There are many effects of heroin on the body that most heroin addicts are not necessarily aware of when they first start using heroin. Some of these effects are immediate and some of them take months or even years to affect them. Other effects of the drug are indirect, but can still have major implications for those who become addicted to heroin.
Immediate Effects of Heroin Use on the Body
The rush of euphoria is the reason that anyone with a heroin drug addiction initially uses the drug, but of course this changes over time. Eventually, the heroin user becomes so accustomed to having the drug in their body that they have developed an extreme heroin dependency and they now need the drug in order to simply avoid feeling sick. Eventually, heroin addicts may equate simply feeling normal and not sick with the idea that they are getting high on heroin, when in fact they are only maintaining the status quo in avoiding withdrawal from heroin.
Because heroin suppresses the body and its functions, there is a threat of heroin drug overdose because the user could stop breathing entirely from taking too much. The entire body is slowed down from the effects of heroin and the heart rate drops as well. After taking the drug, addicts remain in a mental fog for several hours, which can lead to other complications as well–including making more poor decisions.
Long Term Heroin Effects
The human body becomes extremely beat up after prolonged heroin use. Veins can collapse. The immune system is compromised. The liver becomes damaged as it works harder to filter out impurities that are packaged and cut with the drug. The heart is also attacked by these impurities that inevitably enter the supply chain of the drug.
Over time, dependence develops and tolerance increases. This creates a problem for the heroin addict because now they must take more of the drug to get the same high that used to require much less of the drug. Increasing the quantity taken complicates problems and introduces even more impurities into the body. Eventually the addict is taking very large quantities of heroin just to avoid the misery of heroin withdrawal, and he may not feel much euphoria from the heroin high anymore.
Over several years of repeated use, the heroin addict is training his body to stop producing its own dopamine. This makes it extremely difficult for the heroin addict to stop using the drug and live a drug free life, because his body may take months before it realizes that it needs to resume normal dopamine production.
Indirect Heroin Use and Abuse Effects
Just like the one accompanying other drug habits, the lifestyle that accompanies heroin addictions is typically not a very healthy one, and thus the negative effects of heroin addiction are typically multiplied based on poor health choices and risky behavior. For example, the overwhelming majority of heroin addicts also use other drugs, smoke cigarettes, do not exercise, and have very poor nutritional habits. Combined with a tendency for using or sharing needles, these lifestyle factors can quickly lead to serious health complications that are not necessarily found in other drug addictions.