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A-Z Teen Health Glossary

Teen Heroin Abuse Treatment

Overview of Teen Heroin Abuse

Teen heroin abuse is an extremely serious, dangerous condition that requires professional treatment, as early as possible. Heroin is an opioid drug and one of the most addictive drugs in existence, making it risky for teens to experiment using, even once. Heroin usually comes in brown or white powder form and can be snorted, injected, or smoked.


Heroin produces a quick, intense high of euphoric energy, which is produced by the drug working as a strong pain killer, to block the brain receptors that are associated with pain. Heroin works extremely quickly on these receptors, which is why the high is so immediate and also one of the reasons the substance us so dangerous. Furthermore, because heroin affects brain receptors in the same brain region that affect many automatic functions (such as breathing and heart rate), fatalities due to heroin overdose are often due to this area being blocked.

In cases of regular or recurring use, heroin affects the brain functioning, as the brain becomes dependent upon- and therefore the teen, addicted to- the substance. While the effects of heroin are extremely dangerous for people of all ages, teens are especially vulnerable to any substances that may disrupt brain chemistry, since their brains are still developing. The brain also develops a tolerance of the drug, which requires teens to take more and more each use, in order to produce the same effect. This is one of the causes for the extreme risk for overdose.

As with many other instances of drug abuse, heroin abuse also often leads to a cascade of negative effects of teens’ lives, including but certainly not limited to: strained relationships; difficulty or failure in school; physical ailments; anxiety and irritation; apathy toward once-appreciated activities; general lack of engagement.

It’s important to note that because of the brain’s dependency on heroin over time, teens cannot safely discontinue using, without professional oversight and assistance, to monitor the process.

Teen Heroin Abuse Treatment

The first step of teen heroin abuse treatment is for therapists and/or health professionals to oversee the gradual, safe withdrawal as teens go off of the substance. Usually, this requires the administration of the substance in controlled, lesser amounts, so that teens’ bodies can gradually detox from the drug. This withdrawal process can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable, which is why it’s so important for teens to have the mental, emotional, and physical support they need, throughout this time.

Throughout and following the withdrawal process, therapists work with teens to evaluate their behaviors and the effects thereof, including the ways they’ve hurt people around them. At the same time, our therapists work with teens to try to uncover and mine the deeper, underlying issues in their lives, which are causing them to use heroin, in the first place. By supporting teens to do this deeper mental and emotional work, therapists not only support teens to gain physical recovery from the habits and symptoms they’re experiencing, but to grow and heal in instrumental ways.

Paradigm Austin

At Paradigm Austin, we provide teen treatment for heroin abuse and addiction. Our teem heroin abuse treatment is designed to address all aspects of teens’ experience and we draw upon many different areas of our professional staff, in order to support all of the teens’ needs, throughout their process. Paradigm Austin is a residential teen treatment center which provides treatment for mental health and substance abuse conditions. Teens come to us at Paradigm Austin from Austin as well as the rest of the U.S.