Heroin is a type of opioid derived from two ingredients: synthetic morphine and natural opium from poppy seeds. It’s also a popular substitute for prescription opioids like oxycodone, which are prescribed for pain relief. Heroin, like other opioids, excels in granting users an extreme high, in which pain is lessened, pleasure spikes, and heart and brain activity skyrocket. However, most heroin side effects are notorious for being dangerous to oneself and others.
Another behavior of opioids found in heroin is its addictive nature. Heroin addiction is, in proportion to its other effects, considerably more addictive than prescription-level opioids. It is significantly more likely to do severe bodily damage and much more prone to overdoses than its prescription counterparts. Hundreds of thousands of Americans struggle with heroin use, and it’s likely you know one yourself. Getting help is essential in overcoming heroin use.
At California Centers for Recovery, we provide a program for heroin detox in the South Bay Area. We employ a variety of therapy styles and medically managed detox steps to prevent future relapse. Contact us at 877.328.5682 to learn more about how we can help you manage a heroin addiction for the long term.
The Initial Effects of Heroin Use
The act of taking heroin can be divided into three segments: the high, acute withdrawal, and protracted withdrawal. The high is defined as being a rush of pleasure, euphoria, and power, followed by several hours of a pleasant, tranquil sensation. The high tends to last several hours, making it the shortest stage of the three. During the heroin high, the following effects can occur:
- Detachment from reality
- Dulled sensations of pain and sensory awareness
- Slow breathing
- Narrow pupils
- Drowsy expression
- Loss of consciousness
These are the heroin side effects that embody heroin use. Since heroin itself comes in different forms, its routes of administration also fall in with the initial effects. When injected intravenously, non-sterile needles can cause infection at the injection site. When administered orally or smoked, it can cause lung and digestive tract complications.
There’s also the issue of purity—generally, drugs are sold by units of weight, grams, pounds, et cetera. In order to inflate the weight without actually selling more of the drug, cheap additives can bulk up the weight of a drug without adding to the cost. Sugar and flour are common and do comparatively little on their own. Fentanyl, however, is another opioid and an incredibly dangerous one. Fentanyl-cut heroin is responsible for a significant percentage of deaths, with many users completely unaware of the contents of their drug.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
Following the high, the two stages of withdrawal begin to take place. First, acute withdrawal—this is referred to as the crash following a high. This happens because the body is unable to sustain any drug’s effect for too long. Drugs introduce new processes into the body that are almost always temporary, and when the drug is flushed out, there is a recoil effect that must follow. Acute withdrawal lasts from days to weeks, with effects such as:
- Muscle, bone, and joint pain
- Change in appetite
Protracted withdrawal is the period that can last for months after last using heroin. This type of withdrawal usually comes after extended periods of use, when the body has extreme difficulty in acclimating to functioning without the presence of drugs. Protracted withdrawal can occur after detox, and tend not to receive the medical supervision required to make recovery possible.
Find Support for Heroin Detox at California Centers for Recovery
Addiction can escalate in a simple way. The desirable heroin side effects, or the high, can pull behavior into taking more of the substance. On the opposite end, undesirable effects during withdrawal push users to take more as well. With each successive time heroin is used, the desire to use becomes stronger, and the conviction required to quit grows as well. This push-and-pull has disastrous effects on the mind and body and can alter a person’s entire lifestyle for the worse.
In order to manage both the impulsive rewards and the drawn-out punishments that heroin use incurs, California Centers for Recovery offers our heroin detox program to those seeking medically-managed detox. You can learn about the therapy styles we employ to ensure each recovery is foundationally strong and you leave with long-lasting strength. Our team is devoted to providing compassionate care to each of our clients. Contact us today at 877.328.5682 to get started on your recovery journey.