Risks of Heroin Use
Heroin is an opioid drug that is extremely potent and addictive, with psychological effects appearing after only a few uses. When you use heroin, the opioid receptors in the brain are affected, disrupting the part of the brain that manages emotions and pain, and producing a sense of euphoria. This eventually modifies the opioid receptors in the body, making you dependent on using opioids just to feel normal and avoid painful withdrawal.
Both the white and the gray matter in the brain are affected negatively by heroin use. This drug causes the brain to immediately rewire itself to be able to handle the flood of dopamine the first heroin use caused (which is also why you cannot ever achieve the same high that first-time use created). The more heroin you use, the more opioid receptors the brain creates, causing you to gain a tolerance as your drug addiction progresses.
There are several dangerous and negative impacts heroin use can have on a person. Some of the risks of heroin drug abuse include:
- Physical dependence leading to addiction
- Increased risk of serious liver, kidney, stomach, heart, and lung problems
- Damage to nasal passages or collapsed veins
- Stomach problems and constipation
- Clouded mental functioning
- Drug overdoses result in brain damage, coma, and even death
The Mental Side Effects of Heroin
Continuously disturbing the brain’s function by using more and more heroin makes dopamine and pleasure processes less effective, which may lead to psychosis, anxiety, and depression.
Heroin affects every part of your life, including the way you think. Heroin abuse can disrupt your ability to learn and process information, affect your memory, disable your ability to make decisions, and shorten your attention span. When on heroin you may experience:
- Delusions and paranoia
- Obsessive thoughts
- Apathy and lack of motivation
- Unexplained changes in personality and attitude with mood swings
- A loss of control over your own actions
- Suicidal ideation
Long Term Effects of Heroin Use
The long-term effects of heroin addiction on your brain include developing mental illness. Because heroin is an illegal drug that influences the fine balance of chemicals in your system, interrupting dopamine releases and other functions and preventing “feel good” emotions from occurring, you may develop co-occurring disorders like major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. You may begin abusing heroin and other drugs, even more, to avoid these feelings, causing a cycle of drug use that is difficult to break unless you enter a heroin addiction treatment program.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Heroin Addiction
Dual diagnosis is a doctor-diagnosed condition in which a person needs treatment for mental illness alongside their addiction treatment. The two conditions often go hand in hand, as they often have the same root cause or are closely related. Common mental health conditions that people with substance use disorders are most often diagnosed with include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Major depression
- Bipolar disorder
- Mood disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
They are often found to have a higher risk of suicidal thoughts or actions, as well as a higher risk of experiencing job loss, homelessness, unsatisfying relationships, and poor physical health. Treating patients with a dual diagnosis takes an integrated program that combines behavioral therapy with medical care, group therapies, psychiatric medications, and long-term support.
Heroin Rehab at Serenity Oaks
The best way to avoid developing psychological problems or worsening your mental health is to quit using heroin through a customized, integrated dual diagnosis rehab program. At Serenity Oaks wellness center, our programs are designed to find the underlying causes of your heroin use and your mental health issues, while building you up into the person you want to become through life skills and relapse prevention programs.
We provide the coping tools, education, and support you need to stop your drug abuse, in our levels of care that range from the safe and comfortable medical detox program for heroin withdrawal, through inpatient rehab inside our addiction treatment center, and on into a partial hospitalization program, an intensive outpatient program, and our aftercare outpatient treatments. Some of the heroin addiction treatment modalities we use include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- Comprehensive medical care
- 12-step groups
- Multidimensional family therapy
- Holistic treatments including nutrition, yoga, and meditation
Our Thrive alumni group will be there once you have completed the full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient treatment we offer, keeping you connected to a caring and sober community.
At Serenity Oaks drug rehab center, your mental health concerns and your substance abuse issues will be taken seriously and will be treated simultaneously in a safe, comfortable environment. If you have symptoms of heroin addiction or if you are ready to quit heroin, call Serenity Oaks today. We can help you choose the right program for you, provide you with insurance and payment information, and begin to transform your life for the better through targeted drugs and alcohol use disorder treatments.
— Serenity Oaks (@Serenity_Oaks_) May 27, 2022