Dallas Texas Heroin Detox

Riverwalk Ranch provides medical detox for people addicted to Heroin and other Opiates and Opioids.  If you don't know the difference between an opiate and an opioid, you're not alone. The term "opioid" describes any substance, either natural or synthetic, that binds to opioid receptors in the brain.  Some natural examples of opioids are codeine, morphine, and heroin.  Examples of synthetic opioids are fentanyl, methadone, Vicodin, and Oxycontin.  The term opiate refers to the natural forms of these drugs (heroin, codeine, and morphine) that are extracted from an opium poppy plant.  So, all opiates are opioids, but not all opioids are opiates.

Our Medically Monitored Heroin Withdrawal Management Program provides 24-hour nursing care with a physician onsite to handle significant problems.  We specialize in treating people with substance abuse issues who have struggled to get sober in the past.  The people who come to our Dallas Texas heroin detox center have often undergone a detox at a less intensive level of care.  Typically these addicts and alcoholics have had trouble completing the detox process or have been unable to participate in more intensive forms of addiction treatment.

Riverwalk Ranch is the right choice for people with sub-acute biomedical, emotional, and behavioral problems that require residential treatment.  Patients in our medical detox program receive integrative medical care in a safe, comfortable environment. Our doctors’ aim is to keep our clients as content and relaxed as possible during the detox process.

Heroin Addiction

Heroin can be smoked, snorted, or injected intravenously.  Each type of delivery method has a different onset time and duration of effects.  If heroin is injected, a user will feel the effects of the drug almost immediately.  However, when opioid molecules cross through the bloodstream and into the brain, the opioid molecules will behave similarly regardless of the delivery system used.  The opioid molecules trigger a chemical response in the user's brain.  Heroin signals the user's brain to release a massive dump of dopamine.

Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that serves as a reward system for certain beneficial activities.  A human's survival instincts are closely tied to this chemical's release.  Dopamine is released when a person eats good food, drinks life-sustaining fluids, cares for a child, or has sex.  This is the brain's way of rewarding behaviors that are critical to survival.

Opioids, and especially heroin, "hack" this natural brain function by forcing dopamine to be released.  A heroin user's brain will make an imprint of this occurrence and rewire their brain to relate heroin use with survival.   This is why heroin addiction is so difficult to overcome.  Not only does an addict feel compelled to experience the euphoria of heroin and avoid its withdrawals.  They are hard-wired to link heroin use to their very survival.

As a person continues to use heroin, they will experience diminishing returns.  The same amount of the drug will no longer produce such dramatic effects as their brain grows accustomed to the drug.  As a person's tolerance to heroin develops, they will have to consume more of the drug to achieve the desired effects.

Because heroin is an unregulated "street drug," a user will not know how strong the heroin they have bought is before they use it.  This makes accurate dosing very difficult and can easily lead to a heroin overdose.  Even people who choose to take opiates in pill form can have trouble not knowing what their drugs contain.  Drug dealers can maximize their profits by mixing a small amount of the relatively cheap and incredibly powerful fentanyl in their product.  By combining a small amount of fentanyl with filler ingredients, they can press pills that look exactly like the pain medication that you could get from the pharmacy.  However, the results are often deadly.  Fentanyl can be up to 100 times stronger than morphine and accounts for almost 60% of the total opioid-related overdose deaths.

Dallas texas heroin and opiate medical detox

Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin withdrawal begins, in its early stages, mere hours after a user has taken their last dosage.  After the effects of heroin have worn off, an addict will begin to crave more.  If this craving is not satisfied, the process of withdrawal will commence.

Heroin withdrawal causes extremely negative physical and mental symptoms.  These symptoms include restlessness, aches, pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and severe discomfort.  Some users describe the symptoms as something like having a bad case of the flu.  A heroin addict will often begin to feel these symptoms involuntarily.  The onset of heroin withdrawals happens so quickly that an addict will experience them while they run out of heroin.

Heroin addicts will often be very familiar with the early stages of withdrawal.  As they experience them, not when trying to quit heroin, but when they need to get more of it.  Once a heroin addict becomes hooked on the drug, they will need it in order to feel 'normal' and to overcome the negative symptoms of withdrawal.  People who have traveled farther down the path of heroin addiction will no longer feel the euphoric effects that the drug once provided.  For them, the 'high' is merely the absence of the pain and discomfort.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Some common symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Intense cravings
  • Profuse sweating
  • Irritation
  • Severe muscle aches
  • Bone aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Cramps
  • Crying
  • Insomnia
  • Cold sweats
  • Chills
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Cold flashes

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

The symptoms of heroin withdrawal begin a few hours after the drug is last used.  On the first day of abstinence from heroin, general feelings of pain will develop.  This is often first experienced as muscle aches.  This pain intensifies over the next 48 hours.  During this time, other symptoms will begin to develop.  An addict will experience tremors, diarrhea, insomnia, and anxiety.

By the third day of abstinence from heroin, the withdrawal process will be at its height.  During this time-frame, the symptoms of withdrawal will include cramping of the limbs and stomach, sweating, cold flashes, nausea, and vomiting.

By the sixth or seventh day, the acute withdrawal process will be coming to an end.  At this point, a user will still experience some muscle aches and nausea, but it will be manageable.  The addict will be over the worst of their symptoms, but will most likely be physically and mentally exhausted by the experience.

The final, lingering effects of withdrawal are known as "Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome" or PAWS for short.  The effects of PAWS typically last for a few months after an addict has gotten over the acute withdrawal process but can sometimes last up to a year.  Some lasting symptoms of PAWS include anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, and irritability.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Heroin Addiction

The medications that are used to treat heroin addiction work through the same opioid receptors in the brain as heroin, itself.  There are three types of medications that can be used to reduce opioid cravings and minimize the symptoms of withdrawal.  The three types of medications are agonists, which activate opioid receptors.  Partial agonists, which also activate opioid receptors but to a lesser degree.  And antagonists, which block the opioid receptors from receiving the effects of opioids.

Some of the most common medications used at professional, medical detox centers are:

Methadone:  This is an opioid agonist that is taken orally.  It is slow-acting so that it can prevent long-term withdrawal symptoms.  Methadone has been used since the '60s to treat heroin addiction.  Methadone is only available through approved inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.  It is typically administered by a physician daily to a patient.

Buprenorphine:  This is a partial opioid agonist.  Buprenorphine combats heroin cravings and diminishes the symptoms of heroin withdrawal.  It is used to ween people off of heroin slowly, without causing the 'high' that other opioids can produce.  It is commonly taken orally once a day.

Naltrexone:  This is an opioid antagonist.  Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids.  It is not addictive  and does not cause physical dependence.  Even if a patient takes opiates while on Naltrexone, they will not experience the euphoric effects of the drug.  It is usually administered after the detox process.  Naltrexone is available as a pill taken daily or as a once-a-month injection.

Dallas Texas opiate and opioid detox program

Heroin Addiction Treatment Options

Once you realize that you or a loved one needs help with a drug problem, the question of how to proceed can be confusing.  There are multiple levels of care available for people looking to treat their heroin addiction.  Which type you choose depends upon the addict's level of drug intake, what other drugs they use, how long they've been using drugs.  Their mental status, personality, and schedule of availability should also be taken into account.  When making these decisions, it is crucial to consult a knowledgeable substance abuse therapist or counselor.

At our Dallas Texas addiction treatment center, our addiction specialists are available to help you make these tough decisions.  Let us help you choose the treatment options that are right for you or your loved one.

Inpatient Rehab -  

Residential, or inpatient treatment offers the most extensive level of care.  During inpatient rehab, our clients will live full-time at our large residential facility on a Ranch in Mansfield, Texas.  Inpatient treatment is recommended for addicts that need round-the-clock monitoring by medical professionals.  During their stay, our clients can enjoy access to our pool, meditation garden, gym, movie theater, basketball court, fishing ponds, and walking trails.  These excursions offer a healthy way to relax after a full schedule of individual therapy and group counseling sessions.

This level of treatment is also beneficial in that it builds the highest level of camaraderie among our patients.  The benefits of Therapeutic Communities have been well documented for the treatment of substance abuse disorders.  Many people find that the relationships that they develop during inpatient rehab provide them with the resources they need to stay accountable and engaged in their sobriety.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) -

After participating in the inpatient rehab program, our clients can continue to receive intensive treatment in a Partial Hospitalization Program.  At this level of care, the patient will often live at our onsite housing, back at home, or in a sober living environment.  During the day, our clients have access to therapy, counseling, and aftercare support for a minimum of six hours a day, five days a week.  This is our most thorough level of outpatient rehab.  It gives our clients the freedom to spend time with their friends and family outside of our treatment facility.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) - 

Outpatient rehab offers addicts the ability to ease off of the intensive levels of care provided by inpatient or Partial Hospitalization Programs.  This is recommended as a method to taper off psychological treatment while still maintaining the aftercare and accountability essential to achieve lasting recovery.  At this level of care, we offer clients the ability to receive medical and psychiatric treatment while still maintaining their daily responsibilities.

We offer flexible scheduling to allow our clients in IOP to pursue their personal and professional responsibilities without being completely cut off from their sober community.  Recovering addicts have access to our treatments three to five days a week.  Riverwalk Ranch offers clients in our Intensive Outpatient Program individual counseling sessions, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), group therapy, family therapy, and life coaching.  Before our patients graduate from our IOP program, they are introduced to 12 Step Groups.  We also offer life skill workshops to give our clients the best chance possible for continuing sobriety.



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