Heroin And Its Effects On The Brain

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Heroin, a chemical imposter, is an illegal, extremely addictive drug derived from opium. Heroin can reach the brain by methods of injection, nasal inhalation, or smoked. In our brain there are many receptor sites, each site specific for different neurotransmitters. In this paper I will refer to the opiate receptor. Naturally, our brain is responsible for making endorphins, a natural opiate of the body. These endorphins are the “feel good” chemical sensations in the brain, when we are exposed to pain or stress. Heroin mimics the opium chemical, creating the effect of pleasure and euphoric feelings. I will look into how heroin affects the cerebral cortex and how different genders perceive and treat the effects of heroin. The opiates in…show more content…
The opioid is synthesized from morphine, and when entering the brain, heroin is converted back to morphine. Upon entering, the once opioid, now morphine, binds to opioid receptors, specifically in the brainstem. The brainstem is vital for controlling “automatic processes vital for life, like blood pressure, arousal, and respiration.” These processes are how we continue to live; heroin use and overdose can then lead to death by suppression of these vital life processes, such as suppression of breathing (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014). While heroin undoubtedly affects our processes of living, it also interrupts our sensations and perceptions. Users describe the feeling of heroin as a euphoric or “rush” feeling. This rush reportedly last one to two minutes, where the actual high lasts hours. Other sensations associated with heroin are reduction of anxiety and depression, safe and warm feelings, and pain relief (Hartney, 2014). While heroin affects sensations, it also changes motor functions, such as reaction times. In a study I examined, experimenters tested reaction times in heroin abusers of different genders. In the experiment, researchers formulated two groups, one control and the other heroin dependent currently in a withdrawal period; researchers choose participants specifically on certain guidelines. For the experiment, participants were asked to focus on a visual stimulus on a computer screen. There were asked to press a button when they saw the
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