The effects of heroin use can have devastating results on the quality and length of life. From 2001-2018, there has been a six-fold increase in heroin deaths according to NIH.
Short-Term Effects of Heroin Use on Health
While the following effects of heroin use are short-term, they can have lasting effects on a person’s health and mental balance.
- Heroin users experience a “rush” of euphoria. This rush happens at once when injected into the blood stream. It can take up to 10 minutes when heroin is sniffed or smoked.
- Respiration is reduced making it hard to breathe.
- Heart rate is also slowed.
- Hands, feet, and lips may become blue.
- Unable to think clearly.
- Feeling drowsy and sedated.
- Nausea and vomiting can take place and is deadly if the person has passed out.
- Pain is suppressed for a short time.
- Limbs feel heavy producing a wish to stay still.
- Sensitivity to light is common.
- Spontaneous abortion can take place.
Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use on Health
The effects of heroin use can cause lifelong problems.
- People who share needles are at risk from Hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases.
- Bacterial infections are common and can affect the blood vessels and heart valves. Infections can be chronic lasting a lifetime or latent, meaning they can resurface months or years later.
- Kidney disease and liver disease is prominent in heroin users.
- Depressed respiration is an effect of heroin use and may cause pneumonia or tuberculosis.
- With repeated injections, heroin users suffer from scarred and collapsed veins, clogged blood vessels, abscesses, and cell death in organs.
- When snorting heroin, damage is done to the mucosal lining of the nose.
Heroin Dependency and Addiction
Heroin is often used to replace pain medication. Like prescription pain medication, heroin reduces and may even end pain for a time. But the pain returns, requiring more medication to mask it. Over time, it takes more pain medication to ease pain. This is called tolerance.
It is normal for a person with chronic pain to become dependent on pain medication, including street drugs like heroin. Dependency is not addiction. When one depends on pain medication, he can taper off the drug. He can learn to manage the pain through other treatments.
But if one has become addicted to the drug, he can no longer taper. He will suffer from intense and uncontrollable craving for the drug. These cravings are rooted in an altered brain physiology. Recovery is possible with treatment and therapies designed to reverse the damage done to the brain physiology.
Rebuilding through Recovery and Nutritional Therapy
The effects of heroin use can be treated with nutritional therapy and evidence-based recovery programs. Treatment centers can design a nutrition program to reverse the negative effects of heroin on the body, especially the nervous system. Cooking classes and trips to the local grocery store will teach you how to choose and prepare nutritious food that will support your body in healing.
While your body is recovering, your mind needs attention. Peer group and private therapy will help find the cause of both emotional and physical pain that caused the heroin addiction. Once the cause is found, you can learn how to respond positively to situations that would have caused heroin use.
Northlake Recovery, Treatment, and Nutrition Therapy
When you are ready to nurture your body back to health from the effects of heroin use, Northlake Recovery will guide you through nutritional therapy and evidence-based recovery programs. Call Northlake Recovery at (561)-770-6616.