• South Florida Detox Center’s Drug Addiction Blog

    In the past, heroin was used as a prescription painkiller, but it was made illegal in the 20th century because of its highly addictive nature. Today, it’s defined as a Schedule 1 drug. In 2015, there were more than 13,000 deaths involving heroin. From 2002 to 2015, deaths attributed to the drug increased 6-fold. With today’s ongoing opioid crisis, a growing number of people have started to use the drug.

    Heroin is an opioid that is made from morphine, a naturally occurring substance that can be found in opium poppy plant seeds. The drug can be injected, snorted, or smoked, and those who are highly addicted to heroin often mix it with crack cocaine to achieve an even stronger (and more dangerous) high.

    Like all harmful substances, heroin impacts the major organs in the body, especially the brain. Long-term heroin use can lead to irreversible damage to various parts of the brain. If someone you know is addicted to heroin , it’s important to understand the health implications of the drug, as well as the best way to go about finding treatment.

    Signs of Heroin Use

    Someone who is addicted to heroin has a physical dependence on the drug. Because of this, the body exhibits all sorts of symptoms that are telltale signs that your loved one is addicted. The most common signs of heroin addiction include:

    • Mood swings
    • Anxiety
    • Agitation
    • Weight loss
    • Hallucinations
    • Depression
    • Lack of personal hygiene

    As with most addicts, those addicted to heroin often lie about their drug use and are in denial that they are addicted to the substance. If you find any heroin-related paraphernalia, like a white powdery substance or needles, burned spoons, or a glass pipe, chances are your loved one is addicted to heroin and needs immediate assistance.

    Effects of Heroin Addiction

    The implications of heroin use and abuse vary, from person to person, depending on how much heroin is used, how often it’s used, and other drugs that may also be taken. Short-term side effects include mood swings, loss of appetite, dry mouth, flushing of the skin, and slowed breathing. Prolonged use of heroin causes symptoms to become much more severe.

    Long-term heroin use can cause skin disease, liver disease, and even kidney disease. Misuse or sharing of needles can lead to Hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV—health conditions that can be fatal if left untreated. Over-injection of the drug can cause the veins to collapse or become extremely scarred. Most addicts start by injecting in their arms but, over time, must use other areas of the body to successfully inject the drug.

    Can Heroin Cause Brain Damage ?

    While heroin use impacts other areas of the body, it most notably impacts the brain. When used, heroin enters the brain very quickly and binds to the opioid receptors. These receptors control heart rate, breathing, and sleeping, as well as feelings including pain and pleasure.

    Heroin also impacts the risk/reward system of the brain, which, in turn, causes a decrease in serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters that are produced. Disrupted levels of neurotransmitters can cause mood swings, depression, and anxiety.

    Since heroin causes the brain to artificially release neurotransmitters, addicts experience withdrawal symptoms if they’re unable to take heroin when the brain needs it. Withdrawal causes flu-like symptoms, including chills, body aches, fatigue, nausea, and even depression.

    According to studies, heroin use causes brain damage that’s often only seen in Alzheimer’s patients . Because heroin changes the natural structure of the brain’s reward system, the brain’s function is impacted.

    Heroin addicts also risk further brain damage because of the lack of oxygen. The drug causes depressed breathing, which means less blood is moved throughout the body. A lack of oxygen in the brain can cause brain damage, as well as damage to other vital organs.

    Studies continue to be conducted to better understand the long-term effects of heroin addiction. While heroin abuse does damage the brain, some of this damage may be reversible, but, at the least, the damage and its impact can be managed. In fact, most people who overcome heroin addiction are able to lead full and healthy lives.

    To prevent serious brain damage, if you or someone you know suffers from heroin addiction, seek help immediately. Finding a local detox center is the best chance for you or a loved one to break free from the chains of addiction.

    How to Help Someone with Heroin Addiction

    If someone you know is battling an addiction to heroin, it’s hard to know how to address the issue, let alone help your loved one. More often than not, addicts want to stop using but don’t know how to stop. More importantly, many don’t want to experience withdrawal symptoms.

    One of the best things you can do is to learn everything you can about heroin so that you can better understand what your loved one is facing. Understand the heroin health effects, as well as how you can help your loved one get the treatment they need.

    Addiction is an uphill and life-long battle, but, with the right support system, the disease can be overcome.

    The next step is to look for detox centers in the area. A reputable detox facility is the safest place for your loved one to be during their battle to end addiction and reach sobriety. Encouraging your loved one to quit cold turkey may seem like a good idea, but most addicts who quit a hard drug like heroin on their own often relapse. It’s best to seek professional help from a detox facility that is experienced in helping those with heroin addiction.

    Since the road to recovery can be long and sometimes bumpy, it’s crucial that you’re available to support your friends or family members throughout their journeys. Give them the courage and confidence that they need to get through this rough patch. Be a listening ear on those tough days when the voices of addiction creep back into the picture.

    Knowing that someone you love is dealing with addiction is tough, but getting them to go to treatment for detox is even harder. Some families stage an intervention, while others wait until their loved ones are ready to put an end to their addictions. Since it’s hard to force people to want to end their bad habits, the best thing you can do is to talk to your loved ones, express your concern, and open doors that allow them to get the treatment they need.

    Addiction Doesn’t Have to Control Your Life

    There are dozens of South Florida detox centers, but, if you’re looking for a facility that will help you or a loved one regain control and get on the road to recovery, look no further than South Florida Detox Center.

    We offer an outpatient detox program as well as Suboxone treatment that minimizes the withdrawal symptoms that your loved one will experience. We work with each of our clients and their doctors to ensure the best detox program is used.

    Don’t go another day under the influence of heroin addiction. With the right detox treatment and support system, you, too, can be on the road to recovery. Call us today at (561) 337-6842 to schedule a low-cost visit.


    1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

    2. http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=7759

  • Why Is Heroin So Powerful?

    When it comes to drug dependence in West Palm Beach, heroin is one of the most highly addictive substances available. Watch this video to learn why heroin delivers such a powerful high.

    Heroin addictions are such a struggle because heroin produces a high unlike that of any other drug. Addiction recovery is possible for any heroin addict, as long as he or she is properly supervised throughout opioid withdrawal. Heroin is both so deadly and so powerful because users never know how much pure drug they are taking. Taking too much heroin can quickly threaten a drug addict’s life, because heroin suppresses the part of the brain that controls breathing and can even stop breathing entirely.

  • Examining the Progression of Heroin Detox Symptoms

    Opiate detox near West Palm Beach can seem overwhelming for anyone. But with the right medications and a network of supportive family and friends, you can overcome opiate detox symptoms. Trying to quit heroin on your own is nearly impossible. If you or a loved one is addicted to heroin, contact a detox center so you can create a customized treatment plan that is right for your particular needs and goals. Read on to learn more about how heroin detox symptoms progress, including initial symptoms, intermediate symptoms, and final symptoms.

    Initial Symptoms

    Opiate detox is most uncomfortable during the first few days, when symptoms can range from moderately painful to excruciating. The first two days of heroin detox are the most difficult for most patients. Within 12 hours of taking heroin, many people feel muscle aches and pain. You may also suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Cold sweats and even seizures are also common.

    Intermediate Symptoms

    Progression of Heroin Detox Symptoms As with any drug addiction, detox is a process. During the intermediate stages of heroin detox, patients will still be affected by uncomfortable side effects. While suboxone will make the process as comfortable as possible, you can still expect to feel nauseous. Proper nutrition is incredibly important during this time. Many patients will lose their appetites altogether, but eating well will boost your immune system response as your body struggles to recover from withdrawal. You may continue to have trouble sleeping during this time.

    Final Symptoms

    Heroin detox is different for everyone. Still, the worst of your side effects will conclude after about a week. Nausea, anxiety, and depression will be mild or moderate after this time. Your body will begin to regain its strength, and your appetite will return. You may still suffer from mood swings. Many heroin addicts feel irritated at their loved ones for no apparent reason. Others will continue to feel sad or emotionally empty for some time.

  • How Heroin Affects Vital Organs

    Addictions to heroin cause serious health problems that can result in death. The sooner a heroin addict seeks help for drug addiction near West Palm Beach, the sooner they stop inflicting severe damage on the body’s vital organs. Individuals who are struggling with heroin addiction are at a high risk of being diagnosed with problems of the kidneys, intestines, and brain.

    Intestinal Problems

    The autonomic nervous system controls automatic bodily functions such as digestion. Since heroin adversely affects the autonomic nervous system, individuals with this type of drug addiction commonly struggle with digestive problems. Specifically, heroin slows down the mechanisms of the intestines and causes poor bowel motility. The end result is chronic constipation. When bowel movements stop completely, the intestines can rupture. Some individuals with addictions will actually purposely go into the early stages of drug withdrawal every 10 to 15 days. Withdrawing from heroin will trigger diarrhea, which can prevent bowel impaction.

    factors of kidney damage among heroin addicts Kidney Damage

    The most common cause of kidney failure is diabetes that is not well controlled. However, kidney failure can have another cause: heroin addiction. Abusing heroin can lead to high levels of proteins in the urine. Eventually, kidney failure can develop . Other contributing factors of kidney damage among heroin addicts include the increased risk of HIV and hepatitis C from shared needles. The kidneys are essential for life. They are responsible for removing waste products from the bloodstream. If the function of the kidneys becomes impaired, waste products buildup in the bloodstream, blood pressure increases, red blood cell production declines, and the body retains excess fluid. Patients with kidney failure typically require aggressive treatment to prolong life, including regular trips to a treatment center for dialysis or possibly an organ transplant.

    Brain Deterioration

    Another vital organ that heroin can permanently damage is the brain. An overdose of heroin results in oxygen deprivation to the brain. When the brain cells are deprived of a steady supply of oxygen, they begin to die off. Researchers have found that the brains of heroin addicts have suffered from damage similar to the brain damage found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Why Heroin Is So Addictive

    Heroin is well known for being among one of the most addictive drugs . The only way to ensure that you will never develop an addiction to this drug is to never try heroin at all. Once a heroin addiction develops, it is difficult to overcome without medical help. Drug treatment centers in West Palm Beach urge users to get help for heroin addiction. Going through opiate detox and the accompanying withdrawal symptoms is made easier with the use of certain prescription medications such as Suboxone to ease the effects of withdrawal. During treatment, our drug treatment center can refer the recovering addict to other essential community services such as counseling and support groups.

    Addiction to Heroin How Heroin Is Administered

    The method of administration plays a role in its addictive nature. While administering heroin in any manner can lead to addiction, some methods result in a faster entry of the drug into the bloodstream and subsequently into the brain. Heroin users may smoke or snort the drug and they may even use it as a suppository. Injecting heroin is the fastest way to introduce the drug to the bloodstream and it results in a rapid, intense sense of euphoria. Injecting the drug is also the quickest path to heroin addiction.

    How Heroin Releases Dopamine

    Heroin, which is a semi-synthetic opioid drug, triggers the brain to release a flood of dopamine when the drug binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. The rush of dopamine is responsible for the intense feeling of euphoria that heroin users experience. These opioid receptors are located in the regions of the brain that are associated with pain perception and the feeling of reward. As a result, users remember the experience of taking heroin to be extremely pleasurable, which contributes to drug cravings.

    How the Brain Changes

    The nucleus accumbens is a grouping of nerve cells in the central part of the brain. This region is particularly susceptible to being flooded with dopamine when the brain receives heroin. When the nucleus accumbens is repeatedly flooded with dopamine, the nerve cells essentially become worn out and exhausted due to over-stimulation. In response, the brain inhibits the release of dopamine, which means the heroin user has trouble experiencing pleasure from any sort of behavior, including heroin use. Over time, the opioid receptors in the brain also begin to die off. These changes in the brain cause intense cravings for the drug as heroin addicts desperately try to feel euphoric again.

  • Get the Facts on Heroin

    Heroin addiction is a serious problem in the U.S. Heroin is derived from morphine which is extracted from the Asian opium poppy plant. Drug dependence can occur when heroin is sniffed, injected, or smoked. Users continue to abuse heroin because the initial rush provides a feeling of relaxation and detachment. Eventually, many people turn to drug treatment centers in West Palm Beach because addiction recovery from heroin is difficult to manage without help from an experienced detox physician

    If you or a loved one has been abusing heroin, medically supervised opiate detox can help. You’ll learn what the potential long-term health effects are and you’ll discover that the average heroin addict spends $80 to $200 per day on the drug. Detoxification with us isYou could also watch this brief video to find out more about this dangerous drug.

  • The Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use

    Heroin is a type of opioid drug that users may inject, snort, or smoke. With any of these methods of drug delivery, heroin rapidly reaches the brain. Because of this rapid and strong high, users are placed at a high risk of drug dependence and life-threatening health hazards. Heroin is among one of the most addictive and dangerous illegal substances. Its severe withdrawal effects mean that it is particularly difficult to break a heroin addiction simply by going “cold turkey”. Individuals who are struggling with an opiate addiction near West Palm Beach can find the help they need to safely get through drug detox at an outpatient treatment center. The sooner a heroin addict goes through opiate detox and works toward addiction recovery, the less chance he or she has of suffering the risks of long-term heroin use.

    Drug Dependence

    Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use One of the dangers of continued heroin use is the development of drug dependence. Drug dependence involves the onset of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is no longer in the body. A heroin user may begin to experience withdrawal effects within just a couple of hours of their last use. These symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, chills, sweats, stomach cramps, and muscle spasms, along with anxiety and sleep disturbances. Without medical help, the symptoms of withdrawal can prevent a user from successfully quitting the drug.

    Intravenous Use

    Heroin users who inject the drug intravenously (IV) place themselves at risk of blood-borne diseases. It’s not uncommon for heroin users to share needles, which allows for the transmission of hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis can result in severe liver damage. Users who inject the drug are also at risk of developing abscesses under the skin and cellulitis infections, which can also result in necrotic tissue, limb amputation, and systemic infection. Additionally, long-term heroin users may develop collapsed or scarred veins.

    Overdose Risk

    The risk of a fatal overdose is particularly high among heroin users because the concentration of the drug can vary so widely. In other words, a user who is accustomed to relatively impure heroin may unknowingly receive a injection of less diluted heroin. In these cases, an overdose can easily occur, causing loss of consciousness, suppressed breathing, delirium, low blood pressure, and even death.

  • What Makes Heroin So Dangerous?

    Heroin addictions are serious problems that require intervention and substance abuse treatment in West Palm Beach. One of the reasons why this drug is so dangerous is that it is highly addictive. Drug dependence can develop rapidly and users invariably need increasing amounts of the drug to attain the same effects. The unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that occur with reduced drug intake tend to prompt users to simply continually return to the drug.

    You can hear more about the dangers of heroin by watching this video. It offers a quick breakdown of how heroin affects receptors in the brain to suppress pain signals and produce a feeling of well-being. This expert also explains why heroin users are so susceptible to environmental triggers and which health problems may cause death in drug addicts.

  • The Mental and Physical Effects of Heroin

    Addictions such as a heroin addiction can have many different adverse effects on a person’s body and mind. Heroin is a highly addictive substance, which means it causes intense mental cravings for the drug . This is why detoxing in Port Saint Lucie is much more effective with the help of prescription drugs such as Suboxone. Suboxone treatment eases withdrawal symptoms to allow an addict to work toward addiction recovery.

    In addition to the mental effects of heroin, this drug can lead to serious physical health problems. You can hear more about these by watching this short clip of “The Doctors” TV show. This doctor explains how a heroin overdose can kill a person and how addicts can acquire infectious diseases.

  • The Health Effects of Using Heroin

    Heroin is an extremely addictive opioid drug that individuals may use by sniffing, smoking, or injecting. When heroin enters the body, it rapidly travels to the brain, converts into morphine, and binds to opioid receptors. This causes a surge of dopamine and an intense feeling of euphoria. As the drug leaves the body, users can experience withdrawal symptoms, which further contribute to drug addiction . There are many adverse short-term and long-term effects of heroin abuse. If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid addiction, you can turn to drug treatment centers in West Palm Beach, Port Saint Lucie, and Sunrise for assistance with safe opiate detox.

    Fatal Overdose

    There are opioid receptors in the brain stem in addition to those in the brain. The brain stem is responsible for controlling breathing and other functions essential for life. This means that an overdose of heroin can be fatal . When a user overdoses on heroin, breathing is suppressed and the heart rate can slow. Even when an overdose isn’t fatal, the reduction of oxygen to the brain can result in coma and permanent brain damage.

    Heroin Addiction Effects in West Palm Beach Gastrointestinal Problems

    The use of heroin as well as withdrawal from heroin can result in gastrointestinal problems. When drug abuse results in addiction, withdrawal symptoms can include diarrhea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting can also occur when heroin is in the body. Additionally, this opioid slows down bowel motility, which means users frequently experience severe constipation.

    Cardiovascular Conditions

    If a heroin addict delays going through drug detox, he or she is at a higher risk of complications from chronic use. These may include endocarditis, which refers to the infection of the heart lining. If left untreated, endocarditis can result in the destruction of the heart valves, which can lead to life-threatening complications. Additionally, chronic heroin abuse commonly leads to collapsed veins. A collapsed vein is caused by repeated trauma, such as by injecting the drug into a particular site. Collapsed veins can result in chronic complications such as poor circulation.

    Spontaneous Abortion

    When a user abuses heroin while pregnant, the developing fetus is also exposed to the drug. Heroin can result in spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. If the baby does survive, birth defects, brain damage, and addiction are possible.