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Heroin Addiction: Dangers, Signs And Appropriate Treatment

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that usually appears as a white or brown powder or a black sticky substance. It’s extremely dangerous in itself and is almost always “cut” with another substance. This means that, in an effort to stretch supply further, the dealer has increased its volume by mixing it with another drug or non-intoxicating substance. However, the user will not know about and which could have dangers of its own.

This drug is mostly injected with a syringe, creating additional dangers for the user. Now they face the threat of transmitted diseases or other infections on top of the pain of addiction.

Heroin addiction can affect a person’s health, relationships, family, job, financial status, or other life situations. This can make it very difficult to recover without seeking inpatient heroin rehab. And even just one dose of heroin can create a likelihood of heroin addiction, overdosing, and even death.

Professional heroin detox is the first step to recovery if you or a loved one has become addicted to heroin. If you’re unsure whether a loved one is using heroin, use this information and reach out for additional guidance.

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Why is Heroin So Addictive?

Heroin is an opioid made from morphine. Heroin is extracted from the seed of a poppy plant. In powder form, heroin is white or brown and usually cut with substances like sugar or powdered milk. Pure heroin is white and originates in South America. Black heroin is sticky like tar and is injected. “Black tar” heroin’s color is due to the crude processing methods that leave impurities. Impure heroin is injected into muscles, veins, or under the skin.

An addiction to heroin can develop quickly in certain people. But, usually, addiction does not develop until heroin use becomes a regular habit. Addiction is a process that begins with daily use. After a few uses, the feelings from heroin are not as intense, so a person uses more to achieve the same sense. This is the first stage in the addiction journey called tolerance. 

Addiction is characterized by a psychological need for a substance such as heroin. The need is stronger than a person’s ability to resist the drug. Changes begin in the brain cells, and research shows that the impact of heroin is so intense that addiction is possible after one use. The receptors that heroin attaches to are located in the parts of the brain that feel pain and pleasure. When individuals are high on heroin, they will not feel pain and everything feels extra good. 

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

When a person starts using heroin, it can be easy to hide from friends and family. But the more a person uses heroin, it becomes more difficult to hide. Signs and symptoms of heroin use include:

  • Agitation
  • Drowsiness
  • Small pupils
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Needle marks
  • Slurred speech
  • No feeling of pain
  • Memory problems
  • Runny nose or sores in the nose

Other signs of heroin use are:

Physical Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

The tell-tell sign that a person is addicted to heroin is the inability to quit using no matter how bad the consequences. Other physical symptoms of heroin use include:

  • Small pupils
  • A dry mouth
  • Runny nose
  • Constipation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Cloudy, unclear thinking
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • A flushed appearance
  • Extreme itching of the skin
  • Brief euphoria after taking heroin
  • Drowsiness that lasts for hours
  • Limbs that appear or feel heavy
  • A decreased heart rate following that rush
  • Visible “track marks” from injecting the drug

Behavioral Signs of Heroin Addiction

The physical symptoms of heroin use can sometimes be hidden for a period of time. Still, behavioral signs are harder to hide. Heroin can make a person act like somebody their family has never met. Some behavioral signs of heroin use include:

  • Secretiveness or lying
  • Impaired decision making
  • Regular use of laxatives
  • Lack of self-control
  • Loss of memory
  • Slurred speech
  • Nodding off
  • Excessive scratching
  • Legal or unexplained financial trouble
  • Possession of heroin paraphernalia
  • Neglect of grooming and personal hygiene

Can Heroin Addiction Lead to Overdose?

Heroin use can certainly lead to an overdose. An individual who suffers from a heroin addiction can easily overdose on this powerful drug. An overdose on heroin occurs when an individual uses enough heroin to cause life-threatening reactions or death. Over the last few years, heroin overdose cases have been increasing. 

When a person overdoses on heroin, their breathing slows down, and sometimes a person will stop breathing altogether. When a person is not breathing, the brain is deprived of oxygen; this is called hypoxia. Hypoxia can have short-term and long-term effects on a person’s nervous system and mental capacity. Heroin overdose can put a person in a coma and cause permanent brain damage.

Treating a Heroin Overdose

Naloxone is a medication that treats an opioid overdose. When given right away, Naloxone quickly attaches to the brain’s opioid receptors and stops the effects of heroin. Depending on the amount of heroin in a person’s system, a second dose may be necessary. When an individual overdoses and then receives Naloxone, it’s important to rush the individual to the hospital. After all, Naloxone is not a cure-all for an overdose. 

This medication is available in injection form, a handheld auto-injector, and in nasal spray. The nasal spray form is called Narcan Nasal Spray. Narcan and the auto-injection form of Naloxone are available to the public to help stop an overdose. 

Heroin addiction and overdose cases have steadily been on the rise over the last few years. Public officials and medical personnel are increasing public education and helping those addicted to heroin and their families. Some states have even passed laws allowing a person’s regular physician to write prescriptions for Naloxone. 

Health Complications from Heroin Addiction

The effects of heroin are the same, no matter how you ingest it. Chronic heroin users experience many medical complications. People who suffer from heroin addiction can experience many health issues. These include lung complications, including pneumonia and tuberculosis, due to poor health and the drug’s effect of depressing respiration. 

Heroin addiction can lead to mental disorders like depression and personality disorders. Men who abuse heroin often experience sexual dysfunction, while a woman’s menstrual cycle can become very irregular. Individuals who snort heroin can damage the tissues in their nose and even perforate the nasal septum.

If a person injects heroin for an extended period of time, it can cause damaging effects to the circulatory system. The damage includes:

Many additives that are used to cut heroin are not readily dissolvable. These additives clog blood vessels that lead to the lungs, kidneys, liver, and brain. The additives in heroin can lead to an infection and even the death of these organs. The reaction of a person’s immune system to these substances can lead to rheumatological problems and arthritis. 

What is Heroin Cut With?

  • Talcum powder
  • Rat poison
  • Caffeine
  • Powdered milk
  • Laundry detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Starch
  • Sugar

These are some of the most popular substances that are cut with heroin. As you can see, many of these substances are toxic to consume in any way, and none are safe to snort or inject.

Some heroin users also cut the drug with other controlled substances, such as crushed over-the-counter painkillers, fentanyl, or carfentanil, in an attempt to make the effects more intense. This further increases the adverse physical effects and the risk of an overdose.

In short, the nature of heroin in itself and the practice of cutting it with other substances makes it especially dangerous. A licensed heroin treatment center can help break the hold of addiction and ensure a safe recovery.

Repairing the Damage of Heroin Addiction

Some of the damage caused by addiction to heroin can be repaired. But that depends on the severity of a person’s addiction. The longer a person has abused heroin, the less likely it is to repair the damage. The damage heroin can do to the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs might improve when a person stops using heroin, but it can not be entirely repaired. 

Some individuals may experience mental health disorders that arise from heroin addiction. Medication can help with psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders that can happen because of heroin addiction. Addiction is a chronic disease so that an individual may fight cravings for many years. The damage from heroin addiction can decrease if a person seeks treatment right away.

Heroin Addiction Treatment in Corona, California

Professional heroin rehab facilities play a critical role in recovery because of the extreme addiction to heroin and the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. At Daylight Recovery Services, our staff of compassionate and highly trained experts can create a recovery plan based on your specific needs.

Treatment typically involves residential drug rehab. For the client’s safety, heroin detox is monitored. Our caring staff also work with each client to make them as comfortable as possible. After detoxification, treatment will include professional counseling and various other therapeutic activities and services, such as:

  • Reiki
  • Sound healing
  • Trauma therapy
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Custom-tailored case management
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Time to use our other amenities

Patients will also have access to 12-step drug treatment programs. 

Get Professional Heroin Treatment at Daylight Recovery Services

At Daylight Recovery Services, we know how exhausting it is to keep feeding your heroin addiction. We understand that, for many people, the thought of sobriety can be scary. Thinking about the process of withdrawing from heroin can be downright petrifying for some individuals. 

But, at Daylight Recovery, our goal is to make addiction treatment a safe, effective, and comfortable journey. We are waiting to help you on the road to recovery. Call now and speak to one of our caring and professional staff members and let us guide you on the path to a happy and sober life!

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