The effects of heroin use include short- and long-term side effects, life-threatening health conditions, withdrawal symptoms, and complications involved in opiate addictions. At Red Oak Recovery®, we offer a dedicated heroin addiction treatment program that includes medically assisted recovery and holistic and evidence-based therapy programs tailored to those with a heroin use disorder. To learn about our heroin addiction treatment center, please contact us today at 866.457.7590.
5 Effects of Heroin Use
The consequences of heroin abuse can be devastating. Not only does heroin have an extreme physical toll on the body, but it can also drain a person’s financial resources and damage their relationships with friends and family. In addition to the physical effects, heroin abuse can put a person at risk of psychological health problems such as depression and anxiety. Heroin use can build up a tolerance, leading to addiction and increased cravings for the drug. It is not uncommon for individuals to become so dependent on the drug that they are unable to function without it. Unpleasant and often severe withdrawal symptoms make it almost impossible to quit without professional help.
Below are five effects of heroin use to consider.
1. Short-Term Side Effects
The side effects of heroin use appear in as little as 10 minutes after use and last about five hours. These effects include the following:
- Skin flushing
- Shallow breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itchy skin
- Dry mouth
- Emotional numbness
- Itchy skin
2. Long-Term Side Effects
As the addiction progresses, the side effects change. Eventually, complications related to this addiction trigger health problems. Many of these complications are life-threatening, such as collapsed veins, a damaged immune system, and bacterial infections. Memory loss and depression affect your ability to think clearly. In addition, heart infections, pneumonia, and liver disease also commonly result from long-term heroin use.
Other long-term health impacts include the following:
- Hormonal imbalance
- stomach issues
Individual counseling at Red Oak Recovery® can provide the tools you need to stay sober instead of turning to heroin use.
3. Life-Threatening Side Effects
The effects of heroin use include many life-threatening side effects beyond those listed above. Serious side effects occur when heroin is smoked, injected, or snorted. All of the vital organs of the body are potentially impacted by heroin use.
Many of those with heroin use disorder develop the following dangerous conditions:
- Heart infections
- Hepatitis C and B (from needle sharing)
Some of these conditions improve with treatment, and others stay with you for a lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to seek help as soon as possible if you have a heroin addiction. This is particularly true if you have a co-occurring alcohol or other substance use disorder. Our dual diagnosis treatment program addresses underlying mental health disorders that may be behind your addiction.
4. Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms are another unpleasant effect of heroin use. Medications such as methadone and suboxone can limit specific withdrawal symptoms. Side effects of heroin and other opioids include the following:
- Muscle spasms
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bone pains
Withdrawal symptoms can last up to three days during detox. Afterward, your mind and body still crave heroin. That’s why it’s crucial to seek professional care while going through withdrawal. Quitting heroin use on your own can result in life-threatening conditions.
Depression and anxiety treatment during recovery can help you deal with these negative emotions in healthier ways.
5. The Particular Risks of the Opiate Epidemic
The effects of heroin use have something in common with other opioids such as Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycontin. Prescription drug use is often the first road leading to heroin use. Sharp increases in opioid prescription use have spawned a national epidemic. Opioids such as heroin cause confusion, drowsiness, respiratory problems, and longer-term issues discussed above. Heroin and other opiates often cause sensitivity to pain and can result in a coma or death during an overdose at much higher rates than other narcotics.
Fortunately, there is help available for individuals seeking to break the cycle of heroin addiction.
Heroin Addiction Treatment Options
Heroin addiction is a serious medical condition, and it requires specialized treatment to recover. There are a variety of different treatment options available for heroin addicts, and the type of treatment will depend on individual needs. Treatment options include:
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): This involves using drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms while the individual works on addressing their addiction. MAT can be used in conjunction with counseling and psychotherapy to provide a comprehensive treatment plan. Additionally, other medications such as naltrexone and acamprosate may also be prescribed to help prevent relapse.
- Inpatient treatment: This includes residential treatment programs and detoxification services. With inpatient treatment, individuals are provided with a safe environment where they can focus on recovery without the distractions of their daily lives. Clients also receive around-the-clock care from trained professionals to ensure that they remain comfortable and follow through with their treatment plan.
- Outpatient Treatment: This type of program involves regular visits to a healthcare provider or clinic and may involve individual and group counseling and other forms of therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Outpatient programs allow individuals to continue working or attending school while receiving treatment.
No matter what type of treatment is chosen, it is important to remember that successful recovery from heroin addiction requires commitment and dedication from both the individual and their family. With the right support and guidance, individuals can overcome their addiction and regain control of their lives.
Learn More About Heroin Addiction Treatment at Red Oak Recovery®
If you are ready to quit using heroin, we are prepared to help. The effects of heroin use require specialized training. The staff and therapists at Red Oak Recovery® have the qualifications needed to help you get on the road to recovery and stay there. Failing to obtain help with heroin detox can result in fatal consequences. After detox, contact us at 866.457.7590 or via our online form to learn more about our enrollment process.