Heroin Relapse & Overdose

Heroin Relapse – Close To The Surface

Articles, Australia, Education, International, Malaysia, United Kingdom, United States

Heroin is a highly addictive drug and it takes more than most for those dependent upon it to withdraw.

A common theme of those who have managed to kick the drug is that thoughts, feelings and desires for more of the same often surface.

Below we will consider the price of heroin, what high’s it offers, the withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced and why heroin overdose is very much a reality for those who re-start use.

Bargain price!

It is easy to understand reasons for users progressing to heroin. Major factors are its wide availability and the fact that it is not as expensive as many other drugs. Indeed, prescription opiates are far more expensive. An added ‘bonus’ for users is that heroin purchased offers higher purity.

Highest high:

Those users who have been through heroin addiction describe the high as a wonderful, euphoric one. It puts them in their own world and leaves everything else way behind. Relaxation, a pleasant drowsiness and a complete feeling of well-being are some of the reasons that this moreish drug is used again and again.

In short, users cannot get enough of it, but the caveat is that while they may quickly become addicted, ‘Smack’ will not let go easily. It becomes so much of a person’s life that nothing else really matters, and this is where the problems escalate. Heroin users will do pretty much anything to ensure they have a constant supply of the drug.

Trouble with a capital ‘T’:

Physical and mental illness are regular partners to those who remain on heroin for any amount of time. Social exclusion for a person addicted to heroin can be expected, isolation in terms of nowhere to turn are common.

This can lead to a person breaking the law simply to feed their habit. Opportunist theft, burglary and prostitution all constitute ways to get quantities of the drug that will only deepen dependence the longer use continues.

Heroin Relapse – Withdrawal is difficult:

Suddenly withdrawing from heroin will offer pain that can be excruciating. This includes:

  • Greatly increased anxiety.
  • Insomnia and deeply troubled sleep when it eventually comes.
  • Aching bones and muscles.
  • Restless leg syndrome – A user coming off heroin will be unable to keep their legs from shaking.
  • Immense agitation
  • Varying levels of irritability

Then there are the physical symptoms that regularly include:

  • Feelings of nausea
  • Physical vomitting
  • Cold sweats
  • Excess body heat or extremes of cold
  • Diarrhea

Beating heroin addiction is achievable:

While the above symptoms may appear unbearable, they are not. With fierce determination, a heroin user can leave the drug in the past, but they must always be on their guard in terms of a relapse.

Ex-users often relate how tempting it is to climb back on the ‘Horse’, the problems with doing so are many-fold and such thoughts need to be quashed. By re-starting use a user will be undoing a lot of the good work in terms of recovery.

Another serious danger is the risk of overdosing. This is because when a person re-starts use they often do so at dosage levels equivalent to what they were using at their peak. Such huge amounts are simply too much for the body to handle and often result in fatal overdoses.

Please bear this in mind if you have managed to kick heroin and thoughts of returning to use surface at any time.

Preparing For Drug Rehab

Overseas Inpatient Rehab – An Option To Consider

Articles, Australia, Education, International, Treatment, United Kingdom, United States

Inpatient rehabilitation is considered a very positive way to help those with dependence issues overcome addiction.

In-country rehab establishments:

When considering which rehab establishment is suitable it is natural that many look close to home or within their own country. While this is perfectly understandable there are drawbacks. Here are two that regularly surface:

Waiting lists:

Many inpatient rehab establishments in the west have waiting lists. There are more people with addiction problems in need of this treatment than spaces available.

If an addict has taken the brave step to confront their problem they deserve near-immediate treatment. Being told that inpatient treatment is available, but there is a waiting list before this treatment can begin is the last thing they need to hear.

The likelihood is that while waiting to be admitted the addict will continue with their habit and their addiction will deepen.

Cost:

Western rehab establishments are not cheap. This means that if personal medical insurance does not help meet the financial outlay required for a stay, the expense is beyond many.

Being unable to meet such costs will restrict treatment options and make beating addiction that much more difficult.

Overseas rehab establishments:

Opting to spend time at an inpatient rehab establishment outside your own country is an option that many do not consider. It is something they should!

South-east Asia is a perfect example of a region that has professional, well-established inpatient rehab establishments. They are internationally approved, employ staff with international qualifications and deliver treatment that meets international standards

There are also considerable benefits in terms of waiting lists and cost if a client opts for overseas inpatient rehabilitation treatment.

Waiting lists:

These overseas establishments are not under the same pressures in terms of client numbers as their western counterparts. In the majority of cases a person wishing to stay at one of these respected establishments can be admitted and treatment started within timescales that suit the client. I.e. Almost immediately.

What this means is that a person’s addiction problems will not deepen while they wait for admittance. It is an obvious fact that the quicker addiction treatment begins, the better.

Costs:

This has got to be a major influencer. The overheads at such an establishment are nowhere near as high as those in the west. The accommodation and facilities are of a high standard and, as mentioned, the treatment methods are the same internationally approved ones that a client would receive in their own country.

This treatment is delivered by staff who have achieved international rehab certification and many of them have worked in western rehab establishments.

Thailand is an excellent example of low cost, high quality treatment. In many cases the cost of a 3-week stay is less than one-third of the cost a person would pay in their own country. This means that rather than treatment being out of reach for many it is accessible for most.

These overseas rehab establishments also accept personal medical insurance policies. This means that where applicable this cover will help meet costs for an addicts much-needed addiction treatment.

intervention alcohol

Can An Interventionist Help You?

Articles, Education, International, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

Watching a loved one spiral deeper into addiction of any kind can be frustrating, heartbreaking, stressful and infuriating.

It is a given you will have tried:

Those closest to the addict will have tried many ways to convince them that professional help is needed because of the damage they are doing to themselves and the anguish it is causing those closest to them.

The problem is that addiction changes the way the brain works. Addicts do not always think rationally, sensibly, or as you would expect them to. The draw from their substance of choice is an extremely powerful one.

Even if they realise the damage this is causing they will not stop because their need is far stronger.

Where to next?

When trying to help an addict it is important that you understand as much as possible about their addiction. There are endless resources available on-line relating to every type of addiction.

Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the problem in confidence and contact a local self-help group to seek advice on the different ways to deal with your loved one’s addiction.

Armed with such knowledge and insight you will be in a much stronger position to re-approach the addict.

Consider the use of an interventionist:

While this step may not be for everyone it is something that should be considered if the addict will not listen to your reasoning in terms of the professional help needed.

It must be understood that employing an interventionist will cost money. They are professionally qualified men and women who deal with addiction and as such are paid for their services.

Benefits of an interventionist:

If you have been unable to persuade the addict they need help then you need help to convince them this is the case.

In many cases a professional interventionist can be the difference that makes the addict sit up and listen. Confronting the addict with intervention assistance will not be an overnight occurrence. The interventionist will want to discuss things with you and any other family members or friends who will be involved.

This includes, but is certainly not limited to:

  • Understanding the background of the addict and personal history details.
  • Understanding their addiction history.
  • Understanding the substance or addiction they are currently saddled with.
  • What their recent and current state of mind is. Are they aggressive or hostile towards any attempts at assistance?
  • What steps have been taken to try and persuade the addict to seek help?
  • Have they received addiction treatment in the past?
  • Relationships of those family members or friends who will be involved in the actual intervention.

What you need to consider:

While telephone and/or e-mail contact will be essential it is also very important that you meet with the interventionist at least once before the actual intervention meeting with the addict takes place.

You need to understand such things as what qualifications they have, their experience relating to the addiction in question, their success rate in persuading addicts to accept treatment and what treatment options are available.

It is also crucial that all those involved understand how things will proceed and their role during the meeting.

Interventions are not for everyone:

This type of assistance may not suit everyone, but if all else has failed in terms of persuading your loved one to seek help it is certainly a route that is worthy of consideration.

addiction sponsor

How Can A Sponsor Help An Alcoholic?

Articles, Australia, Education, Treatment, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

A sponsor can play a vital role in helping an alcoholic through the often-arduous task of remaining sober. Here are some of the advantages to be had through asking a sponsor to assist.

What is a sponsor?

Widely used, but not exclusive to those who join Alcoholics Anonymous, a sponsor is a man or woman who has achieved progress through the recovery process they have chosen.

It is the sponsors role to share experiences of their own alcoholism and how they have managed to reach their current level of sobriety. This information and advice sharing is carried out on a personal one-to-one basis. It is also usual for them to offer support via telephone or social media platforms outside of face-to-face meetings.

Is a sponsor mandatory?

No, it is not something that a person going through the recovery process needs to have, but the continual and individual support on offer can make a big difference in terms of helping an alcoholic stay on the path of sobriety.

This makes the consideration of asking for sponsorship something that alcoholics going through the recovery process should think carefully about.

While thinking about this a recovering alcoholic should bear in mind that a sponsor will generally be a man or woman who has succeeded in remaining sober for an extended length of time.

This experience can show how a recovery program has helped them. What works for them, what did not, and tips on how to continue and maintain sobriety.

What benefits are to be gained:

Here are 5 benefits that an alcoholic going through the early stages of recovery can expect from a sponsor.

  • They understand your current situation, they care passionately about your progression to sobriety and their aim is to help you resist the many temptations that alcohol brings.
  • They are there to help you when overwhelming thoughts of alcohol crowd in on you, or if you have succumbed to these urges and have had a relapse. It is extremely important to understand that while a relapse is a set-back, it is not a failure.
  • As well as talking about their personal experience with alcohol, they are there to listen to your experiences. They can offer articles, books and advice relating to alcohol abuse as well as recovery.
  • If the two of you are in a particular group recovery program the sponsor will encourage you to attend meetings with them and help you get there if necessary. They will also encourage you to join and participate in group activities and introduce you to other members they feel suitable to assist with your recovery.
  • They will not give a structured, defined opinion of the program you are in, but will offer different ideas and thoughts to help you find the best way in which to maintain sobriety.

Using a sponsor can offer a massive boost:

Sponsors are available because they have a passion to help. They have experience and have been in that dark place you may currently be in.

During the early stages of trying to maintain sobriety a sponsor can be the difference between success and failure in that important task of a person remaining sober for the foreseeable future.

inpatient rehab

What To Expect During An Inpatient Rehab Stay

Articles, Education, International, Treatment, United Kingdom, United States

Many men and women who are dependent upon drugs or alcohol to get them through their day will at some stage realise that professional help is needed.

While this help is available in a variety of guises, it is felt that an initial inpatient stay at a respected rehabilitation establishment is an extremely positive way to begin any recovery process.

We will explain what to expect and break this into two sections:

Facilities:

A respected inpatient rehab establishment will have been constructed and designed with healing in mind.

There will be comfortable, private accommodation with necessary facilities such as a bathroom, perhaps a small kitchenette, bed, seating, air-conditioning where required and often a private outside area with table and chair for relaxation and reflection.

The grounds will be part-landscaped gardens with other sections of natural habitat. These relaxing outdoor areas will offer additional reflection areas for those who wish to be alone as well as communal areas where socialising with other clients is encouraged.

A swimming pool is a common addition as is a fitness area with equipment. Then there may well be a yoga and/or meditation room along with massage facilities and therapy rooms.

The communal dining facilities will be set aside where 3-set meals each day will be served. Recovering from addiction requires routine. Set, communal meals are one of the small considerations that add to others in terms of the greater good of such a routine.

Treatment:

  • Therapy and counselling: It is recognized that everyone has their own individual needs. To this extent a personal counsellor will be allocated. It is expected that a healthy rapport be quickly established and in-depth discussions on a client’s history and the reasons they are unable to stop substance abuse understood.
  • Individually tailored: From these frank, open discussions with your counsellor a recovery plan will be agreed and put into place.
  • Group sessions: This is where clients staying together will discuss their current dependence issues and experiences.
  • Mindfulness sessions: These sessions are vital to help calm and relax a client
  • Fitness regimen: It is important to keep active. A daily fitness/exercise program will be put in place that is also tailored to the level of the client’s abilities.
  • “Homework”: Many establishments have working booklets with exercises that need completing either individually or as a group.
  • Progression update: During these sessions progress will be reviewed and new goals set. The intention is to leave behind those habits that are causing addiction.
  • Relapse prevention: These sessions are vital. They will help a client understand what personal triggers are responsible for potential relapse. How to identify them quickly and how to avoid them. Situations that cause a relapse come in many forms.
  • Weekly excursions: This is something all clients look forward to. A trip to the local sights, markets or an adventurous day out happens on a weekly basis. This is not only fun and interesting, it also builds a strong camaraderie with others fighting to leave their addiction behind.
  • Aftercare: This is another vital part of the healing process and aftercare options will be discussed and agreed before a client leaves the establishment.

A glimpse from the outside of inpatient treatment:

The above is just a snapshot of what is offered. Hopefully it is enough for those currently suffering from substance dependence to delve deeper in search of recovery.