Rohnert Park, CA (PressExposure) June 26, 2009 -- Heroin, or scientifically known as diacetylmorphine, is one of the most widely used form of psychoactive substances known for its high addiction potency. Though heroin was first used as a form of pain killer, frequent and regular administration would usually lead to tolerance, moderate physical dependence, and severe psychological dependence which often develop into addiction. The withdrawal syndrome of heroin isn't as severe as those of other drugs, particularly that of morphine which sometimes even leads to heart attack or stroke. Common symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:
* Malaise or feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness
* Priapism which is a painful medical condition in which the erect penis does not return to its flaccid state
* Extra sensitivity of the genitals in females
* General feeling of heaviness
* Cramp-like pains in the limbs
* Excessive yawning
* Excessive sneezing
* Excessive tears
* Rhinorrhea or commonly known as a runny nose
* Sleep difficulties or insomnia
* Cold sweats
* Severe muscle and bone aches
* Nausea and vomiting
According to a number of California drug rehab center across the state, heroin users also complain of a painful condition - the so-called "itchy blood", which often results in compulsive scratching often causing bruises and sometimes ruptures the skin, leaving scabs. According to California drug rehab center specialists, abrupt termination of heroin use often causes muscle spasms in the legs usually known as the restless leg syndrome or the "kicking habit". The intensity of the withdrawal syndrome is variable depending on the dosage of the drug used and the frequency of use. Very severe withdrawal can be precipitated by administering an opioid antagonist to a heroin addict.
Treatments for heroin withdrawal
There are currently two ways in which a heroin withdrawal is treated. One way, practically the most widely employed, is the use of medications called methadone and buprenorphine. Methadone and buprenorphine are substitute drugs used to replace heroin in order to stop TARGET="_new" its withdrawal effects, but are less potent than heroin and are longer-acting. The other type is the use of short-acting opioid and then slowly tapering the dose, such drugs are benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium) may be recommended for opiate withdrawal especially if there is comorbid alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines may temporarily ease the anxiety, muscle spasms, and insomnia associated with opioid withdrawal. According to California drug rehab center therapists, benzodiazepines are also known to have a high risk of physical dependence as well as abuse potential if left unmonitored. Compared with other psychoactive drugs, benzodiazepines have little or no cross tolerance with opiates and thus are not generally recommended as a first line treatment strategy.