While opioids like fentanyl and oxycodone get more press than almost any other addictive substance, their chemical progenitor, heroin, remains an impactful and deadly presence. Thousands of people struggle with heroin use disorder each year, and the risk of death by overdose remains high for those who use this extremely addictive drug. The mental effects of heroin addiction are likewise severe.
If you or a loved one struggles with heroin dependency, please seek help from BrightView. Our qualified team is on standby to answer your questions and develop a care plan that meets your needs. Reach out to us today at 888.501.9865 to learn more about our heroin rehab program and other vital services for people in recovery.
What Are the Psychological Effects of Heroin Addiction?
Because of how it changes the brain, the psychological effects of heroin addiction are pronounced and long-lasting. It produces artificially elevated euphoria and disrupts physical pain receptors. At the same time, these effects impede the brain’s ability to feel pleasure through activities like eating, sexual activity, or exercise. Chemically, it also disrupts the brain’s reward-seeking circuitry, making it challenging to associate anything other than heroin with pleasure.
Tragically, heroin is also highly habit-forming. This means that, as a person uses it over time, they develop a tolerance and need higher doses to achieve the same effects. It also diminishes the brain’s ability to respond to endorphins, hormones that naturally elevate the mood.
Those who use heroin enter withdrawal very quickly if they stop without medical intervention. Withdrawal can trigger several very unpleasant side effects, including:
- Feelings of panic, anxiety, or dread
- Believing bad feelings will never improve without heroin
- Extreme depression and hopelessness
- Potent cravings for heroin
The more a person uses heroin, the less they will be able to engage in other activities. The drug is sedating, meaning those who use it have less energy to invest in other pursuits. Beyond this, because it’s also habit-forming, those who use it spend most of their energy chasing their next high.
What Happens in Heroin Use Disorder Treatment?
Recovery from heroin use disorder may take years rather than weeks or months. If you or a loved one is beginning this journey, take heart. While heroin is one of the most addictive and hard-to-beat drugs, success is possible for those committed to the process. Frequently, medication assisted treatment may be advisable for early recovery. Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, can be beneficial for mitigating cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
During recovery, those struggling with heroin use disorder generally receive talk therapy. This form of intervention can help address patients’ triggers to use, teach them skills for self-regulation and coping, and look into any underlying causes for drug use. A dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance use disorder may be present in many cases. If this is the case, therapists will work to treat both conditions simultaneously since they often co-influence one another.
Group therapy is likewise a key component of many heroin use disorder treatments. Building a peer community with others in recovery can help those with heroin use disorder gain support, accountability, and a lasting sober living network. In some group therapy models, like 12-step programs, sponsorship from someone further along in their recovery journey is also possible.
Contact BrightView for a Heroin Rehab Program
If you or someone you care about struggles with the mental effects of heroin addiction, don’t face these challenges alone. BrightView’s recovery centers in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Arizona can answer your questions any time of the day or night. Wait times for receiving treatment are short, so feel free to drop in during business hours. Call 888.501.9865, or send us an online message to get the ball rolling toward better health.