With its increased availability and affordability, heroin is one of the most abused drugs in America today. Like other opiates, heroin causes a feeling of euphoria by interrupting the nervous system’s ability to sense or feel pain, which makes heroin extremely habit-forming. It’s not uncommon for individuals who try heroin to become addicted after just one use, and the intense cravings for the drug may cause people to behave in increasingly inappropriate and illegal ways in order to get their next “fix.”
Side Effects of Heroin Addiction
Once the initial euphoria wears off, a heroin user will commonly become drowsy for several hours as mental and cardiac functioning slows down. This is the most dangerous time for the addict, especially if the heroin has been cut with another substance that increases its effects, as the heart may shut down completely. Prolonged heroin use causes serious health problems including, but not limited to:
- Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS (if the user shares needles)
- Collapsed veins
- Bacterial infections
- Liver or kidney disease
- Lung complications
The worst side effect of heroin addiction is the body’s dependence on the drug and intensely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that occur when an individual tries to stop using the drug. A person going through heroin withdrawal experiences extreme physical discomfort and mental stress, including:
- Profuse sweating
- Runny nose
- Fever and chills
- Intensely painful muscle cramps
- Severe aches in the bones
- Inconsolable crying
Heroin addicts are trapped in the addiction both because of the powerful cravings the drug creates, as well as the intense pain associated with withdrawal. Additionally, with continued heroin use, the brain becomes more tolerant of the drug requiring the addict to use more in order to feel “normal.” As addicts increase the amount of heroin they are using, their potential for experiencing a fatal overdose increases significantly. In the U.S., heroin and opiate overdoses were responsible for 50 percent of all accidental drug-related deaths in 2014.
Heroin Addiction Treatment at HopeQuest
Heroin addiction is one of the hardest addictions to overcome and one of the most lethal addictions on the planet. HopeQuest has a licensed and professional staff of trained addiction specialists to walk with clients in finding freedom from this addiction. Through our comprehensive and fully-integrated addiction treatment program, we will show you or your loved one how to face stress and emotional pain instead of escaping from it, manage cravings for the drug, access spiritual resources and support from safe relationships, and develop healthy skills for coping with life’s challenges.
HopeQuest is committed to helping each individual identify and address the underlying issues driving their heroin addiction, as well as designing an effective relapse prevention strategy which promotes long-term sobriety. We understand that individuals seeking help with heroin addiction are living in a particularly dangerous story of addiction, and we want to help them write heroin out of their story forever.