Is Heroin Detox Really Necessary before Rehab?
An estimated nine percent of the U.S. population abuses heroin and other opiate drugs within any given year, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. As it only takes a couple weeks of ongoing use to get addicted to heroin, more than a few people find themselves caught up in the drug’s effects before they know it. Heroin detox offers addicted individuals the type of solid foundation needed to enter rehab and regain control of their lives.
People who’ve tried to get off heroin on their own must contend with the inevitable withdrawal effects that develop when a person stops using. People who’ve used for a considerable length of time may also be dealing with new and/or undiagnosed psychological disorders brought on by heroin use.
While a person can attempt heroin detox on his or her own, the damage done to the brain and body make it that much more difficult to follow-through. As relapse is a common occurrence after attempting heroin detox and failing, the risk of overdose becomes even more probable when proper heroin detox protocols are overlooked.
Anyone considering heroin detox has likely reached the point where the drug no longer produces the desired “high” effect. At this point, a person must continue using heroin in order to feel normal regardless of whether any desired effects occur. Unfortunately, continued use will only further damage vital brain and body processes with users needing increasingly larger doses in order to keep feeling “normal.
Taking increasingly larger doses also helps to keep distressing withdrawal effects from developing. Withdrawal effects may take the form of:
- Abdominal cramping
- Muscle aches
Over time, avoiding withdrawal effects becomes the number one reason why a person keeps using. Heroin detox uses medication therapies specifically designed to eliminate withdrawal effects and ease a person through the detox stage.
Heroin effects on the brain can disrupt vital neurotransmitter chemical levels, which makes a person highly susceptible to developing psychological disorders. As brain chemicals, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine play essential roles in regulating emotional balance and cognitive functions, any chemical balance can potentially trigger new as well as latent psychological problems.
A heroin detox program conducts a comprehensive assessment to determine a person’s level of addiction, psychological status and health condition. In cases where a psychological disorder exists, heroin detox programs offer treatment for both the addiction and any psychological issues a person may have.
During periods of abstinence, the brain and body become more sensitive to heroin’s effects. Anytime the body goes through an abstinence/withdrawal period, heroin tolerance levels decrease as the brain and body attempt to restore normal functions.
Someone who’s stopped using for a while and suffered a relapse will likely try to ingest the same dosage amount as before. Considering the changes the body has gone through, ingesting the same amount as before can produce life-threatening effects akin to brain damage, respiratory failure and death.
For these reasons, any attempt at heroin detox should be taken seriously as the potential for relapse and overdose increases with each failed detox attempt.