Teen Heroin Abuse, What Is It
Heroin is an extremely addictive Opioid drug that’s synthesized from Morphine. Heroin can be snorted, smoked, or injected and usually comes in a white or brown powder substance. It’s estimated that almost ¼ of all people who use Heroin once become addicted. Teen Heroin Abuse is a growing danger in our youth.
What Heroin Abuse Looks Like
The characteristic, sought-after high Heroin produces is a surge of euphoric energy. This may be accompanied by other symptoms such as a dry mouth, confused thoughts, a heavy feeling associated with the limbs, overall feeling of warmth, and alternating waking and drowsy states.
Heroin enters and acts on the brain extremely quickly, which is one reason for its severe health risks, as well as it being so addictive. Heroin produces its high by converting back into Morphine and then targeting certain receptors in the brain that are usually associated with pain and reward. These receptors are located in the brain stem, which also controls critical automatic functions such as blood pressure and breathing. This connection is why one of the most common ways which overdoses are fatal is the suppression of breath.
Because Heroin affects the brain so strongly and directly, it changes the brain’s functioning. This also creates tolerance, where more of the drug is needed to produce the same desired effect. This, in turn, leads to dependence, addiction, and possible overdose.
Some of the other side effects of Heroin use include, but are not limited to:
- Fatal overdose
- Spontaneous abortion
- Collapsed veins
- Heart infection
- Severe pulmonary complications
- Digestive system complications
- Liver and/or kidney disease
In general, it is not safe for teens to suddenly stop using Heroin without any oversight or assistance from a doctor or mental health professional. Because the brain becomes physically dependent upon Heroin after repetitive use, if a teen does try to stop using too quickly, they may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Cold flashes
Some recent studies show an increase in teen use of Heroin, caused by a connection to prescription pain killer addiction, which later leads them to turn to Heroin, for a similar, stronger high, at a lower price.
Residential Teen Treatment
Treatment for Heroin abuse is a challenging, involved process that must address a number of different physical and psychological factors. Because Heroin is such an extremely addictive substance, it can be very difficult for teens to quit, which is why residential treatment can be a great option in providing an encompassing treatment approach. Because teens come to Paradigm to focus on overcoming their addiction at a distance from some of their other normal, day-to-day challenges, they have an advantage of being able to focus all of their energy and time toward this goal.
Heroin treatment involves specific steps related to addiction, withdrawal, and recovery, and must be overseen carefully, from the start. Because the brain becomes physically addicted to the drug, the first step is assuring that teens can stop using in a controlled, intentional manner, to assure their physical safety. This process of detoxification can lead to extremely unpleasant side effects, which is why sometimes teens will be helped to gradually detox from the Heroin by prescribing narcotic medications, such as methadone.
In addition to overseeing the detoxification process, therapists work with teens to address any other symptoms they’re experiencing, in addition to their desire for, or detox from, Heroin. Therapists also help teens to address any underlying stressors or conflicts that may have led to their initial and/or continued use of the substance. Through a number of different approaches within the scope of Talk Therapy sessions, therapists help teens to identify what other issues they may need to address, as well as teaching them healthy resources and habits to help them, moving forward. By not only helping teens recognize what conflicts or stresses they need to face, but also teaching them ways to deal with stress and their particular life situations, teens become empowered to move forward toward a successful and lasting recovery.
Is residential treatment necessary for my teen?
While treatment being carried out in a residential setting isn’t mandatory, it has several benefits, especially with regard to Heroin addiction treatment. Because the addiction, withdrawal, and recovery aspects of Heroin treatment are so severe and include a number of different physical and psychological risks, residential treatment provides constant oversight and support of the teen, assuring their physical safety and well-being, every step of the way. Beyond this, it allows for intense treatment that will hopefully allow for teens to return back to a healthy, happy life, in a relatively short time period. If you have further questions or concerns as to whether Paradigm residential treatment is the best option for your teen, we’d be happy to assist in any way we can.