A heroin high feels like a rush of pleasure or euphoria. It often causes sedation, heaviness in the arms and legs, and decreased activity.
While the short-term effects of heroin use can be pleasant, heroin is an addictive substance. A short-term high can lead to unpleasant health effects in the long-term.
What Causes A Heroin High?
A heroin high happens when opioid receptors interact with heroin. Opioid receptors control feelings of pain, pleasure, and some parts of body activity. Many opioid receptors are located in the brain and spinal cord.
Heroin is a naturally occurring opiate or painkiller. Once taken, its primary effect is pain relief. Common methods of taking heroin include injecting, snorting, and smoking.
All methods of taking heroin can lead to a high, as well as other side effects.
Effects Of A Heroin High
Heroin can cause feelings of euphoria, sedation, and pain relief. However, the high caused by heroin may also come with side effects, even in the short-term. A high may be accompanied by drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, heavy feelings in the arms and legs, and other side effects.
Heroin can be even more damaging in the long-term. While a high may only last for a short time, long-term effects of heroin use can be severe, including:
- chronic constipation
- insomnia/sleeping problems
- abscesses (swollen pockets filled with pus)
- collapsed veins (for people who inject heroin)
- increased risk of hepatitis or HIV (for people who inject heroin)
- mental health problems
Heroin highs are addicting. A high may only last a short time, which can lead to repeated use. Even a person taking heroin for the first time may be at risk for becoming addicted.
While the feeling of a high can be addicting, heroin can also cause physical dependence, where the body becomes used to having the drug.
Chronic heroin use can lead to dependence, heroin addiction, and eventual withdrawal. Withdrawal can start only a few hours after the last dose, and last for weeks or even months.
Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- muscle pain
- cold flashes
- strong heroin cravings
Risk Of Heroin Overdose
Substance use of heroin may involve large doses of the drug at once. Chasing a heroin high may lead to taking large doses over a short period of time. This may increase your risk of heroin overdose.
Heroin overdose often causes respiratory depression, or extremely slowed breathing. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that goes to the brain, which can lead to brain damage, coma, and death.
Heroin overdose needs immediate medical treatment. The drug Naloxone can reverse the effects of an overdose and can be given by family members or friends in some cases. Naloxone can be life-saving while emergency medical help arrives.
Treatment Options For Heroin Abuse
Heroin highs only last a short time, but the negative effects of heroin can be long-lasting and even permanent. While substances like Naloxone can stop an overdose as it happens, other long-term treatments can prevent an overdose and other dangers before they happen.
If you or a loved one struggles with heroin addiction, you may need a drug detox program to come off the drug safely. A detox program can help you manage your withdrawal symptoms while being supervised by a professional.
A stay at a treatment center can increase your chances of a successful recovery.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a common method of heroin addiction treatment. Buprenorphine and methadone can be effective opioid agonists, especially when given alongside behavioral therapy.
To learn more about treatment programs for heroin addiction, please connect with us today.
National Institute on Drug Abuse - Commonly Used Drugs Charts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute on Drug Abuse - Heroin DrugFacts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute on Drug Abuse - Opioid Overdose Reversal with Naloxone (Narcan, Evzio) | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Library of Medicine - Heroin | C21H23NO5 - PubChem
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration - Drug Fact Sheet: Heroin - DEA
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