The effects of opioids such as heroin are potentially catastrophic. They go beyond just addiction. Repeated use of heroin changes your brain and can lead to deterioration. People see the damage heroin use can do to their lives. That might be enough to get them into a heroin addiction treatment program at a treatment facility such as Amatus Recovery Centers.
What Are the Effects of Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid made from morphine. Like most opioids, it is very addictive. In fact, heroin is often the go-to street drug for those who abuse prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone or hydrocodone. They develop an opioid use disorder but can no longer get prescription medication. Heroin is an easier-to-get alternative.
There is no safe way to take heroin. The short-term side effects of heroin put you at risk, but it’s the long-term ones that cause the most damage.
Primarily, the long-term effects of heroin use impact the body and the brain. Heroin doesn’t affect everyone the same way, though. Some people suffer no long-term effects, while others experience many.
There are different factors involved in the long-term effects, too. For example, how you use the drug. Heroin can be smoked, injected, or snorted. Each method can cause different kinds of physical damage. There are some common long-term effects, though.
What are Five Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use?
1. Collapsed Veins
People who regularly inject heroin may suffer from collapsed veins for months after they stop. The veins collapse due to the repeated trauma from the needle.
The major veins may collapse permanently if the same vein is used all the time or if the injection method is sloppy. People with permanently collapsed veins can have long-term heart problems.
2. Liver Disease
Heroin is one of several drugs that can cause damage to the liver, often from an infection such as viral hepatitis. Studies indicate that long-term injections of heroin can lead to lesions on the liver, cirrhosis, and organ degeneration.
3. Respiratory Illnesses
Opioids like heroin naturally depress the respiratory system. That suppression can lead to long-term respiratory conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or asthma.
Heroin use can also impact the immune system making you more susceptible to respiratory infections like pneumonia. Frequent illness is one of the signs of heroin addiction.
4. Damage to Teeth
Severe tooth decay is associated with many kinds of drug use, including heroin. Drugs can create an environment in the mouth that damages the gums and lead to tooth loss.
Some people grind their teeth as a side effect of drug use. That grinding can break teeth, wear down the enamel and cause them to come out.
5. Kidney Disease
Chronic abuse of heroin can lead to severe kidney damage and, eventually, kidney failure. The damage may be from disease or the increased body temperature that comes with sustained drug use.
Addiction Is Also One of the Long-Term Effects of Heroin
Heroin is highly addictive, and it’s an addiction most fight throughout their lives. It is one of the primary heroin effects because it is a lifelong battle. Heroin addiction treatment can offer you a way to find sustainable recovery.
Amatus Recovery Centers offers the full continuum of care that many need when they suffer from heroin effects. Services at Amatus Recovery Centers include:
- Residential addiction treatment
- Gender-specific treatments
- Intensive outpatient services
- Community housing
- Dual diagnosis treatment
Amatus Recovery Centers has locations all along the east coast, including Ohio and Atlanta.