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How Addictive Is Heroin?

wooden block on desk with question mark signifying the question how addictive is heroin

Life creates obstacles. That’s just the way things are. Many of these obstacles can be overcome with dedication, determination, and hard work, but that is not to say that struggle isn’t involved. Struggle is a part of life. Luckily, we have friends, family, hobbies, coping mechanisms, favorite tv shows, and many other tools for easing the discomfort these obstacles may instigate. Everyone wants to believe they are challenging, fortified, and capable of handling anything life throws at them on their own. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Sometimes life’s obstacles are too much to handle individually, and additional assistance is required. This is often the case regarding addiction and substance use disorders. 

A substance use disorder is described as a compulsion to use a particular drug or substance despite the harm it may cause or the consequences it may incur. When times are tough and coping mechanisms, family, friends, and other health diversions fall short, people often turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve their stress and fears. But this relief comes at a cost. This cost comes from the risk assumed when taking addictive substances regularly. This risk is incredibly high when it comes to heroin and similar opioids. How addictive is Heroin? For those researching opioid and heroin addiction or considering heroin rehab in Asheville, North Carolina, consider Insight Recovery—we have experience helping individuals break the cycle of addiction. Call 828.826.1376 today for more information.

Is Heroin an Opioid?

Yes, heroin is an opioid. But how addictive is heroin? There is a massive difference between the opioids prescribed by a doctor and heroin. Heroin has no legal uses in the United States. Not as a painkiller or for any other purpose. But how does one go from taking opioids to taking heroin? That is the essential question surrounding the opioid epidemic in the United States. Heroin is an opioid whose potency dwarfs that of other commonly prescribed opioids. When heroin enters the bloodstream and makes its way to the brain, morphine is produced, which binds to receptors in the brain. Many reports that this causes a sudden rush of pleasurable sensations throughout the body. A warm flush accompanies this rush on the skin and a feeling of heaviness in the limbs. Using heroin consistently for extended periods can cause portions of the brain to deteriorate, affecting memory, cognition, and decision-making abilities. Due to their similar effects, those who crave opioids but no longer have access seek out heroin as an alternative. 

Is Heroin Addictive?

How addictive is heroin? Very. So much so that people reported becoming addicted to the drug after only one or two uses. But the addictive nature of heroin cannot be fully understood without first understanding the addictive properties of opioids. Opioids are typically prescribed to those suffering from chronic pain or who have been seriously injured and are recovering, often after extensive surgery. Like heroin, people prescribed opioids can develop a tolerance, requiring higher doses to produce the same effects. This can quickly lead to abuse as more medication is taken more regularly. This also increases the risk of users experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be so severe and create such levels of discomfort that when an opioid prescription runs out, people seek the next best alternative, which is most often heroin. These symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Insomnia
  • Limb cramps
  • Extreme muscle pain
  • Intense cravings
  • Crying episodes
  • Extreme sweating
  • Extreme cold sweats

Heroin can only further the effects of addiction as its properties are far more addictive and far more potent than the average opioid. This, in turn, will also increase the severity of withdrawal symptoms, making recovery all the more difficult.

Find Help for Heroin Addiction at Insights Recovery, Ashville, North Carolina

At Insight Recovery, we offer personalized treatment for many substance abuse issues using evidence-based methods provided by a team of dedicated, passionate professionals. We use harm reduction and community-based treatment as tools to help our patients overcome the obstacles of addiction, and we believe that recovery is possible for anyone. For more information on heroin use disorder, reach out to the Insight Recovery team at 828.826.1376 or contact us online.