The dangers of heroin use have been widely publicized for decades, as it is well-known how risky it is to abuse this particular substance. From 1999 to 2017, there were 15,958 overdose deaths from heroin in the United States, according to the CDC. This staggering statistic highlights just how serious using heroin can be, especially for those who are susceptible to addictive or impulsive behavior.
Using heroin casually is not something that is a plausible or realistic outcome, as heroin can have a very short path to addiction. Many people seeking to try heroin may be asking the question: can you get addicted to heroin after first try?
Why is Heroin so Addictive?
Heroin is a habit-forming drug processed from morphine, which is a naturally-occurring substance extracted from the seed pods of specific varieties of the poppy plant. It is usually sold as a powder which is cut with a number of additives, including corn starch, sugar, or even powdered milk. Heroin is often injected intravenously, though more pure forms can also be snorted and smoked, appealing to users who have never tried the product and may be looking for a less intense delivery method.
An individual may easily fall into the trap of believing that they’ll simply use heroin ‘once or twice’ just to see what it’s like and then stop using the product afterwards. But this mindset is a dangerous one to have and can set a person up for addiction. Can you get addicted to heroin after first try? Psychologically, yes it is possible, as the rush of euphoria and pleasurable feelings can be so intense as to bring on serious cravings for more.
In terms of a physical and chemical addiction, heroin is especially prone to addictive behavior because of the effect it has on the brain’s reward center. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which gives you the sensation of pleasure and can be triggered by numerous every-day activities. For instance, eating certain types of food or receiving affection from a loved-one can cause you to receive a flood of dopamine in your brain.
While these levels of dopamine are normal and healthy, heroin use can trigger a much larger amount of dopamine, providing users with an intense surge of this pleasurable chemical and making it extremely easy to want to repeat the experience. An average dose of heroin can provide a person with the largest amount of pleasure and reward chemicals they have ever experienced, making it very tempting for even first-time users to want to try it again. Having the mindset of ‘just using heroin once or twice’ is a recipe for a serious, habit-forming addiction.
Continued after video:
Warning Signs of Heroin Addiction
If you’ve started to use heroin and are wondering whether you’ve developed an addiction to the substance, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs which tend to accompany this chemical dependence so you can recognize them in your own habits. A few of the most common signs of heroin abuse and addiction include significant changes in behavior, such as lying or being deceptive with friends and family regarding your activities. It can also include an increase in slurred or incoherent speech as well as the amount of time spent sleeping.
Beyond the physical warning signs that can appear as a result of heroin usage, a person may also experience a loss of motivation and apathy towards activities they once were engaged in and found pleasure from. It can also include becoming more hostile towards friends and family members, as heroin addiction can make a person more agitated. A reduction in one’s overall self-esteem and poor body image is another signal that heroin usage has become a serious addiction which requires professional assistance.
The Benefits of Drug Rehab for Heroin Addiction
Overcoming heroin addiction without any outside help is an incredibly challenging task to achieve. While it can be difficult to acknowledge that a problem requires outside help, it is a critical piece which can help facilitate and accelerate the recovery process. Well-trained drug treatment professionals can provide a much-needed support system and a safe space for a person to process and overcome their condition.
Often, the reasons for an addiction include deeper-rooted emotional and social circumstances which an individual may not be aware of. Therapists with substance-abuse training can provide valuable insight into the causes of addiction and can work with clients to formulate a treatment plan which targets the underlying causes of the condition. Drug rehab also includes group therapy and peer support to reduce feelings of isolation, shame, and guilt which can accompany a serious drug addiction.
If you or someone you know is dealing with heroin addiction and requires professional guidance to overcome this seemingly hopeless situation, contact the caring professionals at Ocean Hills Recovery today. Our team of addiction specialists, physicians, and therapists will assist you or your loved one on the road to recovery, providing you with a carefully-formulated plan to overcome addiction and attain the life you deserve.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.