It’s hard to pinpoint the moment you become addicted to heroin. What starts as a way to escape pain, difficult feelings or simply the boredom of the daily grind can take you far, far away from where you intended to go.
But what started as something that felt incredible and freeing has now turned you into someone you and your loved ones no longer recognize. How did you get here without realizing it?
The answer has to do with how heroin affects the brain. Heroin can cause significant changes to the way your brain operates, affecting your mood and damaging your brain’s ability to function normally without heroin. And in some cases, heroin can even cause serious brain damage.
How Heroin Affects the Brain
Your brain utilizes natural chemicals to deal with pain on its own, but in some cases, that may not be enough. Synthetic opioids like prescription painkillers or naturally occurring ones like heroin interact with the same areas of the brain that are normally in charge of this response.
As you continue to use heroin, your brain loses the ability to create these naturally occurring feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, leaving you dependent on the drug to feel better.
As this dependence grows, you no longer feel good from natural and healthy stimuli, such as interactions with loved ones, eating your favorite foods or participating in your favorite hobbies.
More Research Connects Heroin and Brain Damage
Unfortunately, these aren’t the only changes heroin can have on your brain as you continue to abuse the drug. Some research has suggested that heroin addiction can have similar effects on the brain as Alzheimer’s disease, showing inflammation and protein buildup in the brain that is seen in Alzheimer’s patients. Based on these findings, heroin addiction may damage the brain so much that it leads to a form of dementia.
Can You Get Brain Damage from a Heroin Overdose?
Beyond the damage heroin abuse causes on the brain, an overdose effects the brain even more. It’s possible to survive a heroin overdose, but the severe lack of oxygen can wreak havoc on your brain.
Most people who die in these circumstances do so from respiratory failure. When you stop breathing for an extended period of time, brain cells begin to die. Depending on the extent of the brain damage, you may experience permanent issues with mental faculties, cognition, speech, body control and much more.
Signs You Might Be Addicted to Heroin
Opioids like heroin are incredibly addictive. Many people who start using heroin have some past experience with other opioids like prescription painkillers. Others may have experimented with heroin one time and immediately felt the pull of addiction.
Take an honest evaluation of yourself and your situation. If you’re using or have used heroin and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s important to seek help right away:
- Trouble performing on the job or at school
- Altercations with loved ones
- Sleeping more and more often
- Decreased self esteem
- Lack of personal hygiene and personal upkeep
- Disinterest in hobbies or goals
Get Help with Heroin Addiction at Footprints Beachside Recovery
Heroin addiction isn’t and shouldn’t be something you try to defeat on your own. That’s because continuing to abuse heroin exposes you to risks like fentanyl overdose, and trying to quit on your own may result in an even greater relapse and an eventual overdose.
Fortunately, there is a way for you to recover from heroin addiction and help your mind recover from the drug’s effects. It starts with seeking treatment at Footprints Beachside Recovery.
We understand addiction because we’ve been there. That’s why we believe in a personalized approach to addiction recovery that targets your specific needs. Our program delivers one-on-one attention that larger facilities can’t provide and gives you a beautiful, safe and private setting for you to recover peacefully.
Contact us today and start the journey towards recovering your body, mind and spirit from heroin addiction.