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The Effects of Heroin on the Body and Mind


Heroin is an illicit drug processed from morphine, which comes from poppy plants. Heroin is highly addictive and readily available in various forms, such as white powder, brown powder, and a sticky black tar-like substance. Users might inject, snort, or smoke heroin to achieve a euphoric high. The long-term effects of heroin are exceedingly alarming, and even the short-term effects of heroin are full of dangerous risks.

What are the side effects of heroin? The physical effects of heroin begin almost immediately after taking the drug. Users who inject heroin experience the fastest and most pronounced rush of euphoria. As a person uses heroin regularly, a tolerance is developed. This tolerance requires an increasingly larger amount of the drug: The euphoric high that occurs in the beginning can’t be achieved with regular use due to tolerance. Instead, the addict uses heroin repeatedly just to stave off uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Other physical effects of heroin include a flushed sensation, heaviness in the extremities, itching, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting.

The opiates in heroin attach themselves to opioid receptors in the brain and throughout the body. These receptors are involved with how the brain perceives pain as well as psychological rewards. These receptors are also present in the brain stem, which means that they are involved with integral functions such as breathing and blood pressure.

Short-term effects of heroin involve the release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter. When this happens, the rush lasts for a few minutes, and then the user will feel sedated for several hours. People often have periods of relaxed wakefulness and sleep during a heroin high. With regular use, the pleasurable high is shorter and less enjoyable. Long-term effects of heroin include sensitivity to light, grogginess, low body temperature, slowed heart rate and respiration, and confusion. Tooth damage and loss is common, and addicts often experience skin lesions from scratching and picking. Long-term effects also include sleep problems, poor nutrition, a compromised immune system, severe constipation, liver and kidney damage, and even brain damage from a lack of oxygen.

The psychological effects of heroin are numerous. Regular use of heroin leads to psychological and physical dependence, which involves a preoccupation with using the drug. Many addicts experience anxiety, confusion, mood swings, and depression. It’s common for problems to develop with relationships, and addicts usually have professional and financial difficulties. Social isolation is typical with a heroin addiction as well.

White Sands Treatment Center can help you avoid or stop these effects through our addiction recovery and rehabilitation programs. Our treatment center is located in Fort Myers, Florida, and we also have referral partners located in numerous states. We offer cost-effective drug and alcohol rehab that includes therapy and counseling as well as safe and comfortable medical detox when necessary. Our accredited facility can be the best solution to help you get sober. Call today to speak with a professional on our team. You can also get help when you fill out the form on our website. Our high-quality, dual-diagnosis approach promises to meet the needs of every patient, delivering a fully customized treatment plan. Don’t wait: Get help now.

Contact us today for more information on our treatment programs.

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