How Heroin Addiction Effects Your Body & How Counseling Can Help

Heroin is not only an incredibly strong and addictive drug but it actually begins to damage your body very soon after addiction begins. Many people do not realize that heroin can cause lasting damage to the body and, if they do, they probably do not think it starts to happen so quickly. Heroin addiction can lead to many bad choices that can impact your life in a long-term way but the addiction to the actual drug can leave lasting physical symptoms. Whether you are addicted for a couple of months, years or decades, you are doing permanent damage. Heroin addicts use heroin in a many different ways – injection, sniffing, snorting, smoking, or speedballing – and the different ways of use produce different negative health effects.

Heroin enters the human brain very quickly and binds to opioid receptors which is one of the major reasons that heroin addiction can cause lasting brain damage. Ultimately, heroin addiction can literally rewire receptors in the brain which is one reason why heroin addicts struggle to get clean. Heroin addiction can lead to brain damage that looks very similar to Alzheimer’s Disease, as studies are showing, “Researchers have found that young heroin users suffer a level of brain damage similar to that seen in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The research team from the University of Edinburgh studied the autopsied brains of 34 drug users with a history of opiate abuse – mainly heroin and methadone…They also looked at the autopsied brains of 16 people who had no history of drug abuse or neurological impairment… The study found that young drug abusers were up to three times more likely to suffer brain damage, than those who did not use drugs. The drug abusers meanwhile sustained a level of brain damage normally only seen in much older people and similar to the early stages of Alzheimer’s.”

In addition to permanent brain damage, heroin addicts can experience bad teeth, inflammation of the gums, weakened immune system, respiratory illnesses, partial paralysis, reduced sexual capacity, depression, insomnia, collapsed veins, constipation, pustules, memory loss, menstrual cycle disturbances, and more. The sooner a heroin addict can seek counseling to overcome addiction, the better. One major hurdle of overcoming addiction is the initial withdrawal period but there is far more to beating heroin addiction than that – and that is why you need an experienced and knowledgeable heroin addiction counselor. Withdrawal symptoms from opiate addiction can be incredibly difficult to manage and an addiction counselor can help walk the addict through each step of the process. Further, an addiction counselor can help work with the addict to address behavior patterns that may coincide with their substance abuse. Additionally, an addiction counselor such as Diebold Behavioral Counseling can provide support and counseling to not only the addict but their friends and family as well. This holistic approach to addiction treatment will equip the addict with the tools they need to successfully overcome heroin addiction.

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