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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Heroin?

woman with head in hands considering the long-term effects of heroin

Heroin is a powerful and deadly illicit drug with the potential to drastically change everything in your life. The long-term effects of heroin include damage to your emotional state, the function of your brain, and your physical appearance. While the short-term effects can be tragic, there are many long-term effects of heroin addiction that could forever alter, or end, your life. If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin addiction and wants to begin walking the path toward recovery, contact NuLife Recovery Massachusetts online or call us at 888.568.2057 today to learn about how our heroin addiction treatment program can help.

The Long-Term Effects of Heroin

Heroin is an opiate that binds to the brain’s opioid receptors. This process creates a rush of dopamine that is addictive because it’s intoxicating and is more significant than is possible to receive naturally. This wave of dopamine is what creates the euphoric high after a person uses heroin. The brain will develop a craving to repeat this intense, pleasurable feeling, which is what causes the urge to use heroin again. This will eventually lead a loved one to addiction and to experience the side effects of heroin use.

This is because the human body develops a tolerance to heroin. When this happens, the brain gets rewired to feel normal only when heroin is present. The long-term effects of heroin begin once the body has adjusted to the heroin use and the pleasurable hits of dopamine. This is when a person will not even feel high anymore, not even right after taking heroin, which will cause a loved one to increase the dosage to feel something akin to the pleasure they first felt.

The long-term effects of heroin addiction ultimately instigate significant changes in the structure and the physiology of the brain. Although recovery is possible with the assistance of heroin addiction treatment, the impacts on hormone systems are difficult to reverse completely. Additionally, the long-term effects of heroin can cause a decline in the white matter of the brain, causing problems with:

  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Decision-making

The physical dependence on heroin can lead to withdrawal symptoms if you stop using it. These symptoms can include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Severe pain
  • Insomnia
  • Gastrointestinal issues

The Importance of a Heroin Addiction Treatment Program

Heroin causes immense pain and problems to your body and quality of life in the short term, but what heroin does to your body in the long term can be catastrophic and deadly. Some of the long-term effects of heroin can include:

  • Oral health problems (damaged teeth, swelling of gums)
  • Skin problems
  • Extreme constipation and malnutrition
  • A weakened immune system
  • Sleep problems
  • Sexual function issues

Additionally, the side effects of heroin use through injection heroin include:

  • Infections of the heart valves
  • Bacterial infections
  • Blood infections
  • Soft tissue infections
  • Abscesses
  • Arthritis

Seeking professional, skilled, and compassionate care to battle the long-term effects of heroin can help you slowly recover from addiction and help to loosen the vice-like grip heroin has on your thoughts, functions, and life. Through treatment, you’ll build a strong foundation for recovery.

Help for Heroin Addiction at NuLife Behavioral Health Massachusetts

Learn how our heroin addiction treatment program can be the starting point for your recovery. Contact us using our secure online form or call us confidentially at 888.568.2057 today. At NuLife Behavioral Health, you’ll find effective, evidence-based treatment for addiction that takes into account your unique needs. Through this approach, you’ll develop healthy coping skills and strategies that can make it easier to navigate challenges in the future. Lasting recovery is possible—take the first step towards a new life today.