What Does Heroin Do to your Brain?

Legacy Healing Center Blog

At our rehabilitation center, we know that heroin addiction is a complex and life-threatening disease that affects not only the individual but also their loved ones. It’s important to understand “What does heroin do to your brain?” so you can better understand the risks and effects of this drug. 

Understanding Heroin Addiction and What It Does to the Brain

Heroin is an opioid drug made from the opium poppy plant. It is a powerful painkiller that produces a sense of euphoria and relaxation in the user. The drug is usually injected, smoked, or snorted and quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier, making its effects almost instantaneous.

Heroin addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain and behavior of the user. It causes changes in the brain’s reward system, which is responsible for regulating emotions and motivation. When heroin is used, it floods the brain with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. Over time, the brain becomes dependent on the drug to produce dopamine, and the user experiences cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using.

How Does Heroin Affect the Brain?

Heroin use affects the brain in several ways. When the drug is used, it binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, which are responsible for regulating pain and pleasure. This causes a surge of dopamine in the brain, which produces intense feelings of euphoria and relaxation associated with the drug.

Over time, the brain becomes desensitized to the effects of heroin, and the user needs more and more of the drug to achieve the same level of pleasure. This is known as tolerance, and it can lead to increased use and the development of addiction.

Heroin use also affects the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making and impulse control. Chronic heroin use can cause damage to this area of the brain, which can lead to poor decision-making and risky behavior.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use on the Brain

Long-term heroin use can have serious and potentially life-threatening effects on the body and brain. It can cause respiratory depression, which can lead to coma or death. It can also increase the risk of infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis, due to sharing needles or engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person stops using heroin, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be intense and uncomfortable. These symptoms can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sweating and chills

Withdrawal symptoms from heroin can last for several days to a week and, in some cases, may require medical intervention. This is why it’s important to seek professional help when attempting to overcome heroin addiction.

Legacy Healing Center Is Here to Help No Matter What Heroin Is Doing to Your Brain

Now that you understand better the question, “What does heroin do to your brain?” you can pursue help for you or a loved one dealing with heroin addiction. At Legacy Healing Center, we understand the challenges of addiction and the impact it can have on your life.

Our experienced team of addiction specialists is dedicated to helping you or your loved one overcome addiction and find lasting recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, don’t wait to seek help. Our addiction treatments and detox programs are here to make the road to sobriety easier than you thought. This may include one or a mix of our levels of care, behavioral therapy, or medication-assisted treatment

To learn more about our treatment center, contact us online or call us today and speak with one of our trained intake specialists.