It’s also important to get a physical exam when quitting opiates. Use of the drug can lead to diseases and other conditions. Many heroin users share needles and are at risk of contracting hepatitis and HIV.

2. Cocaine (Crack)

most dangerous drugs infographic

More than 40 million people have admitted to at least one use of cocaine. Almost 6 million said they had used cocaine within the last year. And 2 million claimed to have used cocaine within the last month. People who take cocaine as a recreational drug end up with physical, mental, and legal issues. Even though cocaine use appeared to level off in the early 2000s, it appears that it’s back on the rise. Especially among those under the age of 18.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant. It comes in a white powder or a rock form called crack. It’s usually snorted, smoked, or injected.

What Does Cocaine Do?

Cocaine causes an intense rush of pleasure, but the high is short-lived. Users experience excitement and alertness. Its short duration means you have to take doses back to back to keep its effects going. This often results in dependency and addiction. Cocaine prevents the reabsorption of dopamine into the brain’s reward areas. As a result, the brain reduces the number of receptors. When it’s removed, individuals have trouble feeling pleasure at all.

In comparison to powder cocaine, crack cocaine gives a quicker and more intense high. The high from smoking it is extremely short-lived. It may only last a few minutes. Once the high wears off, you feel like a nobody again.

What’s Cocaine Withdrawal Like?

Withdrawal is difficult. Users become irritable, restless, agitated, and anxious. They can experience cravings, nightmares, and suicidal thoughts. Symptoms come quickly. When coming off a high, users suffer a crash. Within 90 minutes of their last fix, users feel symptoms of withdrawal. This results in depression, fatigue, and feeling mentally drained.

This state of depression can be acute and last several days. The worst of the symptoms last for two days but can last for as long as ten. Many of the withdrawal symptoms are related to losing the stimulation it provides. Cocaine makes people feel mentally sharp. It’s also an appetite suppressant.

The Impact of Quitting

Those who come off of cocaine feel like they’re thinking slowly. They get hungry. Some go through a period where they lose interest in sex. They feel exhausted, pain, and tired. Deaths related to cocaine withdrawal are rare. But individuals can experience bouts of paranoia. This can lead to attempts at suicide or acts of violence. Heart attacks are also possible.

Some people experience a honeymoon stage. For a few days, you may feel fine and believe that you’ve kicked the habit. But strong cravings come to burden you again. Within the next week or two, the cravings come back hard as the brain adapts to life without cocaine.

What Can Help Cocaine Withdrawal?

Medical detox helps to lessen the symptoms and keep individuals from hurting themselves. Beta blockers like propranolol can help with the withdrawal symptoms. Cocaine detox focuses on depression and drug cravings. Doctors may prescribe antidepressants to regulate mood.

Cocaine dependency treatment is complicated. No class of drugs is effective for everyone. Working with a medical detox professional may even take several attempts. Support groups are helpful for many. Compassionate sponsors can help you to thrive. A healthy diet, meditation, and therapy also can help you endure the worst drug withdrawal.

3. Methamphetamine (Amphetamines)

Over 40 million metric tons of methamphetamine is consumed in America every year. That’s almost 60,000 who have used it within the last month. Over one million have used it within the last year. And over 12 million have used it at least one in their lives.

Shocking when only about 16,000 prescriptions are written for amphetamines each year! Over 2,000 die from the abuse of meth in the United States every year. And it’s not just a problem in America. Reports say that 500 metric tons of meth are produced each year worldwide.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug. It is made with pseudoephedrine, an ingredient found in many cold medications. It’s taken in powder form. Its crystal form is called crystal meth. It’s snorted, smoked, or injected.

Some of the most commonly prescribed stimulants are amphetamines. Some people just need help getting through their routine. And these drugs help. But prescriptions of Adderall used to treat attention deficit disorder have added to amphetamine use.

What Do Methamphetamines Do?

Amphetamines are stimulants. They give the user a high and a feeling of euphoria. Crystal meth is more potent and powerful than others. It produces a powerful high that causes near-immediate cravings.

Crystal meth activates both the dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Users often binge on crystal meth and stay up for days at a time. The neurotransmitters released result in the destruction of dopamine and norepinephrine receptors. This makes the user crave the drug even more. It’s one of the worst drugs to put in your body because it can cause serious damage.

How it Usually Starts

Many people start using methamphetamines to help them stay awake when working. College students to truck drivers take advantage of its effects. Meth abuse often results in psychosis, aggression, and violence. The effects can last up to 12 hours. The drug results in intense pleasure, followed by depression, fatigue, and significant cravings. Long-term use may actually cause damage to the brain. Memory and emotional regulation become difficult. The damage may only be partially reversible.

What’s Methamphetamine Withdrawal Like?

Withdrawal depletes levels of dopamine in the brain. This can make it hard to feel pleasure. Mood swings and depression can be rebalanced in time. Cravings increase for a week or two. But it then they take about five weeks to wear off. Users can also experience visual, audio, and tactile hallucinations. If you’re quitting meth, you can expect to go through five stages of recovery. Stage 1 is withdrawal. Some cases of withdrawal last a month or longer. Tremors, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and heart palpitations are common. You may feel like you’re going to crumble.

The “Gateway” into Addiction

Like cocaine withdrawal, quitting crystal meth also has a honeymoon stage. Stage 2. You may feel great. And you may feel that you’ve shattered the addiction. Unfortunately, this feeling can result in relapses. You haven’t overcome your addiction yet. Then you’ll hit the wall.

Stage 3. The honeymoon is over now and you feel like you’ll never get past the wall. You feel depressed, bored, and lonely. You can’t leap over it. You can’t crawl under it. This stage happens about 45 days after quitting. And it can last for up to three months! Again, relapses are common here. If you make it past this stage, you’re on to Stage 4. The adjustment phase.

You must now adjust socially, physically, and emotionally to sobriety. It’s time for a revolution. Stage 5, the last, is the ongoing recovery. You’ve achieved success. Multiple attempts are often necessary to get to this stage. But once here, you have a better chance of continuing a fulfilling life of sobriety.

What Can Help Methamphetamine Withdrawal?

Medical detox professionals prescribe antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications to regulate brain chemistry. Unfortunately, no drugs have proven to be statistically effective in treating amphetamine withdrawal. It’s important to seek professional support when quitting amphetamines. Quitting immediately can lead to long-term reductions in attention and pleasure-seeking. Removing themselves from daily life allows patients to focus on the long recovery.

Free Yourself From the Worst Drugs

What is the worst drug? It’s the drug you struggle with. Or that someone you love struggles with. If it’s opioids, cocaine, or methamphetamines, it’s going to be hard to quit. If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, call Coastal Detox for help. It’s hard to quit the worst drugs on your own, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can help eliminate the pain of withdrawal. Don’t wait. Free yourself from addiction today.