The Dangers of Heroin: Why Heroin Is So Bad for You

 Heroin is one of the worst drugs out there. What's so bad about it? Check out this guide to learn about the dangers of heroin for your health.

 Heroin use and dependence have tripled in the last 15 years. It's one of the most dangerous illicit substances a person can take, yet many users don't know the side effects they're risking.

The dangers of heroin go far beyond the risk of accidental overdose. Long-term use affects your immune system and physical and mental health. Knowing the health-related risks of taking the drug may help you to resist using it.

If you have ever been tempted to try - or currently use - heroin, keep reading this article immediately.

5 Health Dangers of Heroin Use

There are financial and social problems associated with heroin use but the ones with arguably the most impact are the health implications.
The list of possible medical issues is long: these are just a few of the most common health dangers of using heroin.

1. Drug-Induced Liver Disease

Opioids put a huge strain on the liver. The organ designed to metabolize drugs and detoxify the blood struggles to handle heroin without long-term side effects.
Liver cirrhosis, for example, caused by hepatitis leads to scarring on the liver. This, in turn, means the liver can't work as effectively as before. Without a healthy liver, you'll experience problems such as jaundice, fever, and even total liver failure.

2. Skin Infections

Addiction to heroin gives users itchy skin. The constant scratching of the skin, combined with a compromised immune system, leaves sores open to infection.
Healing times become significantly longer in heroin users, too. Small cuts and grazes that heal in a few days in healthy people can take weeks. A tiny cut can take ages to knit together and heal - leaving the wound open to bacteria.

3. Dental Problems (Including Lost Teeth)

Studies show a strong link between heroin use and tooth loss. This is partly because many users neglect their overall oral health in general. It's also due to the increased risk of infection caused by a compromised immune system.

As teeth decay, the holes in teeth provide a perfect route for bacteria to work its way towards the root of the tooth and into the gums. This makes infection highly likely and, left untreated, causes tooth loss.

4. Cardiac Infections

Infections aren't limited to the external areas like the skin. Internal infections happen in any part of the body due to a reduced immune response caused by opiates.

One of the most common internal infections happens in the heart valves. When these become infected, they weaken, and may never repair. 

5. Chronic Insomnia and Depression

Chronic heroin use affects mental well-being as much as it does physical health. Insomnia is a common side effect of heroin and this brings with it acute depression.

Mood swings are most dangerous in opiate users. To feel better or to relax when they aren't able to sleep, they'll reach for the drug. The hit of the drug helps to bring temporary relief - until they can't sleep again. This cycle creates a dependency that leads to serious drug abuse, and even overdose and death.

Using Prescribed Opioids in Heroin Treatment

You may be wondering why doctors use synthetic opiates, such as fentanyl, to treat heroin dependency. Prescribed opiates come with a risk of side effects just as heroin does. 

The difference between fentanyl and heroin is that fentanyl is a regulated drug. Each dose is carefully monitored, and the delivery methods - such as a skin patch - are much safer.

It's necessary to use a drug that mimics heroin in the first stages of treatment. It helps to manage serious withdrawal symptoms and this, in turn, increases the likelihood of a full and long-term recovery.

How to Seek Help for Heroin Addiction

The dangers of heroin use on a person's health and well-being often aren't enough for someone to seek help. Heroin users fear seeking help in case they face penalties for doing something illegal. However, those who do step forward will find physicians and treatment centers sympathetic and encouraging to aid recovery.

If you're already using heroin, or you suspect a loved one is, seek help from a doctor or specialist addiction center straight away. You won't be punished: you'll be helped back to full health.
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