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Definition of Heroin addiction

Heroin addiction: Physical addiction to heroin, often with concurrent use of other opiates when heroin itself is not available. Treatment is by opiates withdrawal, either gradual or sudden. Medication may be used to ease the physical effects of withdrawal, which include goosebumps, cramping, body aches, nausea, and intense craving. Opiate blockers and agonist/antagonist drugs may be used to alleviate the symptoms and speed up the withdrawal process and assist the addict with maintaining compliance. Methadone is used for a slow gradual withdrawal. Additional interventions are counseling, 12 step program, treatment with antidepressants and mood stabilizers.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11466
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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