Heroin is a highly illegal and extremely addictive drug that’s made from morphine, which is naturally found in certain varieties of poppy flowers. In the purest forms, it’s commonly snorted or smoked, and in the tar-like, crude form, it’s normally dissolved and injected. It affects the opioid receptors in the brain, and once it enters the brain from the bloodstream, it rushes the system with pleasure. Users often feel this strongest the first time, and the intensity of the rush depends on how much of the drug is consumed at a time. For many people, the first use causes severe nausea and vomiting as well.
Like all illicit substances, heroin use comes with a price that is extremely steep and the effects of long term use can damage the brain badly, to where it could take years for the brain to recover. Constant use causes the brain to stop producing or reduce its own endorphins, and many addicts find they can barely manage small amounts of discomfort or pain. This usually leads a person addicted to heroin to simply use more and more, which is one of the reasons heroin users run such an increased risk for overdose.
Long term, the effects on the body of heroin use can be extreme. Men face sexual dysfunction, women find their menstrual cycles are irregular and often painful. Extreme weight loss or chronic constipation are more noticeable effects, but nearly every major organ in the body is affected by continued long term use. Users find they struggle with heart problems, including developing issues with their valves, and many battle liver disease. In extreme cases, many people battling heroin addiction can develop pneumonia or be infected with tuberculosis, due to reduced and impaired lung function.
In addition to the immediate, direct side effects, heroin use tends to be coupled with poor lifestyle choices, including other recreational drugs and smoking cigarettes. Another serious risk heroin users face is the risk of sharing infectious diseases through the sharing of needles, including hepatitis B or C, or HIV. Needle sharing is just one example of the types of risky behaviors heroin addicts will participate in.
Heroin’s effects on the body and mind can lead to permanent damage, and over time, most users find that their overall health deteriorates increasingly rapidly. If you’re worried you or a loved one may have a problem with heroin, the sooner you can get help for them or yourself, the better off they will be.
Addiction can rob you of your health and your dignity. Our 5-week program at The Springboard Center treats the whole person, creating healing in mind, body, and spirit. Bringing together evidence-based treatments and trusted 12-step principles, our best practices create a quality, accessible treatment program serving the Permian Basin and beyond. Call us today for information on our availability: (432) 620-0255