Heroin Addiction Recovery and Relapse

Published on February 17, 2020

There is no doubt that heroin addiction is difficult to treat. It’s one of the most difficult addictions to recover from, but it is possible. It’s important that people struggling with this addiction know why people who are addicted to heroin.

There is no doubt that heroin addiction is difficult to treat. It’s one of the most difficult addictions to recover from, but it is possible. It’s important that people struggling with this addiction know why people who are addicted to heroin.

The Heroin Epidemic

A big component of understanding why people who are addicted to heroin relapse requires a general understanding of how heroin works in the brain. It’s an incredibly powerful drug, and even after only using it one time, people may become addicted.

When you take heroin, it binds to your brain’s opioid receptors. Like prescription painkillers, it then pushes a flood of dopamine into your system that creates intense pleasure and even euphoria. Your brain is wired to want to continue participating in activities that bring pleasure, and the effects of heroin are much more impactful than any natural pleasure-seeking activity could be. Your brain keeps compelling you to seek out this stimulus again and again after you try heroin.

Substance abuse is a growing public health concern in the USA (US), especially now that the US faces a national drug overdose epidemic. Over the past decade, the number of drug overdose deaths has rapidly grown, largely driven by increases in prescription opioid-related overdoses. In recent years, increased heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl overdoses have substantially contributed to the rise of overdose death

After using heroin over an extended period, your brain adjusts to its presence and that’s when you develop a tolerance. Once you have a tolerance for heroin or other opioids, without them, you may become ill or experience negative side effects.

It’s all a dangerous cycle, but one of the biggest reasons why people who are addicted to heroin relapse is the incredibly addictive nature of this drug.

A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin addiction, including both behavioral and pharmacological (medications). Both approaches help to restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior, resulting in increased employment rates and lower risk of HIV and other diseases and criminal behavior. Although behavioral and pharmacologic treatments can be extremely useful when utilized alone, research shows that for some people, integrating both types of treatments is the most effective approach.