Diamorphine, commonly referred to as heroin, is an opioid that is often used for recreational purposes because it provides euphoric effects. Several countries use heroin in the medical field as a pain reliever or as a kind of opioid replacement therapy. It enters the brain quickly, binding to opioid receptors located on cells found in many areas of the body, especially those that affect pain.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is a natural substance from opium poppy plants’ seed pods. These poppy plants grow in Colombia, Southeast and Southwest Asia, and Mexico. Heroin comes in many forms such as black tar heroin looks like a black sticky substance. It can also be a white powder or a brown powder. It is smoked, sniffed, snorted, or injected. Heroin can get mixed with crack cocaine to speedball.
Heroin is a dangerous drug. Highly addictive, it has been illegal in the United States since 1924. Regardless of the way it enters into your system, it will quickly enter your brain. Because it is highly addictive, just after one or two uses it might be difficult to stop yourself from using it. Most users do inject it to get the fastest high, but intravenously is the most dangerous way to use the drug because it is easier to overdose and because dirty needles can infect you.
Heroin Abuse Signs
There are physical and mental signs of an individual becoming addicted to heroin. Here are nine signs of heroin abuse:
- Drug paraphernalia in their home, vehicle, or general presence. Paraphernalia might include a tourniquet, needles, and large amounts of cash.
- Behavioral changes including secretiveness and lying, legal difficulty, and use of drug-related street slang are common. There might be financial challenges, and the individual might ask to borrow money because they need to obtain more heroin. They will go without necessities to buy more drugs: mood changes that include depression, withdrawal socially, spending less time with friends and family, erratic behavior, signs of aggression, and other abnormal behaviors and activities.
- People who have been using heroin might suffer from physical changes, such as nausea and vomiting, they might itch, and they might hallucinate or suffer from delusions. Short-term effects include flushing of the skin, dry mouth, arms and legs have a heavy feeling, clouded mentality, semi-conscious, and more.
- Long-term effects from heroin use include insomnia, abscesses, infection of the heart valves and lining, stomach cramps and constipation, kidney and liver disease, mental disorders, lung complications, damaged tissue inside the nostrils, women might have irregular menstrual cycles, and men could suffer from sexual dysfunctions.
- Often there are additives in heroin. Those additives might include powdered milk, starch, or sugar, which can clog up blood vessels that lead to the brain, lungs, kidneys, or liver. Permanent damage might result. Sharing needles can lead to infectious diseases such as hepatitis or HIV.
- Heroin is highly addictive, so withdrawal symptoms might start just a few hours after having taken a dose. Withdrawals could include severe bone and muscle pain, restlessness, cold flashes accompanied by goosebumps, uncontrolled leg movements, severe cravings for more heroin.
- When an individual becomes more secluded and secretive, it might indicate that he or she is using drugs, such as heroin. They tend to break away from family and friends who might express concerns if they find out they are using drugs.
- Studies show that long-term effects from heroin use will include an effect on the brain. There will be a loss of the white matter of the brain, which affects controlling behavior, decision-making, and responding to situations that are stressful.
Seeking Help for Heroin Abuse
There is help available for heroin abuse. If you or someone you know has a problem abusing heroin, seek professional help right away. There are inpatient rehab centers that help individuals overcome addictions to heroin and other opioids. Regular use of heroin can lead to tolerance. That means you will need higher dosages to get the same feeling.
Because of the danger of heroin addiction, medical help is needed to overcome an addiction to powerful opioid. Because of the severity of the withdrawals and the severity of such dependencies, you need medical supervision and care. The withdrawal process can be intense, so you want to make sure the right care is readily available. Talk with an addiction professional at a drug rehab treatment center today.