Heroin is an extremely strong and addictive opioid drug, which usually comes in a white or brown powder form. Heroin is usually administered by injecting, snorting, or smoking, and is a substance that’s derived from Morphine. Heroin is one of the most highly addictive drugs in existence and it’s possible for addiction to develop even after one use. Because of this, teens abusing heroin are extremely vulnerable to addiction and/or overdose. One of the common ways teens develop heroin addiction is by first taking prescription opioid pain killers, and then over time, moving onto heroin.
Teen Heroin Abuse Symptoms
Heroin produces a very quick, strong high characterized by feelings of euphoria and increased energy. Heroin produces this high by acting on brain receptors that are located in the brain stem, and are associated with feelings of pleasure, reward, and pain. The brain stem also controls several of the body’s automatic functions, such as breathing and blood pressure, which can also be disrupted by heroin. One of the reasons why heroin is both so addictive and also so dangerous is it works so quickly on the brain. Furthermore, with repetitive use, teen heroin abuse can negatively affect the brain’s functioning, and the brain becomes reliant upon the substance. At the same time, because the brain builds up a tolerance to heroin, increasing amounts of it will be needed in order for teens to gain the same effect, and this makes teens extremely vulnerable to addiction and/or overdose.
Beyond disruption of proper brain functioning, teen heroin abuse also has a number of negative physical health symptoms, including:
- disruption of blood pressure and/or the heart
- digestive system complications
- organ disease such as related to the liver and kidneys
- collapsed veins
- fatal overdose
- spontaneous abortion
In cases of fatal overdose, the most common reason for death is heart failure and suppression of breath.
Paradigm San Francisco Teen Heroin Abuse Treatment
Generally speaking, it’s not safe for teens to stop using heroin without proper assistance and oversight from a mental health professional or doctor. Because the brain develops a physical dependence upon the drug, abruptly stopping the drug can lead to severe negative health problems or even death.
At Paradigm San Francisco, we understand that teen heroin abuse treatment is a complex process that involves a number of different psychological and physical aspects. First and foremost, we create a safe environment in which we support teens’ safe, monitored withdrawal from heroin. This usually involves a combination of our mental health and physical health team members, as teens’ bodies detox from the substance and they navigate the symptoms of this process.
Throughout teen heroin abuse treatment at Paradigm San Francisco, our therapists work with teens to address the different aspects of their addiction, including the deeper underlying emotional stressors or triggers. Through talk therapy and behavioral therapy sessions, therapists help teens to identify what kinds of struggles they may have been trying to escape from or address, by initiating heroin use. Through this time, we want teens to gain insights into themselves as people and their functioning, so they understand the deeper causes for their behaviors. This will set the groundwork for them to make changes that will address their deeper needs, and in turn, will support their sobriety and recovery. At the same time, we also help teens to address and rebuild all different needs in their lives, including their relational, social, spiritual, and academic well-being. The goal is for teens to go beyond just achieving sobriety from heroin at Paradigm San Francisco, but to prepare themselves to succeed and grow, from here forward.