Physical and Psychological Effects of Heroin Abuse

Every day, at least 115 people die from an opioid overdose in the United States of America and around 4-6 percent people dependent on opioids switch to heroin, abused as a cheaper substitute to the prescription drugs. It is an illegal opioid prepared from poppy plant and listed as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). People with dried out prescriptions of painkillers resort to heroin, which is cheaper and easily available. It is smoked, snorted or injected for its euphoric effects.

According to the United Nations, the number of heroin users in the U.S. is the highest in last 20 years. Many drug dealers mix it with fentanyl and other fatal drugs to reduce the cost and increase the potency. Gullible users buy it thinking it’s pure heroin and end up suffering from deadly consequences. Sold in a number of forms, such as solid black chunks, white or brown powder or sticky black substance, heroin is fast in delivering its potent effects. It blocks the brain’s ability to perceive pain by depressing the central nervous system.

As it imitates the brain’s natural process of seeking pleasure, its preliminary experience can lead to tolerance, which slowly transitions to dependence and addiction. With time, more and more quantity of the drug is required to produce the same effects. Eventually, all that users care about is drug acquisition by any means. They isolate themselves from social obligations and personal responsibilities, and prefer to stay alone.

Heroin causes changes in white and gray matter of brain

Recurrent exposure to heroin is not only habit forming; it also starts affecting the white and gray matter of the brain, which in turn, starts affecting the hormonal and neuronal functions of the body. These changes cannot be undone easily. According to the researchers, exposure to heroin might result in the disruption of the brain’s white matter, which connects different regions of the brain with each other and facilitates the transmission of chemical and electrical signals. In the same manner, gray matter located in the regions controlling muscle movements and emotions, hearing, speech, sight, behavior and decision making is also affected by recurrent drug use.

It leads to a disruption in the gray matter volume in the frontal cortex region. This is the area where complicated thinking takes place and information is processed for recollecting and understanding. The disruption in white and gray matter regions of the brain can lead to long-term incongruences in the hormonal and neuronal systems and with repeated intake, the ability to react to stressful situations, make decisions and control behavior decreases.

In addition to short-term physical symptoms, heroin abuse can also lead to long-term health consequences, like increased risk of HIV and other infections due to shared needles, mental health issues like depression and paranoia, reproductive issues like irregular menstrual cycle, and damage to nose tissues due to snorting. Heroin abuse can also lead to troubled relationships, financial problems, legal battles, unemployment and homelessness. Some of the behavioral signs indicating heroin abuse and addiction could be stealing or borrowing money, and hostile or deceptive behavior.

When used in excess and for a longer period, the risk of overdose increases. Some of the overdose effects are depressed heart rate, slowed breathing (condition known as respiratory depression), coma and even death. When the user tries to abruptly stop drug use, it can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms manifested in the form of muscle and bone pain, nausea, agitation, insomnia, and vomiting, drug cravings, cold sweat, diarrhea and fever.

Treatment for drug abuse and mental issues

As heroin withdrawal can be enormously painful, it is sensible to seek treatment under the supervision of a medical professional at a rehab center. Chronic use of any drug requires care from trained and experienced specialists who can diagnose the underlying problem and administer the right recovery plan. The treatment may include detox, medication and behavioral therapies. When a drug user also suffers from a mental illness, it’s called co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. Both the conditions need to be treated simultaneously for complete recovery. Leaving one undiagnosed or untreated can worsen both the problems.

Recommended Anti Wrinkle Cream

The eyes are the window to your soul. They can tell others if you are stressed, happy, tired, or surprised. Every moment of your life you live through your eyes, and the tell-tale signs are not only reflected in your iris, but also the area around your eyes. Why not show your eyes and the surrounding areas individual attention and care?

There are many indicators of the need to treat your skin with anti wrinkle cream. Puffiness, discoloration, and wrinkles are the most common reason for people paying more attention to their skin treatments. Better than using just a moisturizer, many people are now using anti wrinkle eye cream because of its many beneficial properties.

Studies have shown that the skin around your eye is ten times thinner than the skin on the rest of your face, making it very delicate. There is constant washing and agitation. Those who wear make up have a lot more wear and tear on their skin due to the use of brushes, eyeliners, mascara, and eye shadows creates a lot of skin agitation. Because of the thinner skin, the eye area is the first to show any wrinkles and fine lines. This also causes darkness and puffiness under the eye to appear easily.

Along with a good Anti Wrinkle Cream, rest is the recommend course of action. There is truth in the term “beauty rest”.

A good anti aging skin cream will address puffiness, darkness, fine lines, and wrinkles around your eyes. Collagen occurs naturally in the body and decreases in production over time causing wrinkles. Collagen is the protein which creates elasticity in your skin and helps it to bounce back from the stresses of the day.

A good anti wrinkle cream will have peptides and antioxidants. Peptides are the heavy weights in anti aging creams. Essentially, peptides are chains of amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins that rejuvenate your skin. They are smart too, communicating with the proteins to produce the right type of collagen to repair your skin. Peptides assist in the repair of collagen. This is what makes your skin look healthy and young, removing stress lines, sagging, and wrinkles.

While peptides are amazing, they do require a little bit of assistance. In order for them to be used to their full potential, peptides need a few specialized ingredients to augment their efficiency and potency. Antioxidants also help restore the skin’s health and work in tandem with peptides for maximum potential. When ingredients are paired together correctly, the anti wrinkle cream will be able to restore your skin and remove wrinkles, puffiness, and darkness.

Women tend to have healthy skin routines much earlier than men, but that doesn’t mean that the male gender should be without anti aging skin products. Men should also be taking care of the skin around their eyes by using anti wrinkle eye cream. Men’s top complaints about aging is fine lines around their eyes, which can be corrected with anti wrinkle cream.

Comfy Feet, Healthy You

Our feet can be one of the most neglected aspects of our bodies, even though they do most of the hard work everyday. They are charged with carrying us through every trail life takes us on, and oftentimes they are stuffed deep in stinky, sweaty shoes. Take a peek at your feet right now. Are they loose and free and comfortable, or are they being neglected? I think one of the best things about growing up in South America is that I learned the importance of caring for my feet, as it was ranked right up there with dental care!

Brazilians value their foot health, and they treat their feet with the utmost care. Although every culture is different, some of the most serious side effects of bad health are neglected feet. For example, in diabetes, we check feet on every exam. This is because the first signs of complications from diabetes can often be seen in feet. What are your feet telling you about your health? Go ahead and buy those shoes that give them the extra comfort they need. Who knows, maybe that will help you be as active is you want to be as well. Here are some pointers on picking the right shoes, directly from Harvard:

Shop for shoes in the afternoon, as your feet expand throughout the day.
Wear socks that you would normally wear.
Walk in the shoes before purchasing, and trust your own comfort fit more than size!

As I think about the past 10 years in medical missions, I think the best stories are of being able to give someone the gift of new shoes. For many of us it’s easy to take for granted that we can have the right shoes we need. But, this is definitely a luxury in many parts of the world.

I think particularly of a woman I met in Africa, who walked five miles every day to work. Her feet looked so worn and tired, and all she had to wear were flip flops. Once I realized we wore the same size, I gave her my favorite running shoes that I was wearing that day. The colors looked so cheery on her feet, and definitely gave her an extra bounce as she walked the dirt road home. The look of relief on her face was priceless when I handed her those shoes. She could now walk to work with shoes that supported her. As I watched her step turn into a bounce, I was reminded how easy it is to take something as simple as good shoes for granted.