Addictions are rarely instantaneous. In most cases, people who abuse drugs must take the substances for a long period of time in order to develop the neurological changes that are associated with compulsive use. But some drugs seem capable of producing profound changes in no time at all, which allows users to develop an addiction with astonishing speed. Heroin is one such drug. Understanding just why it can be so addictive could keep some people from taking the drug at all, while the information might help others to understand what they’ll need to do in order to recover from a heroin addiction already in play.

Heroin Delivery Matters

People who take heroin use methods that allow the drug to overwhelm the brain in a short period of time. They inhale heroin through their nasal passages, they smoke the drug or they inject heroin solutions into their veins. Once heroin is inside the body, it’s capable of producing an intense amount of change within the brain in seconds. At one moment, the user is sober. In the next, the user is euphoric. This rapid speed of change is, in part, responsible for the remarkable addictiveness of heroin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse , as drugs that cause fast changes just tend to be more harmful than drugs that work slowly.

Persistent Changes

The rush heroin can bring is dependent on chemical changes inside the cells of the brain. Cells with access to heroin are pumping out huge amounts of chemicals associated with pleasure, and the body is overwhelmed with euphoria. In time, those cells may be incapable of producing pleasure signals without heroin, and the body may be deafened to the impact of small amounts of pleasure.

Incapable of Organic Happiness

These chemical reactions can mean that heroin users must take more of the drug in order to feel happiness, and these same users may be incapable of feelings of happiness unless heroin is available.

This is another factor that’s involved in the addictiveness of this drug.

Heroin Withdrawal Plays a Role

When addicted people attempt to stop the cycle of abuse and regain their sobriety, they may develop symptoms of physical withdrawal, including:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes

They may be unable to sleep or eat, unable to get comfortable and unable to focus on any one thought or person. Thoughts of heroin might fill their minds, and they may be desperate to get in touch with anyone who has a supply they can share.

According to research published in Nature Neuroscience, this withdrawal process can make heroin all the more addictive. Users who go through this process might feel such intense relief when they relapse that the drug becomes even more rewarding and harder to give up. They’ve set their minds on the use of the drug, and when they get it, they may be resistant to attempt detox in the future.

Black Bear Lodge Can Help

Heroin is certainly addictive and dangerous, but we can help. At Black Bear Lodge, we provide intensive support that can help people with addictions to understand their urge to use, and we can provide tools that can help people to banish their habits for good. Just call, and our admissions coordinators would love to tell you more.