Heroin is an opioid, a type of drug that’s derived from the opium poppy plant. Using heroin gives you a feeling of euphoria, known as a high. The type of drug you use and how you use it changes the high you experience, but it’s this feeling that drug users seek when they take heroin or other drugs.
Using heroin changes the chemistry in your brain and leads to addiction, a condition that causes uncontrollable cravings for the drug. Drug addiction is a serious condition that impacts every aspect of your life. Your body changes with heroin use, compromising your overall health and wellbeing and even causing premature death.
Our highly trained, compassionate team at 2nd Chance Treatment Center is here to help. With offices in in Gilbert, Glendale, and Phoenix, Arizona, the team has helped people overcome heroin use disorder and addiction. Call the center to learn more.
Understanding your body on heroin
When you take heroin, it enters your brain and binds to opioid receptors, the areas of the brain responsible for pain and pleasure. Heroin stimulates dopamine production in your brain.
The short-term effects of heroin include:
- A euphoric high
- Feeling of heaviness in the limbs
- Flushed skin
- Slowed heart rate and breathing
- Drowsiness and slowed mental function
Heroin use can also cause nausea, vomiting, and extreme itchiness. The effects of heroin can last up to five hours, depending on how much you take.
The effects of heroin addiction
Heroin addiction, or heroin use disorder, is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to use the drug. People suffering from heroin addiction will go to any means necessary to get the drug, sacrificing their health and safety to do so.
Being addicted to heroin causes your body and brain to change, impacting your ability to think and act.
High heroin tolerance
Long-term usage leads to an increased tolerance for heroin. Over time, your brain gets less responsive to heroin and you won’t feel the same high. Having an increased tolerance means you need to take more and more to experience the same effects. Taking more heroin magnifies the other negative effects on your health you may experience.
Changes to your brain’s structure
Heroin use changes the structure and physiology of your brain with long-term use, leading to addiction. Heroin triggers dopamine production in your brain, which is what causes the euphoric rush. But over time, the brain gets used to heroin as its main source of dopamine. As a result, natural dopamine production decreases.
Heroin can cause deterioration of the brain’s white matter, affecting your ability to handle stress and make decisions. It also puts you at increased risk for depression. Many changes heroin causes in your brain are very difficult to reverse.
Physical deterioration and other health risks
People with heroin use disorder often have weakened immune systems and compromised health. Their bodies are prone to developing a variety of complications, including:
- Collapsed veins
- Liver or kidney disease
- Hepatitis and HIV
- Infertility and low sex drive
Heroin addiction changes the way your brain works, and withdrawal symptoms can begin to appear only a few hours after taking it. Long-term use and addiction can destroy your life, but hope isn’t lost.
If you’re a chronic heroin user and you want to change your life, make an appointment at 2nd Chance Treatment Center. Call us today or book online to get started.