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What Is Heroin: Effects, Composition, Addiction, Withdrawal Symptoms and Addiction Treatment

What Is Heroin: Effects, Composition, Addiction, Withdrawal Symptoms and Addiction Treatment

March 6, 2023

What is heroin and why is heroin use a bad decision? Heroin addiction is a common problem in society, and accounts for a huge proportion of drug-related deaths.

This article will explain what heroin is, the type of drug it is, why it is dangerous and the treatment options for heroin addiction.

What Is Heroin: Effects, Composition, Addiction, Withdrawal Symptoms and Addiction Treatment

What Is Heroin

Heroin is a very addictive and a commonly abused drug originally used for the treatment of pain. Due to its addictive properties, it is no longer prescribed and banned. Unfortunately it is still produced illegally and sold to people who use the drug.

When the drug enters the body, it goes to the brain and the effects on certain areas cause a pleasurable euphoric effect. This action and the subsequent pleasurable results are the major factors in the development of addictions.

What Drug Classification Does Heroin Belong to

What type of drug is heroin? It is a part of the group of drugs called opioids. Other frequently abused drugs in this group are morphine, fentanyl and hydrocodone.

What Is Heroin Made From

How is heroin made? Heroin is made from the opioid medication morphine, which is obtained from the opium poppy plant.

What Does Heroin Look Like

When it is refined, heroin comes in a white powdered form that can be snorted or swallowed. However, certain things may be added to this powder that can change its color. The powder is also diluted in a liquid for users to inject themselves.

What Color Is Heroin

In its purely refined form, heroin is a white powder, but can also appear brown, black and gray.

What Is Heroin Made From

What Is Heroin Addiction

After repeated use of heroin, the body gets used to it and would require larger quantities to get the same initial feeling. This is called tolerance. Users also get urges for the drug and experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they can’t fulfill this craving. When you build up a tolerance for the drug and experience withdrawal, it means you have developed a dependence on the drug.

Addiction causes behavioral changes when a person has a drug dependence.

Why Do People Use Heroin

What is heroin cravings? It is an irresistible urge to take the drug, first for psychological reasons and then because of the development of physical dependence. Although the main reason for heroin use is the euphoric feeling, people also use it for different purposes, for example:

  • To relieve physical pain
  • For recreational use
  • To get over emotional pain

Risk Factors of Heroin Addiction

Factors that increase the chance of addiction include:

  • Other illicit drugs abuse
  • Close relations with individuals who abuse drugs
  • Family history of heroin addiction
  • Access to heroin

The Effects of Heroin On The Human Body

Why is heroin so dangerous? Heroin affects your body in steps. It first acts on the brain to modify certain areas and affect its function. This causes the brain to require larger quantities of heroin to achieve similar effects.

Over time, the actions of the drug on the person and the cravings they develop affect their health and behavior.

The Effects of Heroin On The Human Body

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

What are heroin addiction symptoms? Heroin addiction affects the body in different ways with a number of symptoms. These are:

Physical Symptoms

  • Tremors
  • Itching
  • Presence of marks from the needles on the skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures

Psychological Symptoms

  • Mood swings
  • Alteration of personality
  • Lack of orientation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Suicidal thoughts

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Neglect of work, social and family responsibilities
  • Lack of interest in self-care
  • Problems controlling anger
Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

Signs of Heroin Overdose

Occasionally, a person can take too much heroin at once, causing an overdose. The signs of a heroin overdose can occur rapidly and within a few minutes of its use. The signs that may suggest a heroin overdose include:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Low heart rate
  • Cold skin
  • Coma

Withdrawal Symptoms

What does heroin withdrawal feel like? Choosing to stop using heroin is a difficult process, but the process of withdrawal is even more difficult. Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be severe include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling apprehensive
  • Cravings
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Abnormal sleep patterns

How long do heroin withdrawals last? A big concern for users is the duration of the withdrawal symptoms. It usually lasts a few days to just over a week.

Consequences of Heroin Use

Users may start taking this drug without knowing the risks or finding out what it does to them.

What does heroin do to people? Heroin acts on the brain and alters it, causing various signs and symptoms. Cravings can make users do anything to obtain the drug, so they adopt certain negative and harmful behaviors.

How To Tell If A Person Is Using Heroin

Sometimes, heroin users may feel too embarrassed to admit their addiction. But there are still ways to know if a person uses heroin. Some of them are:

  • The presence of addiction symptoms 
  • Skin features that may suggest the use of injectable substances
  • Tests to confirm the presence inside the body

Heroin Test

There are different ways to detect heroin whether someone uses heroin. A blood sample may reveal heroin in the body, but in urine it may be detected as the metabolized forms.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Urine

Heroin can be detected in urine for an average of 2 to 3 days.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in The Blood

The duration is a lot shorter and at most it stays in the blood for only a few hours.

How To Tell If A Person Is Using Heroin

How Long Do Heroin Addicts Live

Heroin significantly affects the mental state of a person and their quality of life. Many addicts wonder how long do heroin addicts live. They have a shorter life expectancy and it is a major cause of drug-related deaths.

Death tends to occur mostly in people with longer addictions. The various ways how does heroin kills are:

  • Heroin overdose
  • Accidents and other risky behavior due to the euphoria that you experienced from it
  • Infections e.g. HIV, hepatitis B, and heart valve infections from sharing injection needles and from repeated injections

Is It Possible to Recover From Heroin Addiction?

Many people have successfully recovered from heroin addiction after getting professional help and commitment to overcome the addiction.

Can You Quit Heroin on Your Own?

Heroin is very addictive, but it takes several uses for a person to become addicted. The withdrawal symptoms make quitting heroin difficult, and they tend to be worse in individuals with prolonged addiction.

It is possible to stop taking heroin on your own before you become fully addicted. However, it becomes a lot harder when you have been addicted for a long time and will need professional help.

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Patients will need a combination of drug treatment and psychotherapy. Drug treatment involves the use of medications like buprenorphine and methadone to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Cognitive behavior therapy also helps the patient stay away from heroin and situations that could tempt them to relapse. The combination of both strategies produces the most effective results.

Get Help Today With VIP Vorobjev Clinic

Heroin addiction is very difficult to deal with, but our facility is well-equipped to provide the people with the help they need to get over their addiction.

Our medical team comprises seasoned professionals who have all the required training and certifications to treat heroin addiction. We help to diagnose the addiction and provide an adequate treatment plan depending on the patient’s specific needs. We also provide outpatient and inpatient care in a friendly environment.

If you or someone around you is struggling with heroin addiction and looking for treatment, reach out to us at VIP Vorobjev Clinic, where you will get top-level care.

Published on March 6, 2023
Dr Vorobjev Clinic team

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