If you’re struggling with heroin addiction or are concerned for the welfare of someone who is, Help Me Stop’s Dayhab programme is here to help.
Heroin addiction is a serious substance misuse issue and can directly affect your life, happiness, career and health. In some cases, heroin addiction can be fatal due to health complications or overdoses of the substance.
If you’re concerned over your immediate use of heroin and need support, please reach out to us immediately.
Help Me Stop’s addiction treatment programmes are provided at approximately one-tenth of the cost of traditional residential treatment programmes. Better yet, our tailored programmes fit around normal working hours and can be adjusted to suit other needs such as work and being with your family and loved ones. It should, however, be noted we do not do detoxes, although we can signpost to appropriate providers of these pending our assessment of you and your situation.
It’s important that we begin with defining addiction itself.
Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviours that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.
Prevention efforts and treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases. Heroin addiction is a destructive pattern of behaviour that feels uncontrollable to many struggling with it.
Addiction can come in many other forms; the uncontrollable desire to do something, whether it is positive or negative or causes harm, manifests itself in other areas of life including shopping, sex and addiction to gambling.
Although it is illegal in the UK, heroin is a common drug that is known for causing severe addiction in users. Its strong impact on both your body and your brain and its chemistry makes it exceptionally dangerous in quickly drawing a new user into a vicious cycle of addiction.
Peer pressure is a common reason for young people to begin using heroin. The need to impress those around them by proving their ‘toughness’ or image as a popular person is the regrettable starting point many addicts have begun from. Heroin is also often used to help users to simply escape from the pressures of their daily lives. The feelings of warmth and a profound sense of contentment common to heroin, particularly in the earlier stages of its use, are attractive to those struggling with their lives – particularly if they are battling depression or other mental illnesses.
It is often the case that those who become addicted to heroin don’t feel any form of initial addiction upon its use. Addicts have many times reported the notion that they felt in full control of their use of the drug at first, and only began to notice withdrawal symptoms and urges after some period of use. In such cases, once the user is no longer high on the substance, feelings of withdrawal begin to occur.
Heroin is a very strong drug. It provides quite extreme physical and mental sensations upon its use.
Upon consuming heroin, strong shifts to the user’s emotions are felt. Most report feeling extreme waves of happiness and relaxation, with a dulled or ‘sleepy’ feeling of euphoria being the most commonly reported sensation. This relaxed, lulled sense of happiness is often seen as the user ‘nodding’ when on the substance in a way that makes them appear sleepy or sleepwalking.
Heroin is an exceptionally dangerous substance when used carelessly or in excess. Heroin overdoses are often fatal and are the number one cause of illegal drug deaths in the UK.
When a person overdoses on heroin, they begin to feel extremely sleepy. Breathing slows and the user falls into a coma. If breathing continues to slow, the overdose may become fatal.
A key cause of heroin overdoses is the ‘tolerance’ a user can build up over prolonged periods of use. When used regularly, the body builds up tolerance and requires more heroin for the drug to have the same effect on the user.
If the drug is not used for even just a few days after heavy periods of use, however, tolerance rapidly declines. This leads to a regrettably common scenario among heroin addicts and users where they consume a similar amount of heroin as they had been during their regular use, leading to an overdose due to the rapid decline in tolerance after even a short break.
Death due to inhalation of vomit is also a significant risk when overdosing on heroin. When overdosing on the substance, the extent of the sedation that occurs can make it difficult to cough properly; this leads to an inability to clear your throat which blocks breathing.
Heroin dealers also often cut their heroin with other substances in an effort to maximise their profits. Particularly when buying from new or unknown dealers, this poses a serious risk to the user’s health; added substances can be toxic or otherwise dangerous, and the amount of actual heroin per dose taken can vary, leading to the dangers of overdosing as relates to the user’s tolerance levels at the time.
Simply put, it’s far easier for an addict to overdose on heroin when they inject it as opposed to other methods of consuming the substance. Further risks when injecting heroin include damage to the veins in your body in the areas you inject in. Blood clots and infections are also a risk, particularly if needles are re-used or are not used hygienically. Gangrene, the death of body tissue in fingers and limbs, is also a known danger linked to heroin injection.
It is sometimes the case that heroin users and addicts when using together will share the needles and syringes they use to inject heroin. This is a leading cause of infection and the spread of viruses including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
It’s almost always the case that the first time using heroin provides the strongest sensations. The feelings users get of warmth and contentment are exceptionally strong when first consuming the drug, and this poses problems for its continued use.
Many addicts describe their first time using heroin as a warm, all-encompassing glow. Some describe it as feeling a sense of profound love and wellbeing that surrounds them and suffuses their bodies. Most users and addicts agree that the extent of this feeling is never again achieved after it is experienced in that first use of the drug.
This leads users to the dangerous stage in heroin addiction where more and more of the drug is consumed in a bid to chase the quality and feel of their first high.
It’s commonly the case that, as the user becomes addicted to the drug, they focus more and more on finding ways to buy and take more of it. Heroin steadily takes hold in their lives, with more of their waking hours spent feeling withdrawal symptoms and the constant urge to obtain more.
The mixture of the need to avoid painful withdrawal symptoms and the chasing of the warmth and euphoric feeling of the high is what draws addicts further into the destructive cycle of heroin addiction. Over time, their addiction begins to impact loved ones and those around them.
As is often the case with any form of addiction, the need to continue consuming heroin steadily affects more people around the user. Family and loved ones are usually the first to be impacted, with the addiction causing serious damage to relationships and the health and wellbeing of everyone around the person using.
As a heroin addict is steadily drawn into the need to buy and use more heroin, theft of items and assets from their friends and loved ones becomes a common reality. This often leads to trouble with the law and employers – dangerous scenarios which can lead the addict to lose their job or receive a sentence.
The Help Me Stop team provides a breakthrough model of drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Known as our ‘Dayhab’ model, this is a flexible method of treatment that fits around common demands of adult life. Once a client has completed their detox, or is nearing the end of it, they can join the programme. Help Me Stop can help signpost clients needing a detox to a range of providers for this.
Our programme is predominantly based on intensive psychotherapy, helping people to understand why they are using drugs and/or alcohol, what purpose it is serving for them and then helping them to address these reasons, helping to change their thoughts and behaviours and produce a robust relapse prevention plan.
Most of our therapists are also individuals who have experienced addiction before themselves and have many years of successful sobriety and recovery through 12-step programmes and fellowships. This grounds our service in a direct experience of the process of addiction and recovery, making our treatment more effective during and after the Dayhab programme.
The ability of our staff to relate to the experiences and struggles of those we help is key to the high success rate we see in our Dayhab centre in London. With an emphasis on group work, all clients get a regular weekly 1:1 session with our experienced therapists to help those struggling with addiction to heroin and other substances every day. In this way, we support their path of recovery towards a new life free from addiction.
While substances each have their own addictive properties, not one story of addiction and dependency is the same. Proceeding from this understanding, Help Me Stop therapists place great importance on individual consultation alongside group work.
Following a pre-admission assessment that is completed by a qualified team member and subsequent detox by another provider (not included in our costs), agreements are made about your treatment and the boundaries it will involve. This includes admission dates and a discussion about your financial agreement and payments made to us for your programme.
Particularly with substances like heroin and alcohol which can have life-threatening withdrawal processes, careful discussion is had over the user’s frequency of consumption, amounts used and other circumstances. Our qualified therapists work individually to ensure that they can signpost clients to appropriate detox providers and that withdrawal from the user’s substance is performed safely, helping to prepare the addicted person for the Help Me Stop programme.