Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a highly addictive drug. Dopamine is released into the brain due to the opioid binding to brain receptors. Some people want more of the "pleasant" feeling after this release, as with most pharmaceutical side effects.


Over time, the brain stops producing dopamine naturally if a person consumes heroin regularly. To get the same level of pleasure, the user must take higher or more frequent doses of the drug.

Legal drugs like morphine or oxycodone may lead to opioid addiction in some instances. Heroin-like effects may be seen in several painkillers.


Individuals may resort to heroin to get the same euphoric sensation if they become addicted to these drugs and cannot obtain them.


Even while not everyone who takes legal prescriptions or recreational drugs develops a substance use disorder, some people will be unable to stop using them.


Signs of Heroin Use

The consequences of heroin use on the body are almost instantaneous. The euphoric effects are frequently noticed within seconds after injection. Other routes of heroin ingestion do not produce a high as quickly, but once the drug reaches the brain, users display signs of being high.


Physical manifestations of heroin abuse include:

  • Slowly falling asleep
  • Constricted pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of self-control
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Itching
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea


Other symptoms associated with heroin use include:

  • Disorientation or bewilderment
  • Consistent heroin users may need laxatives or stool softeners to treat constipation.
  • Incapacity to recollect past events
  • Challenges with decision-making


Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use Disorder

Heroin misuse disrupts the brain's physical structure and function, resulting in long-term, irreversible changes to the neuronal and hormonal systems. There has been evidence that heroin use weakens the brain's white matter, affecting one's ability to make sound judgments, regulate behavior, and cope with stressful situations.


Tolerance to and physical dependence on heroin is also a result of drug use and developing heroin use disorder (HUD). Increasing the quantity of a chemical required to get the same effect leads to tolerance. The body adapts to the presence of the drug, and an abrupt use stop leads to withdrawal symptoms in those who are physically dependent.


Withdrawal symptoms may appear as soon as a few hours have passed after the last dosage. Withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, goosebumps, and restless leg movements. The most severe signs of heroin withdrawal appear 24 to 48 hours after the last shot and subside after roughly a week. However, some people may have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms for months.


Finally, long-term heroin use may lead to heroin use disorder, a chronic, recurrent illness marked by compulsive drug-seeking regardless of the consequences. Heroin is very difficult to stop using, irrespective of the method through which it is administered. However, heroin use disorders are more likely to develop in those who use them in ways that allow them to reach the brain quickly, such as injection and smoking. Getting heroin and abusing it obsessively soon becomes a top priority for someone who has developed a HUD.

I Understood Myself Only After I Destroyed Myself.
And Only In The Process Of Fixing Myself,
Did I Know Who I Really Was.

How to Treat Heroin Use Disorder

Treatment methods for heroin addiction include behavioral and pharmacological interventions (medications). Brain function and behavior are restored to some degree, leading to higher employment rates and a lower chance of HIV infection and criminal activity. There is strong evidence that it is the most effective treatment for many individuals when behavioral and pharmacological therapies are used together.



Drug therapy for HUD has been shown to increase the likelihood of a patient staying in treatment and reduce the spread of infectious diseases and criminal conduct.


People with addictions to heroin or other opioids may suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms when they quit using for the first time (pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting). In this detoxification period, medications may help alleviate cravings and other medical issues that often contribute to relapse. The FDA approved non-opioid lofexidine to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. As a first step, detoxification may be beneficial, but it is not a therapy for addiction in and of itself.


While the drugs used to treat heroin addiction work on the same opioid receptors as the addictive substance, they are far safer and less likely to cause the negative behaviors that characterize substance use disorders. A patient's specific medical needs and other factors influence the medicine given to them.

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Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral interventions for heroin use disorder are available in outpatient and inpatient settings. Combined with medication, contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) have effectively treated heroin use disorder. Positive drug tests result in "points" that may be redeemed for healthy living items under the contingency management system.


The patient's expectations and behaviors regarding drug use and their capacity to deal with various life stressors are re-evaluated in CBT. Finding a therapeutic approach tailored to each patient's needs is critical.


Heroin is a dangerous and highly addictive drug that can damage your body, relationships, and many areas of your life. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you regain joy. If you or a loved one feels that heroin is a problem you cannot control, a luxury inpatient rehab may help. Contact Wish Recovery today and speak with one of our specialists. Recovery is possible, and you are not alone.

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