Heroin is a dangerous and highly addictive drug and can have devastating physical, financial, and psychological effects. Without professional help, such as a heroin addiction rehab program in Texas, these symptoms will continue to create a downward spiral into further misery and unhappiness.
Because heroin is illegal, getting help with addiction can be tricky. However, a professional heroin addiction treatment center may offer clients a way to safely detox from heroin and overcome their addiction to this hazardous substance. By sharing the following information about the effects of heroin addiction, it should become clear why heroin is so dangerous and how heroin treatment in a facility like San Antonio Recovery Center is the best way to regain control and live a life of recovery.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug derived from morphine, a naturally occurring substance that can be harvested from the seed pod of an opium poppy plant. It is very potent and highly addictive and is often the drug that people turn to when they are abusing opioid pain medicine and can no longer obtain pills through legal or illegal means. One reason heroin is so addictive is that it produces a pleasurable effect in the user almost immediately. As soon as the drug reaches the brain, it binds to opioid receptors, which causes a surge of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that causes feelings of pleasure and makes heroin highly addictive.
Because heroin binds to the opioid receptors so quickly, users report a heroin rush or a sensation of warmth and euphoria. This sensation is accompanied by:
- Shallow breathing
- Dry mouth
- A heavy feeling in the extremities
After this initial heroin high, heroin users report feeling drowsy and relaxed. The heroin high can last for a few hours, depending on the dose of heroin used. As heroin wears off, heroin addicts begin to feel tired and often need to go to sleep. Heroin, like many addictive substances that are commonly abused, rewires the brain and body chemistry with prolonged use. Eventually, the brain stops producing dopamine and becomes dependent upon heroin to provide feelings of joy and pleasure. This is why it is called drug dependency; the brain and body have become dependent upon heroin to provide dopamine. As heroin leaves a person’s system, depression often sets in since they cannot derive much pleasure naturally; favorite hobbies, activities, events, or social engagements no longer produce any sense of joy, so they return to heroin to feel any sense of pleasure.
Unfortunately, prolonged heroin use builds up a tolerance to the drug, and soon a higher dosage taken more frequently is required to achieve the same feeling of euphoria. This often leads to overdose, as the amount of heroin needed to produce the desired effect is more than the body can tolerate. As you will see below, the quality of life while not in the throes of heroin is not pleasant.
Major Effects of Heroin
These are just a few of the devastating effects of heroin addiction; seeking professional treatment offers the best chance to overcome a heroin addiction once and for all.
1. Chronic Constipation
Heroin is an opioid. Like all opioid addictions, abusing heroin causes constipation. In the grand scheme of things, many people think constipation is a mere inconvenience. Long-term heroin users, however, know that chronic constipation can be extremely severe.
Being constipated for a long period of time is uncomfortable and leads to nausea and a lack of appetite. Consequently, this causes malnutrition or weight loss. Worse still, it can lead to small and large bowel perforation and intraperitoneal hemorrhage. This can also mean gangrene in the small bowel.
Overall, chronic constipation is a severe and life-threatening side effect of heroin use.
2. Skin Infections and Abscesses
Heroin consumption occurs in a number of ways. For example, injecting heroin is the most common, especially among chronic users. Unfortunately, injecting heroin into the skin can lead to several unpleasant, worrying side effects.
For example, inflammation often occurs around injection sites. They might get red and itchy and, thus, become open wounds at risk for infection. These can become severe, turning into serious abscesses.
Heroin can also cause itching under the skin. Some users report feelings of bugs under the skin. They will try to relieve the itching, but doing so breaks open the skin and spreads infection even more.
3. Mental Health Disorders
Many chronic heroin users experience mental health disorders. Drug use can worsen existing mental illnesses and also cause new ones.
After developing the chronic disease of addiction, the following chronic mental illnesses can occur:
- Anxiety disorders and panic attacks
- Types of depression, such as major depressive disorder
- Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder
Attending addiction therapy services can reduce the impact of heroin on the brain. In fact, those who have an addiction are twice as likely to experience a mental health disorder and vice versa. This means counseling and therapy programs are critical for recovery.
4. Overdose Risks
One of the greatest risks of heroin use is overdose potential. Overall, there’s no safe method of heroin consumption. Virtually every batch is different, and they all vary in terms of ingredients and potency. Every time a person uses heroin, there’s a chance it could result in an overdose.
A heroin overdose can be severe. In some cases, use causes slow or labored breathing. Or worse, the drug stops breathing altogether and leads to death. Identifying an overdose is possible if the user nods off and becomes unconscious. Blue lips or fingernails are signs of lack of oxygen as well.
Find Help for the Effects of Heroin
To escape these negative effects of heroin abuse, a person must cease using heroin and seek professional help battling the addiction. Heroin rehab in San Antonio may be the best path to recovery.
At San Antonio Recovery Center, clients can begin working toward total recovery. Overall, addiction experts create comprehensive programs to stop addiction once and for all. Some of the many treatment methods and strategies our clients benefit from include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Animal-assisted therapy
- Exercise therapy
- Individual, group, and family therapy
The consequences of heroin addiction are devastating. However, you don’t have to live with them any longer. At San Antonio Recovery Center in Texas, help is always available on your journey to recovery. Contact us at 866.957.7885 and start living the life you deserve today.