For people who have someone close to them battling a heroin addiction, they may wonder if people addicted to heroin are capable of loving other people. The answer to the question is complex. When someone is addicted to a drug like heroin, it can seem as if you don’t even recognize the person you once loved. People often say that it’s like their loved one has two personalities, one of which they love and the other of which is driven by the addiction.
The interpersonal relationships of a person tend to be the very first aspect that starts to diminish when addiction arises.
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When someone initially uses heroin, their brain is flooded with dopamine, creating a euphoric high. Their brain then creates a memory of using heroin, and it’s seen as a rewarding, pleasurable experience. The brain is wired to want to keep seeking out activities that bring pleasure, and the rush of heroin is unlike any natural pleasure a person could experience.
That’s what stimulates the cravings and other characteristics of addiction. The brain of the person addicted to heroin becomes rewired to continue drug-seeking behaviors, and the physiological desire to use drugs becomes the prime driver of the person’s life. Most people who are addicted to heroin feel they can only be normal or happy when they’re high, so they’re entirely driven to keep trying to get the drugs.
It can seem like the person with an addiction is making the choice of drugs over you and your relationship, but that’s not the case. They’re picking the drug over everything.
People with addiction can experience a loss of control because of their brain chemistry. Every single decision and action they make is based on fulfilling their addiction.
In the meantime, you can focus on taking care of yourself and gaining the support you need to navigate your life as someone who loves a person with an addiction.
If you or a loved one live with addiction, help is available. Contact The Recovery Village and speak to a representative about how treatment plans can help your loved one address their addiction and any co-occurring disorders.