Heroin Overdose – Symptoms, Affects, and Treatments

Addiction Resource > Addictive Substances: The Anatomy of Drug Addiction > Heroin Addiction, Abuse, and Treatment > Heroin Overdose – Symptoms, Affects, and Treatments

Heroin is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world. This highly addictive substance can cause a lot of damage to one’s body. One of the most severe consequences of heroin abuse is overdose which can lead to a fatal outcome.

Heroin Overdose Treatment

In fact, heroin overdose is the cause of the deaths of many celebrities. They include the likes of River Phoenix, John Belushi, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin.

What are Heroin Overdose Symptoms?

Heroin overdose symptoms can vary due to many factors. They include the amount of drug, the purity of the substance, the user’s age, and their physical condition. Of course, the usage of other drugs is very important. It is among the first things they investigate.

Some of the most common signs of heroin overdose are:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Constricted pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Pale face
  • Purple lips
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you notice these signs and symptoms, it is of the essence to immediately call 911.

The main factors that can induce heroin overdose are:

  • One’s unawareness of the amount of the injected substance
  • The combination of heroin with other central nervous system depressants

It often occurs during relapse. After a patient has undergone a period of detox, his/her system craves the substance even more. This is why they end up taking a greater amount of the drug.

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How Does Heroin Overdose Affect Your Body and Brain?

HeroinThis event has a negative impact on almost every organ in one’s body. Furthermore, death often occurs due to depression of the respiratory system. Additionally, heroin also lowers one’s blood pressure which can lead to heart failure.

Arrhythmia is another major issue of a heroin overdose. Due to irregular heartbeat, organs can’t receive enough oxygen. This causes serious tissue damage. As a result, this can lead to pulmonary edema. The cause of this disease is fluid retention in the alveoli. As a result, it causes difficulties with breathing.

Needless to say, this thing can cause serious brain damage. Brain impairment often happens due to lack of oxygen and head injury. Brain damage due to a heroin overdose is like Alzheimer’s disease. This is according to some studies. Also depending on the severity of the overdose this side effect may be irreversible. Brain damage can also lead to a host of conditions. They include tremors, cognitive impairment, vision problems, memory issues, concentration issues, and seizures.

How Much Heroin Does it Take to Overdose?

The amount of heroin that can cause an overdose varies. Of course, it depends on many factors. They include one’s physical condition, age, height, weight, how you took the drug. Also, the use of other drugs or alcohol is also important. According to some sources, the lethal dose of heroin varies between 75 mg and 375 mg.

Heroin Overdose Death

Most of the deaths happen because of breathing problems. As said before, heroin depresses breathing and blood pressure. That can be very dangerous if a person is sleeping. In a normal case, our body knows how to breathe while sleeping, but that is not the case during heroin overdose.

Another cause of death when it comes to a heroin overdose is heart failure.

Long time heroin addicts tend to combine this drug with other opiates with alcohol. As a result, it intensifies overdose effects.

Heroin Overdose Treatment

They will base the treatment of this event on life support and tracking life signs. The medical staff will conduct a blood and urine test to detect every substance the person took. Breathing support is also needed because the patient is unable able to breathe on their own.

One of the most commonly medicines they use in heroin overdose treatment is Naloxone HCI. It can slow down and lessen the negative effects of an overdose.

Then, the doctor will look for any sign, or symptom of pulmonary edema or endocarditis. They are the most common complications linked to heroin abuse.

When they have stabilized the patient, the doctor will suggest inpatient rehabilitation. Do you want more information about rehab centers near your living area? You can find it here.

Heroin Overdose – Symptoms, Affects, and Treatments

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