Heroin is a drug composed of the opium poppy and morphine, which makes heroin an opiate that targets opioid receptors in the brain. Heroin is usually created in a lab and may contain starch, sugar, and traces of powdered milk. Heroin, like any opiate, is an effective painkiller that is highly addictive, especially since most users inject the drug. Users do this because it only takes 10 seconds for the heroin to flow to the brain via the bloodstream. Once it reaches the brain’s receptors, it binds to certain molecules in those receptors, which are connected to how the brain processes feelings of pain and pleasure.
When heroin reaches the brain’s molecules, users feel intense euphoric sensations and extreme pleasure that can last for hours. While under the influence of heroin, feelings of pain are completely forgotten. Users consistently abuse heroin because no other drug is capable of producing such a fast blast of bliss and contentment that lasts for so long.
How Heroin Affects the Brain
The more heroin is used, the more it eventually alters the structure of the brain, which impacts the neuronal and hormonal systems. Overuse can possibly disrupt the white matter in the brain, which connects different regions of the brain together. The gray matter in the brain can also be affected by too much heroin, even though that part of the brain is responsible for muscle movement, sight, hearing, decision-making, behavior, speech, and emotions. Gray matter is also the part of the brain where higher levels of thinking occur, as well as where information is processed. Too much heroin can destroy some of the gray and white matter.
What Happens When Heroin Wears Off?
Coming down from heroin can be extremely painful and intolerable, which is why most users give up and continue using even if they really want to quit. However, the more users take heroin, the more they have to increase their dose to produce the same high they felt the first time. This happens because the brain eventually adapts to what heroin does and responds less every time it’s used. The body then becomes dependent on heroin for pleasure because there is nothing else available to supplement the feeling users experienced from that initial high.
When users attempt to stop taking heroin on their own, they experience intense depression and feelings of emptiness and despair. They are also unable to sleep, and experience feelings of anxiety that seem never-ending. Withdrawal symptoms may also include fatigue, diarrhea, and vomit.
Although heroin is extremely addicting and tough to recover from, treatment options are available. If you or a loved one is suffering from heroin addiction, or addiction to other drugs and/or alcohol, you can receive help from rehabilitation centers or alternative treatment centers.
Alternative Treatment Centers in Tennessee
At Discovery Place, we provide nontraditional treatment options for those suffering from substance abuse disorder. We are an alternative treatment center located in Burns, Tennessee, with different programs to assist individuals with their journey to recovery. Some of our programs include a 30-Day Alternative Residential Addiction Recovery Program and a Long-Term Alternative Addiction Recovery Program. If you would like to set up a free consultation to learn more about our programs, call us at 800-725-0922.