If you or someone you love has used heroin even once, you should understand the potential side effects. There are a variety of heroin side effects that may seem minor or feel bearable to the user, and then there are more serious side effects that can hit without warning. We want to discuss some of those severe consequences of using heroin because they’re the ones that can have a devastating impact on your life or the life of someone you love.
Permanent Brain Damage
This is one of the most serious heroin side effects because it impacts your ability to think rationally and make the best decisions for your life. Heroin can cause the white matter in your brain to deteriorate, making it difficult for you to remain calm in stressful situations or control your behavior. That, in turn, makes it difficult to maintain stable employment and meet other responsibilities in daily life.
White matter is located under the brain’s surface gray matter and is critical to the transmission of electrical impulses that allow the brain to communicate with all parts of the body. Think of it as a network of roadways that allow your brain to process thoughts and learn new things. As that white matter deteriorates due to heroin abuse, cognitive abilities decline.
Injection Site Complications
Injecting heroin can lead to collapsed veins, which allows infection to take root in the blood vessels. Those blood vessels lead to the heart, and the infection can reach the heart valve and cause serious cardiovascular complications. Anytime an infection is allowed to travel throughout the body, the user is at risk of losing their life.
For long-term users, heroin side effects may also include arthritis or tuberculosis. Frequent abscesses can also form at injection sites, leading to an infection that causes pain and potentially more serious health concerns.
These are some of the more troubling side effects of heroin use because users aren’t likely to seek medical treatment until an infection becomes a life-threatening concern. Due to the intense cravings for the drug and rapid onset of withdrawal symptoms, an addict will continue injecting the drug despite severe abscesses, open wounds, collapsed veins, and other painful injuries.
When seeking heroin addiction treatment, it’s common for heroin users to have medical needs that require urgent attention. We encourage you or a loved one to remain open and honest about those needs when seeking treatment. Healing your body is an important part of overcoming heroin addiction.
Heroin Use Disorder
Chemical dependency is one of the most common heroin side effects and is the reason heroin addicts start to experience physical withdrawal symptoms within hours of their last dose. One side effect that’s not as well known is the intense craving for the drug that drives the user to do everything possible to secure more and more heroin. The term for that psychological impact is heroin use disorder.
Some behaviors that are often exhibited when this disorder takes effect include:
- Difficulty maintaining employment
- Reckless use of heroin in dangerous situations
- Neglecting dependents in order to secure the drug
- Spending money on drugs rather than buying food and other essentials
Heroin Treatment Programs in North Carolina
Red Oak Recovery® offers rehab for adults and young adults in the Leicester area. We also offer unique hybrid treatment programs that combine clinical treatments with wilderness or outdoor adventures. If you or someone you love are suffering from heroin side effects and want a chance at a better life, the following services may help:
- Individual counseling
- Family counseling program
- Clinical rehab
- Holistic healing
- Dual diagnosis treatment
Don’t allow heroin side effects to destroy your life any longer. Our heroin rehab program is one phone call away, so contact us at 866.457.7590. Take the first step down the road to recovery today.