Heroin addiction in the United States stems largely from the opioid epidemic that saw doctors heavily prescribing opioid painkillers under the assumption that they were not habit forming. Research shows that of those who abuse or are addicted to heroin, 80 percent started out with prescription opioids.
How Heroin Impacts the Mind and Body
Heroin acts a depressant meaning it reduces the speed at which the central nervous system operates. This leads to slower movement, delayed reactions, trouble staying awake and even shallow breathing. These side effects accompany the general euphoria that many turn to heroin for in the first place.
Given how heroin interacts with the body and how addictive it is, many users find themselves abusing heroin on a daily basis and often for years at a time. As the amount of heroin and frequency of use increases, so does the body’s tolerance which means larger amounts of the drug are needed to achieve the same effects.
Physical and Psychological Changes in Heroin Users
Heroin is frequently used in the form of intravenous injection which delivers the substance directly to the bloodstream. The marks leftover at the injection site can scar and leave an impression on the skin for the rest of the user’s life. Veins can also collapse due to abuse and become a dark blue color that’s easily visible through the skin.
Behavioral changes also occur during heroin addiction and abuse. Depression and anxiety are frequent side effects of heroin as well as severe mood swings, irritability and paranoia. Many users also choose to self-isolate and remove themselves from the presence of family and friends to hide their addiction.
Physical changes are the most obvious sign of heroin abuse no matter the delivery method. Those who smoke heroin will have a heavy and persistent cough as well as frequent respiratory infections. Itching and scratching can leave scabs all over the body whether it is smoked or injected. Rapid weight loss and constipation are also extremely common symptoms of heroin abuse.
How To Get Help for Heroin Addiction
Whether it’s brought up by a loved one or an individual sees the signs of addiction themselves, choosing to seek help for heroin addiction is a difficult choice to make. Many people fear the withdrawal symptoms that come with quitting or think that they can’t be “normal” without being under the influence.
It’s important to surround yourself with a strong support system at home or at an addiction recovery center if a healthy home life isn’t available. It all starts with intervention and a commitment to stopping heroin use and starting treatment with a trusted treatment center. Having a team of medically-trained professionals can make the withdrawal and detox process as comfortable and safe as possible, increasing odds of a successful treatment substantially.
Hickory Treatment Centers encourages anyone facing heroin addiction personally or through a loved one to get in touch with our team today. We offer completely confidential consultations to answer all of your questions and help create a treatment plan that’s tailored to the current situation.