The Harmful Effects of Heroin

Harmful Effects of Heroin

Heroin users put themselves at risk of a long list of adverse health effects, including death.

Morphine is derived from the Asian poppy plant seed pod. In that sense, the substance is “naturally-derived.” However, through a specific process the substance is altered to make the highly illegal and highly addictive substance called heroin.

Although heroin is typically injected by most users, it can be snorted and even smoked. Heroin users who use the injection method of using are especially prone to serious diseases such as, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis due to needle sharing. (The injection method is the most popular form of heroin use because it produces a more superior rush in a shorter time period, unlike sniffing or smoking heroin which may prolong the effects by 10-15 minutes but the high is not as intense.)

Although heroin may be one of the world’s most infamously dangerous and addictive drug, many are yet unaware of the hard facts surrounding its abuse.

Health Risks of Heroin Abuse

Chronic heroin abusers put themselves at great risk of major health problems ranging from miscarriages to heart infections and death by overdose. Other health risks of continued heroin use include:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Sleep pattern interruptions
  • Loss of appetite
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Open wounds and infections on the skin

Heroin can depress one’s breathing and heart rate due to its interaction with chemical activity in the brain. Automatic functions of the body can be disrupted by heavy opiate consumption, which can result in unconsciousness and death.

Further, the harmful effects of heroin extend to mental function and the central nervous system as well as the limbic system (which controls emotions), resulting in emotional instability. This can manifest as depression, anxiety, angry outbursts and mood swings which are often some of the most visible signs of a heroin addiction.

Although dependency and addiction are two different stages, both are closely related. One who is physically dependent on heroin is not far off from the development of a mental and physical addiction to opiate drugs.

The Development of Heroin Addiction

A person who is addicted to heroin may eventually find himself/herself injecting the drug up to four times a day, although this may not have always been the case.

Through continued opiate use, users begin to develop a physical tolerance to heroin. In other words, increasingly larger dosages are required in order to produce the same “high.” When this pattern has begun to develop, increasing degrees of dependence and withdrawal will manifest in the form of physical and mental discomforts result from abstinence from heroin.

Withdrawal generally manfiests over a period of several days to a week, and some of the commonly experienced symptoms are:

  • Intense bone and muscle pain
  • Extreme drug “cravings”
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe headaches
  • Cold flashes
  • Sensitivity to light/sound

Heroin Addiction Rehab

There are many heroin rehabs that exist across the United States, many of which have a specialized heroin withdrawal department equipped to deal with the more serious cases of heroin withdrawal.

Due to the overwhelming nature of opiate addiction, comprehensive and long-term rehab is generally recognized as the most effective form of treatment for this type of issue.

For assistance finding the right heroin rehab, please call 1-888-824-0448.

Reference:

http://www.wesleyan.edu/weswell/docs/drugs/NIDA%20RR%20Heroin.pdf

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