Of all the drugs to be addicted to, heroin is among the most dangerous. It is a very powerful drug that can easily lead to dependency issues. It is also often injected into the body, increasing the risk of blood-related diseases. This article will answer the question, how does heroin impact the body to understand how harmful the drug can be.

Why is Heroin Addictive?

Heroin is an opioid. Like other opioids, it interacts with the brain activating its rewards center and producing heroin effects on the body like feelings of euphoria. It dulls pain that runs from the brain through the nervous system. 

When the heroin high wears off, people want to feel more of that euphoria. The brain also continues to crave the rewarding sensation. This is part of what makes the drug addictive short term. 

It may be easy to fight heroin addiction in the early stages, but if you give in to the drug, you will begin developing a tolerance for it. You will need to do more of the drug to experience the same high. 

Over time, withdrawal symptoms will also begin to appear. After doing heroin for a while, your body will become used to having the drug in its system. It will struggle to function when the drug is not present. 

Withdrawal symptoms are another heroin effect on the body that will occur when the drug is not in the person’s system. The person knows the only way to get rid of these symptoms short term is to do more of the drug. This takes them on a vicious cycle of addiction. 

How Does Heroin Impact the Body? 

Heroin reacts with the brain activating the rewards system and creating feelings of euphoria. This is often accompanied by other heroin effects on the body, such as:

  • Flushed skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • Drowsiness
  • Clouded mental functions
  • Slowed heart functions and breathing which can lead to coma or death
  • Long term use can lead to deterioration of white matter in the brain that can cause difficulties with decision making and slowed response times to stressful situations
  • Dental issues due to teeth grinding and dry mouth

Heroin can also have physical effects if it is injected or snorted. If you inject heroin, you can experience scarred or collapsed veins, bacterial infections in the blood vessels and heart valves, abscesses, and other skin tissue issues. You may also incur blood-related diseases like HIV and type 2 diabetes. 

Snorting heroin is slightly safer as the drug will not be injected directly into the blood. It will also not accumulate as heavily in the brain, making it less addictive. However, it can lead to a deviated septum and respiratory issues. 

What are Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms?

Heroin withdrawal symptoms can kick just a few hours after the drug was last taken. Symptoms include: 

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Cold flashes and goosebumps
  • Nausea and vomiting

Withdrawal symptoms will typically peak after 24 – 48 hours before dissipating. They usually go away completely in 4-10 days, depending on how much heroin you were using and how long you were addicted. However, some people may continue experiencing symptoms for many months. 

How to Find Heroin Detox Programs in Georgia

There are many heroin detox programs in Georgia and around the world. But it can be challenging to find the one that’s right for you. It would be best if you considered the atmosphere, the staff-to-patient ratio, the treatments offered, and more. You can spend hours finding the perfect facility or saving yourself time by contacting Atlanta Recovery Place first. 
Atlanta Recovery Place is a Georgia outpatient rehab center offering dual diagnosis and partial hospitalization programs in Atlanta. We work out customized plans that are best suited to our patients’ needs. We take a dual diagnosis approach that simultaneously treats addiction and its underlying causes. We address a variety of addictions and disorders.

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