The damaging effects of heroin can ruin a person’s life. Apart from the detrimental effects on the human body, heroin users often discard all of their life’s responsibilities in order to pursue their addiction. As the drug takes a toll on their mind and bodies, those afflicted by heroin use disorder can experience serious short- and long-term health issues.
This article explores how heroin affects the body. What are the short-term effects? What are the long-term effects? Can the harm caused by heroin be reversed by going to rehab?
Heroin Addiction and Drug Rehab in Washington State
Heroin, a type of illegal opioid, works to numb physical pain and dull the senses. Chemical and psychological dependency quickly follows on the heels of opioid use. However, heroin is the most addictive of all the opioid drugs.
When heroin invades the brain, users experience a rush of pleasure that puts them “on the nod,” or into twilight somewhere between waking and sleeping.
Heroin addiction is extremely dangerous and a high percentage of users experience an overdose. That is because heroin is often “cut” with other types of chemical substances like sugar or outright poisons such as strychnine. So the heroin user never knows exactly how much heroin each dose holds – and that can be fatal.
The physical danger of heroin is very, very high, both in the short-term and during longer use. The short-term physical effects of heroin include:
- Warm, dry skin and mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme itching
- Slowed breathing and heart rate
Heroin can be snorted, swallowed, or injected, and each way of ingesting comes with its own life-threatening side effects. For example, for those that snort the drug, damage to the delicate membranes in the nostrils can cause permanent damage. For those that shoot up heroin, veins collapse, making it harder to even find a way to consume it. Here are five more side effects of long-term heroin use:
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse says heroin use causes the white matter in the brain to literally deteriorate. This means behavior changes, as well as changes in the ability to regulate breathing or other dangerous physical and emotional impairment.
- Withdrawal is a side effect of heroin use. It includes severe bone and muscle pain, diarrhea, cold and chills, vomiting, constipation, and intense restlessness. Withdrawal can last anywhere from 48 hours to four months.
- Blood and heart infections along with collapsed veins are a common side effect of heroin addiction.
- Long-term diseases can occur such as tuberculosis and arthritis, which can make the recovering addict’s life very difficult long after the heroin addiction stops.
- Drug Free World says that the lifestyle of an addict is to share needles, despite the risks. As a result, of the more than 35,000 new hepatitis C cases every year in the United States, fully 70 percent are tied to heroin use with dirty needles. HIV is also a big risk factor for intravenous heroin users.
Finding Help in Washington State Rehab
The good news is that if you are caught in this cycle of addiction, help is available. Washington State drug rehab can help you to break free of this destructive cycle and work toward the healing of your body, mind, and spirit. If you are ready to live free, contact us today to discuss treatment options.