Tree House Recovery NC

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use?

Today, much of the focus on the opioid epidemic is centered on fentanyl and other prescription medications. However, close to a million Americans don’t primarily use these kinds of opioids. Instead, they use the street drug heroin. Everyone who takes heroin exposes themselves to a wide range of damaging effects. Some of these effects can arise with the short-term use of the drug. However, others only make themselves known with long-term use. Whether you or a loved one is struggling with heroin use, heroin addiction treatment can help you regain your sobriety.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use on the Brain


More than two out of every three people who use heroin are addicted to the drug. Addiction is the result of lasting changes in your everyday brain function. These changes alter your normal levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Over time, altered neurotransmitter levels can set the stage for:

  • Physical dependence on heroin
  • Psychological, i.e., emotional dependence on the drug
  • A compulsive need to seek out more heroin to use

Together, these three issues characterize an addicted state.

Other Damaging Effects

The long-term side effects of heroin also change your brain in other ways. Crucially, they can alter this essential organ’s actual physical structure. One key alteration occurs in your brain’s white matter. You rely on this form of tissue to support normal nerve communication.

Long-term heroin use can cause your white matter to deteriorate. As a result, you may experience one or more of several kinds of problems. For example, you may lose some of your ability to make sound decisions. You may also lose some of your ability to control your behavior. In addition, damaged white matter can potentially change your reactions to high-stress situations.

Effects of Heroin Addiction on Other Essential Organs

The harmful effects of heroin addiction are not just limited to your brain. Long-term use of the drug can lead to liver disease. It can also damage your kidneys. In addition, chronic heroin use can increase your risks for certain kinds of serious lung disease. Examples of these conditions include both tuberculosis and pneumonia. 

Heroin use can also seriously harm your heart. Problems you may experience include infections in this organ’s valves and/or lining. In addition, chronic heroin use can increase your overall risk for heart failure.

Additional Potential Effects

You may also experience other kinds of harm if you use heroin for extended periods of time. Examples of these possible issues include:

  • Insomnia
  • Chronic constipation
  • Serious nutritional deficiencies
  • Lowered immune function

In addition, long-term heroin use can lead to impotence in men and altered menstruation in women. 

Side Effects of Heroin Related to IV Injection 

Some people who use heroin inject the drug into their veins. In the long run, this method of use can lead to problems such as vein collapse and skin abscesses. It can also lead to the onset of a skin and soft tissue infection called cellulitis. What’s more, IV heroin use seriously increases your risks for HIV/AIDS, as well as hepatitis B and hepatitis C.   

Get More Information on the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use at Tree House Recovery

Want to know more about the numerous long-term effects of heroin? Contact the addiction professionals at Tree House Recovery. We’ll help you understand the risks that come with prolonged heroin use. We can also show you how effective treatment allows you to avoid these risks.

Are you or your loved one addicted to heroin? Tree House provides the customized, specialized care you need to recover. We can also help you recover from any other form of opioid addiction. To get started, just call us today at 910.519.8835 or complete our online contact form.

5 Benefits of Holistic Treatment for Addiction

To recover from addiction, you need treatment that focuses directly on your substance-related symptoms. However, today’s public health experts understand that this alone is not enough. In order to maximize your recovery odds, you need holistic treatment. This is the term for a whole-person approach that addresses all aspects of your health and wellness. Research shows that holistic programs provide you with a range of benefits in your effort to regain your sobriety.

What Is Holistic Treatment for Addiction and Substance Abuse?

At one time, addiction was viewed as an isolated health issue in affected people. As a result, treatment programs had a narrow focus that centered on addiction symptoms such as:

  • Loss of control over substance use
  • Drug or alcohol withdrawal when substance use stops or falls off quickly
  • Rising tolerance to the effects of drugs or alcohol

However, over time, the working model for addiction treatment began to change. This change was sparked by a realization that addiction affects all areas of a person’s life. During recovery, you need more than just direct treatment for your addiction-related symptoms. You also need treatment that takes a comprehensive, or holistic, view of your overall well-being. 

Your physical health is just one component of your well-being. Just as important are your mental and emotional health. All of these factors have a significant impact on addiction recovery. Unaddressed issues with any of them can potentially reinforce or worsen your drug- or alcohol-related symptoms. For this reason, they can make it harder for you to get sober and stay sober.

A holistic approach takes your physical, mental, and emotional health into account. In this way, it can help uncover significant problems that might otherwise go undiscovered. It can also help uncover personal details that have a bearing on your ability to achieve and maintain sobriety. 

Types of Holistic Treatment for Substance Abuse and Addiction

Holistic treatment for addiction and substance abuse can take a wide variety of forms. Common options include:

  • Tai chi, yoga, and other mind-body exercises
  • Meditation and/or relaxation programs
  • Trauma therapy
  • Nutritional support programs
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Music therapy

These treatments don’t take the place of main recovery options such as medication and psychotherapy. Instead, they work together with those options in a coordinated fashion. They also provide benefits that might not be available to you any other way. This is what helps make such treatments holistic. You may also sometimes see them referred to as complementary or alternative treatments.

Benefits of Holistic Treatment

What are the benefits of holistic treatment for substance abuse and addiction? The specific benefits can vary from person to person. However, recognized potential advantages of a holistic approach include:

  1. Achieving spiritual and emotional wellness, as well as physical wellness
  2. Being treated as an individual, not as a so-called addict
  3. Increasing your motivation to actively participate in your treatment
  4. Improving the odds of meeting your treatment goals in rehab
  5. Boosting your chances of staying sober long-term

As a rule, benefits such as these overlap. Therefore, they support your recovery in multiple kinds of ways. 

Learn More About the Benefits of Holistic Treatment at Tree House Recovery

Want more information on the benefits of holistic treatment for substance problems? Talk to the specialists at Tree House Recovery. We’re glad to explain the many ways you can benefit from a holistic approach.

Holistic treatment is a core component of Tree House’s recovery model. No matter your situation, we have options that can help support your recovery. To learn more about our full range of services, just call us today at 910.519.8835. You can also reach us through our online contact form. 

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

Today, more Americans are suffering from opioid-related harms than at any other point in history. The common name for this modern surge is the opioid epidemic. Understanding the opioid epidemic can give you a clearer view of opioids’ impact on U.S. society. It can also underscore the importance of reducing your exposure to the problems associated with these substances. If you or someone you know already have such problems, an opioid addiction treatment program can help restore your sobriety.

How Did the Opioid Epidemic Develop?

In the late 1990s, doctors across America started prescribing opioids more than ever before. Versions of those substances available at that time were:

  • Natural opioids such as codeine and morphine
  • Semisynthetic opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and hydromorphone
  • Methadone

The increased use of these medications led to what’s known as the opioid epidemic’s first wave. A second wave followed the first one in 2010. The substance primarily responsible for the second wave of the opioid crisis was heroin. The epidemic’s still-active third wave started three years later. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids account for the bulk of this latest surge. 

What are the Consequences of the Opioid Crisis?

Overdose Deaths

Every year, federal researchers track the number of people who die from drug overdoses in the U.S. Over the past two decades, over half a million people have died from an opioid overdose. Today, almost three out of every four fatal overdoses are opioid-related. 

Opioid deaths were already on the rise before the pandemic began in 2020. Since that time, the number of fatal overdoses has skyrocketed. However, not all opioids play an equal role in this trend. By far, the most common sources of the problem are synthetic opioids. In many cases, people who die with opioids in their system have also used other drugs.


The opioid epidemic has also significantly increased the nation’s rate of opioid addiction. Today, roughly 2.7 million Americans have diagnosable cases of opioid use disorder or OUD. This illness includes all forms of opioid addiction. It all includes cases of non-addicted opioid abuse severe enough to interfere with daily function. Prescription opioids are involved in the vast majority of OUD diagnoses.

Causes of Opioid Abuse

The underlying issue in opioid overdoses is typically abuse of a given substance. You abuse an opioid medication when you violate the terms of prescription use. Abuse sldo occurs every time you use a street opioid. Opioid abuse is also a fundamental factor in the onset of addiction. Why? Heavy opioid use fuels the brain and behavior changes that lead to addiction.

You may start abusing an opioid for any number of reasons. The most common causes of opioid abuse include:

  • Attraction to the euphoric effects of opioids
  • Attempts to relieve serious pain
  • A desire to relieve stress
  • Peer pressure from others who abuse opioids 

The effects of mental health conditions may also play a role. For example, you may abuse an opioid out of an urge to self-medicate your symptoms. 

Learn More About the Opioid Epidemic at Tree House Recovery

Want more information on the opioid epidemic? The experts at Tree House can further clarify the impact of this crisis. We can also explain what puts you at risk for serious opioid problems. 

Need treatment for existing opioid addiction? Tree House can help. We specialize in the treatment of opioid problems. With our support, you can overcome addiction. You can also avoid the possibility of a fatal opioid overdose. We feature an intensive outpatient model for opioid treatment. This model gives you flexibility and freedom as you progress toward sobriety. To get started, just call us today at 910.519.8835.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid notorious for its ability to produce serious harm. Those harms prominently feature heightened risks for an overdose. They also include heightened risks of developing a diagnosable drug problem. Fentanyl addiction treatment helps you reduce your exposure to these well-known health issues. It can also help you avoid the many other potential consequences of long-term fentanyl use.

Side Effects of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is both a prescription medication and an illegal street drug. Even when used as intended under a doctor’s supervision, it can trigger significant side effects. Common examples of these effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • A confused mental state
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Impaired body balance

The potential side effects of fentanyl also include slurred speech and a declining appetite.

The Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl is often a target of drug abuse or misuse. You can misuse a prescription form of the drug by taking it more often than intended. Other acts of prescription misuse include using someone else’s fentanyl and using the drug for recreational purposes. Any use of illegally produced or purchased fentanyl also qualifies as misuse.


Misuse of fentanyl is a common factor in cases of overdose. An overdose occurs when the presence of the drug seriously impairs your central nervous system. Compared to other common opioids, fentanyl is incredibly potent. This fact helps explain the increasing number of fatal overdoses related to its use. Overdose is both a short- and long-term risk for anyone who misuses fentanyl.


The potential effects of fentanyl abuse also include opioid addiction. How does addiction develop? Frequent exposure to fentanyl can cause your brain to expect its presence in your bloodstream. If your brain undergoes this change, you become physically dependent on the drug. 

Continuing misuse of fentanyl at this point can make you emotionally reliant on fentanyl. In other words, your physical need for it will now be accompanied by a psychological need. As a result of these overlapping needs, you may start compulsively seeking out more fentanyl to take. This compulsive urge marks a full transition into diagnosable addiction.

Other Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl

Long-term fentanyl use or misuse may lead to a number of other problems. Examples of these problems include:

  • Impaired breathing
  • An unstable mood
  • Chronic constipation
  • Changes in your libido
  • Menstrual problems in women

Long-term use of the drug can also damage your brain. As a result, you may have problems making decisions or controlling your behavior. In addition, fentanyl use can eventually damage your liver. 

Effects of Using Other Substances with Fentanyl

Many people who misuse fentanyl also misuse other substances. This behavior is known as polydrug abuse. It can seriously elevate your risks for short- and long-term problems. 

Two forms of polydrug use are especially risky. One involves the use of fentanyl with alcohol. The other involves the use of the drug with a prescription sedative. Fentanyl, alcohol, and sedatives all slow down your central nervous system. When you misuse any of them at the same time, you are much more likely to overdose. 

Find Out More About the Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl at Tree House Recovery

Have further questions about the potential long-term effects of fentanyl abuse? Talk to the addiction professionals at Tree House Recovery. We have the answers you need to understand the risks that come with this powerful opioid.

Tree House also specializes in the treatment of fentanyl addiction. We feature holistic, outpatient care. Our goal is to help you recover in as effective and convenient a manner as possible. Call us today at 910.519.8835 to get your fentanyl treatment started. You can also contact us through our online form.

5 Signs of Alcoholism

Chances are high that you know someone affected by alcoholism. Along with non-addicted alcohol abuse, this condition ranks as America’s most common substance problem. The official name of this problem is alcohol use disorder (AUD). Help for AUD is available in a properly designed alcohol addiction treatment program. 

People with serious alcohol problems typically develop notable signs of their condition. Such signs may reveal the effects of alcoholism and/or non-addicted abuse. While only a doctor can diagnose AUD, the things you notice may help your loved one seek timely treatment.

Signs of Alcoholism

Alcoholism, or alcohol addiction, is the end result of a series of changes inside your brain. In typical order, these changes are:

  • The development of physical alcohol dependence
  • Further development of psychological dependence
  • The onset of an involuntary need to find and drink more alcohol

Physical dependence occurs when your brain becomes chemically reliant on alcohol. Psychological dependence adds to this problem by triggering an emotional need for alcohol. In response to these dual forms of dependence, involuntary alcohol-seeking begins.

Several things can serve as signs that this series of changes has occurred. These signs of alcoholism include:

  1. Repeatedly drinking more and/or more often than planned 
  2. Trying to quit using alcohol multiple times without succeeding
  3. Becoming increasingly tolerant to the effects of drinking
  4. Strongly craving more alcohol between bouts of drinking
  5. Developing withdrawal symptoms after trying to quit or cut back on alcohol

You may also notice other alcohol addiction symptoms. One such symptom is having a daily routine that revolves around alcohol use. An affected person may also prioritize drinking over other pleasurable activities. In addition, they may keep drinking even after suffering obvious harm from their alcohol use. 

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Not all problem drinkers develop full-blown alcoholism. Some remain in what’s known as the alcohol abuse stage, where certain changes also take place in the brain. These changes make it more likely that a person will keep drinking despite clear evidence of harm.

Signs that alcohol abuse has occurred include:

  • Skipping work, school, or important social engagements to drink
  • Drinking in hazardous situations, such as before driving
  • Suffering legal problems related to alcohol, such as DWI/DUI arrests
  • Experiencing repeated relationship problems caused or worsened by drinking

AUD and Signs of Alcoholism

It only takes two AUD symptoms to be diagnosed with the condition. In some cases, only alcoholism symptoms are present. However, alcohol addiction symptoms and abuse symptoms may also overlap. In addition, an affected person may only be affected by symptoms of abuse. In all of these scenarios, the official diagnosis is AUD.

Treating the Signs of Alcohol Addiction

It’s vitally important to treat the signs of alcohol addiction. The same holds true for the signs of alcohol abuse. Several medications can help you recover from AUD. You may also recover with support from psychotherapy. 

Residential treatment is the norm for severe AUD. However, if you have mild-to-moderate AUD, an intensive outpatient program (IOP) may be a better option. IOPs help you regain your sobriety without residential care. They also allow you to continue leading your life during alcohol recovery.

Turn to Tree House for Help With the Signs of Alcoholism

Concerned that you or your loved one have AUD? Consult the addiction specialists at Tree House Recovery. We can give you a full rundown of the likely signs of this disorder. When can also help determine if you have diagnosable symptoms.

Tree House features an IOP for alcohol problems. This program helps you meet your crucial recovery goals. It also helps you keep your active lifestyle while on your sobriety journey. To learn more about how we can help, just call us today at 910.519.8835 or contact us online.

Why Does Addiction Occur?

Millions of Americans and their loved ones have felt the impacts of substance use issues. In addition to the health consequences, these issues can lead to relationship difficulties, job loss, and financial instability. If you or someone you know drinks to excess or uses drugs in ways other than as prescribed, understanding addiction is crucial. Awareness of the causes of addiction can help you avoid developing serious problems. It can also support an effective recovery when such problems already exist.

Causes of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a single term with two definitions. The first of these definitions is used to describe an excessive pattern of alcohol, medication, or drug use. Today, experts also refer to this kind of pattern as substance misuse. 

Under its second definition, substance abuse is a diagnosable mental health condition. Along with addiction, this condition forms an illness called substance use disorder. People with diagnosable substance abuse are not necessarily affected by addiction. However, their pattern of substance misuse still causes them life-disrupting harm.

What are the causes of substance abuse? In other words, what sparks a pattern of drug or alcohol misuse? Specific reasons vary from person to person. However, common motivations include:

  • Relieving pain
  • Fitting in with a group of substance-using peers
  • Easing stress and increasing relaxation
  • Boosting energy levels
  • Self-medicating diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health issues

In addition, some people start misusing drugs or alcohol mainly for recreational reasons. 

Causes of Addiction

Why does addiction occur? As a rule, problems start with the onset of drug or alcohol misuse. When you first start drinking or taking drugs, your brain treats the presence of these substances as an unusual situation. As soon as they’re out of your system, things go back to normal. 

However, if you regularly misuse drugs or alcohol, your brain’s treatment of them can undergo a significant change. What was once an unusual event may now be treated as a new norm. In other words, your brain may count on alcohol or a given drug being present in your system. Addiction specialists refer to this expectant state as physical dependence.

If you’re only physically dependent on a particular substance, addiction can be averted. How? By halting your pattern of misuse. If your substance misuse doesn’t stop, physical dependence may soon be accompanied by psychological dependence. You reach this state when you have an additional emotional need for more alcohol or drugs. 

Once you are physically and psychologically dependent, you may undergo a key change in your behavior. This change is defined by an involuntary need to obtain and use more drugs or alcohol. Addiction makes its full arrival with the onset of this compulsive need. 

Common Factors for Addiction Risks

Addiction can affect anyone. However, the risks for substance problems are not the same for everyone who drinks or takes drugs. Why does addiction occur more often in certain people? Factors known to have an impact on your risks include:

  • Your genetic inheritance
  • The environment in which you were born and raised
  • Your age when you first started drinking or using drugs

Your genetic background, environment, and age of first use can make you more or less likely to develop problems.

Learn More About the Causes of Addiction at Tree House Recovery

Want to know more about how addiction develops? The experts at Tree House have the detailed information you need. We can also help you get a better picture of your chances of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol.

If you’re already affected by addiction, Tree House Recovery can help. We feature an intensive outpatient model that allows you to make an effective recovery part of your daily routine. To learn more about this targeted approach, call us today at 910.519.8835 or contact us online.