Heroin Addiction Causes

Learn about heroin addiction causes, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options.

Heroin Addiction Causes

Learn about heroin addiction causes, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options. 

Table of Contents

What Is Heroin Addiction?

Heroin addiction occurs when a person becomes physically or psychologically dependent on heroin consumption. This can change and interfere with a person’s brain functioning and bodily health. A person addicted to heroin typically consumes it by smoking it or injecting it and cannot cease consumption without facing negative withdrawal symptoms. disposition towards addiction, unstable home life, low-income household, mental illness, and exposure towards bad influences wit 

Heroin addiction can manifest various dangerous side effects and pose a direct threat on one’s quality of life – and can even be life threatening. It is important to know the dangers and signs of heroin addiction in order to best establish treatment opportunities.

Risk Factors of Heroin Addiction

There are several risk factors of heroin addiction that can increase a person’s likelihood of dependence. These risk factors can include genetic disposition towards addiction, unstable home life, low-income household, mental illness, and exposure towards bad influences within the peer group. One of the most significant risk factors is prescription opioid use.1

What Causes Heroin Addiction?

Heroin addiction is caused by the abuse or frequent consumption of heroin. However, even short-term use can cause heroin addiction. Since heroin is an opioid, it releases large amounts of endorphins within the brain, causing a flood of euphoric feelings. This stops the body’s perception of pain while creating pleasurable feelings of bliss. The body can become both physically and psychologically dependent on heroin.2

How the Brain Reacts to Heroin Use

Heroin use causes a release of endorphins in the brain, eliminating any perception of pain and inducing feelings of pleasure. Once these feelings wear off, the brain craves more of the heroin-induced endorphin release.

Genetic and Environmental Factors

A person can be genetically predisposed to heroin addiction if their family members also suffer from addiction. Heroin addiction causes can also be found within environmental factors. If people are surrounded by people who partake in substance abuse at home, work, or school, they’re more likely to suffer from addiction.3

Link Between Opioid Prescription Abuse and Heroin Use

Opioid prescription abuse and heroin are often correlated because people who use or abuse prescription opioids are more likely to use heroin. Opioid prescription drugs and heroin have very similar pain-relieving effects. Because of this similarity, it’s not uncommon for a person addicted to opioids to seek heroin if the other substances are unavailable.4

Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

Signs of heroin use and addiction can be psychological, physical, or social.

Psychological symptoms are effects that impact a person’s mental health and behavior.  Here are some psychological symptoms to look out for when diagnosing heroin addiction:

  • Feelings of shame
  • Sense of guilt
  • Depressive thoughts

It’s common to feel the emotional effects of heroin, such as shame, guilt, and depression when addicted to heroin. When the body becomes dependent on heroin for endorphin release, it can be challenging for the body to do this on its own. This results in a person losing their ability to experience positive emotions. The following can occur as a result.

Hopelessness and Despair

Experiencing hopelessness, despair, and extreme anxiety is a common sign of heroin addiction. A person suffering from addiction may lack motivation and the will to take care of themselves. They also may struggle to keep a consistent job.

Poor Judgment

Poor judgment can be a sign of heroin addiction. When addiction takes over the brain, a person may lack the ability to think critically and make choices that don’t harm themselves or others.

Confusion and Disorientation

Feeling confused or disoriented can be a symptom of a person experiencing heroin addiction or under the influence of heroin. Memory loss and difficulty thinking can also occur.

Physical Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

Physical symptoms are effects that impact a person’s body and health. Here are some physical symptoms to look out for when diagnosing heroin addiction.

Significant Unintentional Weight Loss

Significant unintentional weight loss can signify heroin addiction. Substance abuse of heroin can lead to loss of appetite, resulting in noticeable weight loss. 

Exhaustion and Lethargy

Exhaustion and lethargy are common physical symptoms of heroin addiction. A person abusing heroin will experience a lack of energy and motivation to engage in physical activity.

Bruising or Scabbing of the Skin

Heroin addiction often causes bruising or scabbing of the skin, especially on the interiors of the arms and legs, hands, and feet. 

Sleep Problems

Insomnia and sleep problems can be related to heroin addiction, especially if the person is physically dependent on the drug. Intense cravings can cause the inability to fall asleep and the detrimental effects the substance has had on the brain.5
Heroin Addiction Causes

Social Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

Social symptoms are effects that impact a person’s body and health. Here are some social symptoms to look out for when diagnosing heroin addiction:

Withdrawal From Family and Friends

If a person suddenly withdraws from friends and family, this could signify suffering from heroin addiction. Cutting social ties could mean this person is spending their time abusing drugs or engaging in unhealthy behaviors.

Unprovoked Outbursts of Anger

Unprovoked outbursts of anger could be a sign of heroin use and addiction. The effects that heroin has on the brain can cause a depletion of endorphins, leading to irritability and the inability to control outbursts of anger. 

Strained or Ruined Relationships

A person suddenly experiencing strained or ruined relationships could be doing so due to heroin addiction. Heroin addiction can cause a series of negative behaviors, which can harm the relationships in a person’s life.

How Is Heroin Addiction Diagnosed?

Heroin addiction is diagnosed by identifying physical, psychological, and social symptoms within a person. It’s crucial to consult a professional about a diagnosis when you suspect that you or somebody you care about is suffering from heroin addiction. A medical professional or rehabilitation clinic can complete an evaluation to determine the severity of the addiction. 

Identifying the issue is the first step in resolving the problem. Treatment can be administered only when the addiction is acknowledged, which is the first step to overcoming negative and life-impacting symptoms. 

To accomplish this, it’s important to know and recognize the signs of addiction so you can be an ally to any potentially afflicted loved ones. Arrow Passage Recovery is an excellent asset for those seeking to overcome the effects and burdens of heroin addiction. We have a team of empathetic and highly skilled professionals ready to help you or a loved one reclaim authority over your own lives.

How Is Heroin Addiction Treated?

Heroin addiction can be treated by completing detoxification and entering a treatment program. A person will undergo either pharmacological or behavioral treatment for their heroin addiction. 

Pharmacological Treatment

Pharmacological treatment for heroin addiction is used in patients who are physically dependent on heroin and cannot stop consumption without experiencing severe withdrawal. Pharmaceutical drugs such as methadone can be used to help a person recover from heroin addiction.6

Behavioral Treatment

Behavioral treatment for heroin addiction addresses the psychological triggers behind a person’s heroin addiction. This treatment can include individual therapy, group therapy, or contingency management.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy can help a person pinpoint the specific triggers in their life that can cause substance abuse. Identifying these triggers can help lower the risk of relapse.

Group Therapy

Group therapy activities involve meeting with other people recovering from addiction to discuss addiction, recovery, and how to live a life of sobriety. These group meetings can help a person find a supportive community and gain tools to deal with recovery obstacles. 

Contingency Management

Contingency management is a cognitive-behavioral treatment that rewards positive behavior through reinforcement. This is a common therapy used to treat addiction because it has been proven to lower the risk of relapse.7

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