Heroin is a highly addictive drug that can cause many problems, even if you’ve been using it for a short period of time. The effects of heroin addiction are lifelong and can last for years after you stop using the drug. These long-term consequences may include depression, anxiety, and irritability. Heroin withdrawal symptoms often occur within hours of your last dose, which can be severe and make it difficult to function normally. Learn about how heroin addiction affects the body with this article.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is made from morphine, which is derived from the opium poppy. This means heroin is a form of opiate, which contains powerful narcotics and can produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. When someone uses heroin starting at their first dose, it’s difficult for them to stop because the body quickly adjusts to the drug. If someone tries to stop using heroin and detoxes too quickly, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness and sweating.

Addicts often experience severe withdrawal symptoms after quitting use for long periods of time; these include intense cravings for drug-induced euphoria alongside flu-like feelings, muscle aches/pain from cramps caused by reduced blood flow around muscles (notably in chest), chills & fever from increased activity levels inside their bodies signaling inflammation throughout their systems during detoxification – with this pain sometimes lasting beyond detox period.

What are the Effects of Heroin Addiction?

Heroin addiction is a chronic condition. You will never fully recover from heroin addiction and the effects are lifelong. There are mental effects of heroin addiction, such as depression, anxiety, and irritability, and physical effects such as infection, organ failure, and death. We discuss these below.


When people use heroin, they are at risk of developing serious infections and diseases. The most common disease is hepatitis C, which can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. Other diseases include endocarditis, sepsis, mycobacterial infection, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and abscesses.

 It is also possible to contract sexually transmitted diseases with a partner taking heroin which could lead to infertility. In addition, people who have injected drugs risk passing on infectious diseases like HIV through sharing needles as well as other drug users via sexual contact.

 There is also evidence to suggest that it may lead to constipation and bladder infections, which are much more common among people who abuse opioid drugs like heroin than those who do not inject them at all.

Mental Illness

Heroin addiction also affects the body in other ways that may not be easy to detect. For example, heroin addiction can cause a decrease in dopamine levels and dopamine receptors. Dopamine is important for controlling appetite and mood regulation so if you’re addicted to heroin it’s possible that you’re going through some mental struggles that you don’t even know about. 

Organ Damage

The drug also affects other parts of the body like your lungs and heart.

Heroin slows down your breathing, which can cause you to stop breathing. This can lead to coma or death. Heroin makes it difficult for your blood to clot, which could lead to life-threatening injuries if an injury occurs.

Long-term use of heroin can suppress the immune system, damage blood vessels and nerves in the brain, cause liver disease or failure. In the short term, people who use heroin may experience a drop in heart rate and blood pressure during withdrawal as well as decreased respiration rate called apnea. In long-term use, people will experience a decrease in brain function, which can lead to coma or death from respiratory failure or sudden cardiac arrest. 

It can cause respiratory problems such as pneumonia or an overdose of heroin due to a decrease in the amount of oxygen that crosses into the brain tissue.

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin withdrawal symptoms are often described as the worst flu you’ll ever experience. The symptoms include muscle pain, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. It can also cause seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea. Heroin withdrawal symptoms can last for four or five days and can be intense. One way to help relieve heroin withdrawal symptoms is with the use of methadone or another opioid medication.

What are Some Ways to Help Someone with Heroin Addiction?

If someone you care about is struggling with a heroin addiction, it can be difficult to know what to do. If the person has been using heroin for some time and is no longer able to stop, then the best option may be detoxing them from the drug. The long-term effects of withdrawal can make the process very difficult for your loved one, so it’s important to look out for signs of withdrawal. You could also talk to your loved one about treatment options for their addiction.

We Can Help

If you or someone you love has overcome an addiction to heroin, it is important not to let your life fall apart. Heroin is highly addictive and life-threatening when abused; therefore, it is extremely important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is struggling with this addiction. At Asheville Recovery Center treatment specialists utilize a 12-step program and practice holistic rehabilitation. 

Services at the center include:

 Partial Hospitalization Program – At Asheville Recovery Center we offer a partial hospitalization program for clients who need post-residential treatment as well as for clients who need primary treatment but are unable to enroll in inpatient programs. Our PHP track offers a variety of therapeutic services and benefits to individuals in early recovery from substance addiction.  

Outpatient Rehabilitation – During intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), clients live at home or in a sober living residence while completing an addiction treatment program. IOP is a place where clients can process their experiences in twelve-step fellowships and support one another in those individual journeys. Addiction is difficult to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with heroin abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call and speak with an addiction expert today.

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