How Is the Life of a Heroin Addict Different?

People who first start experimenting with heroin tend to tell themselves that they can take the drug every now and then without affecting their daily life. Sadly, this is not true because heroin is an extraordinarily addictive substance. Even very functional addicts will suffer from physical and mental health issues. 

The life of a heroin addict tends to be quite different from the life they had during their addiction. It is impossible to live normally because heroin can ruin your relationships, destroy your health, and change the way your brain works. All of these effects of heroin can result in significant life changes that may be impossible to reverse. 

Heroin Users Deal With Physical Health Problems Regularly

Heroin has both short and long term physical effects that change the quality of your life. People tend to have a loss of appetite, resulting in dangerous weight loss. Due to repeated injections of heroin, they may end up with infections, abscesses, and collapsed veins. Heroin also causes a lot of stomach upset and constipation, so addicts may spend hours in the bathroom. 

Heroin users also end up with other health issues that can continue making them miserable even if they get clean. Increased risks of heart disease, lung infections, and kidney disease can cause addicts to end up in the hospital or die prematurely. Those who share needles have a heightened risk of contracting hepatitis C, HIV, and other dangerous, lifelong illnesses. As they age, heroin addicts tend to develop arthritis, which makes it painful or impossible to move normally. 

Addiction to Heroin Significantly Changes the Way You Think

Those who are long term users of heroin undergo major changes to the shape of their brain and the chemicals and hormones that regulate thoughts and moods. 

  • White matter in brain deteriorates.
  • The brain produces less dopamine, serotonin, and other types of neurotransmitters associated with happy and stable moods.
  • The brain’s reward system structure stops functioning properly.

All of these changes combine to make it more challenging for heroin addicts to function in society. They may not be able to feel joy at things that would make a normal person happy, and they do not remain satisfied and pleased for a normal amount of time following something good happening. The declining white matter in the brain can make it difficult for addicts to think logically, remember things, and process information. 

All the changes to the ways an addict thinks directly affects them as they go about their daily life. Addicts will begin to think about heroin constantly, and getting more heroin to use will become their main purpose. Instead of caring about hobbies, career goals, friends, family members, or schoolwork, a heroin addict will spend the majority of their time focusing on heroin. They will aim to get heroin regardless of consequences, so they may engage in extremely risky or unethical behavior. 

Heroin Destroys Social, Romantic, and Professional Relationships

Addicts often struggle with building and maintaining stable relationships because their priorities have shifted. They may lose an interest in interacting with each other because they are primarily focused on heroin instead. Humans are social by nature, so a lack of social support can end up being hugely problematic even if an addict tries to tell themselves they are better off without friends or family who do not approve. 

In addition to a reduced interest in relationships, heroin addicts may also lose their relationships due to a lack of trust. Things like not being able to show up to work on time, forgetting dates because you are high, or stealing a relative’s money to pay for heroin all erode the trust that others have in an addict. They may eventually find that no one in their life is willing to rely on them, and having a house and job to maintain their lifestyle may not be possible. 

As you can see, it is impossible to have a heroin addiction without negatively impacting your life. Fortunately, there is still hope for those struggling with this dangerous addiction. The right type of treatment can make a huge difference. Recovering from a heroin addiction requires both medical treatment to reduce cravings and therapy to discuss the underlying causes for the addiction. Call us today to talk to our counselors about starting the path to recovery.