Heroin is an illegal drug used for recreational purposes that can be highly addictive. While many people believe that heroin is only harmful to the body, it actually affects the brain in a variety of ways. This article will discuss how heroin actually impacts the brain and what this means for those who use it or are addicted to using it.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a highly addictive drug derived from morphine, which can be processed out of the opium poppy plant. Heroin slows down brain activity by changing the way the nervous system responds to pain and pleasure. Heroin is processed from morphine, which comes from the seedpod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin generally appears as a white or brown powder or as a black, sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Street names for heroin include:
– H (short for “heroin”)
– China White.
How Does Heroin Affect the Brain?
When heroin enters the body, it travels to the brain quickly. When it gets there, it attaches to opioid receptors and causes a release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, producing a rush (or high) that is accompanied by extreme feelings of pleasure. The rush can be felt within seconds or minutes after injection and typically lasts from three to five minutes.
When heroin enters the brain, it also affects areas responsible for controlling heart rate and respiration. These functions slowdown, which can lead to:
– Slowed breathing and heart rate, which can lead to slowed circulation and lowered blood pressure. This causes chills and nausea, followed by nodding in and out of consciousness. Breathing passages may also swell, causing choking or suffocation.
– Collapsed veins from repeated injections.
– Infections of the heart lining and valves.
Heroin’s effects are fast-acting because it converts back to morphine in the body, but heroin metabolizes into different forms of morphine, which is what accounts for the variety of effects users experience. If heroin is injected intravenously (into a vein), its effects are experienced more quickly. If it is sniffed or smoked, its effects are experienced within 10 to 15 minutes. However, the duration of effects can be longer if heroin is snorted.
This powerful opiate drug dulls your body’s responses to sensations like pain and pleasure because excess amounts are being released into the brain. This euphoric state often lasts for hours and can be followed by a deep, drowsy state that lasts even longer. The physical dependence on heroin develops rapidly, usually after a week or so of repeated daily use. Long-term use also results in addiction, which is a brain disease. Heroine addiction can cause profound physical and emotional changes in your life.
You may also like: Why Is Heroin More Addicting Than Other Opioids?
How to Treat Heroin?
Treatment for heroin usually begins with detoxification, the process by which you safely withdraw from the drug at home or in a facility. During detox, medications may be used to reduce drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea, muscle spasms, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting. It’s not necessary to suffer through detox alone at home. Medications are available that can help ease withdrawal symptoms so you can focus on overcoming your addiction.
After completing detoxification, you will need to decide what type of rehabilitation program is right for you. Many heroin users are anxious to return to work and family life, so the goal of treatment will often be to give you back your life with as little disruption as possible.
For others, staying at home isn’t practical, no matter how committed they are to overcome their addiction, which is why inpatient rehab centers provide a safe environment with 24-hour medical supervision. Withdrawal is more comfortable and easier to manage in an inpatient rehab center, which is why some individuals may choose this option even if it means staying away from home for a longer time period. To learn more, listen to heroin recovery stories.
Heroin is a highly addictive drug, and withdrawal symptoms can be severe. If you or someone you love struggles with heroin addiction, get help today. You deserve no less than the best when it comes to getting sober.