The Devastating Side Effects of Heroin

The Devastating Side Effects of Heroin

By Lakeview Health
Lakeview Health
Published: October 24, 2016

Heroin is highly addictive. It’s also highly illegal. Unfortunately, the United States is currently experiencing a surge in heroin use, and there’s little chance that the popularity of this narcotic will end anytime soon. Because the chemical reactions of the drug within the brain’s reward center create sensations of pleasure as well as feelings of well-being, few addicted individuals think through the devastating long-term side effects of heroin.

What Makes Heroin so Addictive?

Since the drug artificially triggers the brain’s reward center to release dopamine, which provides the user with an overall good feeling, it causes addicted individuals to continue seeking out this rush. As they gradually build up a tolerance to the substance, they must increase the dose as well as the frequency of use. Some heroin addicted individuals report enjoyment of the physical lethargy and slowed mental functions that follow an injection of the substance.

Destructive Side Effects of Heroin Demonstrate the Dark Side of the Addiction

While the addicted individual slips into a drowsy state, which may last for several hours, the devastating side effects of the narcotic are occurring behind the scenes. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has put together a number of long-term side effects associated with heroin use:

  • Changes in the neuronal systems: It’s fair to say that the drug programs the user for addiction. Heroin makes changes that include the actual structuring of the brain. The result is the development of chemical imbalances.
  • Organ deterioration: Heroin not only causes weakening of brain matter, but it also leads to infection of the heart valves, liver disease, and tissue death within the user’s veins.
  • Likelihood of skin disease: Addicted individuals report an unusual itching sensation that seems to travel across the body. They scratch their skin to stop the itching, which doesn’t work. As a result, the skin’s layers suffer continued damage, which eventually leads to multiple infections and abscesses.
  • High risk of contracting communicable diseases: Sharing needles among those who inject the drug can expose these users to the possibility of acquiring infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C.
  • Overdose: As the substance alters the brain’s structure and chemistry, which causes the user to seek more frequent highs with increasing doses, addicted individuals are in danger of accidentally overdosing on the drug. An overdose is often fatal. An overdose can also occur when the heroin is stronger than the user anticipates.

Medically Monitored Withdrawal Can Help You Get Clean!

Detox for heroin addiction can be severe. But it’s possible to escape the cravings and regain control of your life. Our friendly staff members work with men and women to minimize physical discomfort and help patients explore long-term coping strategies for lifelong sobriety. Call Lakeview Health today at 866-704-7692 to learn more about the drug rehab program that can put you on the road to recovery.