If you decided to embark on a journey toward heroin recovery from Florida, you are probably both scared and excited. Here’s what to expect.
Drug use continues to be an ongoing epidemic in America. Nearly 24 million Americans are addicted to alcohol. That’s almost 10% of the population.
No doubt, heroin can be one of the toughest drugs to beat. Heroin is incredibly addictive. It can also be incredibly dangerous and downright fatal.
Seeking heroin recovery in Florida may be one of the best decisions you make for your life. Let’s get into everything you need to know.
Understanding The Warning Signs of Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction doesn’t always look obvious. While we have stereotypes about what these users might be, many people do not fit that mold.
Heroin addiction can impact anyone. It doesn’t matter your age, race, or socioeconomic status. It also doesn’t matter whether or not you smoke, snort, or intravenously use the substance.
Dependence and Tolerance
By nature, all opioids present with a high risk of dependence. That means your body becomes chemically adapted to the substance. As you become adapted, your tolerance increases.
Ever notice how you were once able to get high on a seemingly small amount? Now, it may take 3-4x that dose.
Heroin can create an intensely euphoric high. Many people use this drug as a form of recreational pleasure. It can also be a form of self-medicating and numbing pain.
That said, cravings can be powerful. Even if you logically know you don’t want to use the drug, your cravings pull at your emotions. They can feel overpowering.
Problems in Daily Functioning
How has your work performance been lately? What about your grades? How would you rank your relationships with your friends and family?
Heroin can destroy all semblance of daily functioning. That’s because it takes tremendous effort to obtain, use, and plan your day around the drug. As a result, you typically neglect other priorities.
Bills go unpaid. You stop returning calls. Maybe you stop brushing your hair or showering.
Even if you still consider yourself ‘functioning,’ it’s essential to take an honest assessment of what you’ve been compromising.
Funding a heroin addiction can get, well, expensive. Getting heroin may be simple- when you have money.
However, at some point, the money runs out. Then what? Most people resort to suspicious or dangerous tactics like lying, stealing, or prostitution.
Why Is It So Difficult To Stop Taking Heroin?
It’s difficult to stop taking any drug if you struggle with addiction. Addiction is a vicious sickness; it doesn’t necessarily play by the rules.
Distressing Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person stops taking heroin, he or she enters into withdrawal. Users may consider these symptoms as some of the worst sensations of physical pain known to man.
From bone and muscle pain to severe vomiting and restlessness, the desire to run away from these symptoms can sabotage someone’s efforts before even embarking.
Co-Occurring Mental Illness
Most people struggling with heroin addiction also have other mental illnesses. These illnesses often include:
- Mood disorders (Depression, Bipolar Disorder)
- Anxiety disorders (Panic Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder)
- Eating disorders
- Psychotic disorders
Addiction requires immediate intervention. Heroin, after all, can be fatal. However, if an individual does not receive support for other issues, there is a change for relapse.
The Willpower Myth
Some people believe that you could stop taking heroin if you really wanted to stop. This is indicative of the common willpower myth.
Addiction, however, is a chronic, brain disease. People need serious brain retraining and reprogramming to obtain sobriety. Willpower may provide some headway, but it won’t be long-lasting.
Don’t beat yourself up for relapsing in the past. Each of those experiences can teach you something about yourself and your addiction.
Relapse is not a sign of failure. It is a sign that you need to do something differently.
Failure or Lack in Planning Ahead
Sobriety is brimming with triggers. Maybe your tumultuous relationship with your mother triggers you. Maybe it’s the nagging feeling of inferiority. Maybe it’s the mere sight of drug paraphernalia.
Maybe it’s all of the above. That’s common, too!
Proper treatment teaches you how to navigate these triggers. However, many people still struggle with them when they arise.
For example, returning to one’s old using environment can be dangerous. The same mentality applies to former workplaces or relationships.
Finally, some people hold unrealistic expectations for their future. They may falsely assume that they’ll “never relapse.” This cockiness can set the stage for problems later on.
Planning ahead provides a pathway to success. You can anticipate stressors. You can also anticipate how you plan to cope with them without using.
Seeking Medical Detox
Detox is the first step of heroin recovery. It can be one of the scariest steps, but it’s a vital one!
Medical detox provides structured settings for individuals struggling with active addiction. These facilities have trained nurses, doctors, and counselors to help you cope with withdrawal symptoms.
In detox, you’ll receive 24/7 care. If you are withdrawing from heroin, the initial symptoms may include:
- Agitation and irritability
- Muscle aches
- Increased tearing
- A runny nose and flu-like symptoms
About 12 hours after the last heroin dose, late symptoms start emerging. These can include:
- Abdominal cramping and bloating
- Goosebumps and shivering
- Vomiting and nausea
- Dilated pupils
- Intensified cravings
Symptoms typically increase over the first 48 hours. They peak within about 72-96 hours. While the symptoms may feel uncomfortable, they are not inherently life-threatening.
Acute withdrawal concludes after about a week. The muscle aches and pains begin to wear off. Even though users may still feel fatigued, they start feeling an increased boost of energy.
Seeking Appropriate Treatment
Detox is the first step of stabilization. However, it is not a sufficient form of treatment. You don’t learn how to cope with the stressors associated with addiction.
After detox, many people succeed in residential facilities. These facilities operate on an inpatient level of care. That means you still receive support 24/7.
In residential care, you’ll be assigned a treatment team. This will include your therapist, case manager, and a physician. The team collaborates together to coordinate your care appropriately.
In treatment, you may participate in the following:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Family therapy
- Trauma-based therapy (EMDR)
- Relapse prevention groups
- Healthy living and wellness groups
- Holistic recovery (yoga, acupuncture)
- Support groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous)
Many clients form powerful friendships during treatment. That’s because you are surrounded by other people who are managing the same stressors. As a group, you cheer each other on and provide support when needed.
It’s also typically not enough to only attend detox and residential treatment. At the most, this is about one month of treatment. Many people try this, return home, and then promptly relapse.
Instead, you need a crafted plan for success. Usually, this entails some form of structured aftercare.
Partial Hospitalization Care
Partial hospitalization (PHP) is one step lower than inpatient care. However, the two share many similarities.
You’ll still attend groups and therapies most days of the week. The main difference is that you won’t receive 24/7 monitoring. You can live on your own and commute to and from the facility.
Intensive Outpatient or Outpatient Care
Intensive outpatient (IOP) or outpatient (OP) levels of care are the least-restrictive treatments.
Depending on the facility, you’ll receive treatment anywhere from 1-4 days a week for a few hours each time. You will still receive professional support on an ongoing basis.
This option allows clients to attend to real-world duties. For example, many people attend treatment in the day and work or go to school at night.
Sober Livings or Halfway Houses
These environments refer to safe and structured living environments intended for newly sober roommates.
There are many advantages to this living arrangement. For one, you’ll need to comply with a set of rules and regulations. This may include daily or weekly chores and curfews.
Moreover, you’ll need to submit to regular drug screenings and breathalyzing. Most of these homes have zero-tolerance policies. If you use, you will be referred out.
Many people have great intentions of staying sober when leaving treatment. However, if they are living on their own, it can be hard to hold themselves accountable. These homes provide that extra layer of accountability.
Many people benefit from ongoing group attendance during their sobriety. Even though Alcoholics Anonymous may be the most well-known name, there are plenty of peer support options available.
Most of these groups focus on abstinence (i.e., complete sobriety from all mood-altering substances). Others take on a more harm reduction approach.
It’s important to find a group that fits in with your values. You should feel welcomed by other group members. You should also feel willing and comfortable to share within the group meetings.
Therapy doesn’t need to end when formal treatment ends. Therapy can be incredibly helpful for other stressors related to sobriety including:
- Self-esteem and confidence
- Work or school-related issues
- Family dynamics
- Stress management and relaxation skills
- Other mental illness issues
- Ongoing relapse prevention work
Many therapists provide sliding scale fees. You may also be able to utilize your insurance to subsidize costs. Contact your treatment facility for referrals.
Pharmacological treatment can be helpful in ongoing recovery efforts. Today, several medications help combat cravings and stabilize moods.
Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors. This means that if people still use heroin, they will not feel the euphoric effects of the drug. Essentially, they can’t get “high.”
Many physicians prescribe naltrexone after successfully completing detox. It can be taken orally (as a tablet) or intravenously by a doctor (known as Vivitrol).
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. It can reduce heroin cravings without producing the same high.
Suboxone contains naloxone, which also reverses opioid effects. If someone were to inject the suboxone, they would enter withdrawal. They would then have to reverse these symptoms by taking the medication orally.
That said, there is still a risk for abusing buprenorphine. Discussing the risk factors with your treatment team is essential.
Methadone is a slow-acting opioid agonist. It is taken orally, and it reaches the brain slower than other opioids.
Since the 1960s, clinics have prescribed methadone for heroin addiction. It can be a useful treatment option for clients who may not respond well to other medications.
That said, you can only take methadone through an approved outpatient program. The substance is dispensed daily.
Methadone is a controversial substance in the recovery sphere. Some people believe it is trading one drug for another drug. Others consider it a miracle, and they claim it’s only substance one can use to wean from heroin successfully.
Regardless of your stance, it’s best to consult with a treatment professional and physician.
Antidepressants help balance the chemicals in your brain. As mentioned, many people with heroin addiction also have other mental illnesses.
SSRIs are the most common class of antidepressants. They are considered relatively safe with mild side effects. They increase serotonin levels in the brain.
Antidepressants are not habit-forming. They can, however, take several weeks to ‘kick in’ before you start to notice the effects.
Recovery can impact sleep. Many people struggle with insomnia, hypersomnia, or nightmares when newly sober. Non-narcotic sleep medications can mitigate some of these symptoms.
Final Thoughts on Your Heroin Recovery in Florida
Sobriety isn’t for the faint of heart. However, it will be one of the most rewarding decisions you ever make.
Are you ready to start you heroin recovery in Florida today? If so, we’re ready to speak to you- and help assess your treatment needs. Contact us today!