To get addicted to heroin is very easy: one or two weeks is enough. Getting rid of the addiction is a bit more difficult though, it takes at least three years of expensive and extremely arduous treatment.
Derived from opium and synthesized from morphine for the first time in a laboratory in 1898, it started to be considered a solution for the cure of morphine addicts. But later it was discovered that it is at least three times stronger than morphine itself, its manufacture then was banned all over the world.
Like any other drug derived from opium, heroin acts on the digestive and central nervous systems, where it causes numbness and dizziness, in the early stages there is a feeling of lightness and euphoria. As a central nervous system depressant, it relieves the feelings of pain and distress. There follows a state of lethargy that can last for hours. The first few doses may even cause nausea and vomiting. Then the symptoms cease for a while, but when the drug is no longer used it returns stronger.
The adverse effects are many. Heroin prevents the production of endorphins, natural painkillers of the body since the drug itself is in charge of providing it. The consequences cannot be worse: when the addict tries to suppress the drug, the body does not automatically return to produce the endorphins, causing a unceasable pain.
Heroin is extremely harmful because it “mimics” the effects of a substance synthesized in our organism. Opiates, such as morphine and heroin, act on the parasympathetic system, which in equilibrium with the sympathetic system influences decisively on human behavior. The first, with adrenaline, regulates the functions of attack and defense; and the second, with acetylcholine, the states of relaxation, drowsiness, and calm. Heroin acts exclusively on the parasympathetic system, replacing acetylcholine. As acetylcholine exerts less influence over the body, heroine eventually occupies its space in the organism; with increasing doses, it makes acetylcholine to be no longer produced.
That’s why the addict experiences such adverse effects after he decides to stop using the drug. His body cannot supply the need created by the use of heroin. After inhibiting the natural production of endorphins and acetylcholine, when the drug is discontinued the terrible symptoms of withdrawal syndrome occur. It’s so difficult to let go of the addiction that, even though it is life-threatening, the drug addict often opts for heroin.
The process of identifying and unraveling the deep-seated emotional traumas attachment disorders and life stressors that may be responsible for the addiction is necessary for the successful treatment.
Treating a substance use disorder can be very challenging as the causes (genetic, environmental, psychological) are so varied and elusive. This is where counseling comes in.
Counseling can come in many different forms. Therapists may utilize any combination of family therapy format, group therapy or individual therapy. Popular therapeutic modalities for counseling include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing (MI).
A customized treatment that is based on the unique needs of the client is the most effective option.
There are some ways when counseling will benefit the recovery process:
Counseling can help heal attachment disorders. When there are attachment deficits, such as abuse, absent parents, neglect or unstable living environments, the child can adopt coping mechanism to gain a sense of security. Counseling may help with understanding about the childhood insecurities that are driving their attachment to drugs or alcohol or any other kind of addiction.
Counseling can help with changing the unhealthy responses to stressors. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term therapy that can be used to help clients with identifying their misguided and self-destructive responses to certain people, thoughts, or situations that lead to some problem. By helping clients to learn new, healthy responses to the stressors and acquire effective coping strategies, addictive behaviors can be modified.
Counseling can improve the family dynamic.In family counseling, clients and their families learn new communication skills, as well as verbalize any important issues that need to be addressed. Open communication like this helps the family to heal and begins the process of rebuilding trust between them.
Counseling provides a safe setting for sharing problems. Group therapy makes an important part of recovery because it allows the participants to share common experiences, fears, and frustrations in a safe, controlled setting. The counselor’s role is to provide a supportive outlet for emotions to be expressed so that each participant may gain a deeper understanding of their problem.
By helping patients find motivation, improve relationships and develop skills in reaching the recovery, licensed therapists and counselors use various approaches depending on the age, factors of surroundings and type of the addiction.
The belief of this treatment is that by revealing issues from analyzing the past relationships and bringing them to the surface, treatment will develop. Roots of this type are made by Sigmund Freud. This one has a lot of researches because it requires significant work of understanding one’s self.
It is based on the belief that behavior is learned. The famous study is from Pavlov research with dogs salivating when hearing bell because food comes after. Anyway, behavioral therapists use behavior modification techniques to change destructive and unwanted behaviors.
This theory reflects on how people’s thinking change behavior or feeling. Therapists here are oriented toward problem-solving, and this therapy is brief. The present situation is primary here, and this one is often combined with behavioral therapy. Many mental illnesses like personality disorders, eating disorders and substance abuse orders are successfully solved with this type of therapy.
By emphasizing a person’s self-growth and self-actualization therapists focus on the present to achieve patient’s highest potential. Focusing on free will, responsibility, and self-determination of their patient’s counselor support clients to control their destinies.
Integrates various elements of different theories to make the best combination of techniques and tools to solve particular client’s problem. The success of the relationship between client and therapist is still primary above all other aspects of this treatment.
No matter which type of therapy is used, the goal is the same, to provide a nonjudgmental environment where therapist and client may together work to achieve mutually agreed plan solutions.