Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 12/17/2020

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Causes, Symptoms & Effects of Heroin Addiction

Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center helps individuals who are struggling with heroin addiction find long-term recovery. Located in Belton, TX, Cedar Crest is the leader in mental health care.

Understanding Heroin Addiction

Learn about heroin addiction

Heroin, also known as “big H,” “black tar,” “brown sugar,” “horse,” “dope,” and “junk,” is a highly addictive drug that’s synthesized from morphine (a heavy-duty prescription painkiller). Morphine is a naturally occurring substance that’s derived from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin can be used through a variety of methods – it can be smoked, snorted, or dissolved in water and injected directly into the vein. Heroin very rapidly crosses the blood-brain barrier, increasing its addiction potential. This fast delivery of the drug to the brain also leads to complex health risks. Heroin is often cut with impurities such as baking soda, which means that each time a heroin user shoots up, he or she runs the risk of greater health consequences and overdose.

When heroin enters the brain, it is converted back to morphine, which binds to opioid receptors in certain cells located in many areas of the body and the brain that are responsible for the perception of pain and pleasure. Opioid receptors are also found in the brain stem, part of the autonomic central nervous system responsible for areas crucial for life, including blood pressure, respiration, and other automatic nervous system functions. Heroin overdoses can lead to a substantial decrease in breathing and require immediate emergency intervention. After heroin is abused, people who abuse the drug experience a euphoric rush along with dry mouth, flushing of the skin, clouded mental functioning, and heaviness in the extremities.


Heroin addiction statistics

In 2011, 4.2 million people (1.6% of the population) in the United States age 12 and older had used heroin at least once in their lifetime. Of those, about 23% will become dependent upon it.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for heroin addiction

Researchers have been unable to determine the precise cause for addiction to heroin and most generally believe that there is a complex interplay of factors working together to create addiction. The most commonly accepted causes for heroin addiction include:

Genetic: Most researchers believe that genetics play a role in addiction. People who have a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with an addiction to drugs or alcohol are at greater risk for developing an addiction themselves.

Physical: Addiction and abuse of heroin leads to long-term changes in the structure and functioning of the brain. These changes affect a person’s ability to make proper decisions, increase impulses to abuse heroin, and can affect self-control.

Environmental: People who are raised in a home in which addiction was normal learn that abusing drugs is the way to cope with negative life circumstances. Additionally, people who begin to experiment with drugs at younger ages are at a greater risk for developing addictions later in life.

Risk factors:

  • Being male
  • Presence of mental health disorders
  • Peer pressure
  • Lack of family involvement
  • Anxiety, depression, loneliness
  • Usage of a highly addictive drug, such as heroin
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of heroin addiction

The symptoms of heroin abuse will vary depending upon individual genetic makeup, length of abuse, amount of heroin used, and usage of other drugs or alcohol. Some of the most common symptoms of heroin abuse include:

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Increasing amount time spent alone
  • Engaging in illegal activities
  • Unexpected need for money
  • Incapable at maintaining responsibilities at work, home, or school
  • Strained interpersonal relationships
  • Risk-taking behaviors

Physical Symptoms:

  • Warm flushing of the skin
  • Heaviness in the extremities
  • Decreased respiration rate
  • Bradycardia
  • Dry mouth
  • Tolerance
  • Physical addiction

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Going “on the nod,” an alternating wakeful and drowsy state
  • Psychological addiction
  • Mental cloudiness
  • Decreased mental focus
  • Inability to problem-solve

Psychosocial Symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Surge of euphoria
  • Depressive disorders
  • Mood swings

Effects of heroin addiction

The long-term consequences of heroin abuse and addiction can be devastating and life-threatening. The effects will occur on a spectrum based upon individual genetic makeup, presence of other health-related issues, length of addiction, frequency of use, and presence of other drugs in the addict’s body. Long-term effects of heroin abuse may include:

  • Fatal overdose
  • Incarceration
  • Divorce
  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse
  • Social isolation
  • Poverty
  • Joblessness
  • Spontaneous abortion
  • Infectious diseases – HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, C
  • Liver disease
  • Collapsed veins
  • Abscesses at injection site
  • Kidney disease
  • Pulmonary complications
  • Permanent damage to all vital organs
Overdose & Withdrawal Effects

Effects of heroin overdose & withdrawal

Heroin is a dangerously addictive drug that can cause serious complications in the life of an addict, including overdose and physical dependence.

Withdrawal from Heroin Effects: Chronic heroin abuse leads to physical dependence which can lead to withdrawal symptoms if the drug is abruptly discontinued. Withdrawal should always occur in a medically-monitored detox and rehabilitation program to prevent complications. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal may begin within a few hours following the discontinuation of heroin usage and include:

  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Cold flashes with goosebumps, “cold turkey”
  • Involuntary kicking movements, “kicking the habit”
  • Severe cravings

Heroin Overdose: Overdose from heroin may occur when too much heroin is used in one sitting or if the purity is higher than an addict is accustomed to. Overdosing from heroin is a medical emergency and includes the following symptoms:

  • Slow, labored breathing; shallow breathing; no breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Tongue discoloration, dry mouth
  • Extreme hypotension
  • Weak, thready pulse; no pulse
  • Cyanosis of lips and nails
  • Spasms of gastrointestinal tract
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Drowsiness
  • Disorientation
  • Delirium
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Death
Co-Occurring Disorders

Heroin addiction and co-occurring disorders

There are a number of disorders that occur alongside heroin addiction. The most commonly co-occurring disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Alcoholism
  • Other substance abuse
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Shooting up heroin became second nature to me. I knew I had to stop once I hit rock bottom. Now, I am about to celebrate my first half-year of sobriety thanks to Cedar Crest!

– Anonymous Patient
Marks of Quality Care
  • Texas Hospital Association
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval
  • The Jason Foundation

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