Heroin is a highly addictive drug. Like the related drug morphine, heroin has a strong narcotic effect and puts you in a daze. It gives a blissful feeling and dampens physical and mental pain. Because the body quickly gets used to the substance, you need more and more for the same effect. This increases the risk of an overdose. In addition, severe withdrawal symptoms make it difficult to stop. Here you can read everything about Heroin, the consequences of its use and how to stop it.
How is it made?
Heroin is made from the milky juice of poppy plants. Raw opium is extracted from the dried juice and processed into heroin. This looks like a gray or brown powder. Sometimes the drug appears as a black sticky substance (black tar heroin) or as hard lumps (rocks).
Common names for heroin are: smack, horse, junk or brown. The quality of the drug can vary greatly depending on where it comes from and how it is made. This makes the drug difficult to dose. Every year many people die from heroin overdose.
What does heroin do to you?
Heroin gives a euphoric feeling, stronger than with other opiates. The drug has an effect on the reward system in the brain and numbs physical pain. This makes the chance of a heroin addiction very high.
In addition to the euphoric feeling, heroin use also has many unpleasant effects. For example, the user gets a dry mouth, they can suffer from hot flashes and drowsiness. The drug can also make it difficult to think clearly. Physically, the drug can also cause nausea and itching. The latter can cause the user to scratch open his or her skin completely. The most life-threatening effects of heroin use are that the drug slows heart rate and breathing.
What are the risks
In addition to overdose, there are other serious health risks associated with heroin use. For example, the drug can lead to miscarriage and when injected can lead to infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. Chronic use can also lead to:
- burst veins
- infection of the pericardium or heart valves
- constipation and intestinal cramps
- liver or kidney damage
- lung diseases, such as pneumonia
In addition to the effect of the drug itself, heroin is often cut with various (sometimes toxic) substances. This brings additional risks such as blockage of the blood vessels and serious damage to organs. Also, heroin addicts often lose their appetite. The resulting malnutrition in turn causes other ailments.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms
One of the most damaging long-term effects of heroin is the addiction yourself. The user builds up a high tolerance, which creates a strong urge to use more and more often. When stopping, the withdrawal symptoms are severe. In addicts who have used the drug frequently and for longer periods, the first withdrawal symptoms appear after a few hours of the last intake.
Some withdrawal symptoms include:
- an intense craving for the drug, cravings
- bone and muscle pain
- throwing up,
- chills with goosebumps
- spasms, involuntary movements
Why stop under supervision?
The worst withdrawal symptoms occur between 48 and 72 hours after the last intake and gradually subside after about a week. Acute cessation of use in severely addicted patients in a poor physical condition is life-threatening. That is why it is important that you seek help from a professional when stopping heroin. You will be monitored by professionals during the critical period. The physical symptoms of abstinence can thus be largely remedied by medical care (detoxification).
Need help with a heroin addiction?
At Castle Craig we have over 20 years of experience treating heroin addiction. Together with your practitioner you look at what is needed and you draw up a personal treatment plan. Look at our treatments .
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