Widely regarded as one of the most dangerous and deadly illegal drugs on the streets of the UK, heroin is a particularly unsafe and worrying substance that is both highly addictive and powerfully destructive to human physical and mental health.
Those who become addicted can expect serious health complications if the dependency is ignored and left untreated, resulting in long-term medical issues and potentially death.
At the Executive Rehab Guide, we understand that heroin is rarely ever the first addictive drug a person uses. So if you or a loved one is struggling, call 0808 1150 446 today to speak to an expert.
Heroin addiction overview
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. 
The pathway to heroin use usually comes via an addiction to a different substance, sometimes known as a ‘gateway drug’.
Alternatively, existing dependency on legal, prescribed opiates such as Morphine, Oxycontin and Codeine can lead to a dependency on illicit drugs like heroin.
How to spot a heroin addiction?
The biggest misconception about addiction is that it involves an element of choice for the user and that addicts are people who enjoy the feeling that the drug gives them and choose to chase it further.
In reality, powerful opiates such as heroin literally chemically change the way our brains work and how neurotransmitters are released.
- Using alone without other people knowing
- Hiding your usage
- Memory loss
- Lying about the amount you take
- Using it to shut out negative thoughts
- Trying to forget memories or traumas
- Trying to numb any pain – physical or psychological
- Using it to turn down thoughts of guilt and shame
- Others being concerned about your behaviour
- Turning into a different person
The process of heroin addiction:
- Heroin hijacks the endogenous opioid neurotransmitters in the brain
- The drug impacts the production of natural endorphins, dopamine and other neurotransmitters
- The brain becomes reliant on the presence of heroin to release important neurotransmitters
- The user cannot fully register pain, hunger, thirst, pleasure or mood control without the presence of heroin
Once addiction takes hold, our central nervous cannot function correctly without the presence of the drug, trapping a user in a cycle of chemical dependency that is difficult and painful to escape from.
While it is unlikely that most people could become fully dependent after a single use of heroin, the slippery slope begins quickly and the path to addiction is steep and fast.
Treatment: Heroin rehab
- Treatment programmes that last from 28-90 days
- 1-3 week detoxes
- Identifies any co-occurring mental health conditions
- Outpatient sessions
- Inpatient “life-changing” programmes
Like any addiction, dependency on heroin is treatable, but the devastating effects of the drug mean that it is one of the most difficult substances to successfully withdraw from and stay off permanently.
If you are addicted to heroin and struggling to give it up, or you’re concerned about a friend or loved one, don’t delay and take the first step towards effective treatment and recovery as soon as possible.
Explore the options of treatment for heroin addiction at a residential rehab, with medical staff on hand to help you every step of the way.
Some rehab choices in the UK
Types of therapy for heroin addiction
Like addiction to any substance, the long-term treatment pathway involves physical detox and withdrawal, followed by a recovery that can include group therapy and psychological treatments undertaken in a residential rehab facility, like Castle Craig, for example.
The journey will require patience, effort, understanding and vulnerability.
Therapy is going to aim at helping you build a better, stronger relationship with yourself so that you can cope with whatever life throws at you reasonably.
Detox and therapy benefits
- Be in a secure and safe environment
- Medically managed detoxes with round the clock, 24/7 care and support
- Opens you up to a life-changing diagnosis that ensures you receive the correct help
- Experienced team of doctors, nurses and therapists (note, not all facilities will have onsite medical staff – ask us to see who does)
- Personalised rehabilitation and aftercare programmes (some facilities)
- Work on strategies to prevent relapse
Getting professional help
Drugs can make you feel like everything is just fine, momentarily.
Hence, why you might continue to use them.
Today, you might feel like you have a problem and need help, tomorrow the drugs might be in control.
It’s not just your addiction in the driver’s seat, but what drives the addiction in the first place.
Without treating your mental health and learning how to manage and regulate your emotions, you may always fall victim to a cycle of abuse and addiction.
Do this for you, for who you once were.
Trust the experts and schedule a free drug addiction assessment today, because if there’s one thing we know; it’s that the longer you ignore an addiction, the harder it is to help somebody recover effectively.
The difficult reality
A vast number of people are prescribed opiates by their doctor in the UK. For example, prescriptions of Codeine increased by 500% between 2006 and 2017 according to the PLOS Medicine journal, and continue to rise.
When a medical prescription lapses, the patient may be chemically dependent on the opiate substance and turn to illicit drugs like heroin to maintain their supply.
The demographics of opiate users cross all social divides, with 57% of users being female.
Possibility of death
Long-term use of heroin as a result of addiction and chemical dependency has serious and sometimes irreversible effects on the body.
- Collapsed veins
- Kidney and Liver disease
- Infertility (in women)
- Pulmonary infections
- Death by overdose
Call 0808 1150 446 today to speak to a friendly addiction advisor at the Executive Rehab Guide see how you can overcome your addiction to lead a healthier, more fulfilled life without the devastating effects of heroin use.