As an opioid, heroin begins to interact with and change the brain from the first use. That sense of euphoria it creates is so addicting that people seek out this drug time and time again. When the drug is used over a long period of time, the risk of health complications increases substantially. That’s why it is critical to seek out men’s or women’s heroin rehab programs right away.

What Heroin Does to the Brain

When used, heroin triggers the opioid receptors located in the brain. It interacts with the central nervous system as a whole. This drug, which comes from the opium poppy plant, is a Schedule I drug. That means it is highly addictive, and the short-term and long-term effects of taking it are profound.   When initially used, heroin stimulates the opioid receptors, creating a feel-good experience. That lasts only for a few minutes. Once it wears off, the brain wants more. Over time, this becomes hard to control, and drug-seeking behavior occurs. Without a men’s or women’s rehab center, it becomes difficult for a person to stop using this drug.

Think Long Term Heroin Use

As dependence on the drug forms, the brain’s chemistry changes. It needs the drug to function normally and seeks it out at increasing levels. A person needs to use more and use more frequently to satisfy this need. What’s more, they cannot control these intense cravings. That’s why for a person who has a heroin addiction, it’s nearly impossible to stop using.   That leads to long-term use. The brain is impacted in several ways from this type of use:
  • Damage to the white matter in the brain occurs, impacting cognitive function.
  • Decision-making abilities change, making work and home life difficult.
  • The ability to regulate behavior diminishes, leading to increasingly risky behavior.
  • Intense responses to stressful behavior occur.
  • Physical dependence occurs when the body adapts to the drug, and withdrawal symptoms occur when it is not used.
The withdrawal itself can be intense for heroin users. If a person does not get the drug, they may feel intense muscle and bone pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes. Many will also have insomnia, anxiety, and paranoia.

Heroin Damage to the Body

While much of the damage from heroin impacts the brain, there is also a great deal of risk to the rest of the body. It can cause:
  • Damage to the heart’s ability to function and beat normally
  • Nutritional deficiencies are common.
  • Pain regulation changes, making it hard to know when pain is occurring.
  • Hormone release becomes abnormal, leading to other organ failures.
  • Kidney and liver damage is likely.
In addition to this, with every use of the drug, there is a risk of overdose. This is a fatal condition in which the heart rate drops to a dangerous level, and breathing is slowed significantly. Without treatment immediately, it can be fatal.

How Treatment Can Help

Within a heroin rehab program, it is possible to avoid some of this damage. Men and women can work through detox to break the dependence they feel. Then, with medications and therapy, it is possible to heal both the brain and the body. How much improvement occurs depends on the severity of the addiction and the length of use. However, treatment can be effective at preventing a worsening of body and brain health. The key here is to ensure treatment is sought as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage.

The Sooner You Seek Help, the Fewer the Risks

As a dangerous drug, heroin comes with a wide range of risks. Yet, men and women can find a treatment that reduces those risks and enables the body and brain to begin to heal. The key is acting quickly to get this type of help. Don’t wait to call a treatment center for immediate support. Originally posted: