Heroin Addiction

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Heroin

NuLife Phone Number: 1 (877) 764-1620
National Crisis Helpline: 1-800-662-4357

Effects of Heroin

Heroin is highly addictive due to the pleasurable nature experienced in a user’s brain, but it is also one of the most dangerous drugs on the planet. Not only does this opioid cause severe effects to a user physically and mentally, but heroin addiction can have serious effects on a user’s family and friendships.

It is never safe to use this opiate. First time users and long time users alike can both suffer heroin abuse and from a variety of short-term effects and long-term effects, including overdose, withdrawal and death.

Short-Term Effects of Heroin

The drug’s short-term effects can range depending on the amount a user has ingested, smoked, or snorted. Once it has entered the brain, the drug gets to work when it comes in contact with opioid receptors. This contact allows a user to feel euphoric effects and pleasurable sensations immediately. Once the initial “rush” is felt, a user will fall into a deeply relaxed state.

However, there are other negative short-term effects that users can feel after just one or numerous times using the drug. These short-term effects include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Drowsiness
  • Respiratory issues
  • Mental clouding
  • Eye and pupil issues
  • Confusion
  • Discoloration of the extremities and lips
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Overdose

Heroin addiction is a serious threat to anyone who uses this form of morphine, even if it has been used only once.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin

While the short-term effects of heroin are dangerous, the long-term effects of the drug are equally, if not more, severe for the brain and body. A heroin addict who continuously uses opioids is at risk for far more health complications. These effects may include:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Menstrual issues
  • Fertility issues
  • Liver damage
  • Lung damage
  • Brain damage
  • Dental issues
  • Constipation
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Kidney diseases
  • Shared-needle infections
  • Stroke
  • Financial strain
  • Overdose
  • Death

For heroin users who inject via needle, there are further complications that can arise from heroin addiction and the use of sharing needles. Sharing needles increases a user’s risk of infection if the needle is contaminated with diseases including hepatitis C or AIDS.

Withdrawal effects of Heroin

Heroin addiction can often lead a user to experience withdrawal symptoms if they have not used the opioid in a certain period of time. Consistent use can make it extremely difficult for the body to resume regular function without the drug. Most heroin addicts will experience withdrawal symptoms within a couple of hours after their last dose.The withdrawal symptoms can last up to a week or longer. The effects a user will feeling during withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Intense cravings for heroin
  • Depression
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever like symptoms (sweating, chills)
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heartbeat

Other Effects of Heroin Use

Often, heroin addicts will use the drug in tandem with another substance, or will use a prescribed opioid, like over-the-counter medications, in its place. These drug combinations are incredibly dangerous, and can lead to addiction or death.

Heroin can also often contain unwanted additives that change or heighten the effects a user is feeling. Additives are included in heroin when a drug dealer decides to “cut” the opioid with a plethora of different substances. This is done so that the dealer can save money when selling less of the drug at a higher cost. Due to the drug’s common white color, it is easy to add in certain types of substances that look just like heroin. These substances can include baking soda, sugar, powdered milk, rat poison, crushed pills, and laundry detergent, to name a few. It goes without saying that injecting or snorting these different substances is unhealthy and can lead to further complications beyond the effects of heroin use.

There is Hope

If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin abuse or addiction, there is hope. Call the numbers below in order to get help now:

NuLife Phone Number: 1 (877) 764-1620

National Phone Number: 1-800-662-4357