Heroin side effects have a devastating impact on the human body. In addition, there are wide-reaching medical and social impacts. The use of heroin rose in the U.S. over the past decade, coinciding with an increase in people abusing prescription opioid drugs like Vicodin and Oxycontin. Because it is easier to acquire and lower costing, some end up switching to heroin.
What are the Short-Term Side Effects of Heroin?
Heroin converts to morphine once it enters the human body. The drug immediately binds to opioid receptors, causing users to feel what is typically described as a pleasant rush. However, the pleasure the drug elicits varies depending on the amount taken and the pace it reaches the brain.
For example, the following heroin side effects usually accompany the initial rush:
- Dry skin
- Severe itching
- Slowing heart functions and breathing
Also, breathing and heart rhythms can slow to the point of sending a user into a coma. This causes brain damage and can happen from just one use. Heroin’s dangers come from the havoc it wreaks on the brain and nervous system. Thus, it’s clear opioids drive drug addiction by altering a person’s emotions.
What are the Long-Term Side Effects of Heroin?
Ongoing heroin abuse alters the physical structure of the brain, along with the physiology. People experience imbalances in their hormonal and neurological systems that may not be reversible. Further, white brain matter deteriorates from prolonged heroin usage.
Heroin addicts lose the ability to keep their emotions in check. Thus, addicts respond unpredictably during stressful events. But one of the harshest side effects of heroin is how quickly users build up a tolerance. This results in them requiring to take more and more of the opioid to experience the same effect. Therefore, it makes treating heroin addiction much more difficult.
What Happens to the Body During Heroin Withdrawal?
Heroin withdrawal usually starts within a few hours of an individual’s last use. People going through withdrawal typically experience the following symptoms:
- Bone and muscle pain
- Cold flashes
- Involuntary leg movements
More severe side effects set in 24 to 48 hours after the most recent dose and usually subsides after about a week. However, some individuals continue seeing and feeling heroin withdrawal symptoms months after their last heroin use.
Unfortunately, the most devastating heroin side effect is the way it drives some repeat users to go through chronic relapsing, known as heroin risk disorder. They continue seeking out the drug, experiencing something beyond mere dependency. Also, individuals may put themselves in risky situations, driven by their uncontrollable desire for heroin. Those who smoke or inject heroin are most at risk of developing heroin use disorder.
Pregnant women pass on heroin side effects to their fetus. Babies develop the same dependency as their mother. Infants born addicted to heroin go through neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), causing them to cry excessively, have fevers, and show extreme irritability. The more severe effects of heroin addiction on babies include:
- Slow weight gain
- Constant vomiting
The babies typically receive treatment with medication, like morphine, to relieve their symptoms and gradually weaned off once the drugs are out of their system.
Get Help Working Through Heroin Side Effects
Springfield Wellness Center offers a natural opioid detox to those looking to recover from heroin side effects. The BR+NAD compound works by helping reduce withdrawal symptoms and encouraging the restoration of brain and body cells. The treatment also promotes a return to a natural sleep cycle and works to support more energy production from cells, which can aid in relieving stress that can cause a heroin relapse.
Learn more about the detox program offered at our program by calling us at 844.334.4727 or by contacting us using our online form. Let Springfield Wellness Center help you forge a path toward a healthier life.