Heroin Use and Addiction
Heroin is a highly addictive and illegal opioid drug that has caused a severe public health crisis in many parts of the world. An opiate drug processed from morphine, which is extracted from the poppy plants, heroin is often sold as a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as “black tar heroin.” While it was initially intended to be used as a pain reliever, it is now primarily abused for its euphoric effects.
Unfortunately, heroin use and addiction can lead to various harmful physical, psychological, social, and behavioral side effects. Understanding these heroin side effects is essential for recognizing and addressing heroin addiction and preventing the long-term consequences of drug use.
Knowing the side effects of heroin use can help individuals, families, and communities better understand the risks and dangers of heroin addiction and the importance of seeking treatment and support for those struggling with addiction.
Read on to explore the various physical, psychological, social, and behavioral side effects of heroin use, and how Resurgence Tennessee can help if you or a loved one is battling heroin addiction.
Physical Side Effects of Heroin Addiction
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), heroin enters the brain rapidly and travels through the blood-brain barrier. It binds to opioid receptors that affect the feelings of pain and pleasure.
Heroin use can have a significant impact on physical health. Addiction is often characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking behaviors.
Here are some of the most common physical side effects:
Short-term physical side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- A feeling of heaviness in the limbs
- Lowered breathing and heart rate
- Constricted pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cold flashes
Long-term heroin abuse signs include:
- Liver and kidney disease
- Respiratory infections
- Chronic constipation
- Skin infections
- Collapsed veins
Sharing needles can also lead to the transmission of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
Health Consequences of Substance Abuse and Heroin Use
The health consequences of suffering through heroin addiction can be severe and long-lasting. For example, heroin use can lead to respiratory failure, a common cause of death in heroin users.
Chronic heroin use can also cause heart and lung problems, chronic pain, and damage to the immune system.
Heroin use can affect many vital organs and bodily systems, including the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs. Chronic use can lead to organ damage and disease, which can be life-threatening.
Psychological Side Effects of Heroin Abuse
Heroin can also have a significant impact on mental health and cognitive functioning. It also causes various behavioral symptoms. Below are some of the most common psychological side effects:
Short-Term Psychological Side Effects
Heroin use can cause various psychological effects, including euphoria, drowsiness, confusion, and impaired judgment. It can also cause anxiety, agitation, and paranoia in some users.
Long-Term Psychological Side Effects
Chronic heroin use can lead to mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. It can also increase the risk of co-occurring disorders like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Effects On Mental Health and Cognitive Functioning
Substance abuse can cause long-lasting damage to the brain, including changes in brain structure and function. These changes can lead to memory loss, attention deficits, and impaired decision-making if not addressed through heroin addiction treatment.
Social and Behavioral Side Effects of Heroin
Heroin significantly impacts social and behavioral functioning. Common social and behavioral side effects include:
- Impacts on personal relationships: Heroin use can damage relationships, including romantic relationships, friendships, and family relationships. It can also cause users to become isolated from their loved ones.
- Effects on employment and finances: Heroin abuse may lead to unemployment, financial difficulties, and a lack of stable housing. Users may also engage in risky behaviors, such as theft and drug dealing, to support their habit.
- Legal consequences of heroin use: Heroin use is illegal, and users may face criminal charges and incarceration. This can significantly affect employment, relationships, and overall quality of life.
- Increased risk of risky behaviors and criminal activities: Heroin abuse can increase the risk of engaging in risky behaviors and illegal activities, such as driving under the influence, prostitution, and violent crime.
Overdose and Death as Side Effects of Heroin Use
One of the most significant risks of heroin use is the risk of overdose and death. When mixed with another central nervous system depressant, like alcohol or benzos, heroin abuse can cause life-threatening risks, such as respiratory depression and failure.
Heroin users are at risk of overdose and death due to the potency of the drug and the potential for unknown contaminants. Overdose risk is higher when heroin is combined with other drugs or alcohol.
Common symptoms of heroin overdose include shallow breathing, slow heart rate, cold and clammy skin, blue lips and nails, and unresponsiveness.
Heroin Overdose Treatment and Prevention
Heroin overdose is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate medical attention. Treatment for heroin overdose typically involves reversing the effects of the drug using a medication called naloxone, which can quickly restore normal breathing and prevent brain damage.
In most cases, naloxone is administered by first responders or medical professionals. However, it is also available to the general public as a nasal spray or auto-injector. These products can be easily used by nonmedical individuals in emergencies and have been credited with saving countless lives.
Preventing heroin overdose is critical, and people can take several steps to reduce the risk of an overdose. First, individuals struggling with heroin addiction should seek professional treatment to overcome their addiction and reduce the risk of an overdose.
Using Local Resources to Curb the Spread of Opiates
Other prevention strategies include educating individuals about the causes and risk factors associated with heroin abuse, including the dangers of combining heroin with other substances like alcohol or prescription drugs. Harm reduction strategies such as using clean needles and not sharing injection equipment can also help reduce the risk of overdose and spreading diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
Community-wide efforts such as increased access to naloxone and providing education and support for individuals struggling with addiction and their loved ones can also play an essential role in preventing overdose and promoting recovery.
Overall, the key to preventing and treating heroin overdose is education, awareness, and access to life-saving treatments like naloxone. With the right resources and support, individuals can recover from addiction and reduce the risk of life-threatening overdose.
Recovering from Drug Abuse and Withdrawal Symptoms
Heroin is a highly addictive drug. Heroin addiction can have devastating effects on an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional health, and it also has adverse effects on relationships and overall quality of life. The negative side effects of heroin abuse can lead to long-term health complications, legal troubles, and even death.
While the side effects of heroin use can be frightening, there is hope for recovery. Seeking professional help at our effective drug rehab setting for heroin addiction can give you the necessary tools and support to overcome addiction, manage heroin withdrawal symptoms, and prevent future relapse.
Get Support for the Symptoms of Heroin Addiction Now
At Resurgence Tennessee rehab center, we offer evidence-based addiction treatment programs that include individual and group therapy, medical detox, and medication-assisted treatment. Our team of experienced and compassionate professionals is dedicated to helping individuals with heroin addiction achieve lasting recovery and regain control of their lives.
If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, don’t wait to seek help. Contact our warm and welcoming Admissions team today to learn more about our treatment options and take the first step towards a healthier and happier life!