Heroin addiction affects the lives of millions of people across the nation. But, how much is really known about this drug? Heroin can cause serious and sometimes life threatening effects that affect both the body and the mind.

Thankfully, there are treatment options that can help to reverse these effects and put those suffering on the path to recovery.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is one of the more common drugs abused in the United States. It is considered an opioid drug that is a derivative of morphine. Opiate drugs come from the opium poppy. This flower can be found in different parts of the world and is harvested for use in medicine to treat pain and illnesses.

Heroin was first produced in 1874, during the morphine production. It was thought that heroin would be an alternative for morphine and used in medicine. However, it was found to be very addictive and was soon made illegal. Heroin is usually found to be white in color, but can also appear brown or black. Black heroin is known as black tar heroin. Street names for heroin include horse, hell dust, and smack.

Physical Short Term Effects

There are many risks associated with heroin use. Although short term effects may seem minimal, any side effect can prove to be life threatening. A person may experience difficulty concentrating and may even pass out briefly.

When heroin enters the body it affects the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, slowing it down. This means that a person’s blood pressure will drop and they may experience difficulty breathing or heart palpitations. A person may begin experiencing feelings of persistent anxiety and even depression.

Physical Long Term Effects

The length of time that heroin is being used does affect the severity and longevity of effects. Symptoms can become more extreme or lasting and require medical attention. However, any effect can be dangerous. If you or someone you know is suffering from drug abuse and you notice symptoms, contact medical assistance.

Drugs have a direct impact on both the body and the mind. Heroin use affects both and can present life altering consequences. Due to heroin slowing down a person’s cardiovascular system, a person can experience heart damage and even heart disease after prolonged use. A person may also develop different lung issues and may have persistent difficulty breathing.

Since heroin is a toxin, liver and kidney disease can also develop. Trouble concentrating and memory loss can occur. Some of the most deadly long term effects are stopped breathing and falling into a coma.

Addiction and The Brain

Your brain is a very complex, powerful, and important organ. The brain is at the center of your being, controlling not only your behaviors, but also your thought processes. When drugs enter a person’s body, the brain is directly affected. Drugs alter the reward pathway, making dopamine shoot up to abnormal levels. This creates a temporary “high”. The brain recognizes this as a good substance and a good action. So, it seeks to mimic this same feeling.

A person’s brain will become compulsive, seeking out the drug. Your brain will become obsessed and there will be no way to mute it without treatment. Despite negative consequences, a person will not be able to stop. This is why addiction is considered a brain disease and requires medical treatment. Your whole life will be affected by the addiction, including personal relationships and how you react to situations. It is important that those suffering seek treatment, as attempting to detox at home is very dangerous.

How Long Before Someone Becomes Addicted to Heroin?

Addiction is a scary and chronic brain disease, affecting millions. Anyone can become addicted and there is no timeline for when someone will become addicted after use. Addiction depends on many factors that differ from person to person. These factors include genetics, family history, underlying medical issues, and medications. Heroin addiction can develop quickly in certain circumstances.

Addiction usually happens after multiple uses of a drug. After someone uses a drug a few times, the person may begin to realize that the same dosage is not giving them the same effects. That is because their body has built up a tolerance. This may cause that person to take higher doses of heroin to achieve the same effects. This can cause the reward pathways that are disrupted by the heroin use to become dependent. A person may begin losing control of their use, become compulsive, and may be unable to stop.

Can Someone Overdose on Heroin?

Overdose is a real danger surrounding heroin and it has proved to be deadly. Heroin suppresses the cardiovascular and respiratory system. This slows breathing and lowers the blood pressure. This can cause someone’s brain to not receive the oxygen it needs and cause you to become unconscious.

There are signs you can look for if you suspect someone may have overdosed on heroin. Their pulse will be weak and their breathing will be shallow. They may have very small pupils and be confused. Their tongue may be discolored, as well as their fingernails and lips turning blue.

If symptoms of an overdose are not treated promptly, it could lead to death. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms, contact medical assistance immediately.

Getting Heroin Addiction Treatment

Although symptoms of heroin abuse and addiction could prove to be life threatening, there is hope. Heroin addiction is considered a disease and cannot be recovered from without proper professional treatment. Trying to get sober at home has a high risk for relapse and overdose, causing it to not be medically recommended.

Treatment programs that are most effective are those that offer individualized plans. If you or someone you know is suffering from heroin addiction, it is important to get help immediately to limit effects.

Arizona Addiction Recovery Center knows that taking that first step towards recovery is often the most difficult, but it is also the most rewarding. Their dedicated team of professionals craft individual plans for success that are not just focused on the addiction, but on every facet of your life. Call today to learn more about their programs and make a change for the better.

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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888.512.1705.

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