There are many ways of taking Heroin. It can be injected, snorted, sniffed or smoked. Any way the drug is administered transports it to the brain rapidly. Individuals who are regular users of Heroin are at risk of developing a dependence to it.
The brain develops a tolerance to Heroin very quickly. This means that every time the drug is taken it loses a bit of its effect. Most individual who use Heroin confess that try as they may they never experienced a high nearly as powerful as the first time they took the drug. So they take increased amounts of the drug or take it more and more frequently. Chasing that initial high leads many to overdose, or to mixing heroin with other drugs. Tolerance is actually a defense mechanism employed by the body, and it is what often leads to the death of the individual.
Factors Affecting Tolerance
Tolerance also appears to be partially related to the environment where the drug is taken. Studies have shown that individuals who take heroin in an unusual or different place to normal are more likely to overdose. There is no consensus on why this is. One theory is that the bodies of individuals who go to the same location to take the drug every time become conditioned to taking it there. That is to say, their body gears up for what’s to come and therefore they have a higher tolerance in that location. When they take Heroin somewhere else, their body hasn’t prepared itself and they are likely to overdose. However, this is not a proven theory.
When an individual has developed a tolerance to Heroin, they are likely to be taking the drug everyday. This is when dependency develops. Daily intake of Heroin can trick the brain into speeding up as a way to counter the depressant effects of the drug. But if an individual who is dependent on Heroin suddenly stops taking it they will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of Heroin Dependence
Heroin dependence is a medical condition. It is characterized by symptoms that occur when the individual stops using Heroin. Some indicators of a Heroin dependence are:
- Racing heartbeat
- Dilated pupils
- High blood pressure
- Severe gastrointestinal distress
- Difficulty sleeping
- Strong drug cravings
- Violent behavior
Heroin withdrawal starts approximately 6 to 12 hours after the last administered dose. The earliest symptoms are those that resemble severe flu, along with anxiety and yawning. This is followed by a few hours of restless sleep. Withdrawal symptoms usually peak after 36 to 72 hours, but are resolved in a period of 5 to 10 days.
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