The majority of heroin users don’t set out to become addicted. However, as we already discussed in the “Heroin / Opiate Addiction Warning Signs” section of this website, the “casual” heroin or opiate user can and most likely will become addicted. Moreover, even the occasional user of heroin can overdose and potentially die even if they are not yet addicted. Thus, since using heroin at all, even on occasion can be extremely risky, it goes without saying that heroin addiction can be downright treacherous.
The most obvious risk and danger of using heroin and/or becoming addicted is death. But for those “survivors” out there frequently tempting fate, you won’t escape completely unscathed. So if the risk of dying isn’t enough, what are other dangers of heroin and/or opiate addiction?
Things you can see, hear, touch, taste and smell are the tangible. It’s everything around you and in many cases, the things you worked so hard to surround yourself with. The tangible is a reflection of you, your character and your experiences. It includes your job, your house, your car, your surroundings. Did you choose to leave the big city to enjoy the sound of the birds and the fresh air and the beautiful scenery of the countryside? Did you put pride into building your own house or customize it to become your fortress of solitude and serenity? And what about the people you’ve chosen to include in your life? Now what if you lost all of these things?
Heroin can rob you of all the tangible things you’ve worked so hard to build and maintain. Those addicted to heroin know that the drug eventually consumes you and eventually takes these things away. Heroin users often lose their job, their home and their car. Heroin addicts are often forced to leave their well earned surroundings and replace them with far less desirable ones. In many cases, heroin leads to 4 walls, a toilet, a small uncomfortable bed and cold metal bars. Alternatively, it leads to living on the streets with other homeless people, dishonesty and theft, all in the name of acquiring more heroin. Heroin can also take away the people that mean the most to you. And as we already discussed, heroin can lead to death.
If losing everything you’ve worked so hard for to acquire and maintain isn’t enough, intangible loss that accompanies heroin addiction can be even more considerable. Intangible items include the things you can’t see or hear, touch, taste or smell. People may be tangible, but the relationships you have with them are not. The intangible also includes things like love, health, beauty, perception, emotions and more.
The intangible bond you have with someone is invaluable. It cannot be measured, priced, bought or sold. Unfortunately, like the tangible, the intangible can be lost. Relationships and bonds can be broken, beauty can fade, health can deteriorate and emotions can change. It takes a lot to keep the intangible intact. But heroin addiction can and inevitably will destroy every single one of them.
“At least you have your health” is a common phrase that most people hear but often dismiss. It’s a phrase people say in an attempt to provide encouragement and support to someone who is hurting or struggling with something else. But as any one suffering from a terminal illness knows, health is an invaluable commodity that should not be taken for granted. Heroin strips health from those addicted to it. Signs and symptoms include significant weight loss, sunken in eyes, facial deformities (scaly skin, bumps, paleness, etc.), a substantial decrease in breathing and blood pressure (which can cause the heart to stop) and more.
Heroin can also cause an arrhythmia, which affects the rhythm and/or rate of your heartbeat. The result is decreased blood flow to the body, the brain and other organs. This can cause a stroke. Pulmonary edema, also caused by heroin use causes blood to backup in the veins sending blood to the lungs and other unwanted places.
A loss in health ultimately results in death, though one can live for some time under deteriorating health conditions. But couple a loss of optimal health with a loss of relationships with the important people in your life, losing your job, your home and ultimately everything else can be devastating.
The impact of loss related to heroin abuse and addiction is usually significant. Most people who’ve been addicted to heroin a long time will tell you that they hate their life and would do just about anything to stop. Yet many of them have lost the resources and energy to do so. So how can you beat heroin or opiate drug addiction?
Even the long term heroin addict who has lost everything can recover, start over and live a normal, healthy, successful life. But there’s no doubt that the earlier you recognize and get help from heroin use and abuse, the easier it will be to recovery.
While some people decide to quit heroin cold turkey, many recognize the need for medical treatment, counseling and other assistance. This community provides free information, support and advice on the best treatments for heroin and opiate abuse. To share your story and garner support from other heroin addicts, counselors and medical professionals, visit the “Kill the Heroin Epidemic Discussion Forum“. You can also visit our Facebook Page.
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