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Effects of Heroin

Heroin is a potent opioid that can be highly addictive and dangerous. This drug binds to opioid receptors in the brain, causing a euphoric feeling. After the initial rush of taking heroin, users may feel drowsy and disoriented and experience side effects like itchiness, dry mouth, nausea and a slowed heart rate and breathing. Learn what can happen to your body and brain when you take heroin, and how this drug can affect your well-being. 

Why Is Heroin So Dangerous?

According to the CDC, the likelihood of someone developing an opioid dependency increases with each additional day of use, starting as early as the third day. Most states have enacted laws intended to curb the opioid epidemic by limiting the quantity of these drugs health providers can prescribe. People who can no longer get a legitimate prescription for opioid painkillers due to these laws may turn to illegal means to fuel their growing addiction.  

What factors make heroin use incredibly risky?

  • Due to the clouded judgment that results from heroin use, people may take more than they intended or combine heroin with other drugs, like alcohol. 
  • Dealers who sell heroin may cut their supply with other substances, including fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. People who unknowingly take fentanyl can easily overdose, with tragic results. 
  • Opioids affect neurochemical activity in the brain stem, which controls automatic body functions such as breathing and heart rate – sometimes slowing them down enough to cause coma, permanent brain damage or death.

Long-Term Health Effects of Heroin Use

Repeated heroin use can lead to an addiction, which is a disease that causes people to continue taking drugs despite adverse effects on their relationships, health and overall quality of life. Once your brain adapts to heroin’s presence, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you quit using it. These include flu-like body aches, chills, restlessness, vomiting and insomnia. 

Chronic heroin users may have an array of physical health issues resulting from drug abuse, such as digestive problems, sexual dysfunction and respiratory illness. Additionally, co-occurring mental health disorders like depression are prevalent with heroin misuse. Specific consequences can also arise depending on how you choose to take the drug. For example, people who snort heroin can damage the soft tissues within their noses, while those who inject it may end up with collapsed veins or bloodborne infections from sharing needles. 

What Is the Treatment for a Heroin Use Disorder?

If you have been abusing heroin, trying to quit using this drug on your own can be risky. In many cases, opioid withdrawal symptoms are severe enough to cause a relapse, no matter how motivated you are to get clean and sober. You may also have a dual diagnosis, which requires professional treatment to simultaneously address addiction and mental health. 

At Vista Taos, we provide the foundation you need to reclaim your life from the grip of a heroin use disorder. With medical detox, our health care team will ensure you are medically stable enough to begin healing your body and mind without any drugs in your system. Holistic recovery will then equip you with the tools to get on a healthy path and learn to live a fulfilling, sober lifestyle. To learn more about recovering from heroin abuse in Taos, New Mexico, contact us today.

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