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Long-Term Effects of Heroin Addiction

woman seated alone in her room on her bed staring out the window experiencing the long-term effects of heroin addiction

Heroin is a highly addictive illicit drug. The drug binds itself to receptors in the brain, causing the release of a chemical called dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for our pleasure and reward systems. As with most drug side effects, this release is only temporary, which leaves some people wanting more of the high they feel when they use heroin–so they use it again and again. The long-term effects of heroin addiction take a toll not only on the individual but their friends, family, and all aspects of their life.

Heroin addiction can stem from other drug use, as well. Sometimes, opioid use disorder begins with legal drugs like painkillers prescribed after surgery or an injury. These pain-relieving drugs act in similar ways to heroin. If a person takes an opioid repeatedly over time, the brain doesn’t naturally produce dopamine as it once did. This results in the person taking higher or more frequent doses of the opioid to achieve the same level of good feeling. When a person becomes addicted to these prescribed medications and can’t obtain them anymore, they may pursue illegal drugs like heroin to achieve the same high.

If you are fighting the effects of heroin abuse, Northpoint Nebraska offers heroin addiction treatment. Our team will work with you to develop a treatment plan designed specifically for you. Call us today at 888.351.3834 to learn more about our programs and services.

Signs of Heroin Addiction

Addiction is a disease that changes the chemistry of the brain. Essentially, the brain becomes rewired to only experience pleasure from the drug. Activities that were enjoyable in life do not bring pleasure any longer; the body craves only heroin. As these cravings intensify, it makes it harder to resist the high.

Any use of heroin should be treated professionally, and any effects of heroin abuse should be addressed. When looking to identify heroin addiction, there are several signs you can look for in your own use and the use of others.

Some of these signs of heroin abuse and addiction include:

  • You are isolating yourself socially.
  • You are spending a significant amount of your time acquiring, using, and recovering from the effects of heroin.
  • You are not able to fulfill the responsibilities associated with your job, school, or family because of your heroin use.

When you are not using heroin, withdrawal symptoms can set in because the drug alters your brain chemistry, and you now need heroin in your system to function. These withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Itching

If you are worried about someone else in your life, you should also look for general side effects of heroin, like consistently dilated pupils, a dreamy or sleepy quality in conversation, and injection sites. While not everyone will demonstrate the same effects of heroin abuse, you must reach out for help at the first sign of concern.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin Addiction

There is a long list of long-term effects associated with heroin addiction, and these can be both physical and psychological in nature. Some long-term effects of heroin addiction may include:

  • Respiratory problems – Heroin can cause long-term respiratory problems, including lung damage and chronic bronchitis.
  • Infectious diseases – Heroin use can increase your risk of developing infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.
  • Cardiovascular problems – Heroin can cause long-term damage to your heart and circulatory system.
  • Brain damage – Heroin can cause long-term damage to the brain, which can lead to impaired thinking, memory loss, and changes in behavior.
  • Sexual dysfunction – Heroin can cause sexual problems in both men and women.
  • Pregnancy complications – Heroin can cause serious problems during pregnancy, including miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth.
  • Infertility – Heroin can cause infertility in both men and women.

These are just some of the long-term effects of heroin addiction. If you or someone you know is addicted to heroin, it is crucial to seek professional help immediately.

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin addiction treatment is the process of addressing physical and emotional dependence on heroin. This includes therapies, medications, lifestyle changes, and support from peers and professionals to help individuals work toward lasting recovery.

Treatment plans may also include:

  • Counseling
  • Medical care, if needed
  • Detoxification programs
  • Support groups
  • Relapse prevention strategies
  • Aftercare options

Treatment is customized according to the individual’s needs and goals. The goal of treatment is to help an individual achieve long-term abstinence from heroin. With proper support, individuals in recovery can learn the skills they need to stay away from heroin and lead a healthy and productive life.

Heroin addiction is an illness that requires professional treatment. Treatment should address all of an individual’s needs, including physical, mental, social, and spiritual health. The more comprehensive the treatment plan, the better the chance for successful recovery. With the proper support and guidance, individuals in recovery can learn how to cope with cravings, manage triggers, and live a healthy life free from heroin.

Contact Northpoint Nebraska Today

If you or a loved one is struggling with the long-term effects of heroin addiction, do not wait to get help. If you reside in Omaha or the surrounding region, Northpoint Nebraska offers heroin addiction treatment for you or a loved one. Our comprehensive inpatient treatment center provides evidence-based therapies and holistic approaches to treat substance use disorders, including the long-term effects of heroin addiction. Call today at 888.351.3834 or contact Northpoint Nebraska online.