yes, therapy helps!
Heroin: symptoms, effects and type of abstinence

Heroin: symptoms, effects and type of abstinence

June 12, 2024

Heroin is classified as a recreational drug due to the euphoric feeling that it produces. It is derived from morphine and its frequent use is associated with tolerance and a strong physical dependence.

It is also one of the types of drugs more harmful than those currently used, and is linked to the transmission of many diseases by the way it is delivered.

  • Related article: "Addiction: disease or learning disorder?"

How does heroin work?

The injected heroin, falls directly into the bloodstream, if smoked down the respiratory tract and there it reaches the blood, goes up to the brain through the blood brain barrier and then the drug comes into contact with the heroin-sensitive receptors , which makes the person feel an intense euphoria.


That is, somehow the heroin is embedded in parts of neurons that are designed to react when coming into contact with substances naturally produced by the body. This generates a chain reaction that affects fully the parts of the brain responsible for the appearance of the sensation of pleasure.

The direct effect of heroin is 3 to 4 hours, but The important thing about this drug is both the effects produced by a dose and the effects of abstinence .

The effects of heroin

Of course, in addition to the feeling of euphoria and well-being that appear just at the time of consumption, heroin produces other effects that are of an adverse nature .


The pain and discomfort of abstinence lasts 3 days, after 12 hours without using the heroin appear nausea and diarrhea, vomiting and breathing problems. Cardiac arrhythmia begins after 24 hours , pain in the bones, lung problems, fevers, general irritation, bad mood, depression, and later only worsens.

The decrease in the level of heroin affects the whole body. Because of its effect, the hypothalamus (responsible for leveling body temperature) stops working well and changes from heat to cold, the nervous system generates tremors in the muscles , they feel nauseous and the diaphragm descends, causing the stomach to contract and vomiting repeatedly.

If the heroin is smoked it causes respiratory problems because the drug produces a mucus that clogs the lungs. With tobacco the same effect occurs, but this mucus is expelled by coughing; In the case of heroin, the drug inhibits the cough reflex and the lungs fill with mucus until the drug disappears. Over time the tissues are damaged and their ability to fight diseases decreases; in this case a pneumonia could be lethal to the consumer.


  • You may be interested: "The disorders induced by drugs and toxic substances"

How is tolerance produced?

The brains of people struggle to maintain a healthy stimulus of chemicals by consuming the drug. Over time, heroin-sensitive receptors stop working, while the brain tries to compensate for the drug flow, little by little heroin produces a diminishing effect and the body needs larger doses to maintain the biochemical balance.

Why does resistance to treatment appear?

When the person is under the effect of heroin, the drug presses the addicted person into the pursuit of self-interest and immediate.

Human beings perform positive activities for survival, such as; eat, have sex, sleep, go to the bathroom, etc. These survival activities cause neurons to release pleasure chemicals in the brain ; the endorphins.

New neuronal pathways are formed in the addict's brain, directly connecting heroin and pleasure. Over time the brain gets confused and begins to consider these shortcuts to pleasure as shortcuts to survival. At that time our nervous system begins to demand the drug over the rest of needs .

It is in this state that heroin is given priority over everything else. This is why we see people choosing the drug over family, work, physical well-being, etc.

  • Maybe you're interested: "Maslow's Pyramid: the hierarchy of human needs"

Treatment for abstinence

When it comes to treating abstinence there is a medicine that has Buprenorphine as a component . Buroprenorphine adheres to the brain receptors to which heroin tends to adhere, removing the need for the drug without producing its effect.

The opposite effect is achieved because the patient ingests it when there is still heroin in the body , Buprenorphine blocks the effect of existing heroin, creating a slump in mood and a significant increase in the effects of abstinence. This is given to the patient when he starts abstinence.

It is important that the patient be honest and take Buroprenorphine when sweating and yawning begin; If I took it before, abstinence only tends to get worse. This must be accompanied by an indispensable medical advice and psychological assistance .


Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome | Cincinnati Children's (June 2024).


Similar Articles