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Psychological Effects of Heroin

Psychological Effects of Heroin

Psychological Effects of Heroin

Heroin is an extremely potent and addictive opioid that people will abuse illegally to get high.

The highly addictive properties of this drug can quickly lead to dependency on its users. The psychological effects of heroin can begin to evolve even within a few uses. Heroin abuse is known for its negative impact on a person’s health and can be life-threatening without addiction treatment. At Banyan Boca, we offer a heroin detox to help individuals take their first step towards sobriety.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a type of opiate made from a combination of opium poppy and morphine. Because this drug is an opiate, it targets the opioid receptors in the brain and disrupts the way the body manages pain. The body’s opioid system is in charge of regulating pain and controlling a person’s sensation and expectation of feeling pleasure and being rewarded. Heroin can lead to pain relief and a powerful sense of euphoria, contributing to the user’s constant desire to continue using. As the addiction continues to progress, the opioid receptors in the body are modified.1

The chemical makeup of heroin makes it a drug that quickly affects the brain. When heroin is injected, for example, the person can begin to feel its effects within seconds. It quickly travels through the bloodstream and reaches the molecules in the opioid receptors of the brain, causing a numbing and euphoric sensation. This is the main reason people begin to use heroin recreationally and can’t stop on their own once they’ve started.


Mental Effects of Heroin

The mental effects of heroin abuse include disruptions in basic brain functions like:

  • Learning
  • Processing Information
  • Memory
  • Decision-Making
  • Attention
  • Thinking

White and gray matter in the brain are severely affected by heroin abuse. White matter is tissue in the brain made up of nerve fibers and acts like a subway that carries messages from one brain cell to the other.2 Gray matter is a large part of the central nervous system that contains the majority of neuron somas or cell bodies of neurons.3 These neurons allow gray matter to process and release any information it receives from white matter.

Psychological effects of heroin abuse also result from the brain’s efforts to rewire itself. A person with a heroin addiction will become more tolerant as the problem progresses because their brain is forced to create more opiate receptors to manage the influx of opium. This is the main reason repeated doses of heroin can never mimic the user’s first experience. As a result, the individual will continue to use more and more heroin, disturbing the way their brain processes pleasure and dopamine production. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and other forms of psychosis.

The best way to avoid the long-term psychological effects of heroin is by getting help as soon as possible. At Banyan Treatment Centers Boca, we also offer an exceptional heroin addiction treatment that is explicitly designed to treat the repercussions of heroin abuse. This treatment targets the root of heroin abuse and can help the individual heal mentally and physically.

Heroin and Mental Health

Long-term psychological effects of heroin can develop into mental illness. Mental illness is often associated with substance abuse, and usually serves as the cause or effect. Like many drugs, heroin affects the brain’s chemical makeup and interrupts its release of dopamine. Dopamine plays a large role in producing feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, energy, motivation, and enthusiasm. This lack of feel-good emotions can lead to depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

At our drug and alcohol treatment center in Boca, we understand the psychological effects of heroin and that any form of substance abuse can cause mental health problems. That’s why our staff of licensed and trained professionals dedicate themselves to the health and safety of our patients throughout their addiction treatment.

Every area of a person’s life can be affected by addiction. If you are suffering with this disease, do not wait to get help. Call us now at 888-966-9413 to learn more about our mental illness and substance abuse help in Boca.


  1. NCBI- Reward Processing by the Opioid System in the Brain
  2. NCBI- Change in the Brain’s White Matter
  3. NCBI- Neuroanatomy, Gray Matter
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Psychological Effects of Heroin
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