To help you understand the risks of abusing heroin, let’s start from the signs and symptoms that are associated with the use of the drug.
Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Abuse
The various symptoms of heroin abuse rely on the quantity, frequency, and the length of time the substance been abused.
Immediate Signs and Symptoms
For some user, there will be instant signs from abuse of the substance. The symptoms include:
- Dry mouth
Late Signs and Symptoms
Following the instant signs and symptoms of heroin use, a different set of signs and symptoms come about. They involve the body slowing down and becoming less dynamic and vigilant. The others include:
- Having a confused mental condition.
- Slowed breathing and heart rate.
- Feeling dozy and sleep for many hours.
- ‘Nodding”; this is where the heroin user will alternate between periods of being asleep and awake.
Signs and Symptoms of Long-term Use
With continuous use over a long time, the heroin abuser will show additional signs and symptoms which indicate chronic abuse. They include:
- Bruising and needle marks on the injection spots. The repeated injections can also lead to collapsed veins.
- Skin troubles such as swellings and infections. Also, diseases in body organs such as the kidney and liver.
- Heart problems.
Effects of Heroin Abuse
The 3 most likely aftermaths, once someone starts using heroin, are addiction, tolerance, and dependence. Here’s a breakdown of these three most common effects;
- Addiction– it’s indicated by the intensified strength and energy allocated to finding and using the drug substance. This happens even after the problems from the use of the drug have ensued.
- Tolerance– tolerance is marked by the want for more of the drug substance, better purity, or various means of delivery to feel the similar outcomes.
- Dependence– this is when your body needs heroin to feel normal. And as we mentioned earlier, without the heroin substance in your body withdrawal symptoms will start coming into effect.
These signs and symptoms emerge because when the heroin substance is consumed, the dynamic opiate molecules interact with opioid receptors. The opioid receptors are situated all over the brain and body. They play a vital part in controlling pain perception, rewarding actions, and sustaining body functions such as breathing and blood pressure. Furthermore, the abuse of heroin can result in unwelcome social consequences such as being sacked from work, unstable marriages or relationships, financial worries, and legal issues. Abuse of heroin is also connected to several long-standing health effects. They include:
- Constant psychological health problems like personality changes and sadness.
- The septum and nose tissues get damaged as a result of snorting.
- Reproductive system issues such as inconsistent menstrual cycles and sexual dysfunction.
- High risk of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
Additionally, women who use the substance while expectant endanger not only themselves but also their children. They are at a higher risk for miscarriages, low birth weight, and NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome). NAS essentially means that the baby will be born reliant on the drug substance and suffering withdrawal consequences.
Other than addiction, tolerance, and dependence, the most severe consequence of heroin use is the danger of overdose. On account of the variability in the purity of the drug substance along with a lack of information concerning what is mixed into the drug, it is quite difficult to measure the dosage. Some of the consequences of overdose include:
- Hazardously slowed rate of breathing and depressed heart rate
- Permanent brain damage
- Loss of consciousness