Dope sick is a term used for the withdrawal symptoms individuals experience when they are quitting heroin. While other drugs can result in withdrawal symptoms, “dope sick” is usually referred to when talking about heroin withdrawal specifically. So, what is the best way to quit heroin and so that you don’t become dope sick?
What is Withdrawal?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for teens defines withdrawal as, “symptoms that occur after chronic use of a drug is reduced or stopped. Your body and brain react strongly, even violently sometimes, because of missing the chemicals they’ve come to depend on through repeated drug use.” Since addiction is a brain disease and your body begins to rely on these drugs to function properly, you must be careful and strategic about how you quit heroin.
To avoid becoming dope sick, you first have to avoid experiencing the withdrawal symptoms that come from quitting heroin. Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be mild or more severe depending on the amount of the drug consumed and the length of time using it.
Mild withdrawal symptoms of heroin include nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramping, runny nose, sweating, excessive yawning, muscle and bone aches, tearing, diarrhea, agitation, chills, and fatigue. Severe withdrawal symptoms of heroin include tremors, anxiety and depression, hypertension, muscle spasms, drug cravings, elevated heart rate, slowed breathing, and respiration problems.
The Best Way to Quit Heroin
In order to avoid these withdrawal symptoms, and avoid becoming dope sick, you must “wean” off of the drug slowly. This is the opposite of “the cold turkey” method, which means to stop using the drug abruptly. Turns out, the cold turkey method of quitting heroin is ineffective, produces more onset withdrawal symptoms, and increases your chance of relapsing. Weaning off of heroin is much more beneficial and effective for your mind and body.
Here are a few different methods, alternatives to the cold turkey method that can be effective ways to quit heroin to avoid becoming dope sick:
- Using Medications — Believe it or not, using other medications to detox from heroin is an effective option for quitting heroin. Methadone and buprenorphine are two medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help wean people off of heroin or other opioid drugs. These drugs can serve as a temporary replacement for heroin to avoid withdrawal symptoms since they have less addictive properties than heroin. Although, it is still possible to become addicted to methadone and buprenorphine if this process is not done properly.
- Inpatient Detox Programs –These programs allow the person addicted to heroin to undergo the detoxification process in a medical facility under the supervision of a medical professional. This way of quitting heroin is safer since medical professionals are treating and watching over the addict the entire time.
- Hospital Chemical Dependency Units (CDU’s) — Detox centers like these allow the addict to receive 24 hour-per-day care from medical professionals. This way of beating heroin addiction is safe, but it can be expensive.
- Outpatient Rehabilitation Programs — Going to individual and family counseling, being a member of a support group, and being surrounded by people going through the same things can help a heroin addict overcome their addiction. These programs are beneficial for those who want to maintain their typical everyday life, while still receiving the care they need to achieve sobriety. Although, people suffering from heroin addiction may want to consider an inpatient program so that they are removed from common triggers and temptations.
If you or a loved one is suffering from heroin addiction, don’t wait any longer to get help. For more information regarding heroin addiction treatment and prevention, call SAFE Prevention at 1-877-503-2608. At SAFE Prevention, you will find the best resources for your unique situation to help quit heroin. It is essential to get help right away when suffering from heroin addiction to achieve long-term recovery, so call us today!