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Heroin Addiction

Heroin invites abuse and addiction. A narcotic, heroin gives you a powerful sensation of euphoria followed by pleasurable feelings of drowsiness, relaxation and sedation. This high does not last long, however. Further, as your tolerance for the drug increases, you will quickly seek more of the drug and higher dosages, leading to addiction and, for longer-term users, an increasing likelihood of an overdose.

Heroin, a member of the opioid family, is derived from morphine which is itself an extraction from the opium poppy plant. While the drugs have legitimate medical uses as a powerful sedative and pain-reliever, large quantities of the drug produced each year go towards illegal use. Heroin comes in three distinct forms: a white or brown powder; or a black sticky substance frequently referred to as “tar.”

Additional factors increase the dangers of heroin. If you purchase heroin “on the street,” as many users do, you will often have no accurate means to judge the drug’s concentration and therefore no clear way of knowing how much of the drug you will actually be taking when you use. This can dramatically increase your likelihood of accidental overdose. Other impurities found in street versions of the drug can also cause bodily harm. Street versions of the drug very seldom contain pure heroin.

The risks associated with heroin use aren’t merely conjecture. Many recent studies confirm the risks and dangers of heroin use. A September 2017 study from the Center for Disease Control Study finds that heroin accounted for over 15,000 overdose deaths in 2016 alone. The trend for deaths from overdose has steadily and dramatically risen since 2000 when the initial study began. Heroin alone counts for nearly a quarter of all drug-related deaths in the United States according to the same study.

Heroin’s powerful hold on its users accounts for this trend and indicates that a medically-supervised detox coupled with addiction treatment may be the only way out once you’ve begun using. The dangers that you face during withdrawal, should you choose to detox from heroin on your own, can often impose health threats comparable to the use of the drug itself. A treatment center which specializes in detox will always be your safest option once you have decided to seek sobriety.

The Effects of Heroin Use on the Body

You will experience a variety of negative side-effects even from short-term heroin use, and they can range from uncomfortable to very severe. These side-effects include:

  • dry mouth
  • itchy skin
  • constricted pupils and light sensitivity
  • vomiting and nausea
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • slowed breathing
  • slowed heart-rate
  • lower than normal body temperature
  • blue or cyanotic extremities

Signs of Heroin Abuse and Dependency

There are many signs which can indicate abuse and dependency on heroin, and which you or your loved ones may observe. Those signs include:

  • difficulty sleeping and insomnia
  • memory loss
  • anxiety
  • isolation
  • emotional numbness and depression
  • diminished sexual desire and function
  • weakness and/or sedation

Long-term Damage from Heroin Use

Long-term heroin use produces many life-threatening side-effects which can include:

  • decaying teeth and gums
  • malnutrition and a decreased appetite
  • chronic constipation
  • excoriated skin including abscesses, infections and sores
  • immune system impairment and increased illnesses
  • cardiovascular issues
  • irreversible damage to liver and kidneys
  • hepatitis leading to cancer
  • brain damage from oxygen deficiency

The Dangers of Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin withdrawal can cause severe emotional and physical distress and pain; however, with a medically-supervised withdrawal, your doctor can control and limit many of these symptoms. Some of the symptoms you will likely face during withdrawal include:

  • nausea
  • stomach cramping
  • runny nose
  • chills and sweats
  • body aches and pains
  • vomiting and diarrhea
  • irritability and restlessness
  • tremors
  • difficulty concentrating
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • hypertension
  • faster than normal heart rate
  • breathing difficulty
  • physical and emotional numbness

Getting Treatment Help

Heroin, a narcotic and opioid, has many intense, dangerous and life-threatening side-effects. Heroin withdrawal also poses its own serious health risks. Whether you are a casual or serious heroin user, the time to stop using is now. Call Serenity Oaks Wellness Center at 844-720-6847 to learn more about how our individualized recovery programs can help you achieve a sobriety that lasts.>

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center