The opioid epidemic is an ongoing concern in communities across America. In fact, the nation’s rate of serious opioid problems has grown even higher in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these problems are related to the use of fentanyl and other powerful medications. However, heroin use is still a significant factor. Over time, repeated use of this illegal street opioid can damage your health in a variety of ways. Timely heroin addiction treatment can help you avoid such damage and preserve your long-term well-being.
Understanding Heroin Side Effects
When they start using heroin, most people are seeking a powerful form of pleasure called euphoria. This feeling, triggered by certain chemical changes inside your brain, is much more intense than everyday pleasure. If euphoria was the only result of taking the drug, there might be no cause for alarm. However, you can’t take a potent drug like heroin without exposing yourself to unwanted side effects.
Why do these side effects occur? The presence of heroin leads to other significant chemical changes inside your brain and body. These changes produce relatively benign effects such as heaviness in your limbs, drowsiness, and skin flushing. They can also lead to unpleasant side effects of heroin use, such as:
- Extremely itchy skin
Like all opioids, heroin depresses nerve function in your brain and spinal cord. This slowdown can make you feel drowsy. It can also make it harder for you to think clearly. In addition, it can lower your heart rate and breathing rate.
Potential Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use
Even in the short run, heroin use can lead to severe or catastrophic problems. For example, an overdose can slow your breathing rate below a sustainable level. However, some of heroin’s harmful effects only emerge over time. The most prominent of these long-term effects of heroin use include:
- A diagnosable case of addiction and/or damaging, non-addicted abuse
- Physical breakdown of the supportive nerve tissues inside your brain
- Heart failure and/or infections in your heart’s lining or valves
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
You may also have higher chances of developing pneumonia or tuberculosis. Other problems associated with long-term heroin use include weakened immune function and insomnia. They also include malnutrition and recurring or constant constipation.
Heroin Side Effects Caused By Your Method of Use
People who use heroin often inject the drug into a vein. However, others snort or smoke it instead. Some of the side effects of heroin are related to your specific method of use. For instance, if you inject the drug, your long-term risks also include:
- Veins that scar over or collapse altogether
- Blood-borne infections
- Boils and other kinds of skin/tissue infections
- Clogs in the vessels that supply blood to your major organs
You may also have increased odds of being infected with hepatitis and the HIV virus. If you snort heroin, you may eventually trigger lasting damage in the tissues lining your nasal passages. You may also end up with a hole in the cartilage that separates your two nostrils.
Get More Information on the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use at Promont Wellness
To learn more about the dangers of using heroin, talk to the experts at Promont Wellness. We’ll explain all of the many ways the drug puts your health at risk. We’ll also explain how timely, effective treatment helps protect you.
Need help overcoming a current heroin addiction? Promont Wellness supports this essential goal with customized options for accessible care. We’re committed to helping as many people as possible return to a stable daily routine. Call us today at 866.939.4243 to get started. You can also contact us through our online form.