Addiction can be hard to quantify, especially if you’ve never dealt with substance abuse firsthand. Many people ask, “how addictive is heroin?” to gauge the ease of starting and the difficulty in stopping. As it turns out, heroin is considered one of the world’s most addictive substances. It belongs to a family of drugs known as opiates—naturally derived from the opium poppy plant.
In the centuries that opiates have existed, people across the world have struggled to put an end to their addiction. Where there was little respite hundreds of years ago, the treatment centers of today implement strategies that adapt to our understanding of addiction and psychology. Finding a heroin addiction treatment program in Treasure Island, FL, should be your go-to option to aid loved ones suffering from heroin addiction. Many facilities feature polysubstance abuse treatment programs for those struggling with heroin in tandem with other drugs. Start your search for a Treasure Island outpatient treatment program today.
What Causes Heroin Dependence?
Heroin is highly addictive because of how it affects the brain’s dopamine production. When heroin is used, it rapidly enters the brain and is converted into morphine. Morphine, in turn, binds to opioid receptors in the brain. This results in a flood of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that speaks to the parts of the brain typically reserved for rewarding or pleasurable feelings.
With enough time, the brain will adapt to the surges and recessions of dopamine, which results in something called “tolerance.” Becoming tolerant of a substance does not make it any less damaging; instead, a tolerant brain will decrease its native dopamine production in response to heroin’s effects.
Tolerance is the body’s way of maintaining stability, but addiction is wired in such a way that it can potentially backfire. Becoming tolerant of a substance means that more will be required to achieve the same high. People tend to notice these diminishing returns, and will either take more heroin, stronger heroin, or upgrade to a more potent drug.
Heroin is already one of the most powerful substances, so many take to adding additional drugs into the mix. Depending on which drugs are used in tandem with heroin, the consequences can often be much more deadly than the sum of their parts.
Personal Risk of Heroin Addiction
A large factor in answering the question “how addictive is heroin” is personal risk. Part of the reason there doesn’t exist a widely used metric for charting how addictive a drug is has to do with how different people respond to addictive stimuli. Some people may try a drug without any inclination to do it again, whereas others may become instantly ensnared. These factors are hard to tell until they’re put to the test. There are some indicators of whether or not someone will be likely to try heroin again, such as:
- Having a family history of drug abuse
- Keeping company who uses heroin regularly
- Presence of mental health disorders
- Foresight and impulsivity
Regardless of how an individual responds to heroin use, it’s certain that its effects will induce some withdrawal symptoms. Even for first-time users, withdrawal symptoms include pain, headache, and a worsening of existing mental health disorders. People with anxiety or depression may have felt some short relief from using heroin, which may incline them to use it again.
Quitting Heroin Takes Professional Treatment
So, how addictive is heroin? Heroin users are very likely to use it a second time due to its alleviating and empowering effects. It’s common for heroin addiction to appear in individuals who use it as a way to manage or escape from larger life problems. Many know that this isn’t a long-term solution. Finding a treatment plan that seeks to address not just heroin addiction but its roots in mental health and circumstantial concerns is the safest and most assured way to stop using heroin.
There are treatment centers across the nation that can get you the help you or your loved one need. Find a treatment center in the St. Petersburg area today, and overcome heroin addiction today.