What is Heroin Addiction?

Do you use heroin (H)?

Have you found that you need more of the drug for the same effect? Do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use? Do you take more heroin than you intended over a longer period of time than you intended? Are you unable to control your heroin use? Do you spend a lot of time getting your fix, using heroin and recovering from its effects? Have you stopped participating in activities that used to be important to you? Are you using despite knowing that heroin is causing you physical and psychological problems?

These are signs of heroin addiction.

In fact: You are one among many addicted to heroin.

Side Effects to the Body

People of all ages and lifestyles have injected, snorted and smoked the drug. Tolerance for the drug develops with regular use. There are many risks involved in using heroin. In the short-term, there is the possibility of a fatal overdose and high risk of viral infection, such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS; long-term risks include abscesses, cellulitis, collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, liver disease, and pulmonary complications like pneumonia, and overdose. Repeated heroin use can cause changes in the physical structure and physiology of the brain, resulting in long-term neuronal and hormonal system imbalances.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is highly addictive, illegal and one of the most dangerous drugs. Among those who try heroin for the first time, nearly 25 percent will become addicted. Known on the street as Big H, Blacktar, Brown sugar, Dope, H, Horse, Junk, Mud, Ska, Skag, and Smack, it is processed from morphine, a highly potent painkiller that occurs naturally in the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant.

Like morphine, heroin is an opiate. It is a depressant that inhibits the central nervous system. Heroin is sold in different forms, including black tar, brown powder and white powder.

What does it Feel Like?

Whether the drug is injected into a vein or muscle (the fastest way to feel its effects), smoked in a pipe or snorted as a powder, users experience an initial euphoric feeling. This is followed by a state that alternates between being drowsy and awake, with hazy mental functioning. After taking the drug, one’s mouth may become dry, and limbs feel heavy and rubbery. Users have described the heroin high as an intense feeling of well-being. Tension is relieved, anxiety is reduced and there is contentment. The effects can last between three and five hours.

Addiction can occur quickly. Addicts cannot function without the drug. They spend their days and nights focusing on the next buy, high and recovery from its effects. Heroin becomes central to their lives, despite the negative impact taken on relationships with family, recreational activities, schoolwork or career.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms have been likened to a very bad flu and include agitation, cold flashes with goose bumps, diarrhea, dilated pupils, insomnia, kicking movements, muscle and bone pain, nausea, restlessness, sweating and vomiting. Symptoms start within 12 hours of the last dose, peak at 48-72 hours and subside in about a weeks’ time. Residual symptoms can last for several months.

Recognizing Heroin Abuse in Others

It can be difficult to detect when someone is using heroin. Some signs of abuse of the drug include bloodshot eyes, constricted pupils, secretive behavior and sudden weight loss.

Heroin is a destructive drug. Its effects get worse over time. The drug will weaken the immune system and wreak havoc on internal organs.

Signs of Heroin Overdose

Heroin has a high risk of overdose due to its suppression of breathing and heart rate. Permanent brain damage, coma or death can result. If you suspect an overdose, take note of:

  • Discoloration of the tongue
  • Dry mouth
  • Lips that are bluish in color
  • “Pinpoint” pupils
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slow pulse rate

Are You At-Risk for Heroin Addiction?

There is a higher risk of heroin addiction for people who abuse painkillers like OxyContin. These drugs have similar effects to heroin, which is less expensive and more accessible than pain pills. It has been reported that nearly half of the young people who use heroin were abusing painkillers before taking heroin.

Note: It is difficult to overcome heroin use alone.

A broad range of treatments is available, including medications and behavioral therapies, in both residential and outpatient care facilities. Supervised medical detox is recommended to overcoming heroin addiction, where health care personnel can prescribe and monitor drugs to ease withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment is available for heroin addiction today; it is often free-of-charge (learn more about paying for treatment). After treatment, find a support group, continue with your therapy, and enjoy doing things with your new, sober friends!

If you are looking for a quality and reputable treatment center for your heroin addiction, contact TrustedRehab today.