Addiction to heroin in young adults ages 18-30 being addicted, how it affects the human body, signs/symptoms of drug abuse, effects on daily lives of the abuser/family, and the road to recovery. Heroin has had a stigma of being one of the most dangerous drugs to use as it is highly addictive and hard to recover from; yet, it is still on the rise like a serpent stocking its prey taking a hold of weak individuals who do not have a strong enough will/mindset. The process coming off heroin is lengthier, for heroin is a neurological substance that alters your mood/behavior thus, having to use Methadone as an alternative to help reverse the addictive behavior. The term “Cold Turkey” (a sudden or abrupt manner) is not advised, since the excruciating withdraws are so severe that the body could create more health issues and sometimes death. Statistics on 18-30 years of age having an addiction to heroin
0.3 million people used heroin over a course of a month during the year 2013. 22.6% were between ages 18-20, 20.9% were between ages 21-25, and 15.9% were between ages 26-29. Heroin has the most risk for contracting blood-borne diseases such as HIV. The number of Americans addicted has nearly doubled from the year 2007 to 2011, with 80% of new Hepatitis C infections occur among those who use drugs intravenously. Over a quarter million of drug related emergency room visits are related to heroin abuse. Nearly half who were reported using heroin reported drug abuse started with prescription pain killers before ever using heroin for the first time. Heroin, how it affects the body
Heroin is an Opioid drug made from morphine extracted from the seed pod of the Asian Opium poppy plant, other common street names include brown sugar, dope, skag, and skunk just to name a few; looks white/brownish powder or black sticky substance “black tar heroin.” Short-term effects include but not limited to are dry mouth, alternate wakeful, drowsy states, itching, and slowed breathing/heart rate. Long-term possible effects are collapsed veins, infection of the lining/valves in the heart, liver or kidney disease, and pneumonia. FDA-approved some medications to help with withdraws, which are Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone; with several different behavioral support therapies such as contingency management and/or 12-step facilitation therapy. Signs/Symptoms of a heroin addict
There are primarily four step in becoming an addict. •Stage 1: Experimentation Trying something for the first time (experimenting) may not appear abusive, but even a single episode can result in substantial harm to self and/or others. For example, drugs and driving could result in serious harm to the user as well as others; if continued could serve as a gateway for additional use (Stage 2). •Stage 2: Social/regular use
The use of any drug or combination of drugs in a social situations or social reasons. Social use often leads to elevated use, which could cause harm physically. Alternatively, individuals with strong tendencies to isolate themselves socially could possibly lead to problem use (Stage 3). •Stage 3: Problem/Risky use
In other words, substance abuse which is the person’s use of dysfunction related to the person’s use of illicit drugs. Substance abuse may or may not involve physiologic dependence or tolerance. For example, an individual may have weekend binge patterns may not involve physiologic dependence, however, they may have adverse effects on themselves or others. •Stage 4: Addiction/chemical dependency
Addiction is a disease in which the substance has caused changes in the body, mind, and behavior. As a result, addicted individuals are unable to control their use no matter the negative consequences. Chemical dependency occurs most frequently when one has a family history of the disease, and possibly lead to death if the person does not abstain from using mood-altering drugs. There are also two different symptoms to look for in an abuser or addict; Physical or behavioral both of which are considered signs. Physical symptoms may include: bloodshot/glazed eyes, dilated/constricted pupils, abrupt weight changes, and bruises/infections. Behavioral symptoms alter the brain’s ability to focus and form coherent thoughts causing the abuser to show the following: increased aggression/irritability, changes in attitude/personality, lethargy, depression, dramatic changes in habits/priorities, financial problems, involvement in criminal activity. If gone unnoticed could lead to overdose or weaken havoc on the body and mind. Effects on an addict daily live and family
When an individual is abusing heroin, they do not stop to reflect their actions, choices, or the consequences of them, leading to damaged relationships that may not be repairable. Families live the lives of an addict as well even when they are sober, due to the fact the family tries to save (fix; make the abuser stop using) the abuser in several diverse ways. An addicted individual consumes a large portion of the family’s time, energy, and focus; The addict’s top priority is finding/using heroin, while the family’s top priority is to help the individual stop using/searching. Since searching consumes so much time and effort it leaves little time to spend with the family and friends, and leaving them feeling resentful, bitter, hurt, and even jealous. The addict will start having increasing arguments with everyone, because the abuser places heroin before his/her family.
Addiction also puts a strong hold on finances, an individual could easily spend hundreds or even thousands on obtaining heroin to fuel the addictive habit as little as one day or a short binge. When the addiction becomes so severe the abuser will lose their job, creating a bigger burden on the spouse/partner. An estimated 75 % of domestic violence incidents occur because of one or more individuals involved in drugs/ alcohol abuse.
Children also share the stress of a heroin addict as they become neglected and not getting the necessities needed for basic survival. A child can become emotionally damaged as the drug abuser could become violent, emotionally abusive, and sexually abusive toward the child. This leads to long-term emotional/psychological damage, causing serious effects on the child’s social stability, education, and mental health. Government studies have shown that an estimated 50-80% of child abuser /neglect incidents are a result of the parent/s being involved with drugs/alcohol use.
Heroin can impair an abuser’s judgement, causing them to take part in risky sexual behavior to obtain the heroin. Which puts their spouse/themselves at elevated risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDS), especially when needles are involved and/or needles being shared. This could lead to HIV for both the user and spouse becoming very ill and/or potentially killing both themselves and/or their loved ones; leaving behind guilt and regret leading to more heavy drug use. Road to recovery
The road to recovery is never an easy road to be on, but reaps great benefits for the user and their families. The six stages of change in addiction recovery are broken down to distinct stages. •Stage 1: Per-contemplation
People in this stage will see more benefits than deficits, but to an outside observer it will look as if the abuser does not want the change; like sleepwalking through life, and this is where the seeds are planted while doing a written cost/ benefit analysis with the client. •Stage 2: Contemplation
People have become aware of their additive behaviors, and are uncertain if it is worth the effort to effect change. The client becomes open to considering change “someday”, and can see a glimpse that the costs overshadow perceived benefits. Behavioral change becomes possible, this is not a “one and done” process, but rather a process over time. •Stage 3: Preparation
People see they have the power to make life changing decisions and see that they are responsible for their choices. The client needs to do the change for themselves, but not by themselves. An intervention is set up to see which option is best, therapeutic intervention, narcotics anonymous, or 12-step program. 12-step program:
1.Admitting powerlessness over the addiction 2.Believing that a higher power (in whatever form) can help 3.Deciding to turn control over to the higher power 4.Taking a personal inventory 5.Admitting to the higher power, oneself, and another person the wrongs done 6.Being ready to have the higher power correct any shortcomings in one’s character 7.Asking the higher power to remove these shortcomings
8.Making a list of wrongs done to others and being willing to make amends for those wrongs 9.Contacting those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm that person 10.Continuing to take personal inventory and admitting when one is wrong 11.Seeking enlightment and connection with the higher power via prayer and meditation 12.Carrying the message of the 12 steps to others in need
Lastly, the client sets a timeline in a written or verbal commitment in an achievable manner. •Stage 4: Action People taking actual steps to engage in positive mental, emotional, and physical change by immersing themselves in addiction recovery, not just abstinence from their drug(s) of choice. “Life-makeover” is the term used for developing a fitness plan, dietary adaptation, and time with positive people doing heat-and soul-nourishing; understanding and “rewriting” their life story, reminding them that their history is not their destiny. •Stage 5: Maintenance
People have now become able to sustain these patterns, the more you practice the easier it gets as time goes by. People become more aware of triggers and stressors that could lead to relapse; this is more an integrated aspect of themselves than merely a rote exercise. •Stage 6: Termination
People now can gaze into a mirror and behold a new man or women, and may proclaim “I no longer want to be that guy!” People consider it unthinkable to return to their former lifestyle, but say nothing is worth losing their sobriety over. The stages of change. People can move back and forth through stages and even relapse is possible; frame it as a re-set and renewal of determination, not as failure.
After doing the research on heroin addiction I was astounded to find the lengths one would go to just to obtain a chemical high that could last a few minutes to a couple of hours. I cannot justify losing everything in have obtained in my life including my family, since I am so close with all of them; I cannot comprehend why one would fall so far in letting that slip away. In conclusion, I would not ever experiment with this illicit drug dur to the neurological/physical hold it has on an individual; drug free is the way to be.