More often than not, young adults who use drugs are doing so to experience the initial effects that substance has on their body; they want to feel that initial high. However, when that person’s drug of choice is heroin, the effects of that drug last far longer.
Whether you have a loved one struggling with addiction or you are recovering yourself, it’s important to understand how long heroin affects the body so you can be proactive in avoiding dangerous consequences.
Heroin’s Effects on the Body
How Quickly Does Heroin Affect the Body?
Heroin provides users one of the quickest highs but the feelings change throughout several stages. Typically, a person will feel nauseous for about 20 seconds before experiencing a high for about 10 to 20 minutes — the higher their tolerance, the shorter amount of time a person will feel that high.
In the last stage, a user will typically feel dizzy and heavy for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
What are the Short-Term and Long Term Effects of Heroin?
As mentioned, heroin provides a person with short-term effects as well as long-term effects — both of which can have dangerous consequences.
Some short-term and immediate effects of heroin use include:
Nausea and vomiting
Slower heart rate and lung function
When abused over long periods of time, heroin use can lead to:
Weakened immune systems
Lower intellectual and sexual performance
Higher risk of STIs
How Long Does Heroin Remain in the Body?
Since it is an opiate, it accumulates inside your fat and tissue, showing up on tests increasingly more if the person is a frequent user. For tests that involve urine, heroin can be detected several days to a week after use, while hair follicle tests can detect heroin used within the past three months.
Withdrawal from Heroin
Withdrawal from heroin can vary by person but is generally painful and very difficult. A person may experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as a few hours after their last use — with those symptoms lasting up to a week. Even once the initial withdrawal symptoms subside, a person can experience less intense side effects for up to several months after they stop using.
If you or someone you love is addicted to heroin, there is hope. Examining heroin addiction and how treatment helps is beneficial in stopping the use of heroin and can empower you to improve your life on many fronts.