7 Severe Effects of Heroin Use
Understanding Heroin Addiction
Heroin is a highly addictive opioid, which sometimes starts as a prescription drug addiction. It can be snorted, smoked or directly injected into a vein. Any of these methods of use gets heroin to the brain quickly and easily causes substance abuse and addiction, even after just one or two uses. Heroin has an intense effect on the brain’s reward system by influencing the production of dopamine and endorphins. The brain quickly links heroin use to the activation of these feel-good chemicals and wants to recreate the experience over and over again. The body quickly develops a physical dependence which causes severe withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop. Heroin withdrawal is one of the reasons why people have a difficult time stopping on their own, they quickly relapse in order to offset those withdrawal symptoms.
Some signs and symptoms of heroin addiction include:
- Persistent cravings for heroin
- Continued substance abuse despite heroin-related problems
- Developing a tolerance to heroin
- Experiencing heroin withdrawal
- Trying and failing to cut down or quit heroin use
Many heroin abusers need escalating doses of heroin in order to get the same effect as they build up tolerance. Some will start abusing heroin by injection which increases the risk of the heroin overdose.
7 Extreme Effects of Heroin Use You Should Know
Most people are aware that heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs because of its high risk of addiction and abuse. There are several short term and long term effects of heroin addiction and abuse, including:
- Heroin overdose. Heroin affects the central nervous system and slows down breathing and heart rate, sometimes to dangerous levels causing a heroin overdose, which can lead to brain damage, coma, or death.
- Higher risk of HIV and Hepatitis infection. This is mostly a result of sharing needles in heroin abusers who use injection methods. Heroin use can also lower inhabitations causing some users to engage in risky sexual behavior and contract various sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
- Development or worsening of mental illness symptoms. Some individuals may start using heroin as a way to escape their mental illness symptoms, including bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depressive disorder. However, the effects of heroin use and other drug abuse will often worsen these symptoms or bring them out.
- Increased risk of suicide. Worsening of mental illness symptoms can lead to suicidal ideation or attempts. Sometimes suicides are committed through intentional heroin overdose.
- Collapsed veins. Frequent intravenous heroin abuse can lead to collapsed veins which can lead to life-threatening infections or loss of a limb.
- Various infections. Intravenous drug use can lead to increased risk of contracting an infection, including infections in the skin, heart, bones, or joints.
- Deterioration of white matter in the brain. Changes in the brain due to addiction to heroin such as these can directly affect decision-making capabilities, ways of responding to stress, and ability to control behavior. It also leads to greater likelihood of relapse in the future.
Heroin Addiction Treatment
There are treatments for heroin addiction available through treatment centers like DayBreak Treatment Solutions. The effects of heroin addiction on the brain and body require comprehensive treatment plans available in substance abuse rehab centers. Heroin addiction and abuse treatment programs are designed to treat the physical, behavioral, and psychological aspects of addiction to help individuals find long-term sobriety from substance abuse. At DayBreak, our personalized drugs and alcohol treatment plans are part of all levels of care, including inpatient program and intensive outpatient treatment. Many heroin abusers begin with medical detox to go through withdrawal symptoms safely and effectively. We also use dual diagnosis treatment to treat co-occurring disorders, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and depressive disorders, that are often present in heroin users.
If you or loved ones are struggling with heroin abuse and addiction, please contact our offices today to at (844) 695-0083 learn more about the admissions process and start living a life free of substance abuse.