25-Year Old Woman Enjoys Life Free of Alcohol and Heroin Addiction

heroin addiction, substance abuse treatment, drug addiction treatment, drug treatment programs, “It’s really important to be aware. When see you personality changes or when someone withdrawals from you, the sooner you intervene, the better the odds you won’t lose a loved one,” explains Angela, a 25-year-old female from a suburban town in Illinois who got help for alcohol and heroin addiction following a heroin overdose.

Like many Americans who suffer with depression and anxiety, Angela abused alcohol and prescription drugs like Vicodin and benzodiazepines to escape her uncomfortable feelings and unresolved emotions, which also chipped away at her self-esteem. She eventually sought out the “ultimate high” of heroin.

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry* reveals Angela’s experience is representative of a growing trend in America: Today’s typical heroin user who has sought treatment is more likely a 20-something white woman from the suburbs. Researchers have concluded that this represents a shift in the demographics of users seeking out treatment over the past few decades.

The study says that Caucasian men and women have turned to prescription pills as their drug of choice, but heroin eventually becomes more attractive to them, as it is much cheaper. According to lead study author, neuropharmacologist Theodore Cicero of Washington University, heroin use in women has rose from 20 percent in the 50s to around 52 percent of heroin users today.

Angela, who is now 73 days sober, is enjoying a very different life since first walking into a Gateway Treatment Center. No longer aching to escape reality, she’s working full-time as a cook and genuinely enjoys appeasing her diners’ hunger. When she isn’t working, Angela likes to unwind by hula hooping, creating music and hanging out with her family.

To get to a better state, Amanda’s integrated treatment for addiction and mental health issues included medication assisted treatment services that addressed withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings for opiates and alcohol. She worked with a dedicated counselor along with other substance abuse experts to create her own personalized treatment plan, one grounded in her own values and life goals. Through individual and group therapy sessions along with education about substance abuse and mental health, Amanda was able to unravel her painful past, working through haunting problems that she had buried and avoided.

“For me, the best thing about going through treatment at Gateway is I discovered the beauty I have inside me and what I have to offer the world. Treatment is all about rebuilding self-esteem,” she explains. “It’s empowering to feel confident in my abilities and positive about my future—I feel so lucky to be alive.”

Gateway Treatment Centers are located throughout the state of Illinois and offer Residential Treatment Programs and Intensive Outpatient Programs for adults and teens struggling with alcoholism and drug abuse. Call today to learn about our free, confidential consultation at (877) 505-HOPE.

*JAMA Psychiatry. Published online May 28, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.366
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