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A man gets ready to shoot up with heroin as he wonders how heroin affects the brain

How Heroin Affects the Brain

How heroin affects the brain is one of the reasons why it’s so dangerous to use regularly. Heroin adheres to and activates mu-opioid receptors in the brain that regulate hormones, pain, and other feelings. When they are activated, they release dopamine, causing the individual to think they’re happy because of the use of heroin. There are significant effects, both short-term and long-term, on how heroin affects the brain and the body of those abusing it.

Short-Term Effects of Heroin

How heroin affects the brain is that it converts to morphine. People who use heroin report feeling a surge of pleasure, a rush-like sensation. The intensity of these feelings depends on how much of the drug you take and how fast heroin enters the brain. This will cause a dry mouth, warm flush on the skin, and a heavy feeling throughout the body. After the initial effects, users will feel drowsy several hours after their use. Their heart function will slow as well as their breathing.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use

How heroin affects the brain in a long-term way is that it blocks pain messages. It also depresses breathing by changing the brain stem activity that controls breathing and heart rate. Repeated heroin use can change the overall physiology of the brain, which leads to severe imbalances that are hard to reverse. You become tolerant when you need more and more of the drug to feel the same high before. Withdrawal occurs a few hours after the last time you took the drug. Some withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, insomnia, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, leg movements, and cold flashes.

Complications of Chronic Heroin Use

No matter how you take the drug, chronic heroin users experience a variety of complications, including insomnia and lung problems, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Others experience mental health problems, including depression. Constant injection use can lead to collapsed veins, bacterial infections, abscesses, and other infections that medical professionals must treat.

How a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program Can Help Addicts

A dialectical behavior therapy program focuses on empowering the individual on how to change and control their emotions, thinking patterns, and behaviors. This is a great tool to have during substance recovery. Dialectical behavior therapy can be used to help those suffering from addiction, depression, PTSD, trauma, eating disorders, and other mental health disorders. This program helps to teach mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation.

This program helps individuals to learn to accept who they are and to promote personal change. It allows individuals to understand the root cause of their thoughts and behaviors. It also helps them to learn healthy coping mechanisms that combat any triggers that may lead to drug or alcohol use once more. Negative thinking patterns are identified during this therapy too. A dialectical behavioral therapy program helps individuals to understand themselves much better and leads to a better future.

Ultimately, recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is a process. Addiction takes time to heal from, not only because the brain must re-learn how to release neurotransmitters, but the body needs time to heal overall. With the help of recovery programs like these, individuals can lead a successful and productive life following their recovery process.

Call to Learn More About How Heroin Affects the Brain Today

Interested in learning more about how to safely detox from heroin or any other substance? Call Promises Behavioral Health. Promises Behavioral Health offers professional substance abuse recovery programs. We offer programs in prolonged exposure therapy, dual diagnosis, and dialectical behavior therapy, which can help those seeking recovery. It’s important to know that you cannot recover from substance abuse without professional help, nor is it safe to go through drug withdrawal symptoms alone. Call us at 844.875.5609 today to find out how our substance abuse recovery programs can help you.