Heroin Addiction

The most addictive drug in America. Numbers suggest that more people are addicted to nicotine than any other drug. However, heroin is far more addictive. 

Addictive qualities are associated with the ease of use and euphoric feelings a drug induces. 

Heroin users experience euphoria and strong feelings of relaxation within seconds of use. The opioid receptors in the brain instantly release dopamine. Due to this, cravings for more of the drug begin shortly after the effects of the drug subside. 

How Heroin is Addictive

Heroin causes chemical changes in the brain. These changes impact people’s behavior.

While heroin users are high, they only feel positive feelings. They feel comforted and relaxed. They feel at peace.

However, it is these feelings that cause the brain to immediately crave more of that feeling. This causes desire for more and creates addiction to a substance.

Heroin is so strong that it puts stress on the brain and on the body. Additionally, heroin users build a tolerance to the drug very quickly. This causes the user to need more of the drug each time to feel those euphoric feelings.Heroin is so strong that it puts stress on the brain and on the body. Additionally, heroin users build a tolerance to the drug very quickly. This causes the user to need more of the drug each time to feel those euphoric feelings.

Users’ tolerances become so high that they need large quantities of the drug just to prevent withdrawal symptoms. This also leads to a higher risk for relapse as users constantly increase their doses.

Who Uses Heroin?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, men between the ages of 18 and 25 are the largest demographic for heroin use. Heroin addicts are also likely to have abused prescription opioids. Users of cocaine are more than ten times as likely to use heroin. 

Data supports the statement that higher rates of heroin addiction are related to the increase in prescribed opiates by medical professionals.

Countless heroin addicts state that they first used heroin because their doctor stopped prescribing them opiates. They then used heroin to overcome the cravings and withdrawal symptoms they felt.

What are the characteristics of a Heroin Addiction?

People use heroin once, then use it again in the following days or weeks. They are seeking the same euphoric high they felt on their first use. This is only the beginning of a heroin dependence. 

In as little as a week of heroin use, people become addicted. Stopping use causes severe physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. It is for this reason that users have such difficulty stopping. If they do stop, they are faced with extremely uncomfortable symptoms.

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Long-Term Health Effects of Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction causes changes to the structure of the brain. Prolonged use causes a breakdown of brain cells and the nerve fibers of the brain.

Destruction of the nerve fibers and brain cells impair the ability of the brain to communicate with the body. This results in physical impairment. 

Long-term heroin users struggle with behavioral issues, and cognitive issues such as feeling empathy or joy. They need more heroin to feel these feelings, which only further dulls their cognitive function.

Common side effects associated with IV use include: collapsed veins, abscesses: infections, and blood-borne viruses such as HIV or Hepatitis.

Most heroin users choose intravenous injection due to its more intense high. Others smoke or snort heroin because they feel it is safer. However, the method of use does not diminish the potential for heroin overdose and other negative health effects.

Why Shouldn’t Heroin Addicts Stop “Cold Turkey”?

Heroin use alters the brain. When heroin addicts stop using abruptly, the body goes through a series of negative side-effects and withdrawal symptoms. 

Seizures, sweats, vomiting and diarrhea are just a few of the symptoms that can occur when addicts stop cold turkey. It is for this reason that we always recommend a medical detox and supervision for those trying to stop using heroin. 

Heroin addicts are also likely to suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. These psychological problems may even worsen when an addict stops use abruptly.

These factors support the opinion that all heroin addicts should go through a detox process under the direction of medical professionals. Detox in a medical facility is almost always more comfortable and safer than stopping cold turkey.

If you are concerned a loved one may be struggling with heroin, you can read our article on Detecting Heroin. It can help identify the signs of heroin use. 

Why Heroin Addiction Requires Medical Treatment

Overcoming a substance use disorder is not as simple as stopping use of the drug. Identifying why addicts use, and focusing on breaking the addictive behavior patterns are equally as important. 

It is recommended that heroin addiction always be treated in a professional medical setting. Not only for the comfort of reducing withdrawal symptoms, but for tackling the issues that led to the addiction. 

Furthermore, addicts need to build a solid foundation for recovery to stay sober long-term. 

These factors support the opinion that all heroin addicts should go through a detox process under the direction of medical professionals. Detox in a medical facility is almost always more comfortable and safer than stopping cold turkey.

We offer a wide range of substance abuse and mental health services. For more information on drug addiction treatment and a drug free life, please read our article on Heroin Treatment Programs. We are also available by phone at (800) 817-1247