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If you or a loved one are struggling to stop using drugs or alcohol, our team of addiction experts can help you get sober a learn the skills for lifelong recovery.

Recognizing the Physical Effects of Heroin

a person struggling with physical effects of heroin sits with their legs tucked in their arms

Heroin addiction is often a long, isolating experience. As someone becomes physically dependent on the drug, their body and brain change to rely on its effects. The mental and physical effects of heroin can have severe consequences on health, personal relationships, and even happiness.

California Centers for Recovery offers a heroin detox program in Los Angeles at a luxury rehab center. Our team of experienced and caring professionals provides a structured, supportive environment for individuals who are ready to start the recovery journey. Our professionals utilize evidence-based practices and holistic therapies to ensure each client receives the best care possible. We also understand that each person’s circumstances are unique, so we customize our care plan to meet their individual needs. Learn more about how we treat heroin use disorder by calling 877.328.5682.

How Heroin Changes the Brain and Body

Heroin, a substance derived from the opium poppy plant, profoundly alters both the brain and body. The drug acts as a depressant, slowing down certain functions of the brain and nervous system. When used, heroin affects areas of the brain related to reward and breathing. Repeated use can change the physical structure and physiology of the brain, causing long-term imbalances in neuronal and hormonal systems.

Heroin works by mimicking natural opiates and binding to receptors in the brain called mu-opioid receptors (MORs). These receptors regulate pain, hormone release, and feelings of well-being. By activating these receptors, heroin tells the brain to block pain and induces feelings of calm and happiness.

Short-Term Physical Effects of Heroin

The immediate effects of heroin use include intense sensations of euphoria, warmth, and comfort. However, these desirable feelings are often accompanied by less pleasant physical effects such as nausea, itching, and slowed breathing.

Heroin’s effect on the brain’s reward system leads to an immediate feeling of sedation and well-being, as the drug turns off dopamine inhibition and allows dopamine to flood the synaptic cleft.

Long-Term Physical Effects of Heroin

Prolonged use of heroin can lead to damage to both the brain and body. Long-term effects include personality changes, cognitive impairment, and physical harm to various organs.

Some of the specific physical effects of long-term heroin abuse include:

  • Liver – Heroin metabolites can damage the liver, leading to hepatitis and cirrhosis.
  • Kidneys – Heroin can reduce blood flow to the kidneys, resulting in kidney failure or other serious issues.
  • Heart disease – Prolonged heroin use increases the risk of heart attack or stroke due to increased cholesterol levels, constricted arteries, and irregular heartbeat.
  • Lungs – Chronic heroin use can damage the lungs, causing pneumonia or other respiratory problems.
  • Reproductive system – Heroin can cause infertility in both men and women.

Repeated heroin use can also cause vein damage, skin infections, and abscesses due to frequent injections.

Recognizing a Heroin Use Disorder

Recognizing a heroin use disorder involves observing changes in behavior, health, and physical appearance. Individuals with a heroin use disorder often exhibit signs such as neglecting responsibilities, sudden weight loss, changes in mood or behavior, and wearing long sleeves even in warm weather to hide needle marks.

When to Get Help from a Detox Center

If you or a loved one is showing signs of a heroin use disorder, it’s crucial to seek professional help immediately. Detox centers provide medically supervised detoxification, which can manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse. They also offer counseling and therapy to address the psychological aspects of addiction.

Start Heroin Detox at California Centers for Recovery

California Centers for Recovery offers heroin detox in Los Angeles. Our luxury rehab center provides a secure, private environment where clients can focus on recovery in comfort. We offer a comprehensive approach to care that includes evidence-based practices and holistic therapies tailored to each individual’s needs. To learn more about our heroin use disorder treatment program, call 877.328.5682 or complete our online form.