Heroin is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs likely to be found, and most people understand that it can be harmful to a person’s body. Even though much public attention is paid to the opioid crisis, individuals struggling with opioid abuse and heroin addiction in their families can benefit from greater knowledge. What, specifically, does heroin do to a person over time that makes it so dangerous? If a person is using heroin chronically, what will the effects be on their system? What can be done to help someone suffering from these long-term effects?
At Compass Detox, our heroin detox center provides the perfect place for people to begin their recovery process and heal from the long-term effects of heroin abuse. If you or someone you care about is dealing with heroin addiction, reach out to our team today by calling 800.263.3869 or completing our online contact form. Our comprehensive care for opioid abuse and heroin addiction may be just what you or a loved one might need to overcome substance use.
Physical Effects of Long-Term Heroin Use
Using heroin over a long period of time can put a person at risk for many different health problems, some of which are potentially fatal. Some physical effects come from the heroin itself, while others come from the method of administration, such as intravenous (IV) injection. Other physical long-term effects of heroin abuse include:
- Chronic constipation-Most opioids cause constipation as a side effect because they slow down the movement of stool through the intestines. This condition can be serious if it is allowed to progress without medical attention, and the longer a person uses heroin, the more likely it is to cause constipation.
- Exposure to blood-borne illnesses-People who inject drugs such as heroin are at a far higher risk for exposure to illnesses like hepatitis and HIV for two reasons. First, sharing or reusing needles can expose a person to these illnesses. Second, the use of drugs can cause individuals to engage in risky behavior that they otherwise might not, leading to exposure.
- Brain damage-Studies suggest that long-term heroin use can cause deterioration of brain tissue in areas that control decision making, behavioral regulation, and responding to stress.
Dangerous infections-Use of drugs intravenously can introduce infection directly into the bloodstream, leaving a person open to severe infections of the heart, lungs, and other vital organs.
Non-Physical Effects of Long-Term Heroin Use
It is challenging to understate the emotional, social, mental, and spiritual damage that long-term heroin addiction can cause to an individual as well as to their loved ones. A lifetime of addiction can traumatize a person, leaving them in desperate need of counseling and support as well as guidance on their recovery journey. Some of the types of non-physical long-term effects of heroin abuse are:
- Damage to relationships with family, friends, spouses, and children
- Unstable living situations and homelessness
- Being the victim of crimes
- Legal problems or being incarcerated
- Difficulty finding or keeping employment
- Trauma from being exposed to dangerous and difficult situations
Can an Opiate Detox Program Help?
Many studies done on the subject of recovery from heroin addiction have shown that people who get professional treatment, including detox and counseling, have a much greater likelihood of maintaining their recovery over time. A licensed detox program can help guide clients from the first day of quitting through to their return to a healthy life. Medical staff will supervise treatment to ensure that the client is safe and as comfortable as possible, while counseling staff will help the client develop strategies and support systems to let them heal emotionally.
Heal from Heroin Addiction at Compass Detox
If you or a loved one are dealing with the long-term effects of heroin abuse, help is available, and recovery is possible. It is never too late to seek help from a licensed mental health or substance abuse treatment program. Reach out to an opiate detox program near you. If you are in South Florida, contact our professional and caring staff of Compass Detox by calling 800.263.3869 or completing our online form, and we will help you take the next step back to health and wellness.