body changes with heroin use

Body Changes With Heroin Use

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The abuse of heroin takes its toll on your body in many different ways. Heroin is considered to be one of the most addictive drugs, and it destroys your relationships, your career, and most obviously, your physical appearance. While the internal damage done by heroin abuse is life-threatening, it’s often the outward body changes with heroin use that people can see the most significant changes. And while looks can often be deceiving, the damage from heroin abuse is typically telltale and drastic.

Heroin Use On The Rise

As America focuses on the opioid epidemic and the impact it has on the country as a whole; an unfortunate and potentially deadly residual effect is a rise in the use of heroin[1]. Experts believe this stems from government-mandated crackdowns on prescription medications and drugs, particularly painkillers. Heroin is similar to many prescription painkillers on a chemical level and often brings about similar effects in the body. However, it’s cheaper and more accessible, which makes it even more of a turn-to drug. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 80% of people[2] who use heroin misused prescription painkillers before heroin use.

Without question, the damage done by heroin use inside your body is significant and potentially deadly. Once heroin enters your bloodstream, it goes through various chemical reactions in your brain, and your body essentially behaves as if you’ve been given morphine. The heroin binds to opioid receptors and brings you the heroin high. Euphoric feelings and a decrease in anxiety and pain are common as your heart pumps the drug throughout your body. But while the half-life of heroin inside your body is brief (approximately two-six minutes)[3], the outward and visible signs of heroin misuse are more readily noticeable and longer-lasting.

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body changes with heroin use, heroin rehab center california

Body Changes With Heroin Use: Drastic Transformation

Typically, when you begin using heroin, there are not very many outward signs your friends and family may recognize. They may notice you seem euphoric but still somewhat sedate, and they may comment on your consistent fatigue. But because heroin is so highly addictive, the body changes with heroin—seen and unseen—come about rapidly and are drastic in nature.

Heroin Use Compromises Oral Health

A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association[4] found that the symptoms of tooth decay often known as ‘meth mouth’ (the result of meth abuse) were also characteristic of those who use heroin intravenously as well. Those who use heroin have more cavities, missing and/or filled teeth and more periodontal and gingival disease. The missing and decayed teeth are pronounced outward body changes with heroin use.

Heroin Use Compromises Oral Health

Skin Condition Deteriorates

The skin of heroin users typically starts off looking flushed and pale. Heroin lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, and your skin goes from pale to yellow and aged without proper blood supply. Then, even more visibly, your skin begins to show cuts, bruises, and scabs[5]. Most often exclusive to heroin users[6], dermatillomania is a condition that causes you to pick at your skin repeatedly. The many scabs on your face can lead to infection and scarring as well[7].

face changes with heroin use

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Weight Loss and Malnutrition Are Prevalent

One of the most significant body changes with heroin use is your weight. Heroin decreases your appetite and affects your weight. You look malnourished because you are most likely not eating and the change in body shape is typically quite sudden.

Effects of Extreme Constipation 

Experts estimate up to 90% of heroin users suffer severe constipation[8], similar to those who suffer from opioid-induced constipation. Heroin use prevents your brain from giving signals for emptying your bowels. Heroin also paralyzes your stomach and reduces secretions from your digestive system, so you may not be able to go at all. Not only does this cause extreme cramping and pain, but it can also cause you to be frustrated, irritable, and anxiety-filled as seeking relief becomes more difficult.

Sexual Function Impairment

Research shows[9] that for both men and women[10], heroin use impairs not only sexual bodily functions and ability but sexual pleasure as well.

Heroin Use & Insomnia

Heroin addiction typically ends up leaving you with insomnia. This insomnia affects your wakeful periods, your relationships, your cognitive functioning, and could even lead to psychotic episodes and hallucinations[11].

heroin use and insomnia

There is Hope After Heroin

The impact heroin use has on your body is significant. You see it every time you look in the mirror, and you know it’s not the life you were meant to live. The caring and compassionate staff of Ocean Hills Recovery can help you return to living a fulfilling life. We will customize a treatment program for you, and walk alongside you as you break the chains of heroin addiction and begin rebuilding your life.

The body changes with heroin use don’t have to be permanent, and you deserve the personalized and honest recovery help that Ocean Hills Recovery specializes in. Contact us today and return to the real you.













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