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Heroin Addiction Treatment in Malibu and Los Angeles, California

Oro House Heroin Addiction Treatment in Malibu and Los Angeles, California offers dual diagnosis rehab in a luxury environment.

Our program is based on the Compassionate Care Model® of treatment and uses “connection, not control” to empower our clients and inspire them throughout their heroin addiction treatment recovery.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2009, 86% of heroin users said their addiction started with prescription painkillers.

Since that time, heroin addiction has become an epidemic in the United States and worldwide. Much of the problem originally began from overprescribing opioid pain medications.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Centers
Heroin Addiction Treatment Center

In the beginning, it was a normal routine for doctors to prescribe Vicodin, Oxycodone, and other opioid painkillers after surgery or for injury pain management.

Doctors and patients didn’t understand the addictive nature of opioids and there wasn’t any oversight for prescriptions. Over time, using opioids for pain quickly led to a tolerance and patients needed to take more of the drugs to feel the same effect as when they started.

By the time the prescriptions ran out, many patients were already hooked, and either dependent or addicted.

Once addicted and without access to new prescriptions, many people turned to the street or friends to get more painkillers. Opioids can be difficult to get or expensive to buy, and heroin is a cheaper alternative that is also easier to get.

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What are the Causes of Heroin Addiction?

There are a variety of factors and causes of heroin addiction, and each person experiences them differently.

Some people are predisposed to addiction either genetically or because substance use is common with their family or friends. Children who grow up with a parent or family member who uses addictive substances may think it’s normal, and use them in the same way.

Others turn to alcohol or drugs like opioids to numb the pain of depression or other mental health issues. In the case of opioids, the increased tolerance leads many to seek more powerful substances like heroin that are easier to get and cheaper to buy.

Nobody uses heroin with the expectation of becoming addicted to it, and it simply happens over time with repeated use until they can’t stop.

Many times, heroin addiction begins with prescription opioids until it escalates to heroin use. Users soon build a tolerance and require more of the drug to feel the same effects. Over time, the structure and function of the brain changes and dependence escalates to addiction.

Once addicted, if a person tries to stop using heroin they experience intense and painful withdrawal symptoms that make them extremely sick. Most heroin users admit they continue using to avoid withdrawal, no matter how badly they want to quit.

Heroin Addiction and Overdose

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 130 people a day die from opioid-related drug overdoses. That’s slightly less one person every ten minutes.

The number of overdose deaths (including heroin) in the United States increased from 8.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2002, to 32.6 deaths in 2022, according to the CDC.

It’s estimated that more than 350,000 Americans have died from opioids since 1999. It began in the 1990s with a wave of prescription opioid deaths that occurred at the same time that pharmaceutical companies said opioid pain medications were not addictive.

Because doctors weren’t concerned with addiction, they began prescribing opioid medications at increased rates, which led to misuse of the medications. In 2016, 11.8 million people in the U.S. misused prescription opioids based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Even more alarming, 2.1 million Americans became dependent and were living with an opioid addiction. When their opioid prescriptions ran out, many dangerously turned to heroin.

How to Know When a Loved One is Using Heroin

Most people who use heroin regularly will exhibit common physical, psychological, and behavioral signs and symptoms as outlined below.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Dry mouth
  • Small or constricted pupils
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Puffiness or dark circles under the eyes
  • Shortness of breath or shallow breathing
  • Unable to hold themself up or they nod off
  • Itchy skin and scratching
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Needle marks on the arms and feet
  • Malnutrition and weight loss
  • A runny nose
  • Scabs from picking their skin

Psychological Symptoms:

  • Personality changes
  • Disorientated behavior
  • Jumbled thoughts and inability to make decisions
  • Intense euphoria
  • Frequent memory loss
  • Lack of emotions
  • Depression or anxiety

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Behavior that is out of the ordinary
  • Loss of self-control
  • Spending much of their time seeking more drugs
  • Increased secrecy
  • Unable to fulfill responsibilities
  • Loss of productivity
  • Continued heroin use despite negative consequences
  • Stealing money to fund their addiction

The Heroin High

The Heroin High produces feelings of intense euphoria and pleasure without a care in the world. For many users, the heroin high isn’t only physical, and it also works to psychologically numb the pain from other negative experiences, like depression or mental health issues.

When using heroin, a person’s brain is flooded with dopamine, which is a feel good neurotransmitter that offers feelings of calm and pleasure.

Heroin use can instill a calming relief, and make a person feel safe, while giving them a false sense of wellbeing.

Years ago, these feelings could offer hope for heroin users that everything was okay, when in fact it masked the unfortunate circumstances they may have been living with, such as being homeless or jobless.

Today, things are different, and everyone from students to professionals use opioids or heroin to escape from the pain of financial or emotional stress, and it cuts across all age and income levels.

Immediate Side Effects of Heroin Use

Some of the initial side effects of early heroin use are unpleasant, causing many first-time users to never use again.

Heroin can cause users to vomit, and like opioids, it often causes constipation. It can reduce the sexual drive and make it difficult to have an orgasm.

Heroin is rarely found in a pure form and is usually mixed with other substances and impurities that cause unknown side effects. Heroin is now mixed with fentanyl making it more powerful, and extremely dangerous, with an increased risk of overdose.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use?

When someone uses heroin for a long period of time, there are functional and structural changes in the brain that impact decision-making and the ability to feel normal or happy without the drug.

Over time, some studies have shown that heroin may deteriorate white matter in the brain, limiting brainwave activity, making it difficult to control behavior, and preventing a person from properly dealing with stressful situations.

Once an individual develops a tolerance to heroin, it’s necessary to take more of the drug to produce the same effect as when they first started using it. Users will also experience severe withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop using it.

When this happens, a person will do whatever it takes to find more of the drug without regard for any negative consequences. Some users will move up to smoking or injecting heroin to feel the effects quicker, or to get a more intense high.

What Are Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms?

One of the biggest reasons many heroin addicts continue to use the drug is to avoid the painful withdrawal symptoms.

When somebody stops using heroin, he or she might experience intense muscle aches, severe body pain, nausea, and possibly vomiting episodes like having an extremely bad case of the flu.

Other heroin withdrawal symptoms include irregular heartbeat, intense sweating or chills, difficulty sleeping, and powerful cravings for the drug.

The most serious cases can cause seizures, respiratory distress, or even a stroke.

Withdrawal symptoms typically appear a few hours after a person stops using the drug and will often reach its peak within 24 to 72 hours. After about a week, the symptoms will subside, but in some cases, withdrawal symptoms can last as long as months.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Options

Since heroin is such a physically addictive drug, treatment options can include both behavioral and pharmacological approaches.

During heroin detox, patients sometimes receive medications that are helpful to ease cravings and reduce the symptoms of withdrawal.

Once the initial symptoms have subsided, other medications are sometimes prescribed.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is one of the most effective treatment options for opioid and heroin addiction and may include some of the following options.

Here is a brief summary of the difference between agonist vs antagonist drugs.

Agonist Medications

Methadone is the most common agonist medication and it gives the user a much slower, dampening high to decrease usage and wean off heroin. Methadone is only available at Methadone clinics and is not used by addiction treatment centers.

Buprenorphine (Suboxone or Subutex) is a partial agonist. It works by reducing drug cravings, but it does not produce a high like methadone. To stop heroin or opioid use, an addiction doctor can prescribe this medication.

Antagonist Medications

Naltrexone is an antagonist that blocks the effects of heroin and opioids in the brain so a user doesn’t get high. This helps a person stop using heroin and is an effective relapse prevention technique. There are several forms of Naltrexone that can be taken orally, as an implant, or a once a month injection called Vivitrol.

Treatment For Heroin Addiction

As mentioned earlier, detox is usually the first step of a heroin addiction treatment program. At Oro House, we offer a safe and comfortable medically supervised detox for our clients. Heroin detox usually takes approximately five to seven days to complete.

After finishing detox, our 30 to 90-day residential treatment program has shown to be the most effective way to treat heroin addiction.

We recognize the importance of providing a comprehensive program that includes both detox and residential addiction treatment together for continuity of care for our clients.

Our non 12 step rehab program uses evidence-based therapies that have proven to be successful for treating all forms of substance use addiction, including heroin and opioids.

Effective Heroin Addiction Treatment Modalities include:

  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
  • Relapse Prevention Therapy
  • Neurofeedback

When residential treatment has been completed, our outpatient programs are available for those who require more work or maintenance in an outpatient setting.

Our continued aftercare support is an effective way to prevent relapse and maintain a healthy, lifelong sobriety.

To learn more about our Heroin Addiction Treatment Centers in Malibu and Los Angeles, California, call us toll-free at (888) 595-0235.