Heroin Addiction Treatment in New Jersey - Garden State Treatment Center

Heroin is one of the most potent and intensely addictive drugs ever created. In fact, it’s one of the most dangerous drugs in the Schedule I list of drugs in the Controlled Substances Act.

But despite the drug’s undeniable grip it can have on anyone, treating heroin addiction is still possible, although challenging.

If you or someone you love is struggling with this battle, you’re not alone. This guide will give you a brief understanding of heroin addiction, offering insights to help you recognize its signs, and explore various treatment options available in New Jersey.

New Jersey

Is Heroin Addiction Common in New Jersey?

Unfortunately, heroin addiction is a significant problem in New Jersey. According to a statewide Substance Abuse Overview in 2021, around 38% of all substance abuse treatment admissions in New Jersey were for heroin, with a total number of 33,587.

This makes heroin the most common primary drug of abuse in the state, exceeding alcohol, Cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamines, despite being the third most commonly abused substance across the nation.

Besides being highly addictive, Heroin is also one of the most dangerous drugs, resulting in costly and difficult treatment. Additionally, heroin addiction results in more deaths than most other drugs, with a remarkably high mortality rate.

The Biological and Psychological Mechanisms of Heroin Addiction

Learning the biological and psychological effects of heroin is essential to understanding how to treat it.

Heroin, also known as “diacetylmorphine”, is a highly potent and addictive opioid derived from morphine (found in opium poppy plants).

Through a chemical process, morphine is refined into heroin, which makes it 2 to 3 times more potent and addictive. Heroin interacts with various opioid receptors in the body, especially targeting the ones associated with pain and pleasure, which produces its euphoric effect.

However, this action extends beyond pain relief, as it also induces a powerful depressant effect that slows down the central nervous system, impacting the brain, heart rate, and other vital functions.

The problem with heroin is that the body develops tolerance to the current dose, which leads to extreme opioid dependence. This is characterized by intense cravings and severe withdrawal symptoms, making it incredibly difficult to cease use without professional support.

The most dangerous consequence of this depressant effect is respiratory depression, which, in cases of heroin overdose, can result in coma or even death.

drug addiction treatment

What Are the Causes of Heroin Addiction?

Heroin addiction is rarely caused by a single factor, but it’s usually a combination of various effects and risk factors that lead to addiction. Here are some of the main aspects that can contribute to or lead to heroin addiction.

  • Environmental Factors: These include exposure to severe trauma or growing up in an environment of substance abuse. It also includes peer pressure when surrounded by friends who use drugs.
  • Abusing Other Drugs: Early exposure to other drugs can massively increase the chance of heroin use and addiction.
  • Family and Genetics: Having a family history of substance use disorders and drug abuse increases the likelihood of using heroin. This doesn’t always have to be the case but studies show a noticeable correlation.
  • Mental Health Conditions: A person with untreated mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more likely to abuse euphoric drugs to self-medicate the symptoms.
  • Additional Factors: Aspects like exposure to life stress, low self-esteem, and lacking social support can also increase the chances of using heroin.

Keep in mind that every individual is different, so the causes that led them down this path can vary from one person to another, and that’s where behavioral therapy comes in handy (more about that in the following sections.)

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction?

Recognizing the signs of opioid drug use is crucial while seeking help with heroin addiction, whether it’s for yourself or someone you care about.

One thing to note here is that the side effects of heroin abuse can vary depending on the stage of addiction and can take many forms.

Physical Symptoms

  • Health problems such as noticeable weight loss, which is usually accompanied by constant lethargy, fatigue, and poor hygiene.
  • Runny nose, watery eyes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Slow and incoherent patterns of speech
  • Needle marks and sores at the sites of injection
  • Finding items related to heroin use and preparation, such as syringes, spoons, lighters, etc.

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Burrowing (and sometimes stealing) money to fund heroin use
  • Secretive behavior and lying
  • Trying to hide signs of addiction
  • Severe mood swings and irritability
  • Noticeable aggression and impulsivity
  • Declining performance at work or school
  • Abandoning hobbies once enjoyed and neglecting responsibilities
drug and alcohol detox

What Are the Treatment Options for Heroin Addiction?

As previously established, heroin addiction is one of the most challenging types of substance abuse to treat.

However, the treatment is still achievable if you seek the help of professionals. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular treatment methods used for heroin addiction, which are typically used together for enhanced effectiveness.

1. Medical Detoxification

Simply known as “ Detox ”, this one is the first step of any substance abuse disorder because it’s responsible for gradually purging the body from heroin and its effects.

This stage is often accompanied by severe withdrawal symptoms, including pain, headache, discomfort, and in severe cases seizures.

Ideally, medical detoxification can be classified as inpatient or outpatient treatment (home treatment). However, in severe addiction cases like heroin, residential treatment under medical supervision is highly recommended.

Medical professionals will typically use tapering techniques to gradually reduce the dose of heroin to reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms. Supportive treatment might also be used to ease discomfort and help manage cravings.

2. Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy usually starts immediately after the initial phase of medical detoxification and is considered the core treatment of heroin addiction.

This one addresses the psychological and behavioral factors that led to heroin addiction and developing mechanisms to avoid triggers and help patients build healthy habits to prevent relapse after recovery.

Behavioral therapy can take many forms, but the most common evidence-based ones used by medical professionals are:

Therapy can also address co-occurring mental health issues, which are often present alongside addiction.

3. Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medical professionals typically prescribe various medications that can assist with heroin treatment. These opioid agonists help prevent relapse by reducing cravings, such as:

  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naloxone
  • Suboxone

In addition to these drugs, medical professionals may also prescribe other medications that would help with detoxification and behavioral treatment.

These include anticonvulsants for seizures and anxiolytics for the stress and irritability associated with opiate withdrawal in addition to other necessary medications to treat co-existing mental health conditions.

4. Peer Support Groups

Connecting with others who understand the challenges of drug addiction can be invaluable, as they help reduce the sense of isolation patients might feel during treatment.

Support groups can take various forms, with the most popular one being 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

These groups provide a safe space for sharing experiences, gaining support, and learning from others in long-term recovery and many studies show their remarkable effectiveness in treating patients and reducing the chances of relapse.

partial care

Important Notes to Consider While Treating Heroin Addiction

Treating heroin addiction is not an easy path, but it’s achievable with patience and dedication. Here are some essential points to keep in mind about the treatment phase.

Medical Supervision Is Critical for Treating Heroin Addiction

Heroin withdrawal can be severe and even life-threatening, so medical supervision is essential to ensure the patient’s safety and manage potentially dangerous symptoms like seizures.

Medical professionals can also assess for and address any underlying medical conditions that would cause complications during treatment.

Every Patient Needs a Customized Treatment Plan

It’s important to understand that there’s no definitive effective treatment for heroin addiction, and what works for one individual may not work for another. That’s why it’s essential to seek professional help.

Medical professionals and treatment centers can create a customized treatment plan that is tailored to the patient’s needs, considering factors like the severity of addiction, co-occurring disorders, and necessary support systems.

The Role of Family Support in Treatment

Addiction can strain family relationships, but involving loved ones in the treatment process can be significantly beneficial, according to studies.

Family therapy can educate family members about addiction and equip them with knowledge and strategies to create a supportive environment for those suffering from heroin addiction.

Post Treatment Care Is Also Essential

Recovery is an extended process, and even after completing a heroin addiction treatment program, individuals are highly vulnerable to relapse.

That’s why it’s important for patients to develop a relapse prevention plan to promote long-term success.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Options in New Jersey

If you’re looking for a reliable heroin addiction treatment option in New Jersey, you should consider Garden State Treatment Center.

The addiction treatment center offers a wide range of highly personalized treatments for heroin addiction, including medically supervised detoxification and various levels of care in a clean and safe environment.

Garden State Treatment Center also features different types of treatments to address different patients’ needs, including personal therapy and group therapy as well as holistic approaches that complement traditional treatment methods.

Published on: 2024-02-29
Updated on: 2024-05-13