Heroin is a very powerful substance derived from the opium poppy. Its properties induce sensations of euphoria, relaxation, and a general sense of wellbeing in its users. Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs known. It has been known to cause addiction after just one use and is considered one of the hardest drugs to quit.
Heroin is a versatile drug; it can be smoked, snorted, and injected intravenously, intramuscularly, or sub-dermally. Each different method produces slightly different effects in strength and speed. The injection is known as the method in which the drug travels the fastest to the brain and also produces the most powerful trip. However, the effects of heroin, especially if injected, do not last long and leave individuals quickly craving more to abate the rocky descent from the high.
Heroin, when ingested in any manner, travels to the brain and also to the other organs in the body. It produces various physical and mental side effects if you feel that a loved one may be addicted to using heroin. Also, there are quite a few things to look out for. Using heroin definitely takes a physical toll on the body. The most obvious signs would be marks at popular injection areas, i.e., the inner elbow, the inner knee, and the forearms.
Bruising, bleeding, or scarring in these areas, especially if it is repetitive with multiple wounds, could indicate heroin abuse. Heroin does not need to be injected into a vein. Individuals have also been known to inject it into the muscles or just under the skin, which is known as skin popping. The bruising from the intramuscular injection is less than the intravenous injection, but skin popping will produce gruesome and immediate signs. When an individual injects heroin just under the skin, a bubble-shaped blister will form. In extreme cases of addiction, an individual will have many of these bruised and raised blisters all over their arms, legs, and possibly torso. Heroin can also cause people to lose weight dramatically due to its repression of the digestive system, and the users commonly exhibit tooth decay too.
Psychologically, heroin can take as great of a toll as it does physically, if not more. Heroin addicts typically go between two stages of being. The first would be the high stage. In this stage, they are languid, overly relaxed to the point that they may fall asleep or fall into a stupor. Heroin addicts often lack the energy to do any kind of extraneous physical activity. The second stage a heroin user rotates through is the down or withdrawal stage. Because heroin is so powerful, even the first time an individual comes down from a high can be somewhat painful. The individual may complain of body pain even though they are not hurt, and they may become irritable or upset. This is because heroin gradually replaces the brain’s normal function of endorphin production. Over time as the body becomes accustomed to heroin, the production of normal and natural endorphins slows down to a near stop. Without the feel-good hormones that the brain should normally produce, physical pain and negative emotions virtually have no threshold. The tell-tale signs can start discreetly and will become glaringly obvious. Some other drugs have the potential to remain hidden for some time; however, with heroin, it is only a matter of time before an individual will blatantly exhibit symptoms of the abuse.