Heroin addiction side effects are devastating, not just physically, but also emotionally. But today, it’s not just the side effects that people hooked on heroin have to think about; it’s death. Fentanyl is a frequent mix with heroin that increases the high. It also makes an overdose more likely. A recent article on California Healthline.org news summarized the dangers of fentanyl:
“Fentanyl is an opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. There’s a legal, Food and Drug Administration-approved version. But labs in China are churning out cheap versions of fentanyl that dealers are selling on the streets mixed with fillers, heroin, or other drugs. Buyers have no idea how much fentanyl they are getting or how much risk they are taking with every injection.”
Physical heroin addiction side effects
The Foundation for a Drug-Free World has helpful information, including the short and long-term heroin addiction side effects. Short term effects create a quick high and then things slow down – like breathing and mental functioning. You may feel nauseous or cold. Consequently, continuing use often results in collapsed veins and diseases such as HIV from sharing needles. You’re also more likely to get tuberculosis and/or arthritis. Other long-term side effects include:
- Bad teeth
- Weak immune system
- Respiratory illness
- Reduced sexual capacity and/or long-term impotence for men
- Loss of appetite
- Pustules on the face
Social heroin addiction side effects
When you’re hooked on heroin, the need for it takes over your life. If you’re reading this, and this is your story – or the story of someone you love – then you know. You can’t hold a job, you may become homeless, and you may turn to crime to continue your addiction. The crime leads to jail time, then the cycle begins again when you’re out. Relationships you used to have with your family and people who don’t use are gone. Life is a mess, and it may seem like there’s no hope.
Starting one day at a time
Everyone knows that overcoming addiction is one day at a time. Asking for help is the first step. Medication-assisted treatment is a way to help end heroin addiction side effects for good and save your life in the process. Treatment centers are available in California and across the U.S., so help is not too far out of reach. You’re not alone in the battle and you won’t be alone in recovery, either. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) uses medications such as methadone or buprenorphine to relieve cravings and block the effects of the opioids. You have medical supervision during the transition off of heroin. The goal is to ease withdrawal symptoms so that you can make it to the next step. After withdrawal, the medication helps keep the body stable so that you can live the life you want without addiction to illegal drugs.
As bad as the heroin addiction side effects are, people still relapse and go back to the illegal drugs. Opioid addiction is very tough to beat, but it is possible. If you do relapse, don’t give up. Your life is worth saving. Go back to treatment and try again. Many people have gone before you on this path, and there is no need to feel shame. Accept the support and help that comes from counseling or find a support group to walk with you on your journey.
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