Heroin Addiction 101

Posted on :  March 2nd, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

If you have ever wondered if heroin is addicting, the answer is yes. This powerful drug is highly addictive for many reasons. It affects the central nervous system, especially the brain. It does not take long for the brain to crave heroin which results in serious problems in the short and long term.

Depressant with Euphoric Qualities

The chemistry of heroin is what makes it so addictive. The drug is a depressant that comes from morphine, which is taken from specific types of poppy plants. The drug itself is usually either white or brown and in a powder form that is mixed with sugar. The white powder is snorted or smoked, due to its bitter flavor. A variety of white powder is called “black tar” and this is usually injected into the body, either into muscles or veins. Heroin that is injected affects the mind the quickest, but it also comes with risks related to injecting a needle into the body.

Affecting the Brain’s Morphine Receptors

After heroin enters the body, it affects the brain as it turns into morphine. Since the brain actually has opioid receptors, morphine quickly attaches to those which immediately affect the central nervous system. People who use heroin feel euphoria once those receptors are stimulated. Eventually, the euphoria wears off and users feel the depressant action take place. The post-euphoria sensations include having a dry mouth and flushed skin; the body also feels heavy and drowsy. Thinking is also cloudy after the euphoric state ends. Addiction begins when heroin users constantly need the drug to feel the sense of euphoria.

Dangerous Drug Used in Some Prescriptions

Interestingly, heroin is actually used in some medications. They are categorized as Schedule 1 drugs because of their addictive properties, so it is illegal in many places to sell or possess the drug without a prescription. Heroin is known as diamorphine and is used as an analgesic. When people suffer from pain that morphine cannot diminish, then diamorphine is used. Diamorphine is occasionally used in epidurals during obstetric deliveries.

Changing Brain Chemistry and Forming an Addiction

When heroin makes its way into the brain, it actually changes the way the brain is structured as well as how it functions. It alters the chemistry in the brain and the way the nervous system reacts. Users quickly develop a tolerance to heroin, so they need to take more to get the same intense high. The brain actually gets used to the drug, so that the brain experiences painful symptoms of withdrawal if the body does not get enough heroin or any heroin at all. The withdrawal symptoms can be debilitating.

Craving the Drug and Other Signs of Addiction

Heroin addiction begins when the body begins to crave the drug. People who are regular users begin to obsess over their next hit; the obsession does develop into a compulsive way of thinking, too. Another sign of addiction is loss of physical and mental control, so users consistently need to have the drug and they cannot stop talking about getting it. The body develops tolerances based on the increased dosages and many addicts take it over and over to stay in the state of euphoria. These signs of addiction are rather easy to spot, especially if you live with the user.

The Best Way to Avoid Addiction to Heroin

Addiction in North America has grown since 2007, especially with adults between the ages of 18 and 25. Unfortunately, anyone can develop an addiction to the drug. The best way to avoid developing an addiction is to never start using the drug at all. If you spend time with people who use heroin, you will probably begin to use it yourself. The addiction is quick, powerful, and very difficult to end.

If you know someone who needs addiction treatment, please contact our professional staff at Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042 to get help.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.