The Physical Effects of Heroin Addiction on the Body


  March 18, 2018    

When you decide to use heroin, you begin to destroy the body. There are impacts on the body that you can’t see right away, but once you use a few times, you will start seeing just how much the drug interacts with the skin, the blood, the way that you feel mentally and how you act on a behavioral level. Other people will likely begin to see the changes in your attitude and how you act physically before you notice any changes or admit that there are any changes that are taking place.

What Is Heroin?

  • Version of morphine
  • Kills pain in the body
  • Can deliver an intense feeling of euphoria
  • Highly addictive
  • Comes in various forms but is often in a white powder that is heated and injected

Heroin is bought in a powder form. It is then heated in a spoon, on a piece of aluminum foil or on another surface so that it can be drawn into a needle before being injected. The drug is a powerful painkiller. Sometimes, you might find black tar heroin, which looks like a piece of tar. This kind is usually injected as well. White powder heroin can be snorted or smoked if it’s not injected. Because the effects on the body hit very quickly, it makes the drug very addictive. Heroin is a drug that many people overdose on because they need more of the substance in order to get the same feeling that only a small amount provided when they started using. Overdose rates have increased significantly since 2013 with men more likely to overdose than women.

Heroin Effects In The Short Term

  • Feelings of pleasure
  • Relieves pain
  • Takes away anxiety and depression
  • Makes the body feel warm
  • Arms and legs can feel heavy
  • Acts as a sedative

The feelings of pleasure and warmth in the body don’t last for a long time. Once those feelings go away, there is an almost immediate sensation of lethargy. Some people who use large amounts of heroin at one time will feel like they are going to sleep almost immediately after introducing the drug into the body. This is the time when the heart rate begins to slow down with the person beginning to nod off. It’s also the time when death can occur. Death is a side effect even after using heroin one time because you don’t know exactly how it will impact the body.

Physical Effects After Using Heroin

There are a few physical impacts that you might notice shortly after using heroin or after the high feeling wears off.

  • Nausea
  • Confused state
  • Vomiting
  • Itching sensation on the skin
  • Low temperature
  • Slower heart rates

These are only a few of the side effects that using heroin can have on the body. These effects will vary from one person to another as each person handles drugs in a different manner. The purity of the drug also plays a part in how it impacts the body. Heroin that is close to 100 percent pure can disrupt the functions of the body and cause death faster than heroin that is cut with other products, such as sugar or corn starch.

 

Effects Of Heroin In The Long Term

The long-term impacts on the body are what will linger for months, if not years. They are the effects of heroin addiction that family members and friends will begin to see before you realize that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Most of the time, if someone uses heroin on a routine basis and gets the same amount from the same person, then the effects will usually be spread out over time.

  • Dental issues, such as broken teeth or receding gums
  • Sores on the skin
  • Bruises on the skin
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Swollen hands or areas where needles are injected
  • Weakened immune system

Heroin can also impact the liver and the kidneys. These are the long-term effects of heroin addiction that you need to be concerned about because they are usually irreversible once you notice that there are issues with these organs. A decrease of oxygen through the body can impact the brain. Infections can begin to develop at injection sites on the body. Abscesses can begin to form in the mouth. There could be infections of the heart and lungs. A woman who delivers a baby after using heroin during the pregnancy could see a child who suffers from withdrawal symptoms. There will likely be issues financially and problems with relationships as the person puts the drug over everything else.

If you or a loved one are in the grip of heroin addiction, contact Soba College Recovery for help and advice.

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