Heroin Facts

Heroin is a powerful semi-synthetic opiate derived from morphine and is most often used as a recreational drug. It delivers an intense “rush” and is more powerful than most opioid analgesics because it crosses the blood-brain barrier more rapidly. Use of heroin leads quickly to dependence and has a high potential for addiction. Heroin is known to cause “blissful apathy” along with its painkilling effects.

Withdrawal symptoms can develop as soon as three days if regularly used and stop abruptly – much quicker than the onset of withdrawal from some other opiates including oxycodone and hydrocodone.

The History of Heroin

heroin withdrawalHeroin was first synthesized from morphine in 1874. Until 1910, it was marketed as a non-addictive cough suppressant and substitute for morphine. The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, passed in 1914, was meant to control the sale of heroin and other opiates. Heroin was allowed to be prescribed for medical purposes until 1924, when Congress banned the sale, import, or manufacturing in the U.S. Most of the consumption in the U.S. comes from Colombia, Mexico, Canada, Afghanistan, and China. Other top-producing countries include Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.

Heroin is considered a Schedule I Controlled Substance in the U.S. This government classification says heroin has no legal medical use and has the highest potential among opiates for abuse and addiction. Synthesized from morphine, heroin can be smoked, injected, or snorted.

The highly potent and addictive opiate has no accepted medical use but provides for a thriving and profitable black market business around the world. Heroin addiction is dangerous and can be deadly and the risk of heroin overdose is very high. Further, the impact of heroin addiction on individuals, families, relationships, the criminal justice system, and society is devastating.

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Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin withdrawal refers to the wide range of physical and mental symptoms that occurs after stopping or dramatically reducing the drug use. After continuous use people usually develop a physical dependence and are susceptible to a painful withdrawal syndrome (due to chemistry changes that have occurred.)

The brain’s cells make subtle adjustments to help the user stay alive and conscious while taking heroin. These changes happened slowly, over a period of abuse, and similarly the brain’s cells also need a particular time to reverse that damage. They can’t just change from needing heroin to not needing heroin. The cells need adequate time to make the proper reversal adjustments, and during this regulation period, those cells might not function as they should.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms usually begin in around 5 hours after the last dose. It tends to peak between the second and third day and gradually subside between the fifth and seventh. The process can be exhausting and grueling, and even the most well-intentioned users can find themselves returning to their supply when the suffering of withdrawal becomes too much to bear.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Opiates - Opium poppy on the fieldMany users who attempt to undergo through heroin withdrawal, report that it feels a lot like a horrible case of the flu. However, physical symptoms are not the only signs in addition to feeling physically awful; you might also feel a deep depression accompanied by a persistent and intense craving to use again. Many report that the cravings are the hardest and lengthiest part of a heroin withdrawal (as they can last for months.)

While withdrawals vary from person to person, most describe the pain as excruciating. It all can depend on how long the drug is used; the amount one is accustomed to taking on a regular basis, and other relevant factors. However, these are the typical symptoms most people feel during heroin withdrawal:

  • muscle spasms
  • sweating
  • insomnia
  • itching that leads to compulsive scratching
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • cramps
  • cold sweats
  • yawning
  • sneezing
  • chills
  • muscle and bone ache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea and fever.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Options

There are multiple methods of treatment available for heroin addiction. It is important to note that not all treatment centers are the same, and some have a much better reputation and track record than others.

Those looking for an effective treatment should first consider their own individual history, medical, and emotional needs. It is crucial to make sure the treatment center is properly equipped and thorough. Some options may be substitution therapies, and medical detox.

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Substitution Therapies

Some detox centers offer substitution therapies such as Suboxone (Buprenorphine) or Methadone. These replacement medications are opiates and can temporarily help patients avoid the withdrawals from heroin. Opioid substitution therapy such as Suboxone can be used for a determined length of time or others opt for long term use. Because they are opiates themselves, they can cause dependency and addiction. Methadone is a highly controversial form of treatment because it can build up in the body, making an overdose more likely. Regardless both drugs are potentially addictive themselves and can have a very lengthy and challenging detox.

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Medical Detox

There may be some who want to rid themselves entirely of opiates and may seek other options such as a medical detox in conjunction with psychological aftercare. This unique combination of services can be extremely successful and allows patients to rid their system of toxic substances like heroin altogether, while in a comfortable and safe medically supervised environment.

The first step in the heroin treatment process should involve detoxification. Heroin treatment centers have developed a bad reputation because of their archaic and out of date forms of detoxification. However, medicine has evolved and so has the way we view and treat addiction.

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Choosing the Best Heroin Detox Treatment

Modern medicine has made heroin detoxification safer, less intense, and much more comfortable than the traditionally failed heroin rehab options in the past.

When making the decision to enter a treatment center, it is okay to be concerned with privacy, safety, and comfort. It is important to keep in mind; that heroin dependence is a medical condition that requires the appropriate medical care. No two heroin treatment centers are the same, therefore some of the things to be considered should be:

  • Reputation
  • Years in Business
  • Medical Assistance Available
  • Facility Credentials
  • Medical Staff Availability and Accreditation
  • Individualized Treatment Options
  • Recovery Care
  • Experience
  • Privacy
  • Success History
If the first phase of the detox is conducted improperly, the process can become very painful, traumatic, and even life-threatening. The discomfort of withdrawal is one of the primary reasons people are scared of getting help or relapse during detoxification. Research has shown that a significant percentage of heroin addiction treatment programs do not succeed to get past the detox stage.

Detoxing from heroin can be a much more comfortable and a safer experience when you choose to do it with the help of experienced medical professionals, in an inpatient facility program – rather than to attempt by yourself. While you may still experience some discomfort, many symptoms can be greatly alleviated with the help of medications, proper monitoring, and compassionate support.

Unlike traditional rehab programs and outpatient options, inpatient medical detox provides treatment with 24/7 access to health care services, should they be needed. With this option, patients have access to medical professionals around-the-clock to help through the difficult phase of withdrawal and detox.

Who Benefits from Inpatient Detox?

An inpatient medical detoxification is highly beneficial for any individual that has been struggling with heroin addiction. Furthermore, there are a group of people, who these services are just not helpful but the indicated medical route they should take.

Inpatient, medical treatment might be best suited for the ones who:

  • Have struggled with a long-term heroin addiction.
  • Have a history of relapsing.
  • Older than 40 years old.
  • Are smokers
  • Suffers from hypertension
  • Have diabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Have coexisting conditions that need a higher level of medical care.

Rapid Detox and Medical Detoxification

The Waismann Method offers a number of option for heroin detox. Nearly 100% of our patients complete the detoxification phase, thus giving them a better chance to move forward with an individualized recovery plan. We provide a combination of the most current medical protocols performed by a staff that offers compassion, respect and privacy; Our heroin detox program is as successful and comfortable as one can find.

We recognize the difficulty of overcoming heroin addiction; we understand the shame in admitting to the abuse and the fear of going through the withdrawal. For all those reasons, we try to make the experience of going through a heroin treatment program as pleasant and as dignified as it can be.

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The Waismann Method

Our treatment starts in an accredited hospital, where patients are admitted into their private rooms for an extensive physical examination so that doctors can identify the safest and most efficient detoxification course to take. Because we are in a full service accredited hospital, we have the immediate access and availability of different medical specialists to consult and support our efforts.

Patients fly in from all over the world to our detox center, seeking our excellent reputation and superior medical care. We treat heroin addiction as a physical disease that can be overcome with the latest medical techniques. We can medically reverse opioid physical dependence while controlling physical cravings, as well as we can offer extended aftercare options to diagnose the underlying causes of the addiction and/ or relapses.

A vital part of recovery involves addressing the motives behind the heroin abuse. Many times heroin users are trying to numb negative emotions. These individuals are usually highly sensitive people, and the drug often serves as an effort to self-medicate depression, OCD, anxiety, or even trauma. Those issues need to be identified and addressed to prevent future relapses while providing these individuals, with the greatest chance of recovery they ever had.
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After Care

opiate addiction recoveryFor all the reasons above, we have created Domus Retreat, a recovery center where we treat the person and not just their symptoms. With a team of highly skilled professionals, we can help clients gain the confidence and tools necessary to maintain a heroin-free future and the ability to understand the:

  • Root of their addiction.
  • Motives for their actions.
  • Underlying causes driving these destructive behaviors.
  • Need to create forgiveness within.

Why Choose the Waismann Method?

The Waismann Method® is one of the safest, most effective, comprehensive, and humane programs you will find. Here are some of what is offered exclusively to our patients:

  • Full service accredited JCAHO hospital.
  • Private room.
  • Access to various medical specialists and experts.
  • All-inclusive program including hospital stay and recovery at our exclusive Domus Retreat recovery center.
  • Integrative recovery therapies.
  • Extended treatment program options.
  • Quadrupled Board Certified Medical Director (with two decades’ experience in opiate treatment and Rapid Detox.)
  • Multiple options for medical heroin detoxification (based on patient’s individual needs.)
Heroin dependence is a physical disorder that can be successfully reversed in a medically safe and efficient manner. Our approach to heroin treatment assists patients through the detoxification phase in a safe, dignified, and private manner.

If safety and effectiveness are your priority; Waismann Method Medical Group should be your only choice. We are constantly evolving and improving to provide the most advanced heroin detox treatment worldwide.


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