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Heroin and the Brain

a person sits on a floor in a dark room with a light shining on them as they seem troubled by the connection between heroin and the brain

Heroin has a reputation for quickly and severely altering an individual’s state of mind, usually involving feelings of euphoria or power. Not only are there obvious physical ramifications for using heroin in excess, but there are also a number of ways heroin affects the brain, much more than the initial effects seem to show. Understanding the relationship between heroin and the brain can provide insight into why starting heroin is so easy and why quitting feels impossible.

While it is undeniably a challenge to overcome heroin addiction, calling it impossible would be far from correct. Every day, somebody celebrates a month, year, or decade of living heroin-free. This goal is within reach for anyone willing and dedicated enough to achieve it. At California Centers for Recovery, we provide the luxury care our clients deserve to beat heroin addiction on their own terms. Ready to start your journey? Call us today at 877.328.5682 to learn more about our heroin addiction rehab in Manhattan Beach.

Heroin’s Effects on the Brain, Long- and Short-Term

Heroin’s immediate effects on the brain are discernible just by observation. For a few hours after use, heroin causes individuals to experience an intense rush before settling down.

Short-Term Effects

One might expect this surge of energy to have immediate negative effects on the brain, but almost all of heroin’s short-term effects on the brain occur after the crash. For instance, individuals can experience these effects within hours of use:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Memory problems

These short-term effects differ from person to person. When heroin is used to mask an existing case of a mental disorder, it can come back in full force right after—a major driver for continued usage.

Long-Term Effects

The long-term effects of heroin on the brain are subtle but significantly more dangerous. In terms of physical effects on the brain, heroin also deteriorates white matter, which is responsible for:

  • Muscular control
  • Decision-making
  • Behavioral regulation
  • Memory
  • Protecting from further brain damage

Prolonged heroin use causes the brain to form a tolerance, meaning more heroin (or stronger variants) must be used to achieve a comparable effect.

Understanding Heroin Dependence

Heroin is a drug in the opioid family, the same family as oxycodone or morphine. Their primary function is to reduce pain by blocking the appropriate receptors in the brain. Additionally, they supplant the feelings of discomfort with pleasure or numbness, which make users feel like they can disconnect from their problems.

Becoming dependent on heroin means a few things for the brain. Most importantly, dependence means that heroin has to be present and effective for individuals to do certain things without impairment—for instance, people with a dependence might become irritable, lethargic, or depressed without constant heroin use. Dependence can also lead to addiction, which is essentially psychological or emotional dependence.

Treating Heroin Addiction at California Centers for Recovery

With a greater understanding of heroin and the brain, making the choice to receive professional treatment takes on a whole new meaning. People who struggle with addiction often can’t picture a life without drugs, and the brain plays a big part in that. Heroin tricks your brain into thinking it’s a necessity and that you can’t live without it.

At California Centers for Recovery, we work to help fight that notion at its source. Our treatment center in Los Angeles, CA, is equipped with the therapy programs required for moving on from heroin. If you or a loved one are in the clutches of heroin use, there’s a way forward. Contact us online or call 877.328.5682 today to learn how our evidence-based therapies can help you separate heroin and the brain for life.