Heroin addiction

Addicted to heroin

Heroin is a powerful short acting analgesic which is used on a regular basis in hospitals to relieve pain; however it is also used in powder format to be inhaled through the nose or by injection for the feelings of euphoria it brings, it is an extremely addictive drug and is one of the most widely used drugs that people abuse.

What are the effects of heroin?

Heroin gives the abuser several effects or feelings depending on the amount used, which method is used to take the drug and the bodies tolerance to the drug, these feelings may include:

  • An initial sense of euphoria when first taken
  • A feeling of increased well being and loss of anxiety
  • Drowsiness and relaxation
  • Constriction of the pupils
  • Slurred speech and lack of concentration

Symptoms of heroin addiction

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs available and one which causes severe withdrawal problems when trying to stop, signs that someone is addicted to heroin are:

  • The compulsion to use the drug overtakes everything in the persons life
  • The person will lose all control over the amount taken and how often they need to take it
  • The person will beg, borrow or steal to get money to buy the drug
  • The person will organise their life around the drug

Withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms for a person who has used heroin on a regular basis for a long time can be very severe if they suddenly decide to try and stop. The onset of symptoms will usually occur within 6 to 12 hours of last using the drug with the strongest symptoms appearing around 48 to 72 hours with symptoms gradually starting to weaken around 5 to 7 days.

Treatment for heroin addiction is normally done in a controlled manner through withdrawal and abstinence under the supervision of trained medical staff.

Symptoms of heroin withdrawal are

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Restlessness, changes in mood and general distress
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Aches and pains in the muscles
  • Severe stomach cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating

Sometimes a chemical called Methadone will be given to heroin addicts, this substance mimics heroin but doesn’t produce the “high” that heroin does. Methadone is given to the addict to help them live a normal life without having to go through the pain of withdrawal or to make the withdrawal process easier.

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