Heroin is a semi-synthetic opiate derived from morphine. It can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Once it enters your body, it is converted to morphine. It causes an intense euphoric high, but it also causes lasting damage in your brain. If you are abusing heroin, you should enter a heroin addiction treatment center. The Heroin High How heroin affects the brain is by binding to the opiate receptors in many areas. Some of these areas are the body's pain pathways. However, other areas are part of the body's natural reward system. Opiates bind to the pain receptor sites, blocking them, and relieving pain. They also cause significant releases of dopamine in the reward areas of the brain. Dopamine is what you experience when you make a winning free throw, ace a presentation at work, or fall in love. It is designed to encourage behaviors that are good for you. When dopamine is released, your brain naturally encourages the behavior because it is pleasurable. It can't distinguish between behavior that is good for you and bad for you. It simply knows that dopamine is being released, which is supposed to happen when you engage in healthy behaviors. Heroin's pleasurable effects include: \tEuphoria \tSedation \tAnxiety relief \tPain relief \tRelief from emotional pain How Heroin Affects the Brain Short Term How heroin affects the brain is by releasing dopamine. When the brain floods with dopamine from heroin, it begins to adapt quickly. It decreases the number of dopamine receptors in the brain. It also increases the number of dopamine transporters so that dopamine is cleared from the brain more quickly. This creates a tolerance to the drug because higher amounts are now needed to get the same dopamine rush. Heroins Long Term Effects on the Brain Next, how heroin affects the brain white matter. This is one of the most significant and long-lasting changes to the brain. White matter in certain areas shrinks with long term heroin use. There's particular damage in the regions that involve reward processing and inhibition. This can cause decreased decision-making skills, impulsivity, inability to reason properly, inhibition, and a lack of impulse control. It's thought that this is one of the factors that makes the relapse rate for heroin so high. Substance-Induced Disorders When looking at how heroin affects the brain, you learn that drugs like heroin can cause or make worse serious mental disorders. It can be difficult to determine whether there was an underlying disorder, which makes drug use more likely, or if the drug use itself causes the disorder. However, the changes the brain experiences on heroin can cause mental disorders. A dual diagnosis treatment program alleviates mental health symptoms, so each individual can focus on recovering from addiction and creating a healthy long-term plan. Dual diagnosis treatment can help with a variety of mental health disorders. Depression ranging from moderate to severe is common when someone stops using heroin. This is because the brain's reward system has been rewired to cope with very high amounts of dopamine and serotonin. Normal activities, which release normal amounts of dopamine, will not be enough to give you a sense of pleasure. Heroin use can also precede an antisocial personality disorder. This may be linked to the damage to the brain's reward system as well. In healthy individuals, socializing with others makes them happy. It releases dopamine into the brain. Anxiety disorders and insomnia\u00a0can occur, as well. Your brain releases excitatory chemicals to help balance out the sedation caused by heroin. When heroin is stopped, your brain still releases the excitatory chemicals causing over stimulation. Drugs cause the brain to do a balancing act. Imagine a see-saw. To balance out the weight on one end, weight on the other end must increase. When the person gets off, there is suddenly too much weight on the other end. Help at Lucida Treatment Center At Lucida Treatment Center, we understand how heroin affects the brain. Our drug detox program helps you through the detox process. Then we offer dual diagnosis treatment at our residential drug addiction treatment center and other addiction treatment programs. You can recover and go on to lead a happy, healthy life. We can help. To begin your new life, call us at today.