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How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Heroin?

Fist of a man with a spoon, syringe and lighter on table

Heroin addiction can develop incredibly fast. Heroin is such a powerful drug and it affects the body so profoundly that people can develop an addiction before they realise they have a problem. That being said, there is no set time period for someone to develop an addiction because people are unique and addiction is complicated.

To better explain why addiction varies from person to person it is important to understand that there are actually two types of addiction that can occur individually or simultaneously. These are physical and psychological addiction. Both of these are serious and can cost someone their life.

Physical addiction is where your brain or body chemistry actually changes because of a drug. Essentially you become reliant on that drug to make you feel good or just normal. When you stop taking the drug you actually feel bad or sick. Heroin can be physically addictive because it can change how the brain produces and handles chemical signals. This is why heroin addicts who stop using go through withdrawal. Their bodies are having to cope with a chemical imbalance they are not used to.

Psychological addiction is where you use the drug as a coping mechanism or simply because you have become reliant on the pleasant feelings it offers. This does not require your brain chemistry to change. Often with a psychological addiction, when someone feels bad, they don’t do something healthy like getting a good nights sleep or exercise, instead, they get high. Because heroin provides such a pleasant feeling, people can become psychologically addicted easily.

Everyone is different but a general rule of thumb is that physical addiction to heroin starts with increasing tolerance. This means you need more heroin to get high. Essentially your body is becoming used to the heroin being there and your brain chemistry is changing.

Psychological addiction begins when you start to use heroin to deal with negative emotions or become reliant on the pleasant feelings it provides. This type of addiction can be particularly insidious as many people are unaware they are using a drug as a coping mechanism until they are heavily reliant.

Another factor that affects how long it takes someone to become addicted to heroin is their unique physiology. Everyone’s body is different and that means physical addiction can set on much more quickly for one person when compared to another. There is no way to tell if you will become addicted quickly or if it will take a longer exposure to heroin to develop a dependence.

If you are worried you are becoming reliant on heroin or other opiates you likely already have a problem. This makes treatment especially important. By catching heroin addiction early on you can fix the problem before it does serious damage to your health, relationships and career.

To start treatment you can contact Help Me Stop today. Our expert mental health professionals will work with you to break your addiction and help you create a life free from heroin.

If you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, or know someone who does, contact us for free, confidential advice now on 0208 191 9191 or jump onto Live Chat/email us directly at .

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