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How Does Heroin Affect the Brain?

Heroin works in the body to cause a reduction of pain, but it also negatively impacts the brain and can cause addiction. 

If you are worried that you or a loved one may be addicted to heroin, contact Findlay Recovery today. Our Ohio addiction treatment center is designed to support individuals with multiple types of addiction and can safely help you get clean and teach you the strategies to stay clean.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid pain killer that impacts how the body reacts to pain stimuli. When an individual is in pain, chronic or temporary, the opioid pain receptors work to identify the painful location and inflame the nerve endings. The chemical compound in heroin works to block this pain receptor and calm the nerve endings, effectively numbing the pain. 

Heroin, while it was used as a medication approximately 100 years ago, was found to be an addictive substance and has since been made illegal. When individuals use heroin, they experience pain relief and a calming and “restful” high. This is due to the slowing of the system. This depressant slows the body and numbs it.

How Does Heroin Affect the Brain?

Heroin’s effect on the brain is multifaceted. Heroin affects multiple brain parts, including the reward center and the nervous system.

Heroin mimics the brain’s neurotransmitters, but in doing so, it confuses the system and causes them to attach to the drug instead of naturally produced neurotransmitters. When the attachment occurs, it activates the nerve cells but in a manner that confuses the brain and body. 

When heroin overstimulates the reward center with its calming and mellow high, individuals start to crave and want the drug. This is one of the first red flags of addiction. The drug is beginning to run in the body, and when the body doesn’t get it, it will react badly.

What are the Signs of Heroin Abuse?

The signs of heroin abuse look different based on the effects of heroin on the brain. Individuals who use heroin often struggle with multiple personal and social issues and the physical problems that heroin can affect in the body.

Heroin impacts a person’s personal and social life. Individuals struggling with addiction will spend a significant amount of time thinking about the drug, using, recovering from use, and because heroin is illegal, thinking about how to hide or cover up their use. This can cause issues for individuals at work, including attendance, responsibility, and accuracy problems. 

Physically, heroin is a dangerous opioid that can result in overdose. When an individual uses heroin to excess, it can shut down the body’s functions. Slowed breathing, inability to wake, and loss of consciousness are common for individuals who use heroin. This can cause brain damage. Other specific health concerns come into play with how the drug is used. Because heroin can be smoked, snorted, injected, or rubbed on the gums, specific health concerns are raised with each location. Smoking heroin impacts the lungs, while snorting heroin impacts the blood vessels in the nose specifically. Injecting heroin can increase the likelihood of transmittable diseases and injection site infections, and rubbing heroin on the gums can cause receding gumlines. All heroin use has been connected with the higher-than-average probability of cancer development. 

What to Look for in a Heroin Detox Program

When looking for a heroin addiction program, it is important to consider the severity of the addiction and the client’s needs. Many heroin users struggle with multiple disorders and are more likely to be using various substances than other illegal substances. In many cases, using a heroin detox program in Ohio is going to be about more than just getting clean. 

Heroin detox programs are broken down and differentiated by the client’s needs. In many cases, individuals who need the most help start with detoxification and transition directly into inpatient rehabilitation, like that available at Findlay Recovery.

Individuals who utilize Findlay Recovery’s heroin addiction treatment program are more capable of maintaining their sobriety in the face of triggers and stressors after completing their combination of traditional and alternative treatment programs with fidelity.
Findlay Recovery also uses personalized treatment options to support clients’ well-being. Allowing individuals to work through treatments and the best and safest options for each person makes the program more supportive. Contact Findlay Recovery today to find comprehensive addiction treatment in Ohio.

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