What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug derived from morphine. Although morphine is natural, heroin can be developed as a synthetic drug when combined with other substances. Heroin is among the most addictive substances on the market. Detox from heroin often requires assistance from an addiction treatment center in Illinois.

At one point, it was believed that heroin might disappear as the demand for the drug experienced a steady decline throughout the 90s and the early millennium. However, in the last decade, heroin use has made a comeback, partly because of the rise of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. So if you’re wondering, “What is heroin?” Northern Illinois Recovery Center can help you answer this and give you the support you need.

What is Heroin? A Closer Look

Heroin comes from the poppy seed, which comes from Southeast and Southwest Asia, Colombia, and Mexico. It originally comes in a brown or white powder or a black sticky substance referred to as black tar heroin. Street names for heroin include smack, big H, hell dust, and horse. There are several ways to consume heroin, including:

  • Smoking
  • Snorting
  • Sniffing
  • Injection
  • Combination with other drugs

A common term associated with heroin is speedballing. This happens when a user mixes heroin with other substances such as cocaine or crack. This makes the euphoric effects of heroin far more potent and gives a person a greater high. Speedballing increases the risk of addiction, health problems, and overdose, which can lead to fatalities.

How Does Heroin Work on the Brain?

Once a person uses heroin, it enters the brain quickly and binds to opioid receptors located on cells in the brain and central nervous system. Opioid receptors are responsible for feelings of pleasure and pain. They also control breathing, sleeping, and heart rate. Using heroin can affect all of these brain and body functions.

Continued use of heroin causes the brain to form an attachment to the chemical reaction. When the user forms a habit, they become addicted to the substance. Eventually, the brain may become dependent on heroin, causing the user to crave the substance daily. Addiction therapy services in Northern Illinois are available to help someone overcome their addiction to heroin.

Some of the short term effects of heroin include:

  • Switching from consciousness to semi-consciousness
  • Feeling ‘cloud’ and unable to think clearly
  • Severe itching
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Heavy feelings in the legs and arms
  • Dry mouth

Long-term effects of heroin can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Complications in the lungs, liver, and kidneys
  • Stomach cramps or constipation
  • Heart infection
  • Collapsed veins from injection

A person who continues to abuse heroin may also experience sexual dysfunction or irregular menstrual cycles. A user who tries to quit may experience mild to severe, life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. As a result, they may need to get help at a heroin addiction rehab center.

Treatment for Addiction to Heroin

Heroin is a drug that is powerful enough for a person to require professional treatment to get off the drug. Someone who has an addiction to heroin may try to quit on their own only to relapse time and again. Professional treatment can increase a person’s chances of a successful recovery without relapse.

Treatment may include evidence-based treatment, holistic care, individual and family therapy, and outpatient or inpatient services. A treatment specialist can assess a person’s condition and develop a treatment plan that meets their needs and promotes lifelong recovery.

What is Heroin? Learn More at Northern Illinois Recovery Center

At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we provide comprehensive care for heroin addiction at our dual diagnosis recovery center. Call Northern Illinois Recovery Center at 855.786.1978 to find out more about your treatment options.