Each form of addiction has its unique properties and challenges. Awareness of an addiction’s particular issues can equip people as they recover or support a loved one through their recovery. Heroin use can have severe side effects that are important to understand and address in recovery.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is an addictive substance that is made from morphine. Morphine is extracted from poppy plants. This substance is considered an opioid, having similar effects as prescription-level opioid medications.
The short-term effects of heroin use include:
- Dry mouth
- Heavy limbs
- Clouded cognitive functioning
- Alterations in consciousness
Long-term effects of heroin use include:
- Cardiovascular infection
- Collapsed veins
- Damaged tissue
- Lung complications
- Sexual dysfunction
- Increased risk of developing other mental health disorders
Heroin can be used through various methods including injection, snorting, or smoking. Depending on the method the substance was administered, the long-term effects may differ.
The Onset of Heroin Addiction
Heroin is a highly addictive substance. When the substance is used, it produces almost immediate pleasurable feelings. There is a misconception that snorting or smoking heroin, unlike injecting it, is less serious and unlikely to lead to addiction. However, any form of usage can lead to heroin addiction.
As the use of heroin is continued, the body becomes used to the substance and requires a higher dosage to feel the same effects. Since heroin works by affecting the dopamine receptors, the use of heroin changes the way the brain processes dopamine. It can begin to feel essential to continue using it to maintain a normal state of functioning.
This is how the cycle of addiction begins with any substance. Because of the strong effects of heroin, the state of addiction and dependence may be severe with continued use. Heroin is especially dangerous because it is easy for the severity of the effects of heroin use to go unnoticed for a long period.
Dangers of Heroin Use
As people continue to use heroin, their tolerance increases. To counteract that, many people begin increasing their dosage of heroin. The longer this continues, the greater the risk of overdose. Heroin overdose can be extremely dangerous and sometimes deadly.
One of the most common problems with recovery from heroin addiction involves newly decreased tolerance. If one gradually built up their tolerance and increased the amount of heroin they used while they were addicted, they may assume they can still tolerate that amount if they use again.
During recovery, people rarely realize how much their tolerance has decreased. If a relapse occurs, the individual will likely choose to use the same amount they used before beginning recovery. Unfortunately, their decreased tolerance puts them at high risk of experiencing the extreme side effects of an overdose.
Heroin is not the only substance for which this is a concern. In fact, there is a likelihood of encountering heroin that is mixed with fentanyl. Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous substance that can be added to other substances to increase their potency and cut costs for the dealer. This substance can also lead to overdose or death if used. Unfortunately, people rarely realize they are taking fentanyl. Being aware of the substances you are taking and ensuring they are from a trusted source can help you avoid this while you seek services to overcome substance use disorder (SUD).
Best Practices to Overcome Heroin Use
Some people choose to stop the use of heroin cold turkey. This means that they stop all use immediately and work to overcome the withdrawal effects. However, this is usually not recommended, especially without qualified medical supervision.
If you find yourself using heroin to any extent, seek help immediately. It is extremely difficult to attempt recovery on your own. Dream Recovery can help you develop healthy habits to overcome dependence on the substance, build a lifelong support system, and set yourself up for success in the future. Don’t wait to seek treatment. Allow yourself to ask for help rather than attempting to overcome this obstacle on your own.
To ensure safety through withdrawals, people should reach out to a qualified detox center and seek medical advice. The detox center may offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) methods to assist them in the withdrawal process. These medications can alleviate some of the immediate stress of starting the recovery journey. However, MAT is not right for everyone. Discussing the pros and cons with your treatment team can help you to determine which practice to overcome heroin use will be most effective for you.
Utilize Your Support Network
Through recovery from any substance, having a support network is essential. As you begin your recovery journey, we can help you to build a support network that encourages your long-term sobriety. It can be difficult to find a support network if your current social circle is also involved with substance use. Working to establish a support system and utilizing them during moments of hardship is a great practice to implement into your journey to overcome the effects of heroin.
Find a Program to Suit Your Needs
Dream Recovery offers various program options, allowing you to find a specific program that aligns with your current needs. Through partial hospitalization, intense outpatient, and outpatient services, you are bound to find a level of care that aligns with your needs to overcome the use of heroin. Reach out to one of our team members to discuss which program is the best method for you.
Learn about the basic overview of heroin addictions and how the use of heroin may affect you. As you learn the short-term and long-term effects of heroin abuse, you can develop a deeper understanding of the potential dangers involved with this substance. Heroin is highly addictive, leading many users to be in need of assistance to recover. The risk of overdose is especially concerning. If you are currently using heroin, reach out for help immediately. Allow us to set up a plan catered to your individual needs. To learn more about heroin and how you can recover safely from heroin abuse, reach out to Dream Recovery today. Call us at (657) 216-7218.