Only a person who has or had an addiction to heroin can attest that life can be controlled by the drug. A heroin addict has the tendency to be secretive, too concerned about money, and freely skips work not to mention the disregard of family obligations. The physical signs of a heroin addict include frequent sedation, track marks, flu-like symptoms between doses and clouded thinking.
There has been a high potential for addiction associated with the drug heroin.
Because of this, it may be a really slippery slope to determine between the use, abuse, and addiction to the drug. However, on the outset, it is crucial to understand the distinction between addiction and physical dependence to heroin.
Once a person has been regularly using heroin or prescription drugs for a long period, he can be physically dependent on the drug. It is because physical dependence is defined as the state when a person will require greater amounts of this particular opiate over a period of time to experience the initial pleasurable effects desired.
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Heroin users usually swallow, snort or inject the drug.
The route of administration can dictate the speed with which heroin zooms straight towards the brain. For instance, the Tennessee Associate of Alcohol, Drug and other Addiction Services claims that IV injectors may feel the changes made by heroin in a matter of 7-8 seconds, while those who inject the drug into the muscle can get the feeling in 5-8 minutes.
Once a person chooses to continue the use of heroin despite its negative consequences, they begin to experience a wide range of health issues. The impact on the body includes:
The impact of heroin on our brain is profound and deep. Cells that are bombarded by the drug can cease to produce chemical signals of pleasure and can shrink and shrivel after some point in time. According to the NIDA, those who use heroin for an extended period of time may show deterioration in the brain’s white matter. This can cause reduced regulated behavior and the ability to make sound decisions.
Opiates such as heroin have the ability to sedate our respiratory system. This means that those who are in the middle of a heroin “high” breathe slower than normal. If taken too much, heroin can stop breathing and risk a respiration stoppage which is the top health risk with heroin as stated in an article in Anesthesiology. It is also a big risk for the chronic users because they have the tendency to use up huge amounts of heroin very often. Each big dose can stop their breathing.
Large doses of heroin can stop the heart as well and cause death. However, long-term heroin injectors may face more cardiovascular risks. Each needle stick can damage the veins and the arteries carrying the blood to and from the person’s heart. When damage is done to this very delicate system, the blood vessels may swell, shrink or close and can eventually lead to abscesses, infections, and death.
The sedating qualities of heroin can have a long-lasting and deep impact on the gut. Food and water may go through the passages too slowly leading to constipation and instances of bloating.
First-time heroin users may not always have a pleasant first-time experience.
A PBS report reveals that a novice heroin user would usually become nauseated when first using the drug. Some first-time users even vomit because heroin can directly affect the digestive system by slowing down the digestive processes and even stopping such processes. More experienced users, on the other hand, can get used to such sensations but they are deeply unpleasant for new users.
At times, novice users opt to make a switch to another drug just because they do not like the queasy and nauseated feeling when they use heroin. However, those who continue despite the occurrence of digestive problems attempt to use the drug once more and experience changes in the brain that are deep-set and transformative.
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