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The Mental Effects of Heroin Abuse

The Mental Effects of Heroin Abuse

If you or a loved one have an addiction to heroin, you should know the mental effects heroin abuse will have on you. It is not good.

The United States has witnessed record numbers of overdoses in the last year. Most of the fatal overdoses were related to heroin and other opioids laced with Fentanyl. Unfortunately, the opioid epidemic is still harming everyone, and mostly younger adults are dying every day from heroin use and overdose. The average heroin addict is between the ages of 20 and 29 and from middle to upper-class income levels. 

Heroin is a drug that causes long-term addiction because it causes physical dependency. Heroin addicts must use Heroin regularly, or they will experience debilitating physical withdrawal symptoms. The average time heroin addicts remain addicted is for five years. 

2021 data by the CDC show that drug overdose deaths reached a record high of 93,331 in 2020. This is more than 20,000 deaths above the previous high in 2019. (CDC)

The Mental Effects of Heroin Abuse

How Heroin Affects the Brain?

When someone uses Heroin, their brains adapt to an external opioid fulfilling the duties of the body’s natural pain defenses. The human body provides endorphins and dopamine to minimize pain. However, when a person uses heroin or any other opioid, the brain stops making its pain killers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also writes how Heroin can damage the brain. 

Repeated heroin use changes the physical structure and physiology of the brain, creating long-term imbalances in neuronal and hormonal systems that are not easily reversed. Studies have shown some deterioration of the brain’s white matter due to heroin use, which may affect decision-making abilities, the ability to regulate behavior, and responses to stressful situations.(NIDA)

Physical Effects of Heroin

Heroin addicts like Heroin because it is incredibly relaxing and causes euphoria and sedation. When addicts inject, smoke, or snort Heroin, the user feels a surge of pleasure or rush, and they will feel warm and calm. Unfortunately, their arms and legs will also go limp, and nausea and vomiting accompany the high heroin. Itching is typical as the smaller blood vessels constrict. A heroin user will usually nod off or look very tired for several hours. 

Their cognitive function will decline, and they may slur or be unable to walk or move suddenly. Also, heart rate slows, as does respiration. Respiratory failure is how most heroin addicts die. In addition, slowed breathing can cause comas and brain damage.

The Mental Effects of Heroin Abuse

Heroin addiction changes a person far more than other drugs. The reason people become different when they are addicted to Heroin is because of the physical dependency on heroin driving their priorities. People with Heroin must use it all the time. Heroin is expensive and illegal. Therefore, heroin addicts become expert shoplifters, rob money from their families, and lie more than any other addiction. It is understandable why heroin addicts change so dramatically. The withdrawal symptoms that they are trying to avoid are horrendous. They cause the following, which worsen the longer someone does not use Heroin:

  • Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea
  • Cold sweats and fever chills
  • Runny nose, sore throat, coughing
  • Muscle spasms and bone pain
  • Terrible insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Intense cravings
  • Anxiety and emotional outburst 
  • Desperation for more Heroin

What Treatment Programs Are Needed For Heroin Addiction?

To help someone addicted to Heroin, the first issue is helping them get to detox. Heroin detox symptoms require medical attention. Medical practitioners specializing in Heroin and other opioid drug addiction will immediately supply the individual with all necessary medication to help diminish and reverse their withdrawal symptoms. 

The most common medication prescribed for heroin withdrawal is Buprenorphine and methadone. When prescribed, these medications stop the withdrawals and allow the person to rest and recover. In addition, On Call Treatment can have you admitted today to a medically supervised heroin detox and treatment program.