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How Addictive is Heroin?
As one of the most addictive drugs in the world, using heroin one time can lead to long term abuse. This drug, which typically appears as a black sticky substance or white power, has the ability to alter the physical and mental state of any person, regardless of age or health.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 4.2 million people in the United States aged 12 or older had used heroin at least one time in 2011. Along with this, it is estimated that approximately 23 percent of people who experiment with this drug eventually become dependent on it.
How Does Heroin Affect the Brain
There are many reasons why heroin is so addictive. Generally speaking, people like the way it makes them feel. People like the way this drug allows them to escape reality for a particular period of time.
However, the affect that heroin has on the brain can be damaging. Upon entering the brain, the drug is converted into morphine, which subsequently binds to opioid receptors.
After the use of heroin, a sense of euphoria often times takes over the body.
At the same time, there are many side effects that come to life, including but not limited to dry mouth, heavy feeling in the extremities, warm flushing of the skin, and bad judgment.
Once the feeling of euphoria begins to wear off, the user is faced with a state of being alternately awake and drowsy.
NOTE: In the event that heroin is taken without injecting the drug, the immediate feeling of euphoria may not be as intense.
The more times heroin is used the better chance there is that it will change the overall functioning of the brain. For example, a user can become tolerant over time, meaning that more of the drug is required in order to achieve the desired effect. As a result, the chance of an overdose is much greater.
Additionally, becoming dependent on heroin is a real possibility. With this, the user gets the feeling that they have to take the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Mood Swings
- Runny Nose
- Muscle Aches
- Abdominal Cramping
- Dilated Pupils
It is important to realize that heroin is one of the most addictive drugs in the world, with roughly one quarter of people who take it eventually becoming dependent.
Some people have intentions of only experimenting with heroin one time, but soon enough they find that they enjoy the impact on their body. From there, they build up a tolerance, become dependent, and find that quitting is a challenge.