Monday, July 29, 2013

How Does Heroin Affect The Skin?

Heroin is a highly addictive and dangerous substance derived from morphine. It is perhaps the most commonly abused narcotic, and is used by way of inhaling, injecting or smoking. Taking the drug is said to offer an intense sense of euphoria and contentment; however, it will ultimately take its toll on the body, including an array of skin issues.

image via howskincarebeauty

Got the Itch?

One of the more common short-term effects experienced by heroin users is an itchy or “crawling” sensation on the skin. Opiate use results in a histamine release within the body, causing itchiness and inflammation. Scabs and cuts on the skin are typical in heroin users; resulting from picking and scratching at the skin. In addition, heroin use also serves to inhibit appetite, causing malnutrition in many addicts. A lack in adequate nutrition will ultimately lead to dehydration, resulting in itchy, dry skin.


Due to lack of appetite, many heroin users miss out of essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins C and A; both of which are required for healthy skin.  This lack of nutrition may also cause added susceptibility to bruising. IV drug users will often exhibit bruising around the areas where the drugs are injected. This is often due to pressing the needed to quickly and too hard into the skin or through the use of dull needles.


Chronic heroin use can often result in skin infections caused by bacteria. The repeated injection of heroin can cause inflammation of the skin and pain to the user. Heroin injections, especially with unclean needles, can result in abscesses and boils. These boils will fill with puss, swell and can prove fatal if not addressed in a timely manner. 


Track marks are the scars left behind by IV use. Heroin addicts use the drug over an elongated period, increasing their tolerance over time. As a result, the addict must inject more frequently in order to achieve the same effect. Over a long enough use period, chronic heroin use will cause toxin buildup underneath the skin. Routine injections will ultimately result in collapsed veins, causing dark, permanent scars.

Need Help?

Searching for a chemical dependency treatment center? Pick up the phone and call Above it All today! With a team of seasoned addiction specialists available to assess and address your individual needs, you can count on Above it All to have you on the fast track to sobriety in no time. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Just the FAQs About Heroin

An array of myths and rumors have been circulated about heroin use. Today’s entry will focus on some frequently asked questions.

What is Heroin? 

-          Derived from Morphine, heroin is classified as part of the opiate family. It is sold as a brown or white powder, or as a brown/black tar-like substance
-          Heroin is extremely addictive – Physical dependence can result after only a week or so of routine use
-          Heroin takes effect very quickly, producing a powerful sense of well being and euphoria

How is Heroin Administered? 

Users administer heroin in one of the following 3 ways:
-          Smoking
-          Snorting
-          Injection

What is Heroin’s Affect on the Brain?

Heroin works to stimulate the opiate receptors located in the brain. When someone uses heroin, the substance moves past the blood brain barrier and fills the brain with opiates. The opiates then engage neurotransmitter receptors in various areas of the brain in charge of pain and pleasure regulation. Once the drug has activated these receptors, the users begin to experience feelings of contentment, euphoria and analgesia.

Over a long enough use period, heroin will begin to alter the addict’s brain chemistry. Chronic heroin use will ultimately result in a reduced number of opiate receptors in the brain. As these numbers dwindle, the user will require more and more heroin to achieve the same initial high.

What Are the Short Term Consequences?

Heroin use can result in nausea and vomiting when taken in large doses or by inexperienced users. Additional short-term consequences include:

-          Itchiness
-          Sweating
-          Reduced cough reflux
-          Slurred speech and confusion
-          Constricted pupils
-          Decrease in heart rate and respiration
-          Analgesia

Overdose is the most extreme consequence of heroin use, which can easily turn fatal. Overdose symptoms include:

-          Convulsions
-          Shallow breathing
-          Coma
-          Extremely constricted pupils
-          Clammy skin

What Are the Long-Term Consequences?

Potential consequences associated with chronic heroin use include:

-          Skin infections
-          HIV or hepatitis
-          Cognitive impairments
-          Pneumonia
-          Organ damage
-          Malnutrition
-          Track marks
-          Collapsed veins

Monday, July 1, 2013

Types of Drug Addiction Therapy

Drug addiction therapy is performed by trained substance abuse specialists who understand the intricacies of dependency and addiction. These counselors work to assist the addict in an effort to find alternative means of combating life’s problems while determining short- and long-term goals for continued recovery. 

Inpatient Therapy

Inpatient therapy is facility-based. Treatment decisions regarding patients are made by a team of specialists on an ongoing basis according to the individual’s needs and progress. Physicians nurses and counselors are involved with the addict’s care alongside a psychiatrist, if needed. Inpatient treatment typically involves both group and individual counseling in addition to medication.

Outpatient Counseling

Outpatient therapy programs provide patients with an alternative to inpatient therapy while allowing the addict to live outside the confines of the treatment facility. Patients are generally evaluated on a week-to-week basis, and provided instruction and counseling on how best to accomplish short- and long-term goals.

Half-Way Houses

Most every half-way house includes some form of addiction therapy. This option can prove useful in helping residents learn healthy and positive life skills without the struggle and temptation associated with solo living. Patients are provided with individual therapy and group counseling daily. Once a patient has completed their stay, they should possess the tools and knowledge needed to self-sustain.

Private Counseling

Drug addiction therapy may also be performed on an individual or family basis. Sessions may touch on a variety of topics, including triggers, healthy living, relapse prevention and relationships. Private counseling is often recommended for recovering addicts who have completed rehabilitation in an effort to encourage and maintain positive decision-making.

Need Help?

Want to learn more about drug abuse and addiction? Pick up the phone and call Above it All treatment center! Whether you’re seeking help for a loved one or yourself, you can depend on Above it All for the quality care and assistance you need to enjoy the healthy, happy lifestyle you deserve. Call today! 

Benefits of Holistic Drug Treatment

Alcohol and drug addiction can wreak havoc on the body, emotions, rational thought processes and spirit. In order to regain control of these areas, addiction treatment must address the individual as a whole. Holistic addiction treatment programs utilize a variety of therapies to fully address the needs of body, emotion, thought and spirit alike.

Physical Body Benefits

The holistic path highlights the positive effects that healthy diet and regular exercise can offer someone recovering from an alcohol or drug problem. Each technique works to eliminate toxins from the body following medical detox. Proper diet and physical activity also services to address some of the more complicated emotional and mental withdrawal symptoms through stress reduction and a heightened sense of self-worth. Anxiety and stress levels are reduced by increasing neurotransmitter activity within the brain, resulting in a sense of contentment and well-being.

Thought Process Benefits

Though learning to alter negative internal dialogue is a crucial aspect in changing one’s behavior, the holistic path also places emphasis on learning to remove both negative and positive mental chatter by way of yoga and/or meditation. In addition to quieting the chatter, these techniques have also proven beneficial in reducing anxiety and stress levels.

Emotional Benefits

Sadness, anger, panic, anxiety and stress are common emotions that people attempt to hide with drug and alcohol use. Once use is hindered, recovering addicts must learn how best to address these emotions in a healthy and positive manner. Traditional treatment relies mainly on talk therapy. The holistic path, on the other hand, employs an array of alternative treatments, including massage and acupuncture to address both the emotional and physical needs of the patient. 

Spiritual Benefits

Traditional rehabs often neglect the spiritual journey many patients experience during recovery. The holistic path offers a safe haven for patients to engage new beliefs and ideas through an assortment of practices such as meditation, yoga and acupuncture. All faiths are encouraged and embraced.

Where to Begin

Searching for a holistic addiction treatment option? Call Above it All today! With a  team of seasoned addiction specialists available to address your individual needs, you can count on Above it All to have you on the fast track to sobriety in no time. Call now!