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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use?

a person holds the hands of another after recognizing the long-term effects of heroin use

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that can have severe long-term effects on both the body and mind. In fact, the long-term effects of heroin use are even more dangerous now since potent illicit fentanyl is popular. Illicit fentanyl can be up to fifty times stronger than heroin, making it easier for accidental overdoses to occur.

The Canyon offers heroin addiction treatment in Santa Monica, California. At our treatment center, clients are able to experience evidence-based therapies in a tailored intensive outpatient program (IOP). IOPs are flexible, intensive programs that provide support and in-depth therapy while allowing clients to return at night. Learn more by calling 424.465.5182 today.

Why the Heroin High Is So Addictive

Heroin belongs to a class of drugs known as opioids, which are notorious for their addictive properties. When heroin enters the body, it quickly converts into morphine, binding to opioid receptors in the brain. This results in a rush of euphoria, or “high,” that users find extremely pleasurable.

The problem arises when this feeling starts to fade. As the body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug, it requires more and more to achieve the same effect. This leads to a cycle of dependence and addiction, with the individual constantly seeking out that initial high.

The Short-Term Side Effects of Heroin

Heroin use can lead to a plethora of short-term effects. Immediately after taking the drug, users often experience a rush accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in the extremities. Nausea, vomiting, and severe itching may also occur.

Other short-term effects include clouded mental functioning, slowed heart rate, and suppressed breathing, which can sometimes lead to accidental overdose.

The Long-Term Side Effects of Heroin

The long-term effects of heroin use are far more devastating. Individuals who chronically use heroin may suffer from:

  • Physical health issues – These include liver and kidney disease, lung complications, and severe constipation. Intravenous users also risk collapsed veins, abscesses, and other soft-tissue infections.
  • Mental health problems – Long-term heroin use can lead to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. It can also cause permanent cognitive impairment, affecting decision-making and the ability to regulate behavior.
  • Social and financial consequences – Heroin addiction can lead to job loss, financial strain, broken relationships, and social isolation.
  • Increased tolerance and dependence – Over time, the body becomes so accustomed to heroin that it cannot function normally without it. Individuals may experience severe withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit, including restlessness, insomnia, and flu-like symptoms.
  • Accidental overdose – Heroin can be incredibly potent, and even experienced users can accidentally overdose on the drug. This risk is even more present when someone tries to quit using alone and relapse. Their tolerance may be much lower than when they were using regularly, making an overdose more likely.

Heroin addiction is a serious condition that requires professional help. If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, find a treatment program that can provide personalized support.

When to Find Heroin Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, it’s important to seek help immediately. Signs that it’s time to find treatment include unsuccessful attempts to quit, neglecting responsibilities, and continued use despite negative consequences.

Heroin addiction treatment often involves a combination of medication-assisted treatment, therapy, and support groups. It’s never too late to start the journey toward recovery. Remember, the sooner you seek help, the better your chances of overcoming heroin addiction.

Start Heroin Addiction Treatment at The Canyon

Managing the long-term effects of heroin use starts with finding the right treatment center. At The Canyon, our staff offers a heroin addiction treatment program designed to provide clients with an individualized and evidence-based approach to recovery.

We are dedicated to helping you or your loved one achieve lasting sobriety. Our intensive outpatient program works around your schedule while providing personalized care and support. Contact us at 424.465.5182 today to learn more.