By LYLE R. FRIED, CAP, ICADC, CHC In Addiction Recovery, Heroin Addiction, Opioid Addiction
Posted April 16, 2015
Although it may be difficult to grasp the logic behind this question, it is one of the most researched topics on online drug forums. With the availability of the Internet as an endless supply of ready information, there is an entire world of questions and inner dialogues we are now turning to online resources to find the answers for.
To answer this question, let’s first look at why the question is being asked.
Why Do You Want to Use Heroin?
Although every individual is different and complex, it is safe to say that heroin use is about changing your mental state. You want to experience relief or euphoria…or you may be genuinely curious about drugs and their effect.
Some of the reasons people give for using heroin include:
Mental illness relief: Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or other mental illness may become so overwhelming that an individual may be willing to try just about anything, regardless of risk, to find temporary relief.
Influence: Whether there is a long family history of drug use or just one acquaintance who introduces the idea, people can have a marked influence on the way thoughts are formed about drug use.
Stress relief: Searching for “something” that will allow you to temporarily check-out of life or find a happier place can lead you down a lot of wrong roads. Heroin can seem like a quick and inexpensive way to relieve stress, especially if it’s readily available.
Escaping the pain: Whether the pain is currently being experienced or locked in the memories of the past, drug use can be seen as a quick way to escape the feelings we don’t want to deal with.
To fit in: We all have a universal desire to feel loved and accepted. If drug and heroin use is commonplace among your friends or family, the odds are greatly increased that you will look at heroin as a rational option.
Pathway from pain pills: Heroin addiction as a direct result of overprescribed pain-pills (OxyContins, oxycodones, hydrocodones) is becoming more common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health care providers wrote over 250 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012. That’s enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills. Tolerance is a result of prescription painkiller use, which puts many on the slippery slope that can lead to drug addiction or heroin use. If this is your story, you are already displaying symptoms of addiction and are attempting to avoid withdrawal. It is critical that you seek help now.
Can I Use Heroin Without Becoming Addicted?
The reasons “why” you are researching the possibility of “heroin use without addiction” can be used as a tool to help you take a look at other, better options. There is nothing wrong with seeking relief for pain or stress, but taking a look at the odds of becoming addicted after “dabbling” with heroin are disturbing at best.
Here are some statistics and insights that may help you:
- According to research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2011, over 4 million Americans aged 12 or older had reported using heroin at least once in their lives. Their estimation is that about 23% of individuals who use heroin become dependent on it.
- Excerpt from a 15 year old heroin addict published in A Drug Free World: “Many people experiment with heroin thinking, “I’ll try it once or twice. I can always stop.” But those who start down that road find it nearly impossible to turn back. It will cling to you like an obsessed lover. The rush of the hit and the way you’ll want more, as if you were being deprived of air—that’s how it will trap you.”
- Excerpt from a heroin addict, “Telling people heroin will get them instantly addicted is a fine scare tactic, but it disguises the real danger. I was using heroin daily because my firsthand experience with the drug told me that it was a risk-free way to escape my problems. By the time I realized I was addicted, that meant facing not only the physical agony of withdrawal, but all the demons I had been running from in the first place.”
- “Chippers”, “dabblers” and weekend users are setting themselves up for a fall of magnitude proportions. Individuals who use occasionally are training their brain that heroin is a viable option. They are telling themselves that this drug offers hope and relief, even for a little while, for the stress of life. So, what happens when life throws you something really difficult, like death, divorce, unemployment or another type of personal tragedy? Instead of setting yourself up for success, by teaching yourself to reach for spiritual help, therapy, friendships, exercise, meditation, or other forms of support, you are opening a door that says, “Heroin is an option.”
Heroin use, regardless of how infrequent, becomes a type of sleeping dragon in your subconscious. “What brought relief once, will surely bring relief now,” is the thought process of many who have fallen into heroin addiction.
The Effect of Heroin on the Brain
While many think of the physical withdrawal symptoms of heroin and judge potential addiction on whether or not they will experience them, heroin use causes both physical and chemical changes to the brain.
The first dose of heroin sets a user up for long term addiction.
The initial rush of euphoria felt by heroin users is produced by a flood of opiates being sent to the brain. This rush, then becomes the new marker for feeling good and as the individual continues heroin use, the brain’s own ability to produce the natural chemicals to “feel good” are damaged.
Heroin use, even occasional use, leaves the brain in an unbalanced state. This, of course, contributes greatly to the level of denial a heroin user is able to sink into. If your thinking is altered or unclear, you are at risk of believing highly irrational thoughts. “I can just use on weekends.” “This will be my last time.” When you’re falling into the darkness of addiction, it’s a step-by-step process. No one wakes up and decides to completely ruin their lives. It’s those small decisions, day-by-day and over time that produce results.
Can I Use Heroin Without Becoming Addicted?
Evidence, both professional and otherwise, points to no.
If you are currently struggling with heroin addiction, there is a solution. Don’t waste another day looking for answers in places that will leave you in a worse state than you are now. Give The Shores Treatment and Recovery a call at 1-888-249-2590 or click here. We are here for you.