Injecting Heroin: The Long and Short-Term Effects?

opiate withdrawal symptoms

Make the World a Better Place, One Step at a Time

When people come together for a good cause, it is a beautiful thing. So often we hear of news centered around violence, hatred, disease, and other unfortunate events that it seems like there is no good left in the world. Through these tough times though, you get a glimpse at just how good the world can be.

Vermont’s Opioid Addiction: A Family Crisis

Vermont’s opioid addiction has deep effects that filter from the individuals who are struggling with the addiction down to their spouse, children, friends, and other loved ones. Family bonds can be broken or irreparably damaged. It’s an epidemic that has impacted millions across the United States.During a 12 month period, ending in November 2017, a reported estimate of 69,948 lives nationwide were lost due to overdose, making it one of the most serious overdose crises the country has ever had to face.

How Opioid Addiction Can Affect Marriage

Opioid addiction can have drastic effects on marriages. One spouse may want to help their partner but may find themselves frustrated and unsure of what to do. Fortunately, many of the negative effects of opioid addiction on a marriage can be addressed before and...

Staying Fit With Fibromyalgia

Exercising with fibromyalgia can be a workout in itself. Finding the right time of day where you have enough energy, and where the increased amount of pain won’t interfere with the rest of your day, can seem impossible. While pain might be a side effect of working...

Mindfulness in Opioid Addiction Recovery

Medical treatments like methadone and buprenorphine can help many people overcome opioid addiction. Medication, however, is only a part of the recovery process. Most patients need to find effective ways to change their habits, and realize why they are there in the...

Injecting heroin is both illegal and extremely addictive. Heroin is a drug processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants. Heroin is a fast-acting opiate, and when injected, causes a surge of euphoria that arrives within seconds. The effects of heroin use can range from short term effects to long term and typically have devastating consequences that can last a lifetime.

Short Term Effects of Injecting Heroin

Once heroin enters the brain, it is converted to morphine and binds rapidly to opioid receptors. The intensity of the rush depends on how much of the drug is taken and how rapidly the drug enters the brain. With heroin, the rush is usually accompanied by dry mouth, a warm sensation on the skin and a heavy feeling in the extremities. Other short term effects are nausea, vomiting, pain in the upper abdomen, and severe itching. After the initial effects, users are usually extremely drowsy for several hours. It is not abnormal for a heroin user to abruptly fall asleep on the spot. Along with mental function becoming clouded, heart function and breathing can slow down. Slowed breathing can also lead to coma and permanent brain damage
Heroin Injection
Tolerating Heroin
Among the many problems of using heroin to get high is that the short term side effects lessen with every exposure to the drug. The more a person takes heroin, the more the body gets used to it – a process known as tolerance. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that as the brain adapts to what heroin does to it, it responds less and less if the same amount of heroin is used. This usually motivates users to increase their doses, desperate to experience the same sensation that got them hooked in the first place. It may take a number of hits at a higher dose to feel that initial high, but by that point, the tolerance level has already increased so users take more and more heroin.

Mental Effects of Heroin

A few short term mental effects of heroin abuse include poor decision making and damage to critical thinking abilities.

However, from the early days of the habit, the seeds are planted for what can happen long term from a mental standpoint. One reason there is a high tolerance for heroin in habitual users is that the brain is forced to create additional opiate receptors to accommodate the continuous flood of the drug. This is primarily why repeated use of heroin can never duplicate the high that is created the first time the drug is taken. There is no way for the user’s brain to go back to the standard amount of opiate receptors. This is the reason the user is driven to take more and more heroin because there are always more new opiate receptors than there is heroin available.

Long term Effects of Heroin

The effects on the body from prolonged use of this drug are very destructive. Frequent injections can lead to infections of the blood vessels and heart valves. Tuberculosis can result from the general poor condition of the body. Arthritis is another long-term result of heroin addiction. Over time, users withdraw from their normal lives, activities and obligations and life begins to revolve around seeking out and being in the haze of a heroin high.

1https://addictionresource.com/drugs/heroin/how-to-make-heroin
2https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin
3https://drugabuse.com/library/the-effects-of-heroin-use
4http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/signs-symptoms-heroin-use.html
5https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/neurobiology-drug-addiction/section-iii-action-heroin-morphine/6-definition-tolerance
6http://heroin.net/heroin-effects/heroin-effects-sub-page-1/heroin-effects-on-the-brain
7https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids

Menu Find a Location