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Heroin is a highly-addictive drug, and anyone who starts using it will find it hard to stop. More than 50 million people all over the world use heroin and other similar drugs. Moreover, back in 2011, 4.2 million American people older than 12 admitted to using the drug at least once.
Being so addictive, it can be very dangerous, and it’s also quite accessible because of how inexpensive it is. It’s very important to understand the effects of heroin addiction, but also the causes, signs, and symptoms involved.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug obtained from morphine. The substance is a natural one that can be obtained from the seed pod of several opium poppy plants. These plants tend to grow in Colombia, Mexico, but also Southwest and Southeast Asia. The drug has become illegal in the U.S. in 1924.
Heroin either comes as a brown or white powder, but it can also come in a black sticky substance form. The latter is known as black tar heroin.
Because it comes in several forms, there are also different ways people consume it. Some prefer injecting it into their veins, which is perhaps the most heard-of method and the most dangerous one, while others snort it or smoke it.
When it’s injected, the user is not only at a higher risk of getting a disease from a potentially dirty needle, but they are also at a higher risk of overdosing.
Why Do People Use Heroin?
People who take heroin love it because it gives them feelings of happiness. It hits very fast, and the user feels like the world has suddenly slowed down. Some even admitted that it feels like you’re in a dream sometimes. This feeling lasts for a few hours.
Apart from that, it also slows the breathing and heart rate, and it can block pain messages for the body. It can be very dangerous for this reason, as overdosing can stop your breathing, leading to death.
Heroin can quickly get to the brain, no matter how people consume it. Because of this, its addiction potential is extremely high. Using it once or twice is enough to spark an addiction, and the user will hardly be able to stop. Most of the time, putting an end to it is not possible.
People who start taking it either do so because they want to fit in with the rest of the group or because they want to deal with their worries, anxiety, and other issues. According to a study, about 75% of people who use heroin dealt with mental health problems like bipolar disorder, depression, or others.
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Signs of Heroin Addiction
There are obvious signs that someone is abusing heroin. Usually, a simple behavior change is enough to tell that something wrong is going on. But this is not specific to heroin. When using heroin, one will usually start getting feelings of happiness and pleasure. This is not the only sign, though.
Signs and symptoms from heroin use will be different from a person to another depending on the amount used, dependency, genetic makeup, how often the drug is abused, and many others. Here are some signs that someone is dealing with heroin addiction:
- They suddenly feel very euphoric
- They are depressed or deal with anxiety or mood swings
- Irritability and agitation are present
- The individual is hostile towards other people
- Bruises or scabs can be seen on the person’s skin due to picking
- The person starts avoiding their loved ones
- They lie about using the drug
- Hallucinations are present
- The user feels disoriented and has delusions
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- The person lacks motivation
- The individual is unable to fulfill their responsibilities at school or work
- There are various periods of hyperactivity followed by exhaustion periods
- Personal hygiene attention suddenly decreases
- The person has syringes, needles, glass pipes, missing shoelaces, or burned spoons
- Slurred speech
- They are dealing with respiratory infections very frequently
- The pupils are constricted
- They scratch a lot due to itching
- Even if the weather is warm, they wear long shirts and pants
The addict will show a combination of symptoms, so it is important to pay attention to them, especially if the behavior is unusual.
The Side Effects of Heroin Addiction
Heroin use can have several side effects. Some of them are short-term ones, while others are long-term. In any case, they are unpleasant and if the addict doesn’t get help, the situation may get worse. Learning more about heroin withdrawals is important before finding treatment.
Some short-term effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bad itching
- Dry mouth
- Heavy arm and leg feelings
- Warm skin flushing
- Decreased function of the brain
- Switching to “on the nod” state
When it comes to long-term effects, they are usually the following:
- Collapsed veins from injecting the substance
- Sexual dysfunction in men
- Kidney and liver disease
- Complications in the lungs, like pneumonia or others
- Irregular menstrual cycles in women
- Heart lining and valve infection
- Mental disorders
- Damaged nose tissue from snorting the drug
- Stomach cramping and constipation
Why Getting Help is Important
Getting help for heroin addiction is crucial. Not getting help can lead to complications like blood vessel clogging in the liver, kidneys, lungs, or brain. This can result in irreversible damage. If someone keeps injecting heroin, they also risk getting a disease from a dirty needle.
Not getting help early enough can result in higher amounts of heroin consumed as the person builds resistance. It may even lead to an overdose, which can be deadly.
How Real Deal Sober Living Can Help
Real Deal Sober Living can help any addict get back on their feet after bad heroin addiction. Not only is there a detox program for people who cannot stop consuming the substance, but there is also a sober living program allowing people to live in a peaceful environment after detox.
This way, they have the chance to learn how to take care of themselves again, build new relationships, and get a new job, without being affected by heroin. Real Deal offers you the chance to an improved life!
Are you ready to ditch heroin? Reach out to us for help and start improving your life right now!