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Effects of Heroin Abuse on the Immune System

Effects of Heroin Abuse on the Immune SystemThe immune system is made up of special cells, proteins, tissues, and organs. The job of the immune system is to defend against germs and microorganisms to prevent infections and keep people healthy. The immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade the different body systems that can cause disease.

The cells involved in the immune system are the white blood cells, or leukocytes, which seek out and destroy disease-causing organisms or substances. These leukocytes circulate through the body between the organs, lymphatic vessels, and blood vessels in a coordinated manner to monitor the body for germs or substances that might cause problems.

Heroin is an opiate drug that is synthesized from morphine and usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.” Heroin is a Schedule I drug that has significant impacts on the immune system.

How Heroin Harms the Body

Heroin attacks the body and causes harm in the following ways:

  • Collapsed veins
  • Infection of the heart lining and valves
  • Liver disease
  • Pulmonary complications
  • Various types of pneumonia

In general, heroin tends to repress immune function, which can lead to systemic infections in the body.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Often a person continues to use heroin to avoid the withdrawal symptoms associated with reducing or stopping the use of heroin including the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Craving for the drug
  • Sweating
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • High temperature
  • Shivering
  • Severe retching and vomiting and diarrhea
  • Rapid respiration
  • Cramps
  • Sleeplessness
  • Intense muscle and bone pain

While the withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, they are similar to a severe attack of influenza.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Services

A successful heroin addiction treatment program utilizes the strength of your body, mind, and spirit by providing support and guidance for the following:

  • Detox – Detox is a necessary first step that removes the drug from the system as well as residual traces that remain in the body and can cause a person to experience cravings. After detox, a person needs to eat healthy foods, participate in regular exercise, and perform stress-relieving activities daily.
  • Education – The educational experience an addict receives at a quality drug treatment program allows them to learn common sense solutions to issues that arise, change negative habits into positive actions, develop social skills and ease social anxieties, and assist a person in making goal oriented plans.
  • Spiritual health – Often this segment of treatment is based on 12-step programs that initially help a person develop a relationship with God or a higher power. By acknowledging the needs for help, the addict can learn to make amends for past transgressions, conduct a daily personal inventory, pray, and meditate. All of these spiritual skills are used to help recovering addicts maintain their sobriety and help others to stay clean.

Get Help for Heroin Abuse

There are no benefits to using heroin, which negatively affects every aspect of your life, including your core physical heath. If you need to learn more about the abuse that heroin causes your immune system and your life, please call our toll free number today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about heroin abuse and the addiction treatment services that can help you.