What Are The Short- And Long-Term Effects Of Heroin Abuse?

Wondering about the short and long-term effects of Heroin Abuse? Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine and mixed with a substance taken from the seed pod of the opioid poppy plant. You can find Heroin in the form of a white or brown powder of a sticky substance called black tar heroin. Both highly addictive and illicit it is one of the most abused drugs in the world due to its rapid-acting properties. When heroin is used it creates a surge of pleasurable sensations otherwise known as a “rush“. This rush feels so good that a first-time user can easily become addicted even if they have tried it only once. After a while, higher doses are needed to feel the same rush as the user felt when it was first taken resulting in physical dependence to the drug.


When this happens the brain’s psychological state is altered, and a person cannot stop using the drug because of opioid withdrawal syndrome. It is a never-ending cycle, that unfortunately if not treated can quickly become deadly.


In this article, we are going to talk about the short and long-term effects of heroin use as well as other indirect risks associated with an addiction to heroin.

The Short-Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

It is important to remember that even short-term use of heroin can create dangerous side effects. The severity of these side effects is all dependant on the user’s stature, weight, other drugs that are being taken simultaneously as well as the amount used and the length of time that it has been used for.


Although the side effects of short-term heroin use tend to subside, they are still dangerous and pose a dangerous risk to a person’s overall health.


After using heroin, a person may experience the following short-term health-related effects:

Unfortunately, as a person continues using heroin physical dependence to the drug can quickly set in as a response to the ongoing use of the substance.


Physical dependence can happen with any drug, not just heroin. Those who become addicted to alcohol and smoking can also experience physical dependence with the only difference being that heroin is an unlawful drug while alcohol and cigarettes are freely available.


The body starts to adapt to the drug to survive and develops a tolerance to the drug. A user will start to require more of it for it to produce the desired effect. Once the volume of the drug is increased the risk to the user will automatically become higher.


At The Retreat of Atlanta, we realize that in the United States, heroin addiction has become a big issue. According to the CDC, heroin use has risen among a diverse group of people, including women and those with higher incomes.


 If you’ve ever suffered from heroin addiction, you know how difficult it can be to break free. We are here to help you find the best treatment and help you on the road to recovery and achieving long-term sobriety.

The Long-Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

Using heroin repeatedly can cause changes to the physiology of the brain as well as the brains’ physical structure. This can create an imbalance of the neuronal and hormonal system which is unfortunately not easy to reverse.


Chronic users of heroin are known to suffer from several health problems, including:

Long-Term Side Effects: An In-Depth Look

Research has shown that heroin can deteriorate the brain’s white matter. This can adversely affect a person’s ability to make decisions, regulate behavior and respond to stressful situations.


Once chronic Heroin use has affected the white matter of the brain these changes can also cause a greater likelihood of relapse after sobriety has been achieved and unfortunately a person who has had a long history with heroin abuse is more likely than others to start using it again.


No matter what way Heroin is ingested it can cause a plethora of medical complications. One of the most serious complications can be lung problems such as pneumonia and tuberculosis which is caused by Heroin’s devastating ability to suppress respiration.


Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorder can also be caused or worsened by chronic heroin use.


How heroin is ingested causes a variety of other specific complications. An example would be people who snort Heroin. Snorting Heroin can cause damage to the mucosal tissue in the nose and can also cause the nasal septum to perforate.


Injecting heroin has been known to cause collapsed veins together with the complication of bacterial infections of the blood vessels and the heart valve. Injecting heroin can also cause skin disorders such as abscesses and various other soft tissue infections.


Furthermore, injecting heroin directly into the body by sharing needles can cause a range of complications such as hepatitis and HIV and several other blood-borne viruses that can be passed onto both the drug users’ partners and children.


Heroin is often laced with other additives and heroin sold in the street can contain substances that do not properly dissolve in the body. This can result in blood vessels leading to the brain, liver, lungs, and kidneys becoming clogged. Ultimately this can lead to infection of the parts of the vital organs that have been affected.


A woman who is addicted to heroin is a lot more likely to suffer from infertility, menstrual cycle disruptions, and miscarriage. Those who manage to carry a baby to term may give birth prematurely to an infant with a low birth weight. The baby may also be born addicted to heroin.


Click her to learn about the effects of heroin use on an unborn fetus:

Long Term Use: Tolerance and Withdrawal

Tolerance and physical addiction are common traits of Heroin use. Tolerance happens when the body requires more of the drug to achieve the same effect. Physical dependence refers to how the body adapts to the drug by causing terrible withdrawal symptoms once a person tries to stop using the drug.


Withdrawal symptoms can start anywhere from a few hours after the drug was last ingested and can cause a person to experience restlessness, muscle aches and bone pain, diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia, chills, and involuntary leg movements.


Between 24-48 hours after using the drug the withdrawal symptoms would have reached their peak and may eventually subside after a few days. Unfortunately, for many, withdrawal symptoms can last for months.


Heroin is a highly addictive opioid and is also one of the most likely to result in an overdose. It may be difficult to avoid using due to painful withdrawal symptoms and cravings.


You will, however, find hope for the future and a way out of addiction with the aid of a drug and alcohol recovery center.  At the Retreat of Atlanta, you will be able to detox in a healthy, relaxed atmosphere when working through the causes of addiction.

Heroin Overdose

Luckily only a few individuals who manage to seek and receive treatment in time will die from an overdose.

Heroin Abuse: Other Indirect Risks

To get heroin you need to liaise with drug dealers who are illegally selling the substance. Any exposure to drug dealers whether it be direct or indirect can lead to arrest and other legal troubles and let’s not forget to mention disgruntled drug dealers that can cause trouble for both the user and their family.


People who are caught with heroin or caught using heroin will be apprehended and often face criminal charges that can in most cases lead to prison time.


Drug driving, much the same as drunk driving can cause a heroin user to lose control of their vehicle and not follow road signs. It can also cause a delayed reaction time in the event of a potential accident. Some people who are driving while on Heroin may even fall asleep at the wheel.


It does not matter which way it is administered; heroin is extremely addictive. Injecting or smoking the drug does tend to reach the brain faster which can significantly increase the risk of developing a heroin disorder. Once this disorder has developed a user will dedicate their lives to seeking out and using this drug no matter what it takes for them to get it.


Our goal is to place our patients in the best facility possible so that they can heal and find long-term healing. If you visit one of our facilities, we will assist you in finding the best program to help you achieve long-term sobriety and recovery from Heroin addiction.


Our team is here to represent you. Our mission is to assist you in overcoming the challenges or roadblocks that you can encounter during your early recovery.


Although dealing with some problems alone can be overwhelming, our team can work with you on legal, financial, technical, or other issues. We will assist you in thriving during your early recovery.


Contact us to learn more about The Retreat of Atlanta and how it can assist you or a loved one in breaking free from addiction. Our admissions team will help you find the best fit for you. Call 762-366-0100 today to begin your recovery.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on telegram
Share on tumblr
Share on skype

Get Help Now!

the retreat of Atlanta drug and alcohol detox rehab center logo tree

Find Recovery
For Addiction

Table of Contents

the reatreat of atlanta drug and alcohol detox rehab center atlanta ga tagline

The Retreat of Atlanta Staff and patients follow the CDC guidelines for wearing a mask, hand washing regularly, and social distancing in all aspects of treatment. Patients and staff are confidentially tested if CDC signs/symptoms/temperature are present. We practice strict preventative measures.