How does heroin addiction occur?

Heroin is probably the most addictive drug and the second most dangerous given the damage it causes both to the user and to their social environment.

It is therefore not surprising that it falls under the category of hard drugs and that every year many efforts are made both to help people who want to “take off” this substance and those who want to continue to use it without s. ‘exhibit to all. sanitary irrigation associated with this practice: transmission of needles to share needles, STDs due to reckless sexual behavior, etc.

It all has to do with the potent effects of heroin, which are able to generate a strong addiction in a relatively short period of time even by hard drug standards, and which lead those who use it to lose control of their substance. life practically without realizing it. In this article we will see how heroin addiction develops and what elements are involved.

    What is heroin?

    First of all, let’s start with the most important: what is heroin? This substance, also known as diamorphine or diacetylmorphine is an opioid-type drug derived from morphine and first synthesized in 1874 by the English chemist Charles Romley Alder Wright. When injected into a vein, heroin is characterized by a state of euphoria and well-being followed by a wide variety of very harmful and potentially fatal side effects.

    All of them have to do with the depressive effects of the nervous system of this drug, that is, the decrease in its activity in areas related to consciousness and executive functions which come to be regarded as sedation. These side effects and complications of overdose stand out decreased breathing, digestive problems, heart disease or directly cardiac arrest and death.

    Initially, this substance was marketed as a replacement pain reliever for morphine, as it was mistakenly believed to be less addictive than the latter. Today, its commercialization and its use beyond a medical prescription or its use in research are illegal.

    Elements that cause and maintain heroin addiction

    These are the things that make heroin addiction one of the most powerful and dangerous.

    1. Chemical dependence on the brain

    Heroin crosses the blood-brain barrier, which acts as a filter between the circulatory system and the central nervous system, and it comes into contact with nerve cells in the brain. Once there, it interacts with a series of neurotransmitter receptors, which are parts of neurons attached to their membrane (their outer and most superficial layer) and the function is to capture specific molecules that neurons exchange. between them to communicate with each other. them and trigger certain mechanisms in others and in other parts of the body.

    In this way, the drug works by replacing specific neurotransmitters naturally available in the central nervous system, coupling to neurotransmitter receptors ready to “capture” the latter, and at this point a chain reaction occurs that gives way to impaired brain function: neurons activated by heroin send abnormal activation patterns to other nerve cells, which in turn do the same, and in the end the whole functioning of the organism is “unbalanced”, because nervous activity also influences the endocrine system, responsible for the management and production of hormones.

    Specifically, heroin appears to particularly potentiate the activity of mu opioid receptors, the role in the nervous system is associated with analgesia and reduced levels of anxiety.

    As the immediate effects of heroin are generally pleasant, the person gradually gets used to using it, and at the same time his brain is being modified to prioritize these rewarding experiences.

    Heroin’s chemical action on neural networks in the brain causes them to change both in their chemical functioning and in the way they make connections with other parts of the brain; that is, the nervous system changes both chemically and physically. The brain’s reward system, responsible for directing our actions towards goals and incentives that motivate us, is changing so that more and more heroin becomes the top priority.

      2. Weakening social and long-term incentives

      As we have seen, in a relatively short time, heroin turns our brain into a set of organs whose function is to enable us to find and consume more heroin. This causes the drug to eclipse the rest of the daily sources of motivation over time., Beyond hygiene, personal health and personal relationships.

      In turn, the latter encourages heroin addicts to isolate themselves more and more, weakening their emotional ties with their friends and family, and their social circle is reduced to other dependent people, because in an environment this facilitates immediate access to drugs. In this way, as the heroine gains prominence as an incentive, what is around the addict loses its ability to provide other stimulating and exciting experiences.

      3. The pressure of the context

      In the previous paragraphs, we have seen that the context plays an important role in the consolidation and maintenance of addiction, because if there are no sources of motivation capable of competing with drug use, the person closes in increasingly. in environments and lifestyles in which there is only the possibility of continuing to use these substances.

      But at the same time, it is often the people of this new social circle who put pressure on (Even unintentionally) so that each of his individuals continues to take drugs and find it very difficult to free themselves. For example, giving away needles, staying in places everyone associates with sitting and using heroin or any other drug, keeping secrets related to buying and selling the substance, etc.

      4. Health problems

      Heroin has very harmful effects both physically and psychologically, so those who have already developed an addiction, see themselves in the need to face many forms of discomfort: infections, accelerated aging, pain, anxiety to take several hours without consumption, etc. If you don’t have professional help, all this predisposes people to trying to block this discomfort the only way they know how to distract with the medication.

      Are you looking for help with addictions?

      If you suffer from addiction or dual pathology issues, please contact us. Fr CITA clinics we specialize in the treatment of addictions with and without drugs both psychotherapy and medical and psychiatric intervention, and we offer one-off therapy sessions, outpatient support and also admission to our residential module fully equipped located in the heart of nature. You will find us in the Mataró and Barcelona area; to see our contact details, go to this page.

      Bibliographical references:

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      • Hammers, A .; Asselin, MC; Hinz, R .; Kitchen, jo .; Brooks, DJ; Duncan, JS; Koepp, MJ (2007). Upregulation of opioid receptor binding after spontaneous epileptic seizures. Brain: Journal of Neurology. 130 (4): pages 1009 to 1016.
      • Nutt, DJ; King, LA; Phillips, LD (2010). Drugs Harm the UK: A Multi-Criteria Analysis of decisions. The Lancet. 376 (9752): p. 1558 – 1565.
      • Prague, Maria de l’Arme. (2001). Origins and effects of addictions. Mexico, DF: SEPT.
      • Rook, EJ; van Ree, JM; van den Brink, W .; Hillebrand, MJ; Huitema, AD; Hendriks, VM; Beijnen, JH (2006). Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of high doses of heroin formulated in pharmacies, intravenously or by inhalation in opioid dependent patients. Basic wink. Pharmacol. Toxic. 98 (1): pages 86 to 96.
      • Uchtenhagen, AA (2011). Heroin maintenance treatment: from idea to research to practice. Drug and Alcohol Review. 30 (2): pages 130-137.

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