Can You Become Addicted The First Time You Use Heroin?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on October 11, 2021

While using heroin once may lead to addiction, it’s not enough to create a physical dependence.

Can You Become Addicted To Heroin After The First Use?

It is possible that using heroin once will lead to addiction, because a person wants more of the feelings heroin creates — euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief.

However, you cannot become physically dependent on heroin after one use.

Physical dependence requires repeated use of a substance. This means your body requires more of this substance to function, which can’t happen after one use.

Learn more about frequently asked questions about heroin abuse

How A Heroin Addiction Can Form

Heroin works by binding and activating receptors in the brain called mu-opioid receptors (MORs).

When MORs are activated in the rewards center of the brain, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released. Dopamine reinforces the drug-taking behavior.

The body then experiences a rush of euphoria and relaxation.

When a person consistently uses heroin, the body becomes accustomed to a certain level of chemicals to feel normal.

This is what creates a dependency, something that can’t happen after using heroin once.

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Treatment Options For Heroin Addiction

If you are struggling with heroin abuse, or have a loved one with a heroin addiction, there is a range of treatment options.

Outpatient rehab programs allow patients to receive treatment while living at home and carrying out regular life activities like work, school, and other responsibilities.

An inpatient program involves 24-hour residential treatment. This might be the right choice for someone who’s looking for a more intensive treatment plan.

Another effective treatment method is medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which uses a combination of medications and behavioral therapies.

Call Us To Learn About Heroin Addiction Treatment

Our representatives are ready to talk you through your options in heroin addiction recovery.

Taking the first step is the hardest part, but we’re here to help. Call our helpline today to get started.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on October 11, 2021
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