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.
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
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Taking the first step is the hardest part, but we’re here to help. Call our helpline today to get started.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- The Drug Policy Alliance — 10 Facts About Heroin
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — What effects does heroin have on the body?