Through the media, society is given a false representation of what a heroin addict is truly like. In T.V shows, movies, and on the news heroin addicts are seen as 'junkies.' The typical 'junkie' stereotype is a homeless man, dirty, old, and poor. In reality, the face of heroin addiction has many different sides.
Heroin addiction can look like your neighbor, your coworker, or your little brother. It can leave an individual destroyed from the inside out. It can leave track marks all over an addict's skin, as well as lesions, bumps, and scars from constant needle abuse.
Long-term side effects of heroin
The long-term side effects of heroin use can be unforgiving on both the body and the mind. It can destroy the teeth and gums, leaving them raw, sore, broken, and discolored. When an individual is on heroin they may feel a deep urge to scratch their skin and pick at their scabs, which can cause permanent scarring.
It can also completely diminish an addict's sex drive. In men, it can cause permanent impotence. It can also cause liver disease and irreversible kidney damage. It can also lead to lung infections, collapsed veins, and blood clots. Heroin addicts also risk destroying their nasal cavity and contracting diseases such as AIDs and hepatitis.
Long-term heroin abuse can also cause many lasting health effects that impede a person's daily life. It can lead to a severely diminished immune system. This can cause an addict to get sick much more frequently, and be susceptible to more infections and dangerous bacteria.
Heroin addiction also affects an addict's loved ones. It can be extremely painful for someone to watch their loved one destroy their life with addiction. It can cause them to feel stressed, depressed, and even to blame. Sometimes, it may even cause loved ones to develop an addiction as well.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be awful. A person can be vomiting constantly, as well as be stricken with violent diarrhea. At the start of a detox, an addict can feel extreme emotions such as depression and possible suicidal thoughts. Physically they may get very sweaty, cry unintentionally, and have a runny nose.
As the addict begins to cleanse their body of the toxins, their symptoms may get much worse. They may have violent mood swings and become agitated by simple interactions. It will be almost impossible for a recovering addict to get sleep, and when they do they may experience night terrors.
No matter how hard an addict tries, when they are detoxing it will feel impossible for them to get comfortable. They will feel jittery, restless, and might be unable to sit still. They may be biting their nails or pulling and twisting their hair. During withdrawal, an addict's blood pressure and heart rate may also increase.
Drug stigma and its troubling effect
In the United States, there is a huge problem when it comes to the negative stigma attached to heroin drug addiction. People see addicts as the scum of society. Many do not think that addicts deserve the same care and compassion as other sick people. Addiction is not seen as a disease, but rather as a choice. Many jobs are not understanding in giving employees time off for going through a drug detox. Many insurance companies will not cover the expensive care that a recovering addict may need.
Many addicts were once full-functioning individuals, with families that loved and cared about them. At some point, they lost their ability to fight off their urges, and succumbed to their addiction.
Many addictions stem from untreated mental illnesses. When a person begins to develop depression, they may seek out dangerous substances as a way to treat that feeling of sadness. This soon leads to the individual developing a tolerance, and an addiction.
Drug addiction can also stem from an addiction that developed from a previous injury. Doctors over-prescribe dangerous, addictive medications with no regard for what is going to happen to their patient once they leave the office. When a person has a serious surgery, the doctors write the script for the pain, and don't realize the deep correlations that their actions have with contributing to the opioid epidemic.
Opioid addiction crisis
The opioid epidemic is spreading to all corners of the world, and a lack of constant supply causes some addicts to turn to harsher drugs to curb their cravings. This drug will most likely be heroin.
Heroin is cheap to produce, and easy to sell. Dealers get their customers hooked in one sale, and control the prices, and favors, that they want in exchange for access to the drug. When addicts run out of money and options, they may even begin to sell their body on the streets to afford even a small fix.
It was found that of all heroin users, 23 percent of them got hooked on the first try. One bad mistake, and their lives would never be the same. Heroin dominates the brain and takes precedence over any of the body's other needs. It takes the stage over thirst, hunger, and shelter. It holds weight over even basic human hygiene and health.
Heroin recovery is not impossible. There are countless options for treatment centers all over the nation that can provide personalized care for addicts. These facilities can provide both mental and emotional care for an addict, as well as any necessary medications they may need during the detox.
It is best to leave a recovering addict in the care of a trained medical professional. To support them, you need to express your feelings for how important it is to you to get them back to being a healthy, functioning member of society.