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3 Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use

man upset with hands to his head thinking about the long-term effects of heroin use

People across the United States and in the Boston area daily struggle with opioid and opiate dependency. Heroin remains a leader in opioid use across the country. First designed for hospitals in the late 1800s, heroin is now an illicit drug. No matter how someone takes heroin, it can have long-term effects on their brain and body. Heroin addiction treatment is the safest, most effective way to stop using heroin and prevent further drug use.

If you or someone you love is using heroin, don’t quit cold turkey. Call the team at A Better State now. Our outpatient recovery programs help people across Norfolk County recover from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Call us at 781.412.1488 to learn more about our heroin addiction treatment programs and begin the road to recovery today.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid made from the opium poppy. It is known for its euphoric pain-killing properties and is significantly stronger than opium and more deadly. Often found in powder or tar form, people smoke, snort, and inject heroin. Unfortunately, people use heroin for many reasons, most often for pain management. The drug is effective for mental, physical, and emotional pain. Some people switch from prescription opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin to heroin because it is more accessible. Like other opioids, the brain becomes dependent on heroin quickly, allowing someone to build a high drug tolerance. This means they need more heroin to feel the same pain-killing effects.

Side Effects of Heroin Addiction on the Body

For those with chronic pain, opioid tolerance builds quickly, often leading to opioid addiction. Side effects of heroin abuse can include:

  • Shaking
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling of the extremities
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in vision
  • Depression
  • Night terrors
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Itching
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Changes in heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

The drug slows down processing speed and can completely slow the heart and lungs.

Three Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use

While heroin use affects everyone differently based on how often they use heroin and their overall health, the long-term effects can be detrimental. Three long-term effects of heroin use include:

  1. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome – Also called PAWS, causes persistent, long-lasting withdrawal effects that can lead to relapse and health problems.
  2. Collapsed veins – For those who inject heroin, collapsed veins and increased risk of blood-borne illness can have long-term effects.
  3. Changes in brain chemistry – Heroin profoundly affects the brain, including long-term imbalances of hormones and neurochemicals.

These are only a few ways heroin can cause long-term adverse health effects. The more someone uses heroin, the more likely they are to develop addiction and long-term health problems. Heroin addiction treatment can help with medication-assisted detox and mental health support to help clients safely recover.

Begin Heroin Addiction Treatment in Massachusetts

Opioid addiction and heroin use continues to rise across Norfolk County. If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin, our team can help. Our partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) provide behavioral and alternative therapies, including:

  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Yoga therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Mindfulness meditation therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Individual therapy

Our dual diagnosis outpatient programs are here to help you and your loved ones recover from heroin and other substances. With mental health treatment and accessible program hours, we have a heroin treatment program for you and your family.

Learn More About the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use and Treatment Options at A Better State

Our highly skilled and experienced staff will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that fits your unique needs and situation. We offer inpatient and outpatient treatment options and aftercare planning to help you maintain your sobriety long after you leave our facility. If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin addiction, it’s essential to seek help as soon as possible. Long-term heroin use can lead to serious health problems, including liver and kidney damage, lung problems, and heart infections. Heroin addiction can also lead to financial ruin, relationship problems, and legal issues. Call A Better State today at 781.412.1488 to learn more about our programs and get started.