Heroin Addiction Treatment Program

Heroin is an illegal drug that is highly addictive. The substance is made from morphine which is a natural product of the opium poppy plant. The morphine is then further chemically modified to become heroin. Despite its deserved negative reputation for its high risks, heroin continues to be a commonly abused drug in the US and Canada.

There were more than 46,000 opioid related deaths in the US in 2017. This includes fentanyl, methadone, prescription opioids like OxyContin and heroin. Heroin was responsible for 15,482 deaths in 2017.


Symptoms that someone is using heroin may include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior or actions
  • Constricted (small) pupils
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Uncontrolled muscle ticks
  • Noticeable personality changes from anxiety and paranoia to irritability


That reaction is what causes heroin withdrawal symptoms, which can make it impossible for many people to quit using heroin on their own. Common withdrawal symptoms for heroin can include:

  • Digestive issues, including abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  • Problems sleeping
  • Excessive sweating
  • General muscle aches and pain
  • Mood swings
  • Agitation and even anger or aggressive behavior
  • Anxiety and potential paranoia

The length of withdrawal symptoms depends on how long someone engaged in heroin abuse, how much heroin they had to use to get high, how they abused the drug and other factors, such as overall health or age. The most severe symptoms can last a week or more, and post-acute withdrawal symptoms can come and go for up to two years.


Scientists looked at 20 drugs, including heroin, cocaine, alcohol and benzodiazepines, rating each drug on a number of factors relevant to addiction. Heroin scored the highest of all the drugs, earning a 2.78 on a scale of 3 overall. And for physical dependence, it was rated a perfect 3 across all factors, including pleasure and both physical and psychological dependence.

The extreme pleasure that heroin provides is only one factor in how addictive it is. Psychology can play a role in this addiction, with someone coming to believe fully that they can’t live or cope without the drug. They may use the drug as a form of self-medication to deal with other issues, such as mental health disorders.

The fact that the drug interacts with elements in your brain and body, causing those body processes to change, also creates physical dependence. In effect, your body gets used to the “new normal” created by heroin use, and when it doesn’t get an influx of heroin, it reacts as if something’s wrong.


We’ve made the case that heroin is incredibly addictive and that it’s an addiction cycle that can be super-challenging to break free from. But don’t think that heroin addiction is impossible to recover from.

With the right support, you can work through recovery and find yourself on the path to a new, more positive lifestyle. Professional detox support helps you make it through the obstacle of early withdrawal symptoms so you can work with individual counselors and in groups with others seeking sobriety to make big changes to your body, mind and life.


The most effective approach for heroin or other opiate addiction is holistic using a range of diverse group and individual interventions while the client lives in a therapeutic community. The group recovering together with the support of experienced clinicians creates real change and the basis to stay clean and sober for the long-term. 

As important as primary care/treatment, is affordable and effective continuing care. Addiction doesn’t occur in a few weeks and the addict needs to keep working on their program of recovery to keep their disease in remission.

The first step you took into heroin abuse is unique to you, but the first step you take toward addiction is one that many people have made. You simply have to decide, right now, that you don’t want to live like this anymore. 

The focus of treatment at Recovery Works is on the group process with therapy and programs that address personal struggles. This is coupled with a strong emphasis on Continuing Care through Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.  We encourage you to call today for more information or a free assessment at +1 +1-778-430-1212.

Website content written by Lowell Monkhouse, MA, ADC – Addiction Counsellor and Trauma Therapist

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