Risks and signs of heroin addiction
Heroin is a highly addictive opioid processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from poppy plants. Opioids work by blocking pain signals between the brain and body. Heroin is a powerful sedative that can create feelings of warmth, relaxation, decreasing anxiety and increasing euphoria. These effects are induced by the morphine present in heroin and are short-lived. Whilst the effects fade quickly, it takes the body a lot longer to break down all of the heroin’s additional by-products. To avoid these side effects, individuals may take more heroin to detach themselves from the pain. This process is what makes heroin so addictive as it can quickly lead to tolerance, withdrawal symptoms and addiction.
The risks of heroin are many and various and include:
Short-term: HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C due to contaminated needles, slurred speech, reduced motor skills, confusion, problems concentrating, decreased blood pressure and heart rate, irregular heartbeat, lowered body temperature and coma.
Long-term: Overdose, intestinal issues, menstrual and fertility problems, decreased sex drive, diminished cognitive abilities, internal organ damage, damaged nasal passages (from snorting) and abscesses and damaged veins from injecting.
Signs of heroin addiction include:
Constantly thinking about heroin.
Heroin use is negatively impacting your career, relationships and finances.
Willingness to take great risks or engage in reckless behaviour to obtain heroin.
An ever-increasing dosage of heroin required to achieve the same euphoric feeling.
Feeling intense fear at the idea you won’t be able to access heroin.
Painful, flu-like symptoms when sober.
A lack of interest or care for loved ones, social activities, or hobbies that once brought you joy.
Heroin addiction can be overpowering and it is very difficult to overcome alone. While going to a treatment centre or a rehab for heroin addiction is never an easy decision, it is an act of compassion towards yourself and your health.