Heroin is a dangerous, very addictive drug and is a Schedule I controlled substance. Many people who use heroin find it nearly impossible to quit on their own. In this article, you’ll learn what exactly heroin is, what it does to you, and learn about effective treatment options for quitting this drug. 

What is Heroin?

Heroin is made from morphine, which comes from the seed of the opium poppy plant. People who use heroin either inject, sniff, snort, or smoke it. Heroin, an opioid drug, can be in the form of white or brown powder, or a tacky, black substance.

Similar to other opioid drugs, it is a highly addictive drug that almost always requires professional treatment and detox in order to quit using.

Effects of Heroin on the Brain

When heroin is used, it quickly enters the brain and binds to the opioid receptors. These receptors control feelings of pleasure and pain. This means the more someone increases their heroin use, the more dependent they will become on the drug to feel any joy or happiness in life. This is a significant reason why heroin is so addictive.

What Heroin Does To Your Body

Heroin abuse can lead to short-term side effects and long-term side effects. Short-term side effects can include:

  • Dry mouth

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Severe itching

  • Difficulty with mental functioning

  • Being conscious and semiconscious

  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug, even for a short period of time

  • Heroin overdose

Over time, heroin can begin to produce the below long-term side effects:

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Liver and kidney disease

  • Damaged tissues (including in the nose)

  • Collapsed veins (when the drug is injected)

  • Depression

  • Avoiding social situations

  • Abscesses Infections of the heart lining

  • And many others

Is it Possible to Overdose on Heroin?

Yes. Anyone who uses heroin is at risk of overdosing. Symptoms of heroin overdoses can include:

  • Very low blood pressure

  • Blue lips

  • Slowed breathing

  • Cold, clammy skin

  • Convulsions

  • Unconscious

  • Hypoxia (decreased oxygen levels to the brain, which can lead to severe long-term mental effects)

What To Do If You Suspect an Overdose

If you suspect someone has a heroin overdose or opioid overdose, you should immediately call 911 and seek medical attention. You can also lay the person on their side so that they avoid choking.

How is Heroin Addiction Treated?

A drug rehab facility can help you overcome your heroin addiction and maintain lasting sobriety. Detox is the first step in treating this addiction, as it helps remove the drug from the body. Detox from heroin can be uncomfortable, which is why it’s important to go through this process under medical supervision. 

Once the detox process is complete, inpatient rehab can provide you with a structured, supportive environment that includes individual therapy sessions and group therapy. The purpose is to help you identify your underlying reasons for wanting to use drugs in the first place, and provide you with emotional tools to deal with life’s challenges in healthy ways. 

Mental health services are also proven to be very effective when it comes to treating heroin addiction since it’s common for individuals with opioid addiction to have co-occurring disorders (such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, or others).

Get Treatment For Substance Abuse

Our team at Gloria Rehab is here to help you get your life back from drug abuse. Each of our therapies and programs provides patients with a unique and individualized approach to care for both drug addiction and alcohol addiction, as well as co-occurring disorders.

Whether you are addicted to heroin or other drugs, contact us today to begin the treatment process. Our team is also available to answer questions related to your health insurance coverage for our therapies. 

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