What Heroin Does to Users
Heroin is an illicit narcotic opioid, one that is commonly abused and is responsible for hundreds of overdose-related deaths annually. Physical and psychological addiction and overdose are considered long-term effects consistent with heroin abuse – however, many short and long-term effects are worth mentioning. It is important to understand that no matter how much heroin is being ingested on a daily or near-daily basis, this specific chemical substance rapidly destroys the physical body, resulting in a wide range of lasting health-related consequences. The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists some of the immediate physical side effects associated with heroin use.
Health Consequences of Heroin Addiction
“The intensity of the rush is a function of how much drug is taken and how rapidly the drug enters the brain and binds to the opioid receptors,” the article notes. “With heroin, the rush is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in the extremities.” It is not uncommon for individuals who ingest more than intended to experience unpleasant symptoms like extreme nausea, vomiting, and severely itchy skin. Once the more severe and acute effects begin to subside, the individual will typically feel drowsy and uncoordinated for several hours. If an excessive amount of heroin is ingested at one time, the user might experience a slowed heart rate and respiratory depression – two symptoms that can easily lead to overdose. If breathing is slowed for a long enough period and the brain is cut off from oxygen, it can also lead to lasting brain damage and coma.
Long-Term Effects of Heroin Abuse on the Body
When heroin is used repeatedly, the structure of the brain begins to change. This leads to long-term and often irreversible neurological and hormonal imbalances, making basic cognitive functioning far more difficult. Individuals that chronically abuse heroin often find that they have a difficult time making basic decisions, that they struggle to appropriately respond to stressful situations, and that they cannot adequately regulate their behavior. Over time, a physical tolerance will also begin to develop, meaning that a greater amount of heroin is required for the desired effects to be produced. Once tolerance develops, physical and psychological symptoms associated with heroin withdrawal will occur whenever the individual who has been regularly using the chemical substance stops use abruptly. Aside from the neurological and behavioral implications of repetitive heroin abuse, this specific drug destroys the physical body in a shockingly short period.
Chronic heroin abuse destroys the physical body in the following ways:
- Dental issues, like tooth decay and chronic inflammation of the gums
- Long-term respiratory issues
- Loss of appetite which often leads to significant weight loss
- Skin issues, especially common among intravenous drug users
- Reduced sex drive and lasting impotence
- A weakened immune system often leads to repetitive illness
- Chronic constipation
Agape Treatment Center and Heroin Addiction Recovery
Heroin addiction is a serious and life-threatening disease, one that always requires immediate, professional intervention. If you or someone you love has been abusing heroin for any length of time, do not hesitate to reach out – Agape Treatment Center is available to help in any way possible. As soon as you decide to pick up the phone and seek the quality clinical care you both need and deserve, our admissions counselors will take the reins and work hard to get you admitted as quickly as possible.
We understand how overwhelming and unmanageable the psychological cravings associated with heroin addiction can be, and how these cravings can act as a major roadblock when it comes to seeking the services provided by medical detox and residential drug rehab. Because of this, we ensure that our admissions process is straightforward and short-lived – we work with you and your loved ones to get you admitted into our treatment program as quickly as possible.