If you’re seeking support for someone you care about who has a heroin addiction, we want you to know that it is treatable and that recovery is possible with the right support.
Addiction can negatively impact every area of a person’s life, from finances and work and social engagement, to their health and closest relationships, including their relationship with themselves.
At Arrow Health, we take an evidence-based, clinical approach to supporting people with their addiction which is what makes our heroin addiction treatment different to other rehab centres. Our dedicated and qualified team have over 30 years’ experience and are here to help guide your loved one to recovery.
If you have someone in your life with a heroin addiction, it’s normal to have a lot of questions including how you can help them. In this article we look at:
- What is Heroin?
- What Does Heroin Look Like?
- How is Heroin Used?
- Risks Associated with Injecting Drugs
- Immediate Effects of Heroin Use
- Longer Term Effects of Heroin Use
- How We Approach Heroin Addiction Treatment
What is Heroin?
A manufactured and highly addictive drug, heroin is from a group classified as opioids. Other opioids include prescription medications – morphine, methadone, codeine and pethidine. When someone uses opioids, they often experience rapid pain relief, deep relaxation and a sense of contentment.
Heroin is also referred to as smack, dope, junk, gear and H, amongst other names.
What Does Heroin Look Like?
There are a few forms that heroin comes in. A fine white powder, off-white granules or small brown rocks.
How Is Heroin Used?
The most common route of using heroin is intravenously (injecting into a vein). Other ways of using heroin include inhaling it’s vapour (also known as ‘chasing the dragon’); snorting it; or mixing it with cannabis and/or tobacco and smoking it.
Risks Associated with Injecting Drugs
When someone is injecting heroin, there is an increased risk of infections, tetanus, and a likelihood of vein damage with prolonged use.
Further complications are possible if needles are shared with others, increasing the risk of contracting hepatitis B and C, HIV and AIDS.
Immediate Effects of Heroin use
The effects of heroin use can last anywhere from three to five hours and may include:
- Deep relaxation
- Rapid pain relief
- Intense pleasure
- Confusion and clumsiness
- Slow and sometimes slurred speech
- A sense of detachment
- Reduced appetite
- Slow heartbeat and breathing
- Reduced sex drive
- Possible vomiting
- Pinpoint pupils
- Dry mouth
Longer Term Effects of Heroin Use
If heroin is used on a regular basis, the following issues may arise:
- Needing larger doses to reach the same high
- Deep depression
- Damage to organs including heart, lungs, liver and brain
- Collapsed or damaged veins if injecting
- Disruption to menstrual cycle for women
- Fertility issues for men and women
- Loss of sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction for men
- Tooth decay and other dental issues
- Chronic constipation
- Problems holding down employment
- Fractured relationships
- Financial challenges
How We Approach Heroin Addiction Treatment
At Arrow Health, we take a clinical approach to heroin addiction treatment. The programs we offer are evidence based and informed by international best-practice.
You can read about the Minnesota Model and Therapeutic Community Model, which our programs are strongly informed by.
Our approach encourages the initial physical detox (medicated if required) in our hospital, followed by an inpatient rehab program, ongoing abstinence, and therapy for a minimum of twelve months after completing our inpatient program/s.
We ensure that any individual struggling with heroin addiction is treated with dignity and respect and is given access to facilities and services to treat their illness.
Our programs take a collaborative approach, are developed with consideration of each step of the recovery process and include:
- Detox and abstinence
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT)
- Group work
- Therapeutic community
- Self efficacy and motivation
- Mindfulness based interventions
- Effective strategy building
- Family therapy
Will Private Health Insurance Cover Treatment?
Navigating the health system is hard enough when you aren’t stressed or dealing with addiction.
Let us help you.
If you have private health insurance, your treatment might be covered by your health fund, depending on your level of cover.
You can review our Read our ‘Am I Covered?’ page for guidance and details on how to have an online eligibility check with our Intake Team, over the phone. Alternatively, you can just call us now and we can check for you.
Are You Seeking Help For Yourself or a Loved One?
At Arrow Health, our qualified team have over 30 years’ experience supporting individuals and families to deal with the challenges of drug and alcohol addiction. Guided by international best practice, we offer you the best in clinical treatment to get you or your loved one on the road to recovery.
If you have any questions, are seeking advice or want further details about our programs, please contact us and we will do everything we can to provide you with the information you need.