Heroin Rehab Costa Mesa: Body Changes with Heroin Use

Heroin Rehab Costa Mesa Body Changes with Heroin Use
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Heroin Rehab Costa Mesa: Body Changes with Heroin Use

Heroin, whether it’s your first dose or you’ve lost count over the years, causes significant changes to your body and mind. With prolonged use, you’ll start to realize more and more that your physical and mental health just isn’t what it used to be. Thankfully, attending a heroin rehab in Costa Mesa, such as Clear Life Recovery, can help get you back on track and slow or reverse these changes you’ve noticed.

What short-term changes will you notice after starting to use heroin?

Many of these side effects could be more or less noticeable depending on how much heroin you have taken, your body weight, and other factors. In general, you can expect to feel the following after taking a dose 1:

  • A feeling of heaviness in your limbs and extremities
  • Itching
  • Nausea or vomiting accompanied by loss of appetite
  • Slowed heart rate and respiration rate
  • A feeling of euphoria or relaxation that lasts a few hours
  • Constricted pupils and lessened vision in the dark
  • Confusion or trouble thinking clearly
  • Drowsiness
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Suppressed sex drive

What effects will long-term heroin use have?

It is the depressant effects like relaxation and euphoria that many people find pleasant that is most troublesome. These changes are due to the way heroin affects your brain’s neurotransmitters. Heroin triggers the release of endorphins and dopamine while acting as a depressant on your brainstem and other areas. These pleasurable feelings not only reinforce the desire to continue taking heroin, but they also signal that the brain’s delicate balance of chemistry has been upset 2.

When you use heroin, that relaxed feeling you get results from the body slowing down almost every vital process. Your heart rate slows, your breathing is suppressed, your body temperature and blood pressure drop, and even your digestion slows to a crawl.

Though the feeling of calm and the reduction in anxiety that comes from slowing everything down can feel good, suppressing all of your mental and physical functions for long periods of time comes with a cost.

Impaired digestion leads to chronic constipation. That temporary feeling of nausea and loss of appetite you used to feel when you took a dose now persists and isn’t so temporary.

You are also at a much higher risk for the following conditions, as listed by DrugAbuse.gov 1:

  • “insomnia
  • collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
  • damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
  • infection of the heart lining and valves
  • abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus)
  • constipation and stomach cramping
  • liver and kidney disease
  • lung complications, including pneumonia
  • mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
  • sexual dysfunction for men
  • irregular menstrual cycles for women”

Some of these conditions can be reversed with proper treatment, while others will be permanent.

Continued after infographic:

Body Changes with Heroin Use

What physiological changes cause withdrawal symptoms?

Though the physical symptoms from long-term heroin use are distressing, the neurological effects are no better.

Over time, the upset in your brain chemistry is what causes addiction. Suddenly, you find that your brain doesn’t function well without drugs in your system. This is because continued opioid use has interrupted the natural opiates, endorphins, and other chemicals that your brain would normally produce.

Once your brain slows or stops producing its own “feel-good” chemicals, you will experience 2,3:

  • Impaired impulse control
  • Cravings
  • Mood imbalances
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Pain
  • Cold flashes
  • Twitching and irregular movements
  • Difficulty feeling pleasure from anything in life besides another dose of heroin

All of the above leads users to seek another dose at all costs, just to temporarily feel better. This, in turn, reinforces the cycle.

Continued after infographic:

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

What happens to your body during an overdose?

Since a normal dose of heroin causes the brainstem to depress the body’s vital functions, a large dose will slow those functions by too much.

The majority of heroin overdoses happen because opioid receptors in the brain become overwhelmed and blocked by too much heroin in the system. When the brain’s natural neurotransmitters can no longer bind to their receptors, they are unable to send signals to the rest of the body for your lungs to keep breathing and your heart to keep beating 4.

If you have ever had a “close call,” contact a reputable heroin rehab in Costa Mesa right away.

How can heroin rehab Costa Mesa help you?

Clear Life Recovery understands how the first dose of heroin alters everything from that point onward. Whether you have experienced an acute reaction or simply realized over time that you don’t like how heroin is affecting you, you can find the help you need in our cutting-edge recovery programs that are tailored to fit your needs.

Contact us today so you can start feeling healthy and whole again.



[1] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin

[2] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain

[3] https://www.verywellmind.com/long-term-effects-of-heroin-use-63227

[4] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/opioid-overdose

About Benjamin Hogan

Over the years, Benjamin has held positions in many different areas of alcohol and drug addiction services all over the country. He made a name for himself as an interventionist and has held certification as a Certified National Drug and Alcohol Interventionist (CNDAI-II). Benjamin specializes in helping support families of people struggling with addiction by focusing on education and instilling healthy boundaries to ensure lasting changes. Addiction is a progressive disease, but using an evidence-based approach, an intervention, when done correctly, can help to increase the willingness of a loved one to seek sobriety faster.

"In my experience, by helping families make necessary changes, they not only get their lives back, but they also help change the mind of their loved one more quickly. In an intervention, family and other loved ones take a proactive approach, instead of waiting and being stuck between fear and (false) hope. I realized in my own recovery, that when my family changed, I had to change in response. That is where I found sobriety. This is why I believe in what I do!"