Heroin is part of the opioid drug family and in its opiate form is made from poppy plants. Today, with the rise in synthetic opioids, “heroin” often refers to chemicals like fentanyl, carfentanil, or other synthetics.
Tragically, heroin and opioid drug abuse have become an epidemic in the United States, hitting states like Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania particularly hard. The CDC reported that heroin use has risen in recent years across almost all age groups and demographics. Both men and women have increased their use of heroin and opioids, including those in higher income brackets or the privately insured.
Effects of Heroin Addiction
Heroin works similar to other opioid painkillers in that it affects receptors in the brain that control your body’s feelings of pleasure and pain. These same receptors also control your heart rate, sleeping, and breathing. Heroin provides euphoric effects, but it also causes many other drug-related side effects that are both short and long-term.
Short-Term Side Effects Can Include:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Warm flushing of the skin
- Severe itching
- Heavy, limp feeling in the arms and legs
- Clouded mental functioning
- Going in and out of consciousness, also referred to as “on the nod”
Long-Term Side Effects Can Include:
- Long-term insomnia
- Collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
- Infection of the heart lining and valves
- Nasal tissue damage if you sniff or snort the drug
- Abscesses on the skin tissue
- Constipation and stomach cramping
- Liver and kidney disease
- Lung complications and lung diseases like pneumonia
- Mental health concerns, depression, anxiety, personality disorders
Other side effects can include increased exposure to infectious diseases as noted above, along with additional poisoning risk due to the use of tainted drugs. Heroin is often laced or mixed with other substances to add the appearance of volume. Such substances can include things like different starches or sugar which can cause permanent damage when they clog blood vessels that lead to major organs.
In addition to these effects of heroin abuse, an overdose is potentially the most permanent and lasting side effect as it can result in death. Without seeking help, all heroin users are at risk of overdose. This is a drug that your body can build up a tolerance to and therefore users typically continue to increase the amounts they take in order to get that euphoric high. The higher the amount ingested, the more likely it is to be fatal.
If you or a loved one are showing signs of opiate drug addiction reach out today. There are programs that can help.
Treatments For Heroin Addiction
At BrightView, we are able to successfully treat patients who are fighting the disease of heroin addiction or other drug and alcohol addictions. We are not “drug rehab.” BrightView is a comprehensive outpatient treatment center that can help patients stabilize, heal, and recover from heroin dependence.
We use medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to ease the effects of heroin withdrawal, while combining behavioral therapies and counseling to work towards long-term recovery. We work with each patient to create a treatment plan that allows them to maintain as much day-to-day normalcy as possible while they work on recovery.
If you or a loved one are looking for help, BrightView can help you heal from heroin addiction and start the journey to recovery as soon as today. We have team members that answer the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 1-833-510-HELP