Why Can’t People Just Stop Using Heroin?

heroin addictionPeople start using heroin for a number of reasons.  No matter what the reason I want to say upfront that using heroin or other drugs is a choice…and it’s a bad one at that.  That’s not to say that I don’t understand why people decide to give heroin or other drugs a try.  But we need to make it clear upfront that using heroin or drugs of any kind always starts with choice.  This however, is not the same thing as addiction, which I will discuss later on in this blog.  So if using heroin or any drug for that matter is a choice, why do people start using heroin?

Heroin and opiates in particular are alluring drugs because they promise a feeling of euphoria that takes its users from their current state (which is typically one of discontent or else they wouldn’t be looking to alter it in such an extreme way) to a better state.  You may remember the old commercial slogan “Calgon, take me away”.  Even commercials and marketing recognizes the human need to escape from their current world into a better one.  Now Calgon (a water softening bath and beauty product) may not be able to create the better world we are looking for, but neither can heroin, opiates or drugs, at least not long term.

Why Do People Start Using Heroin, Opiates or Other Drugs

peer pressure to use drugsTypical reasons and examples of why someone might turn to heroin or drug use include peer pressure, traumatic stress, a painful breakup or relationship disconnect, death of a loved one, a feeling of lifeless or mundane existence, physical pain, etc.  Heroin, opiates and other drugs promise to take one’s mental and even physical state away from a painful or boring reality into one of pleasure and euphoria.  While, heroin, opiates and other drugs may provide a temporary feeling of relief and elation, the experience is short-lived.  With continued use, euphoria becomes more difficult to achieve and slowly strips away anything and everything of value.  Relationships become damaged or destroyed, resources are depleted and health deteriorates.

Dependence Vs. Addiction

LiQcovery recovery productsFor awhile, people may continue using heroin, opiates and other drugs to experience an ongoing feeling of euphoria.  But after awhile, tolerance increases, feelings of euphoria go away and valuable possessions (tangible and intangible) are depleted.  So why does someone continue using heroin?  The answer is dependency and addiction.

Anyone who uses heroin and/or opiates like oxycodone, Percocet, Morphine, etc. a few times becomes dependent on them.  That’s because these drugs have properties of dependency.  Once the body physically relies on the drug, stopping all use of heroin or opiates results in severe withdrawal most people dread.  Thus, a heroin dependent may continue using heroin to avoid getting sick and going through the painful withdrawal.  While just about everyone (with vary few exceptions) becomes dependent on heroin and opiates with ongoing use, not everyone becomes addicted to it.

Breaking dependency sucks but it’s far less difficult than breaking addiction.  Ironically, those who are addicted to heroin/opiates are almost always (with rare exceptions) dependent on it.  However, those dependent on it may not be addicted to it.

What is Addiction? 

addiction braind iseaseAddiction is a disease of the brain.  Remember when I said drug use was a choice?  It is.  But nobody chooses to become an addict.  Read “Addiction Vs. Using Drugs: Why Addicts Have a Hard Time Stopping Drug Use“.  Those with a genetic predisposition to addiction will become addicted to heroin upon first use.  Now not everyone with a genetic predisposition to addiction will become addicted to heroin.  They may become addicted to alcohol or another drug instead.  However, all it takes is one use of the “object of addiction” to become inflicted with the disease of addiction.  Unlike dependence which has to do with the physical, addiction is a cognitive connection and compulsion to continue using or engaging in the object of addiction.  Once addicted, the brain changes in at least 4 major ways.  Read “Proof that Addiction is a Disease: How Addiction Alters the Brain” for more information.

Does Heroin Possess Addictive Qualities?

For the reasons I already described above, the answer is no – heroin does not possess addictive qualities.  Addiction is a disease of the brain and drugs don’t possess any living qualities, traits or characteristics.  Instead, drugs contain properties of dependency which makes stopping heroin and/or opiates very difficult.  Couple that with addiction and it feels virtually impossible to stop.

There is Hope in Treatment and Recovery

Hope in RecoveryBoth heroin dependents and heroin addicts can harness the strength from within (and/or from your higher power) to make the choice to stop using drugs.  There’s no doubt that it’s not easy.  Frankly, it may not feel like a choice to stop using drugs due to the cognitive compulsion and connection to keep using heroin one acquires upon the onset of the disease of addiction.  It’s a difficult choice, but it is still a choice.  We can choose recovery and those that do can break the bonds of slavery addiction creates and live a normal, healthy live of freedom and sobriety.  I am living proof that it’s possible.  Read my story by visiting “The Publisher’s Addiction & Recovery Story“.  To read other recovery success stories, visit our “Drug Addiction & Recovery Stories” forum.

Written and Published By,

William – Publisher and Founder of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™
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