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What Happens To Your Body When You Use Heroin

It is obviously true that heroin is very damaging to your body, but a lot of people are not really aware of exactly what it does to the body. This is important to realize, because having a strong understanding of its effects on you physically can help in appreciating just how dangerous it is, and that could mean that an individual finds it easier to see how important it is to try and stop taking it.

In this article, we are going to go through some of the major things that happen to the body when you take heroin, so you will come away with a much clearer and fuller understanding.

The Short-Term Effects

There are a number of short-term effects that you will notice immediately after you use heroin, and for any heroin users, these are already going to be well-known in most cases. Because there are opioid receptors in your brain, your brain stem, and the spinal cord, as well as in your intestines and lungs, the effects of heroin in the short term can be hugely varied. In one way, this is what makes it such an unpredictable substance to put into your body.

Dry Mouth

One of the first effects you will notice is the famous dry mouth, which can range anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to completely frustrating. It might even feel as though you can’t swallow properly, which can itself induce some anxiety-like feelings.

Warm Skin

You might also notice that your skin feels very warm, as though you are experiencing hot flushes. Again, this might be pleasurable at first, or it might just be unbearable, and it might even feel as though it is far too hot to be able to handle.

Feeling Of Heaviness

You could start to feel heavy in your limbs, and almost to the point where you feel unable to move. In fact, it is common to feel this way, and at the very least you are going to have a feeling of your limbs being made of lead.


As with any powerful drug, there is always a good chance that you might experience some nausea, and you could possibly vomit as well. If you are not careful, you might also choke on your own vomit.


Your body can become itchy, and it might feel as though no amount of scratching is going to do anything about it.

Clouded Thinking & Changing Emotions

Your thoughts might become clouded, you could have a feeling of ‘brain fog’, and your emotions could be all over the place – including the intense happiness or high that heroin is particularly known to induce.

Risk Of HIV & Hepatitis

Because of the use of shared needles, and because you are in a state where you are not necessarily acting sensibly, you might be at risk of HIV or hepatitis, both of which will obviously have serious long-term effects too.

If you mix heroin with any other drug, even alcohol, you are increasing your risk of more serious immediate effects such as coma or overdose death.

The Long-Term Effects

That’s what you might notice straight away, but there are many long-term effects to be aware of too.


Regular heroin use has been linked strongly to insomnia, which can itself become part of the cycle of addiction.


Depending on how you take the drug, you might end up with lots of abscesses all over your body. These pus-filled tissues can be extremely painful and tender to the touch.

Heart Infection

It’s no surprise to say that a heart infection can be extremely dangerous for you, so this is one of the most damaging potential side-effects of using heroin.

Constipation & Stomach Problems

You might find that you have a lot of stomach problems, including constipation or diarrhea.

Liver & Kidney Disease

Long-term results of heroin usage can include liver disease and kidney disease, both of which can be fatal.

Mental Health Issues

It might not come as a surprise that you can also experience some severe mental health problems when you take heroin in the long-term, which can then become part of the cycle of addiction.

Sexual Problems

A lot of people find that they have sexual health issues that arise from overusing heroin too, which can take some of the joy out of normal life.

Menstrual Issues

For female heroin users, the menstrual cycle may become erratic and unpredictable.

As you can see, there are a lot of damaging issues that arise from heroin use in the short- and long-term. If you think you might need some help, get in touch with the addiction recovery center today.

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