Heroin Abscess and Treatment

Heroin abuse is part of the opioid epidemic occurring in the U.S. right now, and itu2019s extremely scary to think about the scope of this problem. Thousands of people die from heroin and prescription painkillers each year, and rather than declining, the numbers seem to keep going higher.

Heroin Abscess | What Does a Heron Abscess Look Like & Treatment
Heroin acts on the central nervous system much like prescription opioids. These substances bind to opioid receptors in the CNS. When this happens, the person’s brain is flooded with feel-good brain chemicals at unnaturally high levels. This is why they feel a euphoric rush and a sense of pleasure, warmth, and comfort. Heroin and opioid prescription drugs also provide pain relief. When a response like this is triggered in the brain, it activates reward pathways so ultimately what happens is that the user’s brain compels them to keep seeking out whatever it was that made that pleasurable response, which in this case is drugs. This is how addiction is born, and with heroin, it can happen very quickly. For some people, they may become addicted the first time they use this powerful drug. There are a few ways to abuse heroin. Some people snort it, or they might smoke it, but heroin is most commonly associated with injection. Intravenous drug use means that people make heroin into a liquid that can be injected directly into a vein or muscle using a needle. The result of intravenous administration of heroin is a high that occurs more quickly, often within just a few seconds, and also a more powerful high. Even when people start out smoking or snorting heroin, they often move to injecting it, because they’re chasing the higher level effects of this method of abuse. No matter how you use, it heroin is dangerous. Not only are addiction and physical dependence tremendous risks, but so are things like overdoses. With a heroin overdose, a person’s respiration is slowed to the point that they go into a coma or die. Along with these risks which can easily turn deadly, when heroin is injected there are even more possible risks. Injecting heroin and other drugs raises your risk of contracting diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. It also leads to the risk of various infections which can ultimately affect other parts of your body, such as your heart. One type of infection that’s common with intravenous use is a heroin abscess. A heroin abscess can be painful and dangerous, and they require medical treatment, but too often people who are abusing heroin don’t want to seek treatment for this, so it becomes worse. As well as risks of diseases and infections, when drugs are injected it increases the risk of overdose because the heroin is going straight to the bloodstream, and onset is rapid. There is a risk of arterial damage that can form at injection sites, and administering drugs via a needle makes the likelihood of addiction even higher.
An abscess from heroin or one that occurs from any needle-based drug use refers to a collection of fluid or pus that’s build up in the tissue of the user. Some of the symptoms of a heroin addict abscess include having redness, pain, swelling, and warmth at the affected area. With an abscess from heroin, redness usually goes beyond the swelled area. An abscess from heroin is caused by a bacterial infection, and in order for doctors to diagnose it, they may have to cut it open. Some of the complications of an abscess from heroin can include the spreading of the infection to other tissues throughout the area or the body and tissue death which is called gangrene. This situation if it goes untreated can lead to the need for amputation or death. Both skin and soft-tissue abscesses are a common issue for injection drug users, and the injection of heroin, in particular, can put someone at a higher risk of having an abscess even over the use of other drugs intravenously. The reason drug users are susceptible to an abscess from heroin is because needles used to inject drugs may have been in contact with bacteria or dirt, and then that’s transferred through the skin. If someone has an abscess from heroin, a medical provider may also do an X-ray to make sure there are no fragments of the needle in the infection site.
Heroin abscess treatment usually requires that it be opened and drained and antibiotics usually don’t do much to help an abscess of any kind. Antibiotics might be used in someone who has symptoms of bacterial infection throughout the body, however, or if the abscess doesn’t heal following drainage.
So, what does a heroin abscess look like? They’re usually round or oval in shape, and they tend to have a mass at the center that is filled with pus and may be darker in color. They can appear anywhere, but with intravenous drug users, they’re usually at the site of injection. They’re tender, painful and swollen, and redness may go beyond the site of the abscess.
Heroin Abscess and Treatment
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