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girl suffering from withdrawal effects of heroin abuse

Long Term Effects of Heroin

As the death toll from heroin use continues to climb, it’s important to understand the long term effects heroin wreaks on the human body. You may be surprised to know that studies have actually shown that heroin causes physical and physiological changes to the human brain, significantly impacting decision making, as well as, the ability to regulate behavior. In this article we’ll begin to explore the long term dangers of using heroin, even if only in small amounts.

What is Heroin?

Before we get into the actual long term effects of this drug, we thought it would be a good idea to explain what is heroin and where it comes from. Heroin is a highly addictive substance that’s derived from morphine. It’s typically sold as a white or brownish substance that’s “cut” with starch, sugars, powdered milk, quinine, and fentanyl. Pure heroin is more of a whitish color and can be smoked or snorted, which is more appealing to new users as opposed to injecting. Pure heroin is more often sold in South America, Southeast Asia, and in the U.S. — east of the Mississippi River. Black tar heroin is typically sticky or hard and is sold in the U.S. — west of the Mississippi River. Black tar heroin has a variety of impurities due to how it’s processed resulting in drug users typically injecting it into muscles or veins.

What are the Long Term Effects of Heroin?

Below are some of the most common long term effects of prolonged heroin use.

  • Heroin Addiction – Not long after using heroin for the first time, the user requires larger and larger amounts to achieve the same “high”. This is because the body begins to develop a tolerance, which is one of the defining characteristics of drug addiction. Heroin, is one opioid that is especially quick to cause a tolerance in a user’s body. It does not take very long until the user is fully addicted to heroin, and quitting is nearly impossible.
  • Heroin Withdrawal – The physical need for more and more heroin only grows with each use. The destructive impact of heroin use on the body, the user’s daily life, relationships, and career only continue to deteriorate. Without heroin, users will often experience a range of painful withdrawal symptoms including:
    • Moodiness
    • Cravings for the drug
    • Runny nose
    • Watery eyes
    • Insomnia
    • Fever/chills
    • Diarrhea
    • Tremors, joint pain and muscle spasms
    • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Behavioral Changes – As a user’s heroin habit grows, a variety of detrimental changes occur in the brain, causing several behavioral changes including:
    • Poor reasoning
    • Poor planning & problem solving
    • Poor multitasking
    • Reduced behavior regulation
    • Decreased decision making abilities
    • Impaired emotional responses
    • Inability to imagine certain future interactions or events
  • Physiological Damage to the Body – Depending on how heroin is used, a wide array of physiological damage is caused. Common health risks associated with prolonged heroin use include:
    • Snorting:
      • Damaged nose tissue
      • Damage to the cartilage that separates the nostrils
    • Smoking
      • Lung damage that’s been linked to cancer, pneumonia, tuberculosis, emphysema and pulmonary edema
      • Asthma and other breathing problems
      • Throat cancer
    • Injecting
      • Heart infections
      • Collapsed veins causing inadequate blood flow throughout the body
      • Clogged blood vessels
      • Hepatitis B or C, HIV/AIDS
      • Abscesses
  • Death – Death is the last stop for users. Sadly, overdosing on heroin has become all too common with drug dealers cutting in fentanyl in order to increase profits. A few grains of fentanyl is enough to kill you!

Are You Ready To End Your Heroin Addiction?

We can help you if you’re ready to take the next step on your road to sobriety. We offer a rapid heroin detox procedure that can help through both the withdrawals and kicking your heroin addiction. You will be under the expert care of a licensed physician and her team of compassionate medical professionals. For more information on our unique approach to helping patients overcome their heroin addiction, please call and speak to one of our caring team members.

Are you TIRED of your addiction to Heroin and just want your life back?

Ask Us if our Rapid Heroin Detox under Sedation procedure is right for You

(800) 603-1813

Don’t switch your addiction to Suboxone® or Methadone