Practical Tips to Avoid Alcohol during Social Distancing

Knowing how to avoid alcohol may be the deciding factor that helps you maintain sobriety during this pandemic. In recent times where isolation and social distancing have become the norm, recovering alcoholics need to be more intentional about their recovery. Most recovering alcoholics rely on treatment centres and support groups to keep up with their recovery. However, due to the social distancing laws, it may be difficult to attend support group meetings. As a result, we have come up with a few concise tips to help you avoid alcohol.

Times of crises such as the coronavirus pandemic can increase the chances of a recovering alcoholic suffering a relapse. This is because the isolation protocol can lead to heightened feelings of stress and anxiety. Since statistics have shown that many alcoholics use the bottle as a tool to cope with stress and anxiety, isolation can be a danger. However, a relapse is preventable, and you can stay sober. 

For people trying to stop drinking, the road to alcohol recovery can be steep, at best. However, without the company of trusted peers and supports, it can be an even harder journey. If you have recently completed an addiction program, the prospect of being on your own can be scary. But, the good news is you can practice social distancing, stay safe from the coronavirus, and still say sober. 

It goes without saying that the first step should be to get rid of all forms of alcohol in your home. However, there’s more. As experts with practical experience dealing with alcohol addiction, we offer hands-on knowledge that can help you stay away from alcohol.

Tips to Avoid Alcohol during Social Distancing

Tips To Help You Avoid Alcohol

The first step to ensuring that you stay sober, even in isolation, is to learn how to avoid alcohol. We will be giving you a few practical tips that will prove useful.

However, you should note that it is not enough to know these steps. You must put in the effort and stay committed to your alcohol recovery journey. Here are a couple of practical ways you can avoid alcohol during this period.

Stay positive

Positivity is key in alcohol addiction recovery. First off, know that you can get through this period without slipping back into your old drinking habits. However, to be able to do this, you need to maintain a healthy, positive mental attitude. You must believe that you can get through the pandemic without alcohol. Once you have this strong mindset, you will find that it is easier to resist the urge to start drinking again.

Understandably, it may not be easy to maintain a positive attitude at all times. Sometimes, a shadow of doubt may creep into your mind. This may be unavoidable. But, you can control whether or not you will dwell on these negative thoughts. Instead, you can carry out activities that can distract you until the moment has passed. Or better still, you can pick up the phone and call your sponsor a loved one. Whatever you do, always try to stay positive.

Eat healthily

One of the essential tips to avoid alcohol is to practice a proper diet. Good food can go a long way to help you with your sobriety. So, if you want to stay sober and off alcohol, then you should check what you are eating. 

Food influences the way the brain functions. Without a healthy diet, your brain may not be able to produce enough neurotransmitters. Or even worse, it may provide it in excess. This can cause you to feel anxious, irritable or starved. All these are feelings that will not help you with alcohol addiction recovery.

Also, you should have a good food diet regimen. This will help your brain to balance the levels of serotonin, a hormone that will help you relax. To maintain a proper diet, you should eat foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as those found in legumes and vegetables. 

Furthermore, you should also combine your carbs intake with protein. This will help to keep your body functioning optimally. Similarly, a proper diet will help keep your cravings for alcohol to a minimal level.

Find a hobby

Another tip to help you avoid alcohol is to find something that you love doing and invest time in it. Social distancing and isolation protocols may mean that you have to spend long hours at home. This can lead to an intense level of boredom and idleness. These are two things you do not want if you are looking to maintain sobriety. Idleness will give your mind time to reflect on your drinking past. Worse, you may start to obsess over the future and your alcohol recovery.

This can be a danger for a recovering alcoholic. So to prevent such mind-roaming, you should get a hobby. Preferably, choose something that you love doing and will keep you happy.  Keeping your mind engaged continuously will help you to avoid drinking alcohol. However, this does not mean that you should not spare time for rest and sleep. Sleep if you have to, as this is equally important for your mental and physical wellbeing.

Exercise regularly

The role of exercise in preventing alcohol relapse cannot be overemphasized. Regular exercise will promote your physical and mental health. Furthermore, engaging in active activity can help to boost your mood and make you feel better. This way, you are less likely to turn to a bottle to help you cope with a dampened mood. 

Also, exercise can help you reduce stress as it raises your heart rate and causes your brain to release certain chemicals. These chemicals can help to combat both short-term and long-term stress.

Besides, regularly engaging in exercise can help you reduce the urge or craving to drink. We are not saying you should go to the gym as this may be against social distancing laws. But, you can exercise in and around your home. 

Whether through yoga, aerobics or weights, exercise can help you put a stop to alcohol addiction. There are home workout routines that can help you stay on your exercise game. You should take advantage of them.

Connect with people

Reaching out to people that support your treatment can help you avoid alcohol. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. In recent times, a lot of addiction support groups have moved online. Take advantage of these online platforms to reach out to peers that can help you. 

Also, if you feel the need to, you can place a call to your sponsor or addiction treatment centre. This can be very effective in helping you prevent a relapse. The internet and telecommunication channels can bring you closer to loved ones and your support systems. Connecting with these people is a significant way to avoid alcohol during social distancing.

Final Take

Hopefully, you have learned a few things about how to avoid alcohol during this pandemic. But, remember, you have to practice these tips and commit to them. It may not be easy, but if you put in your best, you can avoid an alcohol relapse. 

Do you have further questions on ways to avoid alcohol? Or perhaps you need help with your alcohol recovery? Please reach out to us. We’d love to help!

Related article: Addiction Treatment Centres in Vancouver: Are They Prepared To Handle The COVID-19 Outbreak

Heroin Addiction Treatment: Is It Doable?

Heroin Addiction Treatment: Is It Doable

Does heroin addiction treatment work for people who want to recover from addiction? These days, to cope with the difficulties of life, more and more people are succumbing to drug use despite the adverse effects these drugs bring to their lives.

One of these drugs is heroin. Heroin addiction is a difficult challenge to face for both the person suffering from it and the ones surrounding them. However, this condition is treatable with the right interventions.

We will discuss heroin addiction treatment in this article.

We will discuss what heroin addiction is, how to identify people who are more at risk to suffer from it. Also, we will tackle how to recognize the specific signs and symptoms of the said addiction, heroin addiction treatment through detoxification and rehabilitation with the help of naturally raising dopamine levels, and lastly, the crucial role of loved ones in overcoming heroin addiction.

Related article: Mind-Boggling Facts about Heroin

Heroin Addiction: What You Should Know

Heroin, which also goes by the name diamorphine, is a substance derived from opium poppies. It is an opioid used medically in some countries as a form of pain reliever. It is also commonly used as a recreational drug, which leads to addiction for many.

Let us go to the science behind why heroin is addictive. Heroin causes addiction because it makes the brain release a massive amount of the chemical dopamine.

Dopamine is sometimes called the “feel-good hormone” or “pleasure chemical.” Dopamine, as a chemical, has several effects on our mood. When our bodies have large amounts of dopamine, we feel enthusiastic and motivated, like everything is in the right place. However, when our bodies have lower levels of dopamine, this motivation dips down as well, making us feel, in extreme cases, hopeless, depressed, and miserable.

Heroin is addictive. It causes the brain to produce a massive amount of dopamine, which results in a high-like or pleasurable feeling. However, this high is only momentary. Once the extremely high dopamine level decreases, there is a tendency to crave the same intense euphoric feeling again and take more doses of heroin. That is how the addiction starts.

People at risk of suffering from heroin addiction

Anyone of any age, gender, race, etc. can suffer from heroin addiction. However, some people are more at risk than others. 

Several factors may make someone more prone to heroin addiction. For example, those with severe and disabling depression may be more likely to be addicted to heroin. Due to the overwhelming feeling of sadness and anxiety, they may turn to heroin as a way to feel happy again and forget about the world.

Another example would be those who suffer sudden losses. It may be a sudden loss of a beloved loved one, an unexpected loss of a cherished job, or a loss of a considerable sum of money or something unexpected. The unforeseen downturn of events may make them resort to heroin to lift their spirits.

Others who are susceptible to addiction are those who are habitually partaking in risk-taking behaviour. Thrill-seeking, when pushed to the extreme, may provoke trying out drugs like heroin. From just a single trial “just for the experience and thrill,” a full-blown addiction may start, as the body will begin craving for the effects of the drug.

Also, those with a history of addiction with other drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and other things may trigger an addiction to heroin. Heroin addiction can prove fatal or cause worse effects on a person’s life, especially when paired with different addiction types.

These are only some of the possible factors that make people at risk for heroin addiction. It does not mean, however, that the possession of these factors automatically leads to addiction. The development of heroin addiction is still on a case-to-case basis. It only serves to remind people that they should be more mindful of their actions and seek help instead of relying on an addiction to cope.

How to Spot Heroin Addiction

If you notice these signs, especially if they are alarmingly increasing in intensity and frequency, then you or your loved one may be suffering from heroin addiction.

Physical Symptoms include:

  • needle marks (from heroin injection)
  • runny nose or nose sores (from snorting the heroin)
  • constricted pupils
  • constipation
  • heightened pain tolerance
  • slurred speech

Changes in mood include:

  • agitation and restlessness
  • drowsiness and lethargy
  • depression
  • memory problems

Changes in behaviour include:

  • neglect for personal hygiene which is incredibly worsening
  • becoming more and more secretive about activities and whereabouts
  • the unreasonable and sudden need for vast amounts of money 
  • declining performance at school or work
  • participating in risky or dangerous behaviour

Related article: Heroin Addiction Treatment: What You’ll Know about Rehab Will Shock You

How is heroin addiction treated?

Although it is not an easy process, heroin addiction treatment is entirely doable. There is hope for everyone who is suffering from addiction. With the support and understanding of medical professionals as well as loved ones, friends, partners, and other valuable and supportive people, anyone can get out of heroin addiction.

The types of treatment someone with heroin addiction must vary greatly in several factors including the length of the habit, tolerance level, the age of the drug user, weight, medical history, and a whole lot of other factors.

There are several types of heroin addiction treatments. Usually, these treatment types are performed simultaneously to ensure that they are valid and that they will have lasting effects, to prevent relapse.

A medical specialist best supervise any attempts for heroin addiction treatment. It is to make sure that the treatment is accurate.

Below are the various methods for heroin addiction treatment:

Detoxification from heroin

The first step to heroin addiction treatment is detoxification. It involves clearing the toxins brought about by heroin from the body. Detox aims to smoothen the transition to other forms of therapy up to recovery. The process can take a couple of days up to more than a week. Like in every step of heroin addiction treatment, this process is also best supervised by a doctor.

Some of those addicted to heroin choose to quit “cold turkey,” and without the help of any medicine. However, this is not very realistic or achievable for everyone, as this requires enormous self-control. The more feasible way to do a heroin detox for most people is through the assistance of some medicine.

Below are some of the medicines administered to patients during the detoxification process. Note, however, to take these medicines under doctor’s supervision:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Clonidine
  • Methadone
  • Codeine Phosphate

During detoxification, expect to experience symptoms of withdrawal, especially at the onset. Physical symptoms for this may include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, hot and cold flashes, runny nose, abdominal cramps, and muscle aches, among others. Behavioural symptoms may include irritability, violence, anxiety, and mood swings. However, upon surpassing this stage, you are getting closer and closer to recovery.

Related article: What to Expect During Heroin Withdrawal?

Drug Rehabilitation Program

A drug rehabilitation program may also help. A drug rehabilitation program can usually last for a few months, and it can jumpstart your heroin addiction treatment journey.

Before the start of a rehabilitation program, each patient will undergo an evaluation. Every treatment is individualized and customized according to the assessment. The will also be a deliberation for the duration of drug use, the severity of the addiction, and other physical and mental conditions. From this, the most appropriate program will be designed and curated for the patient.

Drug rehabilitation programs also usually involve medical interventions. Pharmacological maintenance help alleviate cravings for the drugs, as well as withdrawal symptoms.

Mental health is also part of the healing process covered by the program. Many times, people suffer from heroin addiction due to psychological issues they cannot quickly resolve. The rehabilitation process involves managing anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and other mental health disorders.

During the program, therapies and classes are available as well. These will help the patient cope, as well as keep their minds off drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms. One of the therapies available can be group therapy. It is where patients can share with other patients their struggles, form a bond and a support group, and enhance their social skills. Another is individual therapy, where patients can discuss one-on-one with a licensed therapist, who can provide a sounding board as well as concrete steps to get over addiction.

Among the classes offered may be drug education classes. This way, patients will be educated about the concepts connected to and surrounding their drug addiction, which, in turn, helps them cope. Skills classes are also available for life skills which they can use to improve their quality of life once they get out of rehab.

Increase Dopamine Levels Naturally

After getting out of drug rehabilitation centers, it may become a bit of a challenge to maintain a drug-free life outside a structured environment that a rehabilitation center provides. One thing that can be done to help facilitate heroin addiction treatment, as well as post-rehabilitation maintenance, is raising your dopamine levels naturally. This way, a person will still feel the benefits of elevated dopamine levels such as feeling motivated and enthusiastic, without the adverse effects addictions may bring.

Related article: Various Effects of Heroin on the Body

That said, below are the ways one can raise dopamine levels, the all-natural way.

1. Cut back on saturated fat

Fatty foods are delicious for most people. Animal fat, butter, and other fats and oils add deliciousness to food. However, when consumed in enormous quantities, saturated fat is bad for the body. It also has a direct link to maintaining dopamine levels. According to some studies, too much fatty food can deplete dopamine levels. It will not help in your heroin addiction treatment.

2.Stock up on lots and lots of protein.

While fat is terrible for dopamine level maintenance, protein can do wonders for it. Eating more fish, chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, tofu, soy, dairy, legumes, and other healthy sources of protein helps raise dopamine. It is through an amino acid called tyrosine, found in foods rich in protein. Tyrosine can turn into dopamine through the help of enzymes within the human body. Due to this, more dopamine can be produced, elevating and maintaining the feeling of pleasure in the body.

3. Make it a habit to exercise.

Although more studies are needed to prove that exercise can raise dopamine levels, it is a proven fact that physical activities increase endorphins. Endorphins are the so-called “happiness hormones,” which reduces stress and improves mood. It will help in keeping a positive mindset as the patient goes on with their fight against heroin addiction.

4. Have plenty of hours for high-quality sleep

Lack of sleep may lead to a decrease in available dopamine receptors. Dopamine creates feelings of wakefulness. When depleted, the patient may feel sluggish and lethargic, and the mood may be down. To combat this, ensure regular and high-quality sleep to keep your dopamine levels preserved.

5. Bask under the sun

Extended periods of sunshine deprivation can reduce levels of dopamine. It is why others suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during seasons with low sunlight, such as during winter. Conversely, sunlight boosts dopamine in our bodies. Sunlight helps in improving a person’s mood. However, you also have to be careful of too much sun exposure, as ultraviolet (UV) rays are also harmful to the skin.

The importance of the role of loved ones during heroin addiction treatment

A heroin addiction treatment journey may involve a ton of ups and downs. People undergoing this may sometimes or often feel demoralized and unmotivated. They may also have trouble remembering things and keeping things in order in their daily lives. They may also feel ashamed of their condition and succumb to self-pity.

Family, friends, partners, and other people play a crucial role in helping out their loved ones who are undergoing heroin addiction treatment. As challengings situations may be, these people need to muster all their extra courage and tenacity. Soon they will find them self as a pillar of strength and a ray of sunshine for their loved ones.

Below are some tips on how to help those who are addicted to heroin:

1. Reduce conflict in your circle (if applicable)

A family or a group of friends who are full of conflicts is not an ideal support group for someone who is trying to recover from heroin addiction. These may increase the stress level, which may result to be tempted to retake drugs to feel good once again. If possible, settle conflicts within the group, or at least come to an amicable settlement to diminish or, at the very least, control conflict and tension. This way, everyone can partake in enjoyable bonding activities, which can also be of help to those who are undergoing heroin addiction treatment.

2. Educate yourself

As the famous saying goes, “knowing is half the battle.” Educate yourself by attending seminars and workshops on drug abuse, as well as those for related topics like mental health. This way, you are armed with expert knowledge, and can better navigate your way through a loved one’s struggle with heroin abuse.

3. Help your loved one follow every step of their treatment

On the course of heroin addiction treatment, your loved one may receive medicines, individual and group therapy, drug rehabilitation, and other forms of intervention. You can support them by reminding them of the schedules of when to take medicines, attend seminars, or go to appointments. If possible, you can also accompany them so they won’t feel alone. It will also help if you listen to any apprehension they may have about their medications, therapies, and the like. 

4. Accompany your loved one to recreational activities

Keep your loved one’s mind off heroin by engaging in fun and productive recreational activities together. They may lack the confidence and motivation to do these things alone, so you or other people who support your loved one should accompany them. These recreational activities may include learning and participating in different types of sports such as basketball and tennis or learning new skills such as how to play a musical instrument, baking, or speaking a new language. Engaging in artistic activities such as painting, writing, singing, and dancing may also help, and even serve as a catharsis for your loved one.

5. Persuade your loved one to join a support group

People who have experienced heroin addiction can best relate to what your loved ones are experiencing. Encourage your loved one to join peer support groups similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Research the nearest peer support group in your area and bring them there. Your loved one may be able to open up more to these people without feeling shame or judgement.

6. Reconnect your loved ones to friends and relatives

During the peak of their addiction, your loved one may have isolated him or herself from other people who used to be close to them. Serve as a bridge between them by reconnecting them. However, they also ensure that these relatives and friends are not suffering from addiction themselves. Renewing relationships with sober relatives and friends will help your loved one cope by being reminded of the good people and things in life before the addiction happened.

7. Provide and build strength for your loved one

Challenges and negative feelings are an inevitable aspect of life. No one can avoid them forever. However, suffering from problems does not have to result in destructive coping mechanisms such as heroin addiction. Instead, help your loved one develop toughness and perseverance against tragedies in life. Remind them that every struggle happens for a reason, that every trouble is temporary, and that every problem can ultimately be solved.

8. Identify and Provide Support for Heroin Addiction Relapse

Be mindful of the behaviour of your loved one. If they seem to be having the same behaviour as when they started their addiction, then they may be suffering from a relapse. Remind your loved one that relapse is normal and does not mean a complete failure. One can get over a relapse instead of submitting oneself to another start of heroin addiction. Treating it is a temporary roadblock to living a life completely free of heroin.

9. Never lose hope

Never lose hope: this goes for both of you and your loved one. In case of relapse and other roadblocks, keep the faith that these can all be solved. If the need to restart drug rehabilitation arises, then so be it. Do not lose heart and lose sight of your ultimate goal, which is a drug-free life for your loved one.

10. Take care of yourself too

As they instruct in airplanes, in case of emergencies, put on your oxygen mask first before helping others put on their own. Likewise, in the process of taking care of a loved one undergoing heroin addiction treatment, you may forget to take care of yourself in the process. You may get sick, neglect relationships, or fail to do things that make you happy. Do not forget to destress and continue living your life. This way, you have more chances to positively influence your loved one, instead of being dragged down by the situation.

Final Thoughts

Heroin addiction treatment is a combination of several factors. It includes medical and pharmacological intervention, individual and group therapies, rehabilitation, the support of family and friends. The perseverance of the one who suffers the addiction himself or herself is also a significant factor.

These methods work together in achieving healing and bringing back a better life for those who are challenged by addiction.

Heroin addiction is a grave condition that should be treated with utmost seriousness. However, one should not despair, as it is very treatable. Plenty of people have experienced addiction and have emerged victorious from their battle against it. Addiction does not have to be permanent, and recovery is very much achievable.

Related article: You’ll See the Colossal Effects of Substance Abuse Unfold

Various Effects of Heroin on the Body

Do you feel that your behaviour is getting out of control because of the effects of heroin on the body? It’s not easy to admit that you’ve become addicted to heroin. No one wants to admit that a drug has taken control of their life. But the first step to recovery and breaking free from the addiction is by admitting that there is an existing problem. 

If you are reading this because you want to know more about the effects of heroin on the body, then you’re on the right track. Read along so you can inform yourself not just of the effects of this drug but also what your options are when it comes to the treatments available. 

Heroin is among the top illegal drugs that are most commonly abused in North America. It is under the opiate family and is made from morphine and opium poppy plants. At present, addiction to heroin has become a very widespread disease that causes so many deaths every year. 

In this post, we will be looking deeper into the various effects of heroin on the body. If you are a heroin user, hopefully, this information may provide you with more understanding of what heroin addiction can do to your health and well-being. 

Heroin addiction gets worse every year. Many heroin users resort to this drug because they want to feed their addiction to prescription painkiller meds. Within the past years, as much as 80% of individuals who use heroin said that they turned to the drug because of their addiction to prescription opioids. 

That is why the use of prescription opioids should be done in a very careful manner. This is because one of the dangerous risks of it is turning to heroin abuse. It could lead to addiction and you may suffer the other effects of heroin on the body. 

If you or someone you know is having problems with heroin addiction, then it is vital that professional help is sought immediately. This post also hopes to provide a better understanding of how it works, heroin effects, risks of overdose, as well as how addiction to heroin can be treated successfully. 

Understanding What Heroin Is

What is Heroin? This is obviously the first question to ask if you want to gain a deeper understanding of what this drug is. Heroin is known by many names including dope and smack. This drug appears as a brown or white powder. 

There is also a variety that comes as a sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Users of this drug ingest it through snorting, smoking, or injecting it into the vein, into their muscle, or under their skin. The effects of heroin on the body are all harmful regardless of the manner of consumption.

As an opiate, it is naturally derived from the seed pods of the opium poppy plant. Users of heroin experience a certain kind of high which is very pleasurable and addictive. While heroin may give this feeling of elation, there are many long-term effects of heroin use that can be very harmful and dangerous to the body. Overdose from heroin use can cause serious consequences, even death. 

Even if heroin is created from morphine, the drug reverts to morphine once it gets to the brain. When it binds with opioid receptors, the parts of your brain that are responsible for mood and pleasure become triggered. These areas include your brain stem; the one that controls vital automatic functions of your body such as arousal, breathing, and blood pressure. 

Heroin is a drug that is very potent. Users of heroin can get high almost immediately after ingesting the drug. There has been a steady increase in the availability of heroin that it has become too easy to obtain. Many individuals from all walks of life and various backgrounds become addicted to heroin. 

The gateway drugs to using heroin are actually prescription medications for pain. If you have been given a prescription for narcotic medication, then know that you may be at risk of using heroin and getting addicted to it. Addiction to opioids has become so rampant in Canada and other countries that the number of people dying from opioid overdose daily is continually increasing. 

Because prescription opiates are naturally addictive, individuals who can no longer afford the medications resort to using heroin. This is because heroin is more available, it is more affordable, and they get a better and distinct high from it. 

What Heroin Looks Like

A part of understanding what heroin is included knowing how it looks like. If you suspect that your loved one is using this drug, then you ought to know its appearance so you can confirm if they are using heroin. Usually, heroin is in the form of a powder that is either brown or white. 

The colour of heroin may differ depending on the geographic location from which it is sourced. For example, in North America, heroin typically ranges from white to off-white powder. The colour of the drug also tells how pure it is. The whiter the powder is, then the purer it is. Heroin that is white is also more potent compared to the brown or off-white counterpart because those carry more impurities. 

Also, heroin may come as a solid and sticky black substance. This is known as sticky tar or black tar. When you touch this heroin variety, it is hard. This type of heroin has some slight and pungent smell like that when you smell the vinegar. The purest heroin powder does not have any odour. When black tar or brown heroin is smoked, the vinegar-like smell becomes stronger. 

It’s hard to find pure heroin because it is usually mixed with other substances and drugs. Most drug dealers do this so that they can make more profit. Doing this to pure heroin dilutes it but it doesn’t make it less dangerous. In fact, such drug combinations are hazardous because of the many effects of heroin on the body plus the different substances that have been mixed with it. 

Some of the substances and drugs that are commonly mixed with heroin are fentanyl, white sugar, flour, caffeine, talcum powder, rat poison, laundry detergent, and baking soda. As you can imagine, some of these substances are just outright dangerous like laundry detergent and rat poison. But this does not mean that the other substances are safer because those can still put the people using the drug at risk of hazardous side effects. 

An example here is heroin mixed with caffeine can mask the signs of a drug overdose. People who are using the drug will think that they need more of it. When they do, they may suffer from brain damage. They may even die because of it. 

People who use this drug know that heroin is so much more affordable compared to prescription opiates. This makes heroin a drug that is in demand. As a consequence, the risk of overdosing and death has also increased. This is because the drug dealers are trying to meet the high demand by mixing the drug with other dangerous substances. 

Why Heroin is Addictive

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs around. There’s a lot of harmful effects of heroin on the body. If you are having problems with your heroin addiction, don’t lose hope because recovery from the addiction is still possible. What you have to understand that while it’s possible to recover from heroin addiction, it won’t be an easy process. That is why you have to prepare yourself for it and be committed to your goal of getting rid of the habit. 

Many heroin users have tried beating their addiction but have experienced relapse and returned to their old ways after being sober for some time. What makes recovery from heroin addiction so difficult? Let’s try to understand why heroin is so addictive and different heroin effects on the brain. 

Studies have stated that heroin can hijack the user’s brain and rewire it. When this happens, the brain begins to think that the drug is a necessary chemical. A brain that has become addicted to heroin is only focused on getting high regardless of the costs or consequences. That’s why heroin addicts can do extreme things just to get their fix. 

This drug also works in a similar manner to that of other opioids. It can increase the dopamine level that is being released to the user’s limbic reward system. This system is a part of our brain which is responsible for experiencing pleasure. It also drives all of the activities that give us intense pleasure like drinking, eating, and sex. 

When an individual uses heroin though, what the drug does is that it begins to take over the limbic reward system. This means that large volumes of dopamine are released, causing the high that the heroin user feels. After this experience, the heroin addict feels that the euphoria is slowly going away. This leads them to seek out heroin over and over for that high. Repeated use of this drug will eventually create tolerance and dependence on it, contributing to addiction to heroin. 

Heroin detox and withdrawal is a very challenging process. If it is not done properly and with sufficient guidance, it can be harmful to the user’s body. The process of heroin withdrawal can be very difficult for drug users who try quitting the habit by themselves. 

It’s because the drug has already affected the areas of their brain controlling planning, organization, and judgment. The drug also hijacks the motivational and memory systems of the brain. This causes the relentless pursuit of heroin to achieve that high no matter what the cost may be. 

Drug Rehabilitation vs. Drug Detox

There are so many challenges that you should be ready for if you want to quit heroin abuse. But don’t let those challenges intimidate you or stop you from working your way to sobriety. In this section, let’s discuss further some of the available treatments for heroin addiction. We will take a look at drug rehabilitation vs. drug detox. 

Rehab and detox are not one and the same. With detox, it is the process of stopping the drug use so that the body can get rid of the heroin in it. Detox is an important step when it comes to drug rehabilitation. But it is not enough to successfully quit their heroin use. The chances of relapse or going back to using heroin are high. 

What you should remember is that treatment for heroin addiction involves many phases. For example, you have to go through detox first, and then you may need medications to help with the withdrawal symptoms. To provide you with support and give you opportunities to learn coping skills, talk therapy is also an important component in drug rehabilitation. 

This is why heroin detox alone is not enough if you want to stop the habit of using drugs. You need the right set of treatments as well as a good support group to help you in your recovery from heroin addiction. When you do, there are more chances for a successful recovery and maintaining sobriety won’t be very difficult. It will still be challenging but knowing that you have a great support system will enable you to move forward and not go back to using drugs. 

Short-term Effects of Heroin

Heroin abuse causes so many effects on the body. Some of these effects are short-term while others are long-term effects. When the drug enters a user’s brain, it becomes converted into morphine. When this happens, it binds immediately with opioid receptors. 

Individuals who use this drug feel a rush or a surge of intense pleasure. The rush that they feel may vary; it can be more intense if they have taken high doses of heroin. The intensity of the high also depends on how fast heroin enters the user’s brain. So, this means that the manner in how the drug was ingested is also a factor in the kind of high that the user feels. 

With heroin use, the high that is felt is also accompanied by other effects such as the dry mouth and becoming flushed. The extremities may also feel heavier than usual. Some of the other short-term effects of heroin include severe itching, vomiting, and nausea. 

When the initial effects of heroin use begin to wind down, the user will feel drowsy for the next hours. This means that his or her mental function is also clouded and the heart functions decrease. Breathing slows down as well which could be dangerous. These effects have the potential to be life-threatening as it can lead to the person becoming comatose and suffer brain damage that could be permanent. 

Long-term Effects of Heroin

When heroin is used repeatedly, there will be significant changes to the physiology and physical structure of the brain of the user. This creates long-term abnormalities in the hormonal and neuronal systems, and they may not be reversed anymore. 

Many studies state that the white matter of the brain will eventually deteriorate because of repeated use of the drug. This can affect a person’s abilities for decision making and the capacity to regulate their behaviour. They will even find it difficult to respond to stressful events and situations. 

Heroin can also create physical dependence and tolerance. Tolerance happens when an individual needs more of the drug just to get the same kind of effect or high. As for physical dependence, the user’s body begins to adapt to the drug being in the system. When the person stops using the drug abruptly then he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms. 

Withdrawal can happen within just a few hours from the last intake of the drug. Some of the heroin withdrawal symptoms include being restless, bone and muscle pain, cold flashes, goosebumps, vomiting, diarrhea, and insomnia. 

Most of the major symptoms of heroin withdrawal may be felt the most within the next two days after the last heroin ingestion. It will, later on, subside after a week or so. However, it is possible for some individuals trying to recover from heroin addiction to still experience withdrawal symptoms even after months of staying clean. 

When the drug is used repeatedly, it can result in what is called heroin use disorder. This is a disease that is chroming and relapsing. It is beyond being physically dependent on the drug. With this disorder, the individual has drug-seeking behaviours that are uncontrollable. They will find ways to get their fix no matter what the consequences may be. 

Heroin is a drug that is extremely addictive and it doesn’t matter how a user ingests it. All ways of heroin ingestion are dangerous and hazardous to the body. Nevertheless, the manner with which heroin is consumed determines how fast the person develops heroin use disorder. When the individual develops the disorder, then using and seeking the drug will become the primary and singular purpose that they have in their life. 

Heroin Effects on the Brain

Some of the more immediate effects after ingesting heroin are pleasure and relief from pain. Heroin can have significant effects on areas of the brain controlling thoughts, heart rate, and breathing. Using the drug repeatedly develops dependence and addiction to heroin. 

In order to gain an understanding of how the drug affects the user’s brain, what should be first understood is how our brain functions. With millions of cells, our brain reacts to the different chemicals in our bodies. This includes those that we ingest or consume. Such reactions can have an impact on how the body functions. 

The brain cells that react to various chemicals are what we call receptors. Some of these receptors react only to particular chemicals. In this case, receptors reacting to heroin are what we call opioid receptors. These receptors in our brain can have an effect on the way with which we feel stress, anxiety, depression, pleasure, and pain. Along with these, the receptors also have an impact on our sleep, breathing, and appetite. 

Our brain can naturally produce chemicals like endorphins that link to the opioid receptors. The endorphins are chemicals that aids in reducing how we feel pain as well as help in regulating bodily functions. 

When a heroin user snorts, injects or smokes heroin, it enters the bloodstream rapidly and then goes into the brain. Once the drug is inside the brain, heroin then begins to attach to the opioid receptors. After that, it becomes converted into morphine and 6-MAM which is another chemical. 

Short-term Effects of Heroin on the Brain

Heroin’s immediate effects happen when it attaches to the brain’s opioid receptors. When this happens, the user feels the euphoria from the initial high. The time it takes for the conversion of heroin into 6-MAM and morphine is about twenty minutes. Many heroin users say that the high that they get from the drug only lasts for about five to fifteen minutes. 

The two chemicals, 6-MAM and morphine, can stay in the user’s brain for a longer time. They continue to be attached to the opioid receptors for a number of hours. These chemicals can still cause a high but it will be milder than the initial one that the user gets in the first few minutes after ingesting heroin. 

Pain Relief and Pleasure from Heroin

We feel pleasure from so many things such as when we hug someone we love or we eat food that we like. During such times, endorphins are released and they link to the opioid receptors of our brain. In the case of heroin use though, the opioid receptors become overwhelmed by the drug. This causes a huge surge of pleasure. Users say that whenever they ingest the drug, they feel extremely relaxed and happy. 

Our brain’s opioid receptors do more than just affect how we feel happiness. The drug can also aid in giving relief from feelings of anxiety, depression, and pain. Heroin can have the same effect as that of prescription opioids. When high opioid doses are attached to the receptors, the brain won’t be able to make you feel pain or discomfort. 

While this effect of heroin may sound positive, this does not mean that it is alright to take the drug. The risks associated with it are just not worth it. Our opioid receptors are in control of vital life functions, and taking heroin can disrupt very important processes that keep us alive and well. Flooding the brain with heroin will make the opioid receptors dysfunctional. 

Brain Damage from Heroin Abuse

Among the most common causes of brain damage from using heroin happens when it causes the user’s breathing to slow down at a very dangerous rate. Using the drug can prevent the brain from getting sufficient oxygen. 

And as we know, without the right amount of oxygen, the brain cells begin to die. When this happens, then the individual dies as well. Many heroin users die tragically because of a heroin overdose when they just stop breathing altogether. 

There are still some users who survive an overdose of heroin but there may be damage to the brain already. Brain damage because of a heroin overdose is determined by the length of time that the person did not have sufficient oxygen. 

There are some individuals who survived and were able to recover fully because the brain cells were not deprived of oxygen for a long time and did not die. Nevertheless, most cases of overdose cause significant brain damage that the way the brain works has been altered. Assistance or life support may become necessary for the rest of their remaining years. 

Long-term Effects of Heroin on the Brain

Our brain is a powerful organ. It can remember situations and events wherein we experienced a pleasure. When we have such memories, it motivates us subconsciously to seek out that pleasure. This is what we know as cravings. We crave for things that give us happiness. 

With heroin, the reward and pleasure system of our brain becomes disrupted when the opioid receptors become overwhelmed. This changes the ways in which the brain is supposed to function. How the individual can experience emotions as happiness becomes altered. Also, such changes cause heroin users to seek more of the drug. This is true even if heroin use is already causing them serious consequences. 

Heroin Use and Cravings

Heroin use can disrupt the brain’s reward system. Opioid receptors are overwhelmed by the drug that so much pleasure is felt by the user. The brain of a heroin addict will notice that the drug makes them feel great and makes them remember the times when the drug use caused that pleasure. Cravings happen because the brain learns that heroin causes happiness. 

Heroin Use, Drug Tolerance and Dependence

Using heroin repeatedly causes the brain’s opioid receptors to adapt. Over time, they become less responsive to the drug. When this point has been reached, then drug tolerance happens. Heroin users who have developed a high tolerance to the drug won’t be able to feel the same intensity of pleasure as when they first used it. 

Since the opioid receptors are no longer as sensitive to the effects of heroin as before, users take higher doses of the drug so that they can achieve the same kind of high. Continued use of heroin will cause the opioid receptors to adapt and the tolerance to the drug increases continually as well. 

As the opioid receptors of the brain adapt to the drug, they respond less to it. Apart from that, other changes also happen. This causes the user’s brain to become more reliant on heroin so that it can function normally. This is what is known as dependence. 

If the heroin user cannot ingest the drug, then the opioid receptors will function abnormally. When the brain has this abnormal activity, it can cause withdrawal symptoms which cause a lot of discomfort to the individual. 

Heroin Addiction

Every time a drug user ingests heroin, the changes in the reward system of the brain becomes reinforced. This causes intense cravings for the drug. The opioid receptors continually adapt to their exposure to heroin and make the user more dependent on it as the drug use goes on. 

While there are many factors to be considered such as environmental and genetic factors, heroin users may develop the disease which is called heroin addiction. Heroin use can cause changes to parts of their brain that work on the pleasure, motivation, and self-control. Often, heroin addicts use the drug because they do not want to experience heroin withdrawal symptoms. 

If there is no treatment for drug use, heroin addicts won’t be able to quit using the drug. Alone, they will be left incapable of changing the long-term effects of heroin caused. Professional help is needed to successfully combat heroin addiction. 

Heroin detox and rehabilitation is an important step in helping the brain to recover from the changes that took place because of drug dependence. When the heroin user has already completed detox as well as overcame the withdrawal symptoms, then therapy and counselling are the next steps. These ensure that they will be given the opportunity to learn how to be able to control their cravings for the drug as well as make healthier decisions for themselves. 

Heroin Addiction Treatments

There are several treatments available for people who have become addicted to heroin. The treatments include both pharmacological and behavioural approaches. These two aids in restoring some level of normalcy when it comes to the way that the brain functions as well as with the individual’s behaviour. 

Treatments for heroin addiction can greatly help recovering addicts to get their life back. They get a chance to find work and lessen the risk of criminal behaviour and being exposed to diseases like HIV. However, even if pharmacological and behavioural treatments truly help recovering addicts kick the bad habit of drug use, studies have shown that a combination of these treatments is more effective as compared to using just one. 

Pharmacological Treatments for Heroin Addiction

Studies have established that medications or pharmacological treatment for heroin addiction significantly increases the chances of the recovering addict to stay in treatment as well as commit themselves to decrease their drug use. Also, medications for heroin addiction also lessen the risks of criminal activity and the transmission of infectious diseases. 

When heroin addicts first quit, they will experience withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and pain. These withdrawal symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe ones. The meds for heroin addiction can help in this stage of detoxification because they can help with the craving as well as other symptoms that can push a recovering addict to relapse and return to drug use. 

The meds that have been developed in order to treat heroin addiction work in a similar fashion when it comes to how it affects those opioid receptors. However, it is much safer and there are fewer harmful behaviours that will be produced because of it. 

There are three kinds of medications for heroin addiction. They are agonists, partial agonists, and antagonists. Whichever medication will be prescribed to the individual would have to depend on his or her particular needs as well as other factors that need to be considered. Here are some of the more common medications for heroin addiction. 

  • Methadone – This drug is an agonist but a slow-acting one. It is ingested orally so it reaches the brain much slower compared to how heroin is consumed. This manner of administration dampens the high that happens when other methods are used. It also helps in preventing symptoms of withdrawal. Addiction treatment specialists have been using methadone since the 1960s as a treatment option for those with heroin addiction. It is an excellent choice for people who don’t seem to respond well when taking other meds. 
  • Buprenorphine – This medication is an example of a partial agonist. It helps in relieving cravings for heroin without giving the individual that high or any other hazardous side effects. Like methadone, buprenorphine is also ingested orally so that it won’t produce a high.  If buprenorphine were to be injected, then it will induce symptoms of withdrawal. This can be averted for as long as the drug is taken orally as instructed by the physician. 
  • Naltrexone – This is an antagonist and it blocks the opioids. It is neither sedating nor addictive. There’s also no risk of developing physical dependence. Nevertheless, some recovering addicts still find it challenging to comply with treatment. As a result, the effectiveness of this medication has been limited. 

Behavioural Therapies for Heroin Addiction

There are a number of behavioural therapies for heroin addiction that recovering addicts can choose from. The therapies may be conducted in residential or outpatient settings. These approaches, including cognitive-behavioural therapy as well as contingency management, have been effective when it comes to treating heroin addiction. They are more effective when combined with medications though. 

With contingency management, a system that is voucher-based is used. How this works is that the recovering addict can earn points from making sure that their drug test results turn out negative. They can then use their vouchers to get items that can help them live healthier lives. 

As for cognitive-behavioural therapy, it is designed to change the way the recovering addict behaves in relation to his or her drug use. Also, individuals are given the chance to learn skills on how they can better cope when they are in a stressful situation. 

These two types of behavioural therapies are just examples of the options that recovering addicts have for this kind of treatment. It is important that the person who wants to recover from heroin addiction be given the right treatment by matching his or her needs to the treatment that will be most helpful.

Some of the other behavioural treatments include family behaviour therapy which involves the individual’s family and close loved ones.  The point of the therapy is to engage the significant people in the person’s life by encouraging them to apply the many behavioural strategies that they learn from the therapy sessions. An example here is improving their home environment so that it will encourage their recovering loved one to lead a healthier life. 

Each therapy session provides the opportunity for the recovering addict and his or her family to review their goals and whether those have been met. The participants of the therapy session get to participate in the planning, which interventions to apply, and the treatment options that can be further explored. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article was able to provide you with enough information about heroin use, drug addiction, the effects of heroin on the body, and the treatments available to combat the addiction. Knowing as much as you can about the drug is the first important step that you need to take on your road to recovery so that you will become more aware of how heroin use affects your life and the life of your loved ones. 

Once you are ready for the next step which is seeking professional help, you may be surprised that there will be so many people who will be more than happy to help you and give you support all throughout your recovery process. This includes your family, friends, colleagues, doctors, and fellow individuals who are recovering from addiction. 

Heroin addiction recovery is not going to be an easy road to take but it will be worth your while. Don’t think that your life is hopeless and there’s nothing left for you to live for. There are so many people who want to see you bounce back and become a productive and happy individual again. If they see that glimmer of hope in you, then you should also believe in yourself that you can make things happen. 

The first step to take is admitting that there is an existing problem. It’s hard to think that you’ve become addicted to drugs like heroin but once you recognize this, then you’ll know what kind of help you should look for. The treatments may vary from person to person. Don’t be daunted by it because you and your doctor and healthcare professionals will help you in looking for the right treatment combinations that will work best for you. Break free from heroin addiction today and seek professional help.

Understanding How Drugs Can Affect How the Brain Functions

Knowing how drugs can affect brain functions is an important step in recognizing the dangers that drug use can cause. People who are exposed to such substances are not safe from the risks they pose to the human body – from harming the unborn in pregnant women, appetite and weight loss, and even breast development in men.

In extreme cases, these substances can lead to severing one’s life. It gets worse. These destructive effects are not limited to the human body. They can seep through the very social fabric of any community. 

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime deems substance abuse as a threat to development and society. It robs every individual of their capacity to think right, behave correctly, and serve productively in the societies they belong to.

While illicit drugs can leave adverse dents on the human body and in society, this article aims to help you understand the threats they pose on one of the most important parts of the human body – the brain. Let’s take a look at how drugs can affect brain functions. 

How does the brain work its magic?

Before we delve into how drugs affect the brain, let’s take a quick review of our past biology classes. It is important to learn how the brain works in order to understand how drugs disrupt its normal processes. 

In movement and speech

Known to be the most complex part of the human body, the brain contains billions of nerve fibres (called the white matter) and approximately 86 billion nerve cells (known as the gray matter). It is found in the central nervous system together with the spinal cord. 

There are three main parts of the brain – the cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem. The cerebrum is the biggest part of the human brain. Its primary function is processing information and voluntary actions. 

This part of the brain is further divided into two parts – the left and the right hemispheres. Connected by a collection of brain fibres known as the corpus callosum, each hemisphere is responsible for the actions of the side of the body opposite to it – the left controls the right and the right controls the left. 

The former hemisphere of the cerebrum controls your arithmetic, comprehension, writing, and speech. The latter hemisphere, on the other hand, is in charge of your musical abilities, spatial capacities, artistic skills, and creativity. 

It doesn’t come as a joke that the brain is the most complex part of the human body because the two hemispheres can be further divided into more parts called lobes. There are four kinds of lobes – frontal, temporal, occipital, and parietal – each of which has its own special functions. These can be found below:

Frontal lobe

  • Cognition
  • Recent memory
  • Planning of locomotion
  • Some aspects of emotion

Temporal lobe

  • Hearing
  • Advanced visual processing

Occipital lobe

  • Vision

Parietal lobe

  • Senses of touch, temperature, and pain
  • Spatial projection

Found behind the top part of the brainstem is the cerebellum. Taking only about ten percent of the total weight of the human brain, the cerebellum is in charge of the coordination of fine muscle movement as well as balance. 

This part of the brain is not to be messed with. That’s why it’s important to understand how drugs can affect brain functions. Despite its minute size, the cerebellum contains approximately half of the brain’s neurons. Neurons are brain cells that specialize in sending signals to the brain. 

The cerebellum works its magic through the information received from other sensory systems of the body, in collaboration with other parts of the human brain. As soon as these pieces of information get processed by the cerebellum, it then regulates locomotion. 

Not only is this part of the brain responsible for movement regulation but as well as movement coordination. The ways you stand, sit, walk, dance, jump, swim, and even speak are all attributed to that small portion at the back of the brain. So, if you find yourself being able to do these and more, thank the cerebellum for it. 

Just like the cerebrum, the cerebellum is also divided into two hemispheres – the right and the left hemispheres. Both of these hemispheres work in tandem with the ones found in the cerebrum. 

The right cerebellar hemisphere functions jointly with its left counterpart in the cerebrum, while the left cerebellar hemisphere works in conjunction with the right side of the cerebrum. Altogether, they regulate and control the movements of the human body. 

Extra care for the cerebellum is needed. Damages to this part of the brain may cause loss of balance, tremors, and slower movements. In extreme cases, this can even cause intellectual incapacity or partial or total paralysis of the body.

The last major part of the human brain is the brainstem. This acts as a bridge between the spinal cord and the brain. It is the stem-like portion of the brain responsible for regulating the flow of signals from the brain to the other parts of the human body, and vice versa. 

Apart from this, the brainstem is also in charge of some vital bodily functions such as swallowing, blood pressure, respiration, heart rate among others. Just like the other two major parts of the brain, the brain stem also has smaller components – the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata

The midbrain is responsible for auditory and visual processing. The pons is in charge of sleep and awakening, and the medulla oblongata helps regulate vital functions such as breathing and blood circulation.

In hormonal secretions

The nervous system, through the human brain also functions in tandem with the endocrine system – the system in the body that takes control of the secretion of hormones through the bloodstream meant for the functioning and the growth of the human body.  

Hormones are chemicals that circulate the body. They are the reason behind our mood swings, our fight-or-flight responses, and our physical appearances. Below is a list of some of the body’s important hormones and what they are useful for.

  • Serotonin – the feel-good hormone responsible for mood regulation, memory, sleep, and learning
  • Oxytocin – the hormone in charge of sexual arousal, trust, and mother-infant bonding
  • Growth hormone – responsible for growth and development
  • Calcitonin – the hormones associated with the regulation of calcium and phosphate levels in the body
  • Cortisol – the hormone responsible for immunity and metabolism
  • Testosterone – the hormone that takes charge of the development of the male characteristics
  • Progesterone – the hormone involved in the development of female characteristics, especially in menstruation and pregnancy
  • Melatonin – the hormone responsible for sleep cycles
  • Adrenaline – the hormone that triggers the one’s fight or flight response in situations that involve stress
  • Insulin – the hormone that controls how carbohydrates are being utilized in the human body

Illicit Drugs: Their Kinds and Components

Illegal drugs come in many shapes and sizes in as much as they bring a whole spectrum of adverse effects on the human body. There are drugs that cause nosebleeds, serious tremors, stomach pain, or nausea. Let’s try to understand how drugs can affect brain functions. 

On the more extreme side of the spectrum, drugs can also lead to hepatitis, heart attack, unwanted abortions for pregnant women, and even death. This juncture of the article aims to discuss the most common kinds of illegal drugs and what they have that give them their addictive factor.


China White, Smack, Brown Sugar, call it what you want. This drug comes from the opium poppy flower. Quickly and directly absorbed by the brain, this drug has proven to be one of the most addictive substances out there.  It is an example of how drugs can affect brain functions.

Just like any other drug that gives one a high-in-the-sky kind of sensation, heroin also has dangerous effects when taken in excess. Some of these effects include collapsed veins, kidney disease, and skin infections.


Perhaps the most common kind of illegal drug, marijuana comes in various names – weed, pot, smoke, boom, trees, blunt, dope, you name it. Marijuana contains THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, a crystalline substance that acts as its main ingredient. THC is what gives its smokers it’s mile-high feeling. 

Despite being known for its potential contribution to the medical field, marijuana still holds grave effects when taken excessively. Over time, this can lead to disruptions in brain development and a massive drop in one’s intellectual quotient. Severe conditions include schizophrenia, depression, heart attacks, and even death.


Taken through injection, snorting, or pill form, ecstasy is a man-made drug and hallucinogen. Also known as Molly, this type of illegal drug sends several chemicals in the brain (e.g. dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin) resulting in mood altercations and immediate energy boost. 

However, this drug does not stay true to its promise for very long. Users of ecstasy usually feel nausea, anxiety, and sleep problems when the happy time wears off. When taken in prolonged excess, this can also cause blurred vision and increased heart rate and blood pressure – not so very ecstatic conditions.


More commonly known as meth, this variant of illegal drugs are procured from a mix of pseudoephedrine – a common ingredient in cold medications – and other toxic chemicals. Meth, or ice, chalk, crank, or crystal meth, gives its user an immediate high that fades quickly. 

As a result, its users usually take it in consecutive repeats making it one of the most addictive illicit substances there is. Meth gives off different results from other illegal drugs. Some of these include weight loss, skin sores, and severe dental issues and even increased chances of getting HIV. The severe ones are those that meth shares with other illicit drugs. These are anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and hallucinations.


This medication is an herb in the mint family that is local to parts of Mexico. Also called as Sage of the Seers, Sally-D, Magic Mint, and Maria Pastora, the salvia can be used through smoking or chewing its leaves. 

The drug makes extreme, however fleeting impacts, which begin within five to ten minutes and last around 30 minutes. The psychedelic impacts incorporate changes in vision, disposition, feelings, and body sensations.

How do illegal drugs affect the brain?

Understanding how drugs can affect brain functions is important. It has already been established that illegal drugs bring adverse effects on the human body, especially the brain. When somebody puts these synthetic substances into their body, either by smoking, infusing, breathing in, or eating them, they tap into the brain’s usual framework and mess with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process data.

Various illicit drugs, on account of their concoction structures, work in various ways. A few drugs, similar to heroin, have compound structures that copy a synapse that normally happens in our bodies. Indeed, these medications can trick our receptors, lock onto them, and actuate the nerve cells.

Be that as it may, they don’t work a similar path as a characteristic synapse, and the neurons end up sending irregular messages through the mind, which can cause issues both for our cerebrums and our bodies. 

Other drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine cause nerve cells to discharge an excess of dopamine, a characteristic synapse, or avert the typical reusing of dopamine. This prompts misrepresented messages in the mind, causing issues with correspondence channels. It resembles the distinction between somebody murmuring in your ear versus somebody yelling in a mouthpiece.

How does one become high?

It was assumed by researchers that the surge of dopamine, known as the reward chemical of the body, alone caused the sentiment of elation during drug use. Yet, they presently realized it is more entangled than that. Let’s take a closer look at how drugs can affect brain functions. 

Numerous medications—nicotine, cocaine, marijuana, and others—influence the cerebrum’s reward circuit, which is a component of the limbic system. Ordinarily, the reward circuit reacts to sound, pleasurable exercises by discharging the dopamine, which shows different pieces of the cerebrum to rehash those exercises. 

Medications assume responsibility for this framework, discharging a lot of dopamine—first in light of the medication yet later basically because of different signs related to the medication—like being with individuals you used these drugs with, or being in spots where you utilized them. 

The mind recollects this inclination and conveys a serious inspiration to look for and utilize the drug once more. Hence, dopamine does not cause the surge of sentiments; rather it fortifies the longing to utilize drugs.

Constant cravings

Our brains are conditioned to ensure we will rehash survival exercises, such as eating, by associating those exercises with a sense of bliss. At whatever point this reward circuit’s switch is toggled, the mind takes note that something significant is going on that should be recollected and instructs us to do it over and over, without even questioning it. Since these drugs come in and seize a similar circuit, individuals figure out how to utilize drugs similarly. 

After constant repetitions of drug use, the mind begins to conform to the floods of dopamine. Neurons may start to lessen the number of dopamine receptors or just make less dopamine. The outcome is less dopamine motioning in the mind—like cutting back the volume on the dopamine signal. Since certain medications are harmful, a few neurons may die. 

Therefore, the capacity to feel joy is decreased. The individual feels numb, dormant, and depressed, and is unfit to appreciate things that once brought delight. Dopamine urges the mind to rehash the pleasurable movement of medication-taking to have that feeling once more. This leads to the user resorting to drug use as a way of wanting to feel normal again.

Effects in the Long Haul

Every illicit drug rewires the brain to deliver its euphoric impacts. Be that as it may, some can likewise cause harm because of seizures, stroke, and direct poisonous impacts on the brain. Drug use can likewise prompt habit, a psychological issue that happens when rehashed drug use prompts changes in the capacity of numerous brain circuits that control delights, stress, basic leadership, motivation control, learning and memory, and different capacities. 

These progressions make it harder for those with a dependence on experiencing joy because of characteristic prizes, for example, sustenance, sex, or positive social collaborations—or to deal with their pressure, control their driving forces, and settle on the solid decision to stop craving for drugs.

Addiction is regularly entwined with other psychological wellness issues, yet this relationship doesn’t generally have a reasonable directionality. For instance, individuals who experience the ill effects of mood issues are twice as prone to experience the ill effects of a substance use issue, and individuals who experience these kinds of issues are roughly twice as liable to battle with a state of mind of uneasiness. It isn’t clear which issue is causing the other, yet the relationship is solid nonetheless.

The mental dilemma related to substance misuse can extend from mellow to genuine. At any dimension of seriousness, this trouble can have a significantly negative effect on the life of an addicted person. Among the most widely recognized long term emotional well-being issues related to drug misuse and dependence are: 


There is an unmistakable relationship between substance misuse and sorrow, just as other mood disorders. This relationship could be credited to previous melancholy that prompted medication misuse or it may be the case that substance use caused changes in the mind that expanded burdensome symptoms. 

Some individuals use medications to self-sedate side effects of gloom, however, this just lightens the indications while the client is high. It might even aggravate despondency manifestations when the client is working through withdrawal. Numerous medications have a withdrawal disorder that incorporates sorrow or other temperament aggravations, which can entangle recuperation. 


Drug addiction is likewise connected with nervousness and frenzy disorders. Again, the reason is hard to recognize and can be distinctive among people. For one individual, they could build up a manifestation of maltreatment in the wake of utilizing drugs to adapt to their side effects. 

Someone else could have a long-standing example of drug misuse and thusly create nervousness issues. Numerous substances, especially stimulants like cocaine, can cause uneasiness as a portion of ward side effects. Other drugs can result in severe anxiety as a feature of their withdrawal syndromes.


A few drugs, similar to cocaine, can cause sentiments of distrustfulness that may enhance with long term misuse. Apart from this, individuals battling with substance abuse may feel that they have to cover up or lie about their addiction, demonstrating a fear of being caught in the act. The way that numerous substances of maltreatment are unlawful can likewise add to mounting sentiments of suspicion among long haul drug addicts.

With that said, how do we get rid of it?

So much about illegal drugs and their adverse effects on the human brain have been laid out here – from the major components of the brain and their uses down to the mental consequences that are dealt with by drug addiction. 

But still, one question remains hanging – how do we get rid of it? Now that we understand how drugs can affect brain functions, the smartest phase of action that can be carried out is to not even try taking in any illegal drugs at all – not even a whiff, not even a taste. As what the cliché statement says, prevention is better than cure. Choosing to avert illegal substances such as these is the only sure way to never get caught in a dangerous addiction. 

However, not everyone is as lucky to jump over the rabbit hole. There are those, for numerous reasons, have found themselves entangled in the social ill that is drug abuse and addiction. And when they try to cut the perilous habit, they succeed in climbing up the hole. They take a few more steps up but only to find themselves rolling down the pit again. 

Putting an end to this addiction is no bed of roses. Whenever this mishap takes place, it is always best to seek professional help. Learn the tips to get your way out of drug addiction through people who specialize in these situations. 

And above all, surround yourself with people who truly care for your well-being. Seek out the people who are willing to see you out of the rabbit hole and finally into the light. After all, no one’s ever escaped from drug addiction alone.

Is Canada Drowning in Oxycontin Addiction? Looks Like the Truth Will Blow Your Mind!

Canada is facing a deadly nemesis in the form of substance abuse. More and more Canadians are affected and the numbers are growing by the minute. One of the most pressing problems that people are grappling with, regardless of the age group, is oxycontin addiction. What is oxycontin and why is it adding to the pill-popping dilemma of most Canadians today?

Face-to-Face with Oxycontin Addiction

Oxycontin is the brand name of oxycodone which is a form or version of opioid. Opioid is a prescription drug and it is highly addictive. Thus, the incidence of oxycontin addiction is higher more than ever, especially in the Canadian communities. Substance abuse is increasingly problematic and opioid is on top of the list for the most commonly used and abused type of medication. The version of opioid called Oxycontin is a popular brand and contains numerous substances particularly morphine, opium, codeine, fentanyl, heroin, and Hydromorphone.

Oxycontin is not the only brand that contains the substance oxycodone because other brands including Percocet, Oxycocet, Endocet, and Percodan also have the same content. The semi-synthetic Oxycontin is basically utilized in the field of healthcare and medicine, especially for relief of acute pain due to surgery, injury, and disease.

Many Canadians fall into Oxycontin addiction simply because of its painkilling effects and the sense of relief that you feel every time it is administered. In previous years, Oxycontin is a popular drug of choice among physicians and is used to alleviate and manage pain in terminal ailments such as cancer. Nowadays, the drug is prescribed for almost all types of pain and the addiction to the drug has since become epidemic in Canada.

Signs of Addiction to Oxycontin

Abuse and dependence on the painkiller, Oxycontin, have various effects to the user which may include pain relief, euphoria, vomiting, and respiratory depression. A person may also experience cough suppression, dry mouth, and constipation. Others who abuse the drug are susceptible to a sense of contentment and detachment from anything and anyone. Opioid dependents feel like they are free from any dissenting emotions.

The long-term effects of Oxycontin addiction are undoubtedly life-threatening and may lead to death when it goes out of control. Some of the bodily harms that are results of the oxycodone abuse include malfunctions of the brain, heart, liver, and lungs.

Treatment for Oxycontin Abuse

Oxycontin addiction is quite difficult to break and when the dependence has become increasingly high, the withdrawal could be excruciatingly difficult as well. Treatment programs and support from professional groups are vital in order to help the opioid addict put an end to his addiction. Treatment starts with proper facilitation of the withdrawal management program or the detoxification process. There is also aftercare support to prevent relapse.

The deadly grip of Oxycontin addiction in the very fiber of today’s Canadian society is quite difficult to tackle. The good news is that there are various drug rehab centers that are available for professional treatment and continuous support not just for the individual but the community as a whole.