How does heroin addiction effects the body?

How does heroin addiction effects the body?
How does heroin addiction effects the body?

Heroin Addiction Effects

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, there has been reported 52,404 lethal drug overdose cases in 2015 alone. Out of which there have been 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015. The most significant increase in heroin addiction is seen in young adults aged 18 – 25.

The effect of heroin on the body depends on some factors. Depending on the dosage of the drug and the where it is administered it can give the sensation of pleasure and relieve pain by stimulating the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Heroin effects also depend on how strongly the drug binds to the receptors and for how long.

Heroin binds to and activates receptors in the brain called mu-opioid receptors (MORs). These receptors bind to the naturally occurring neurotransmitters and activate the reward center in the brain.


What are the Immediate (short-term) effects of heroin use?

When heroin enters the brain, it is converted into Morphine, and it rapidly binds to the MORs or opioid receptors. Abusers report a feeling of intense pleasure which is often referred to as a “rush.” The intensity of the rush depends on how much of the drug is taken and how rapidly the drug enters the brain and binds to the receptors. The rush is accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, feeling of nausea, vomiting, and severe itching. After the initial effects, users feel drowsy for several hours. The brain thinking is clouded, breathing is severely slow sometimes enough to be life-threatening and cause coma and permanent brain damage.


What are the long-term effects of heroin use?

Heroin usage creates changes in the brain structure, imbalances in the neuronal and hormonal systems that are not easily reversible. It affects the white matter of the brain which affects the brains’ decision-making abilities, creates behavioral changes and the ability to handle stressful situations.

Heroin also produces high tolerance and physical dependency of the drug. Tolerance occurs when more and more of the drug is required to get the same effects of the drug as initially. With heroin, the body builds a physical dependency on the drug and the absence of the drug creates withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal may occur within few hours after the drug was taken and can last for months. But the major withdrawals come between 24-48 hours after the drug has been used. Symptoms of withdrawals include nausea, vomiting, insomnia, muscle and bone pain and cold flashes are among some of the common symptoms.

Repeated use of drug results in heroin addiction and chronic relapsing to the drug use and the abuser will seek the drug no matter the consequences. Once the person is addicted to heroin seeking and using the drug is the primary purpose in life.


Helping someone with heroin addiction

If you have someone in your family or friends who are addicted to heroin, there are some ways you can help the person. Firstly, you need to learn about the drug itself and how it works. Approach the person from a place of help when in sobriety. Be caring and supportive, suggest the person that you can help. You can choose to detox at home but make sure you have taken precautionary measures. Do not hesitate to seek help from local support groups or an expert detox facility. Grant Pain Management Clinic provides Grant In Home Detox programs at home. For more information call us at 9284681337.

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