Heroin Abuse Has Severe Mental and Physical Health Consequences
With the availability of heroin of a higher purity and the swift and drastic decrease in cost to obtain the drug, heroin deaths have ben on the rise nationally. The increase in demand for heroin and the subsequent saturation of the market is doing to the increased appeal and desire for heroin in more affluent communities and areas who historically have remained free of high risk narcotics. Fatalities as a result of heroin abuse get most of the nationally media attention, but the short-term and long-term health risks are going widely unnoticed. In an effort to inform the public of these less talk about dangers we have coordinated with the National Institute on Drug Abuse to bring you the consequences of heroin abuse.
The Short-Term Health Effects of Heroin Abuse
When heroin is injected, or snorted the first effect that takes place is most commonly referred to as a “rush.” The first negative effect of heroin is addiction and it cause this phenomena so quickly because of the speed in which it enters the brain. Other immediate health concerns include dry mouth, a heavy feeling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting and intense and persistent itching. A sense of drowsiness accompanies the user impairing motor functions and slowing the nervous system and cardiac functions.
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Even after one use breathing can slow to unsafe and fatal levels. Additional, yet less catastrophic effects of heroin abuse include decreased appetite, increased stress, skin abrasions and infections and depression. The short-term health risk of heroin differs in severity from other narcotics. Many of the immediate health effects of heroin show themselves only in the long-term abuse of other prescription and street drugs. These drastic and fatal immediate concerns are what makes heroin such a dangerous chemical.
The Long-Term Health Effects of Heroin Addiction
Another unique concern of heroin abuse is that addiction shows it self both in the short-term and the long-term consequence lists. As a long-term heath concern addiction induces compulsive drug seeking behavior, which brings its own financial, moral, physical dangers. With varying levels of tolerance to the drug, the compulsive behaviors only increase in danger and frequency.
Along with addiction comes the physical dependence to heroin. It is this physical dependence that drives many to seek out addiction programs and even more to continued use. Withdrawal symptoms occur very rapidly in individuals who abuse heroin. The body adapts quickly to relying upon having the drug in its system. This cause the withdrawal symptoms to present themselves the moment or high wears off.
Chronic abusers of heroin also experience collapsed veins, infections of the heart valves, liver and kidney disease. Arthritis, pneumonia and tuberculosis may also occur do to the addicted users poor health conditions. The most common health risks come in the form of hepatitis B and C and HIV derived from sharing injection needles. These diseases are particularly harmful since they can be based on to loved ones and even children.
Addiction programs Offer a Solution
Most of the above heath risk have been proven to be removed or lessened through the participation in addiction programs. These programs promote recovery and enhance the overall health of the person with a history of abusing heroin. Many have seen result after only 28 days while most need continued long-term treatment in an intensive outpatient setting to truly recover.