Heroin is a type of opiate drug,  sythesised from the strong painkiller morphine, and is powerfully addictive. It's most commonly injected, although can also be snorted or smoked and produces feelings of euphoria, pleasure, and a sense of tranquillity and relaxation. It's these feelsings which some people find highly addictive.

It's an extremely dangerous drug, with the risk of a fatal overdose highly possible.

WHAT IS HEROIN ADDICTION?

When someone injects heroin, it alters chemicals in the brain resulting in an intense "rush" as the drug reaches the brain quickly. The following high effect can be described as a strong feeling of contentment, euphoria and relaxation. It may also produce some dizziness and drowsiness, although users describe these feelings as also enjoyable. Heroin also has anaesthetic effects resulting in a numbing feeling. The rush lasts about 2 minutes, with the high lasting for about four to five hours. 

It's this feeling, which users can quickly become addicted to, and unlike alcohol and other drugs, there generally isn't a hangover or comedown from initial use, which hooks in new users. However, tolerance builds quickly and they need more and more of the drug to get the same feeling.,

Eventually, the brain cannot produce natural amounts of dopamine on its own and the user needs heroin to just feel normal. The numbing effect can also hide many physcial and mental symptoms. Increased use, increase the risk of fatal over-dosing.

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs, and withdrawal symptoms become so painful, it's even more motivation to continue using the drug.

 

Addiction means people continue to seek out and use heroin, even when it is causing catastrophic consequences in many areas of their lives, including mental and physical health, relationships, ability to work and meet responsibilities.

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SIGNS OF HEROIN ADDICTION

It can be hard to detect when someone is using heroin, as many users are good at hiding it.

Here are some of the common signs that mean it's time to talk to a professional:

  • continuing use despite experiencing consequences

  • trying to quit or cut down and repeatedly failing

  • obsessively thinking about using and persistent cravings

  • focusing more time on getting and using

  • increased quantity and frequency of use as tolerance builds

  • extreme and sudden weight loss

  • starting to inject

  • experiencing withdrawals 

  • bloodshot eyes

  • constricted pupils

  • changes in appearance

  • anxiety and depression

  • intense mood swings

  • feelings of guilt, shame and hopelessness

  • secretive behavior and lying about your actions

  • lack of motivation

  • scabbed and bruised skin

  • extreme drowsiness

  • engaging in risky and dangerous behaviour when using

  • persistent flu-like symptoms

  • financial problems

  • legal consequences

  • isolating or only spending time with other users​

SYMPTOMS OF HEROIN ADDICTION

There are many short- and long-term effects of heroin, as well as life-threatening risks. Symptoms only get worse with prolonged use.

  • intravenous heroin users have a higher risk of being infected with viruses like HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne viruses.

  • depression

  • increased risk of attempted suicide, sometimes through intentional overdoses. Depression is high during withdrawal.

  • paranoia

  • collapsed veins

  • damage to immune system

  • heart, lung and liver disease

  • constipation

  • suppressed breathing and

  • severe itching

  • nausea and vomiting

  • dry mouth

  • high risk of fatal overdose

  • non-fatal overdoses can cause permanent brain damage

It is crucial to seek professional help when attempting to withdraw from heroin, for assisted detoxification to prevent potentially fatal complications.

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IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY...

The 21Renew team has over 36 years in helping addicts to recover.

Read more about our revolutionary program, or contact us now to speak to a human about how we can help you or someone you love.

Making the decision to seek help is the hardest part. We know it can be daunting, but if you are reading this, then you have already made the brave first step of acknowledging you may benefit from professional help.

All you have to do to take the next step, is to pick up the phone and call us for a chat. There is no obligation to sign up for anything and we will not put any pressure on you to do so. We will just listen, share some experience and suggest some options.

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