4 Heroin Effects and Their Consequences

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Heroin is a dangerous drug. Just one use of the opiate can lead to addiction, not to mention countless other health consequences. For your safety, take a closer look at four common heroin effects and their resulting complications.

1. Short-Term Rush or Euphoria

Often, heroin causes a rush of euphoria upon injection. Overall, this is why the drug is so addictive. While this might sound desirable, it’s actually merely heroin binding to opioid receptors in the brain.

Furthermore, when these receptors flood with heroin, your brain consumes as much of the drug as possible. Ultimately, this can permanently change brain structure and function. Once the opioid receptors acclimate to a large amount of heroin, activities you once found appealing lose their luster. Therefore, sex, food, and friendship aren’t as pleasurable anymore.

2. Nausea and Vomiting

Heroin effects occur mostly in the digestive system. For example, it’s normal to experience nausea and vomiting immediately after consuming the drug. Consequently, this is an unavoidable byproduct of heroin use.

While nausea and vomiting are unpleasant, when it comes to long-term consequences, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Heroin, like all opiates, causes constipation. This quickly becomes incredibly unpleasant after a week and can lead to serious complications. For example, conditions like bowel perforation are common from heavy heroin consumption.

3. Drowsiness

Another common effect of taking heroin is drowsiness. Many heroin users experience what is known as nodding. This is when people go in and out of consciousness after using the drug. Unfortunately, this leads to an inability to feel truly rested.

Additionally, while drowsiness and lethargy are concerning, heroin could lead to a potential overdose. It’s extremely important to understand that drowsiness could be the direct result of labored breathing and reduced oxygen flow. With too much heroin, users can become unconscious. In some cases, an overdose on heroin is fatal. If you experience nodding and difficulty breathing after using heroin, call 911 immediately.

4. Reduction in Pain

Often, those with heroin dependence first began using because they no longer had access to prescription opiates. Thus, heroin becomes a method for easing chronic pain, although, it’s certainly not effective or safe. Over time, the need for pain relief can lead to addiction.

Avoiding Heroin Effects with Addiction Treatment

The only way to safely end a heroin addiction is with professional support. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, you can begin conquering the unwanted effects of heroin. We offer various addiction treatment methods including:

• Art and music therapy
Dual diagnosis treatment
Life skills rehab
Drug detox
Relapse prevention training

The harrowing symptoms of heroin addiction are endless, and recovery is the only way to avoid them. At 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida, you’ll have the tools and support for embracing lifelong recovery. Fight back against heroin by calling (866) 319-6126 today.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.