Author: John Carter

Heroin Addiction Explained: How Opioids Hijack the Brain The New York Times

how does heroin make you feel

However long it lasts, the heroin high is short-lived compared to the long-term, deadly outcomes of heroin use. If you or a loved one live with addiction or are using drugs recreationally and want to stop, The Recovery Village can help. Reach out to one of our representatives today to learn how you can start your path to recovery.

Heroin doesn’t cause the same type of high that marijuana causes. It won’t make you feel a rush like the high caused by crystal meth or cocaine. It makes you relaxed, but the feeling isn’t comparable to drunkenness caused by alcohol.

  1. Other substances including sedatives like benzodiazepines and barbiturates can also be added to heroin.
  2. Then, for several hours, you feel as if the world has slowed down.
  3. Recovering from heroin addiction is difficult, but it’s worthwhile, and there may be effective treatment options in your area.
  4. At the time, morphine was the latest and greatest cough-suppressing medicine for people with asthma.
  5. They’re vulnerable to dangerous situations and are at an increased risk for getting into accidents.

When a dependent person stops taking the drug, it takes several days for the brain to get used to functioning without heroin. Most people who overdose on heroin don’t feel anything. Nodding off or falling asleep after using heroin is common, so many people say they felt like they were falling asleep right before they overdosed.

What Is Heroin?

However, we believe in providing accessible and accurate information to reduce the harm that can occur when using. Here’s a basic rundown of what to know about using heroin, including how long it stays in your system, side effects, and signs of an overdose. Heroin was first introduced in 1898 as an upgrade to morphine.

how does heroin make you feel

The effects of heroin appear quickly and can last for several hours. The duration can depend on the dosage and administration. People may notice that your nails or skin are blue, that your extremities are limp or that your pupils are small. You won’t feel any of this because you’ll be unconscious. If you’ve ever received anesthesia before a surgery, it’s likely a similar experience. Within a few seconds of receiving the drug, you’re asleep.

What the First Heroin High Feels Like

This amount of heroin can depend on factors like your metabolism and the type of heroin you use. That said, these numbers do suggest a significant percentage of people who use heroin may live with heroin use disorder. Mixing drugs is always risky but some mixtures are more dangerous than others. When smoked, the effects of heroin usually kick in within a few minutes. Those who have never used heroin may wonder what a heroin high is like, or a person who has a loved one that struggles with heroin may wonder about the symptoms and effects of a heroin high. BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor.

People who use heroin for the first time often vomit and feel disoriented. Whether the nation’s healthcare system and society can catch up to the opioid crisis remains to be seen. People can recover and lead meaningful and happy lives again, even if medication is required indefinitely. Every person is different, and underlying issues, such as mental health problems, can affect a treatment plan.

Too much heroin can lead to addiction or psychological dependence. Heroin is an illegal drug derived from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the opium poppy plant. Heroin belongs to a category of drugs called opiates or opioids, which treat pain.

This emergency medication can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. “Speedballing” refers to the practice of mixing heroin with a stimulant, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or certain ADHD medications. The stimulant is meant to intensify heroin’s euphoria while masking its sedation effects. Depending on how you use it, heroin can go into effect immediately or within half an hour. Some people describe this as a warm, relaxed feeling, like resting on a cloud. In 2020, Oregon passed Measure 110 to decriminalize drug possession.

We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Your brain is wired to want to replicate behaviors that bring pleasure, which is why you feel the urge to use heroin repeatedly. One of the most detrimental long-term effects of heroin use on the brain is the development of a heroin use disorder, which is a chronic brain disease. With repeated heroin use, your body can become dependent on this opioid and you can develop a substance use disorder.

Naloxone Stops Opioid Overdoses. How Do You Use It?

Through interviews with users and experts, The New York Times created a visual representation of how these drugs can hijack the brain. If you receive a life-saving drug called naloxone, you may wake up feeling symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Regardless of how you wake up from the overdose, you should always seek or accept medical attention. Medications can make it easier to wean your body off heroin and reduce cravings. Buprenorphine and methadone work in a similar way to heroin, binding to cells in your brain called opioid receptors. These medicines are safer and longer-lasting than heroin.

Heroin also can lead to other health risks, such as an increased risk of contracting HIV through contaminated needles. When you take heroin, it binds to the opioid receptors in your brain and triggers a release of dopamine. Your body contains chemicals called neurotransmitters that typically bind to your opioid receptors, and they manage pain and feelings of well-being. When these receptors are activated in your brain’s reward center, dopamine is released, which is how you feel pleasure. Heroin binds to opioid receptors in the brain, resulting in a release of endorphins that causes the high. This sensation leads to changes in feelings, thoughts and sensations.

Naltrexone blocks those receptors so opioids like heroin don’t have any effect. Your medical team can help you find the treatment plan that works best for you. It will probably include medication and behavioral therapy. Experts say this medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the “gold standard” of care for people who have heroin addiction. A heroin high begins relatively quickly after the drug is used, but feelings of pleasure and euphoria usually peak within a few minutes and only last up to a couple of hours.

While most people feel the initial heroin high is pleasant, some may have negative experiences, but this depends on the individual. Once the initial euphoric rush from heroin wears off, you may experience a period of drowsiness that can last for hours at a time. Confusion, a slowed and irregular heart rate and suppressed breathing — all signs of autonomic neuropathy — accompany the drowsiness.

In some states, you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to get Narcan. You can get it through local resources or pharmacy chains. Other drugs that block the effects of heroin (so you can’t get a high) are available once you become drug-free. All these drug treatments are intended to supplement the counselling and social support that’s normally needed to help in becoming drug-free and to recover from addiction. The after effects of smoking heroin can last for several hours, so it’s important to be careful if you are using any other drugs or alcohol in that time. The heroin high feeling that users describe as pleasurable is unlikely to continue with the same effects as a person builds a tolerance to the drug.