How Heroin Impacts The Body

Why is Heroin Addictive?

Heroin needle and spoon

In recent months, we can’t turn on the television without being confronted by the ever present heroin addiction problem around Massachusetts. It has become an increasing concern around New England as death tolls and overdoses continue to rise. GateHouse Treatment knows education is important to addiction prevention and we want to act as a resource for the community with heroin addiction treatment.

Heroin is a powerful opiate that chemically changes a user’s brain and nervous system. After entering the brain, heroin converts to morphine and binds to their opioid receptors which release a large amount of dopamine. The surge from this neurotransmitter creates feelings associated with pleasure, and last for only a few minutes.

This chemical change immediately and negatively alters mental, heart, and breathing functions. Though it is often expressed by recovering addicts they were not addicted after the first time they used heroin, behavioral conditioning in the brain associates heroin with intense feelings of pleasure, convincing the abuser they need this pleasure to survive. This is why addicts are often unable to recover on their own, especially when surrounded by “triggers” that remind them of their drug use.

Long-term heroin use permanently alters chemicals in the brain, including the deterioration of white matter which disturbs decision-making abilities. The changes occurring within an addict’s body makes recovery even more difficult, especially because heroin withdrawal begins so quickly after use. With withdrawal symptoms being so intense, many addicts find themselves returning to heroin to cope with the stress, which aids in the toxic cycle of this drug.

GateHouse Treatment doesn’t want anyone to give up on the idea of heroin addiction treatment. For any questions on how to look for the signs of heroin addiction, contact us today.

Heroin addiction treatment is possible if you or someone you know is suffering from heroin addiction, contact us at GateHouse Treatment. We have an intensive outpatient program in MA to aid addicts in detox, rehabilitation, medical treatment, and more with Mass Rehab.