It is no secret that heroin crumbles even the most upright of lives. It destroys relationships, tramples careers and depletes finances. But what does it do to your body?
Like any drug, there are substantial physiological side effects to long-term (and short-term) heroin use. Addiction, yes, but so much more than that. Heroin physically changes the structure of your brain, puts you at risk for fatal infections and changes your appearance. This damage will follow you for the rest of your life, and the longer you use, the deeper the drug embeds itself.
As you can probably imagine, these changes cause a domino effect of physical and mental damages. It’s important that you know exactly how this drug is affecting you so that you can take action to protect your most valuable asset—your body.
Changes to the Brain
One of the biggest concerns regarding heroin is the changes it makes to the brain and the effects those changes have on you—even after you stop using. Studies show that repeated use causes deterioration of white matter in your brain.
White matter is how your brain passes information from one area to another—like a highway. Drugs redirect these processes, preventing pertinent information from reaching its destination, or at least significantly slowing it down.
So what does that really mean? It means you’ll have trouble with everyday functions, like making decisions, regulating your behavior or managing stress levels.
After a while, your brain will create a whole new set of roadways for information to drive down. But what happens when the substance that created those roads is all of a sudden removed? Your brain no longer has any roads to follow. It must now create new pathways to pass along information, which is what causes the dreaded withdrawal symptoms.
Health Effects of Heroin
If brain damage didn’t cause enough issues, heroin also puts you at risk for other severe health problems as well. Heroin is generally injected directly into a vein through a needle, which, if shared or contaminated, is a direct line to transmitting infectious diseases, such as HIV or hepatitis. These potentially fatal infections will stick with you long after you stop using.
Heroin is tied to a number of heart problems, as well. Chronic use can cause veins to collapse and increase the risk of an infection that will damage the heart. The toxins in the drugs change the blood to cause permanent damage to other vital organs. Using during pregnancy can lead to spontaneous abortion, too.
Physiological Symptoms of Heroin Use
Along with brain damage and life-threatening infections, there are also numerous physiological symptoms that come along with heroin abuse:
- Dry mouth
- Flushed, irritated skin
- Exhaustion and nodding off
- Constant scratching
- Boils around injection site
- Boils around the mouth
Treating Heroin Addiction
Realizing that you have an addiction can be scary. The thought of making a leap into unknown territory, such as a treatment program, even more so. But the truth is the problem won’t go away on its own. You have to force it out. The good news is that there is a plethora of addiction treatment facilities to choose from.
It’s important that you find a program that offers personalized treatment plans that address your specific needs and support you well after you reach sobriety. You can conquer your heroin addiction—you just have to take the first step.
Give us a call or come visit our Inpatient Treatment Center In Los Angles California