Physical and Mental Side Effects
The side effects of heroin use are diverse, spreading from acute physical symptoms to distinct social behaviors. Because heroin acts like a sedative many users do not realize that they have a substance abuse problem until the later stages of addiction at which time it is much more difficult to kick the habit. Almost immediately following using, a sense of euphoria will come over users, in which they have a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth and the feeling of having “heavy” arms and legs. Subsequent to the initial rush, users will go into an alternately wakeful and drowsy state commonly referred to as “the nod.” Because heroin suppresses the central nervous system, the user experiences “cloudy” mental function. Users will begin to breathe at a slower rate and their breathing can reach a point of respiratory failure.
Other short-term side effects of heroin use are:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Vision problems
- Depressed breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Reduced sex drive
- Increased urination
- Low body temperature
Teen Heroin Addiction and Withdraw is FATAL
When the drug is injected or snorted there is added risk of being exposed to infectious disease such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis if the user shares needles or straws. Intravenous heroin use is often a cause of other serious health complications such as spontaneous abortions, collapsed veins, heart valve and lining infections and liver disease. The most dangerous risk of heroin use is overdose, which can be fatal.
Like alcohol and other sedative addicts, heroin users usually suffer withdrawals when their intake of the drug is cut off. This makes getting clean much more difficult and painful than simply just choosing to not take the drug anymore.
Addicts going through withdrawal experience various unpleasant symptoms including:[one_half]
- Goose flesh
- Muscle Cramps
- Bone pain
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Chills and other flu-like symptoms
- “Itchy blood” which literally feels like the addict’s blood is itching, and can cause the addict to compulsively scratch, tear or pick at their skin, resulting in cuts and bruises. The most severe heroin withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after stopping use and can last up until a week.
In addition to the physical consequences of heroin there is a huge psychological price to be paid as well. Heroin users often experience a shift in values and priorities, as the drugs slowly take more and more of their life. The give getting and using the president over things they once viewed as important such as relationships, jobs and hobbies. They might find themselves among a crowd of other users they would not normally associate with under normal circumstances or partaking in illegal behavior to fund their habit. They start to feel that the only which they can enjoy life is with opiates.