Despite the path of destruction and often death that tends to come from the use of heroin, people still start using this dangerous every single day. So what is it about heroin that has so much pull for so many people?
It’s the way the drug makes them feel, initially. Over time, heroin rewires the brain and changes how they experience pleasure and emotions. With continued use, heroin can contribute to addiction. So what is it about how heroin affects you that makes it so damaging?
Heroin binds to the opioid receptors in your brain, and it affects the reward pathways. Heroin can affect the brain in the same way the brain would be activated from naturally pleasurable activities, such as eating a meal, but at a much higher level than what occurs naturally.
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That dopamine creates the high, so essentially how heroin feels is because of the dopamine it floods your system with. The rush that makes heroin feel so good is short-lived, however. It often lasts no more than a few minutes, and then the euphoric state ends. Once heroin stops working on your brain, you enter a period of sleepiness and sluggishness, and while this isn’t like the rapid high, some people do also find this lethargy to be a pleasant sensation as well.
To accurately sum up how heroin feels, the moment a person takes it (particularly when they inject it), they experience a short-lived euphoria that gives way to a feeling of drowsiness. There may also be sensations of warmth that tend to accompany heroin use as well.
The reason why heroin feels so good is the same reason why prescription opioids are effective painkillers. Heroin and prescription opioids are analgesics, and they alter the way you feel and perceive pain. Additionally, the reasons why heroin feels so good are also the reasons it’s so dangerous and addictive.
How heroin affects you is that, at first, it has a profound effect on your brain, which leads to the euphoric high. However, after using heroin just a few times, you start to build a physical tolerance. This means you no longer feel that major high and need larger doses to feel any effects from the drug. Your brain continues to seek out the drug which is part of the development of addiction.
Eventually, the brain starts to feel normal on heroin, and abnormal without it. At this point, your brain has rewired its reward circuits. It becomes difficult to feel pleasure in normal ways without the presence of heroin, and when you’re dependent on heroin, you also experience symptoms of sickness and withdrawal when you try to stop using it.
Another way how heroin affects you is that it depresses the activity of your central nervous system, including your respiratory system. This nervous system depression is one of the reasons why heroin feels so good, but it’s also one of the ways people die from using this drug. It slows down their central nervous system so much that they stop breathing altogether.
To sum up why heroin feels so good: it’s because of heroin’s impact on your brain. This drug binds to opioid receptors and releases large amounts of dopamine that is stored in your body’s cells. Then, because of how it depresses your central nervous system, you sink into a sense of relaxation or extreme sleepiness.
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