Author: Lara

Man learning how to quit heroin in Los Angeles California

How to Quit Heroin Safely

There is no such thing as completely safe heroin use. But when you get effective treatment from a reputable provider, you can learn how to quit heroin safely. 

The more you know about heroin addiction, withdrawal, and treatment options, the better prepared you will be to find the type of care that’s best for you.

What is Heroin?

If you want to learn how to quit heroin safely, it can first be valuable to understand exactly what this drug is.

Heroin is an opioid. It is derived from the opium poppy plant. Other examples of natural and synthetic opioids include morphine, fentanyl, and many prescription painkillers.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has classified heroin as a Schedule I drug. This classification is reserved for substances that the U.S. government has determined have no legitimate medical use and a high danger of abuse. 

Heroin interacts with parts of the central nervous system that are associated with heart rate, respiration, and other automatic functions. People who abuse this drug typically do so by snorting, smoking, or injecting it. The potential negative effects of chronic heroin abuse include damage to the liver and kidneys, breathing difficulties, heart problems, sexual dysfunction, and an elevated risk of contracting hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and other bloodborne diseases.

Abusing heroin even once can lead to addiction, overdose, and death. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin abuse was a factor in nearly 143,000 overdose deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2020. 

How Hard is it to Quit Heroin?

It can be extremely difficult to quit heroin. This is especially true if you try to end your heroin use on your own, without any professional assistance.

When you become addicted to heroin or any other opioid, your body will begin to adapt to the presence of this substance in your system. This change can be problematic for many reasons, including: 

  • While you are still using heroin, this adaptation means that you will need to use larger or more potent doses to feel the effects that you are seeking. This is known as tolerance.
  • If you try to quit using heroin, your body will react with a variety of distressing physical and psychological symptoms. This is known as withdrawal.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms can begin to occur within a few hours of your last dose of heroin. Most people who try to quit heroin on their own will develop the following physical symptoms:

  • Excessive perspiration
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Pain in muscles and bones
  • Tics, twitches, and spasms
  • Severe cramping
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Disrupted sleep

Heroin withdrawal can also include psychological symptoms such as:

  • Intense cravings for heroin
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Nightmares

The most intense physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal last about a week. Some of the psychological symptoms can endure for considerably longer.

Through the entire withdrawal process, you will know that you can make the symptoms disappear by using heroin again. When you try to quit heroin on your own, your access to the drug plus a lack of professional support can quickly push you back into the downward spiral of active addiction.

Thankfully, there is a better way to quit heroin.

How to Quit Heroin Safely

If you have been trying to determine how to quit heroin in the safest possible manner, the answer is detoxification. Commonly referred to as detox, detoxification is a short-term process that involves the guidance and supervision of a team of professionals. 

When you enter the detox program at Sanctuary Treatment Center, your care will begin with a thorough assessment. We want to be sure we understand the full scope of your needs, so that we can provide the focused services that will be most beneficial for you.

Depending on your specific needs and treatment goals, our detox professionals may provide both medical and therapeutic support:

  • Certain prescription medications can ease drug cravings and other common symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Some people receive this service only during detox, while others continue to take medication as they work to establish a solid foothold in early recovery. The medications that we prescribe at Sanctuary Treatment Center have been closely studied, and they have a documented history of safety and effectiveness.
  • The therapeutic component of treatment in our detox can help you manage any discomfort that is not alleviated via medication. Therapy can also help you begin to address the circumstances that led to your heroin abuse, with the goal of empowering you to make the behavior changes that will support your continued recovery. While medication can help with certain biological aspects of heroin addiction, therapy focuses on the psychological, emotional, and social facets of this disorder.

Once you have completed heroin detox at our center in Southern California, you can transfer directly into either inpatient rehab or outpatient programming. Our team will work with you and, if appropriate, your family, to determine which option is best for you.

Begin Heroin Rehab in Southern California

Sanctuary Treatment Center offers a full continuum of personalized services for adults whose lives have been disrupted by heroin addiction. Our programming includes detox, inpatient rehab, and outpatient treatment. At every level, you can expect to receive superior care provided by a team of dedicated professionals. When you are ready to free yourself from the chains of heroin addiction, the Sanctuary team is here for you. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Am I A Drug Addict

Am I a Drug Addict?

The question is short, direct, and deceptively simple. The answer can change your entire life. Am I a drug addict?

If you’re not sure how to accurately answer this question – or if you don’t know what to do next if your answer is “yes” – then this page is for you.  

What Does Drug Addiction Look Like?

Close your eyes for a moment and form a mental picture of what you think a drug addict looks like.

No matter what image popped into your mind, you are both right and wrong. 

The truth is that, when based solely on a person’s appearance, drug addiction can look like, well, anybody. The disheveled old man drinking from a well-worn flask. The college student “pregaming” before a big night out. The suburban mom who has been using prescription painkillers a bit longer than she should have. The successful executive who often needs a drink or two to unwind at the end of the day.

Any of these people – along with countless others who look and act differently than these four examples do – might be addicted to alcohol or another drug. Some of them may realize they have a problem. Others might find it preposterous to even suggest they have a substance use disorder (which is the clinical term for addiction). 

Outward appearances might hint at a person’s struggles with addiction. But to truly understand if someone is a drug addict, you need to know how substances have affected their body, their mind, and their behaviors. 

How Can I Tell if I Am a Drug Addict?

It can be surprisingly difficult to answer the question, “Am I a drug addict?” Addiction is a complex behavioral health condition that can be characterized by a variety of symptoms. Also, as noted in the previous section, this disorder can look very different from one person to the next.

Instead of wondering, “Am I an addict”, it can be helpful to focus on specific circumstances or behavior patterns that may be signs of a problem. 

Here are 15 questions that can help you decide if you should seek help for drug addiction:

  1. Do you need to use drugs to wake up in the morning and/or to get to sleep at night?
  2. Do you find it difficult or impossible to have fun without using drugs?
  3. Do you need to use drugs to cope with stress, setbacks, or other difficult experiences?
  4. Have you ever lied to or otherwise deceived friends or family members about your drug use?
  5. Do you often use drugs when you are alone?
  6. Do you spend significant amounts of time thinking about, acquiring, and using drugs?
  7. Have you ever prioritized drug use over important personal or professional responsibilities?
  8. Has your drug use caused you to miss school or work?
  9. Once you start using a drug, do you find it difficult or impossible to stop?
  10. Have you used drugs in situations where it is clearly dangerous to do so, such as before driving a car or in combination with other substances?
  11. Have you continued to use drugs even after experiencing personal, professional, or legal problems due to prior substance abuse?
  12. Do you need to use drugs more frequently or in larger amounts to achieve the desired effect?
  13. When you can’t acquire or use drugs, do you feel agitated or angry?
  14. Has someone in your life ever expressed concern about the amount or frequency of your drug use?
  15. Have you ever tried to stop using drugs, but found that you were unable to do?

The only way to be sure if you have a substance use disorder is to be assessed by a qualified professional. But if you answered “yes” to any of the questions listed above, you might have a problem, and you should consult with your family doctor or another healthcare provider. 

What Are My Options if I am an Addict?

There is no universal, one-size-fits-all approach to treating drug addiction. Depending on your specific circumstances, one or more of the following drug treatment options may be valuable:

  • Detoxification: Also referred to as detox, this is a short-term program that can help you get through withdrawal. In addition to protecting your health, detox professionals may offer both medical and therapeutic support to help you manage discomfort.
  • Inpatient rehab: While you are in an inpatient program, you will live at the facility where you’re receiving care. Inpatient rehab typically features several types of therapy as well as educational sessions and other services to help you gain a solid foothold in early recovery.
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient programming for addiction usually includes therapy, education, and related services without a residential requirement. Some people transition into outpatient care after completing detox and/or inpatient rehab. If you don’t need detox or round-the-clock care, you may enter treatment directly at the outpatient level. 

At the inpatient and outpatient levels, you might take part in individual, group, and family therapy. These sessions may incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other modalities as needed. 

When you’re seeking drug addiction treatment, what’s most important is finding a provider that can assess the full scope of your needs, then provide the types and levels of care that are right for you.

Begin Treatment for Drug Addiction in Southern California

Sanctuary Treatment Center is a premier provider of customized services for people who have become addicted to alcohol and other drugs. We also offer individualized programming for clients who have both a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health concern. At our drug addiction treatment center in Southern California, you will receive compassionate care from a team of dedicated professionals. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Am I addicted to alcohol

Am I Addicted to Alcohol?

The question is deceptively brief. Just five simple words. But the answer can be life changing: Am I addicted to alcohol?

For millions of people in the United States, the answer to this question is yes. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), more than 14 million adults in the U.S. met the criteria for alcohol addiction in 2019.

The good news is that alcohol addiction is a treatable condition. The bad news is that many people who have become addicted to alcohol don’t get the care they need.

Being able to answer the question, “Am I addicted to alcohol?” can be a vital step on the path to a much healthier future.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction, which is commonly referred to as alcoholism, is a chronic, progressive disorder that is characterized by an inability to control how much alcohol you consume or how often you use this dangerous drug.

  • The term “chronic” means that alcohol addiction is a lifelong condition. It is not a curable disorder, but when you get effective treatment, you can learn to manage your symptoms and regain control of your thoughts and actions.
  • The word “progressive” means that if you don’t get help, the symptoms of alcohol addiction will become more severe over time. This isn’t a problem that will simply disappear if you ignore it.

Here are a few things that alcoholism is not: It is not a moral failure, a sign of low character, or evidence of insufficient willpower. 

Decades of awareness initiatives have improved public understanding of this condition, but certain unfortunate stereotypes – such as the ones alluded to in the previous paragraph – persist. Stigma is one of the many reasons why many people who develop alcohol addiction don’t seek the help they need.

When you summon the strength to say, “Yes, I am addicted to alcohol,” this is not an admission that you are an inherently flawed person. It is a simple acknowledgement that you have a treatable behavioral health disorder, and that you have the courage to get the help that can significantly improve your life.

How Can I Tell if I Am Addicted to Alcohol?

To be accurately diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (which is the clinical term for alcoholism), you need to be assessed by a qualified professional. The following 10 questions can help you determine if you should schedule an assessment:

  1. Do you need alcohol to help you wake up in the morning or to get to sleep at night?
  2. Once you start drinking, do you find it difficult to stop?
  3. Has your alcohol use caused you to neglect personal or professional responsibilities?
  4. Do you feel like you need alcohol to experience happiness or to cope with stress?
  5. Do you become agitated, anxious, or depressed when you’re in a situation where you can’t drink?
  6. Have you used alcohol in situations where it was clearly dangerous to do so, such as prior to driving or when taking medication?
  7. Have you ever lied to your friends or family members about the amount and frequency of your drinking?
  8. Has your drinking been a source of conflict with your partner, friends, or family members?
  9. Have you tried to quit or reduce the amount of your drinking, but been unable to do so?
  10. Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I addicted to alcohol?”

No single symptom or experience is definitive proof that a person has alcohol use disorder. But if you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may be addicted to alcohol – or you may be at risk for developing alcohol addiction. 

What Are My Options for Overcoming Alcohol Addiction?

I have completed an assessment, and I know I am addicted to alcohol. What do I do now?

Depending on the nature and severity of your dependence on alcohol, your ideal course of treatment may involve one or more of the following:

  • Detoxification: Commonly referred to as detox, detoxification is short-term program that can help you get through alcohol withdrawal safely and with minimal distress. When you enter a detox program, you will be under the care of experienced professionals who can provide both medical and therapeutic support. 
  • Inpatient rehab: Inpatient rehab is a highly structured form of treatment that typically includes multiple forms of therapy, education about addiction and recovery, and round-the-clock supervision. When you are in an inpatient rehab program, you will live at the center where you are receiving care. One of the benefits of this level of care is that it allows you to temporarily step away from the stresses and distractions of daily life. 
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient programs usually include several types of therapy, but they don’t have a residential requirement. When treatment is not in session, you can return home or to an alternative supported residence. Depending on your needs and goals, you may step down to the outpatient level to get additional support after completing inpatient rehab, or you may enter treatment directly at the outpatient level.
  • Support groups: Maintaining recovery from alcohol addiction is a lifelong effort. During treatment, you can discover the value of shared support within the recovery community. You can also learn how to develop an effective personal support network. This may include participating in 12-Step meetings, attending SMART Recovery events, or engaging with other efforts that can help you protect your sobriety.

Begin Treatment for Alcohol Addiction in Southern California

Sanctuary Treatment Center provides multiple levels of personalized care for adults who have become addicted to alcohol. We also provide customized treatment for clients whose struggles with alcohol are accompanied by certain co-occurring mental health concerns. If alcohol addiction has disrupted your life or the life of someone you care about, Sanctuary Treatment Center is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

We Take Insurance!

Sanctuary Treatment Center accepts most private PPO insurance plans, as well as some private HMO plans. Through private insurance plans, individuals and families can access high quality addiction treatment services. If you have questions regarding insurances, please give us a call.

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