Heroin addiction starts with regular recreational use that leads to dependency. After prolonged use of heroin, a physical dependency develops and takes control of the body. Then, before long, the addiction takes control of the person’s behavior also. However, like any opiate addiction, the body and brain can return to its normal states through proper detoxification. Heroin addiction is a serious matter because if a person who is dependent on the drug suddenly halts usage of the drug, they will experience severe withdrawal symptoms within 6 hours or so. People begin using heroin for a variety of reasons. Research shows that many teenagers who begin using the drug do so to cope with self-image issues or to fit in with certain groups. For older adults, reasons include struggling with depression or self-medicating the pain associated with a mental illness. No matter the reasons, once heroin addiction occurs, it can destroy everything in a person’s life.
Heroin addiction does not discriminate based on sex, age, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. In fact, the demographic results of individuals in the U.S. dependent on this highly dangerous drug captures almost every face of every class and ethnicity, gender, and age. In addiction to the health risks associated with using heroin, it’s especially dangerous when the person is addicted. When addicted or fully dependent, the person will go to almost any measure to get the drug. Individuals who share needles when shooting heroin are at risk for catching HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, or some other serious illness. Overcoming the addiction is impossible to do alone. The most effective way is to enroll in a drug treatment program. Such programs will allow the individual to safely come off of the drug and teach new ways to cope with the future of a heroin-free lifestyle.