A quick and flippant answer to the question “how does heroin work” might be “all too well”. Heroin and medical morphine have the same effect on a person’s brain and metabolism, and a person’s body converts both heroin and medical morphine into the same form of morphine after it is administered. The primary difference is that heroin has a different molecular structure that enables it to cross a person’s blood-brain barrier more quickly. When that happens, heroin binds to the opiate receptors in a user’s brain, nervous system, and other organs. This blocks a user’s sensations of pain and discomfort, slows down his metabolism to dangerously low levels, and ultimately generates sensations of peace and euphoria. Individuals who use different recreational drugs will experience a variety of different “highs” from those drugs. Those highs are frequently followed by crashes that leave a person feeling sick and depleted. A morning after hangover following a night of heavy drinking is typical of the kind of crash that a drug or alcohol user might experience. In the initial stages of heroin use, a user will not experience this type of a crash after heroin has been metabolized and flushed from a user’s body. The sense of peace and euphoria that a heroin user first experiences simply fades away. This is one of the more dangerous allures of heroin. In this initial stage, a heroin user will experience the high with no subsequent crash or hangover. Over a very short period of time (typically a few weeks of regular heroin use), a user’s brain and metabolism will develop a tolerance to heroin and he will no longer experience the sense of peace and euphoria that he first felt after using heroin. Instead, he will need heroin for no reason other than to feel normal. Heroin changes the physical structure and physiology of his brain. His opiate receptors grow accustomed to heroin and generate strong cravings for the drug when it is no longer in the user’s system. Heroin makes a user feel good at first, but it also takes control of all other aspects of a person’s life and becomes to sole driving force behind a heroin user’s actions. When this happens, a user will increase his heroin consumption to maintain a sense of normalcy and without gaining any euphoric sensations. In addition to assuming this control, heroin also depresses other aspects of a user’s metabolism. Heroin users experience suppressed appetites and opiate-induced constipation as their gastrointestinal systems slow down. Their circulatory systems also suffer from repeated exposure to injected heroin and dangerous byproducts that are often included with substances purchased illegally from street vendors. Heroin users are also more prone to infections and immune system problems that are the result of using dirty or unsterile needles and other administration equipment. A user can break his heroin dependency and addiction with medical assistance and regular therapy. Heroin withdrawal and detox is often a painful and physically demanding process that can last for several days or weeks as a person’s brain slowly readjusts to life without a substance that binds opiate receptors. A heroin user’s psychological cravings for the drug can endure long after detox. Heroin addicts frequently experience one or more relapses even after they have experienced physically painful withdrawals. However, relapse does not have to occur. Many are able to come to sobriety and stay.
At Oceanfront Recovery, we believe that when you change your story, you can change your life. If you are living the story of heroin addiction, you can change your life story to one of recovery. Let us show you how. Offering long term residential treatment for men, our beautiful ocean front home in Orange County, California is the ideal place to learn how to live again. For information on our programs for men’s addiction treatment, call us today: 877.279.1777