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4 Signs of Heroin Addiction

Friday, November 22, 2019 | By tricia

signs a loved one is using heroin

Table Of Contents

Heroin is currently one of the most widely abused substances in the United States. Today, nearly one million Americans are addicted to this specific opioid. Additionally, 130 people die each day in the country from an opioid overdose, many of which are caused by heroin. 

This drug is an extremely dangerous substance that can completely change the way a person behaves, thinks, feels, and functions. While it might be difficult at first to determine if someone is addicted to heroin or not, usually it is only a matter of time before several symptoms of this type of addiction are noticeable. 


4 Signs of Heroin Addiction

There are countless signs that someone can exhibit when addicted to heroin. Not only can someone begin to show physical symptoms of their addiction, but their actions can become reflective of how deep they are in their use. For many, once heroin takes hold, everything about them changes. As those changes start occurring, the signs that he or she is addicted to heroin can become impossible to ignore. 

Some signs specific to heroin addiction include the following:


Being unable to stop using

When heroin addiction is active, it can be extremely difficult to break free from. This is because the more heroin that is abused, the more the structure in the brain changes to support further cravings for use. People who are addicted to heroin are aware that they are addicted to it. They know that they shouldn’t be abusing this substance but continue to do it anyway. Onlookers can identify heroin addiction when they see someone either make attempts to stop using to no avail or do not even try to stop using. Anytime a person is unable to stop using a mind-altering substance on his or her own, chances are he or she is experiencing dependence, which often requires professional treatment


Depressed affect

Heroin is a depressant, meaning that when it is used, it slows down the functions of both the body and the brain. Because of this, someone who is addicted to heroin is likely to exhibit a depressed affect in terms of his or her behavior and demeanor, especially when under the influence. This can include symptoms such as:

  • Frequently nodding off in the middle of doing something (e.g. having a conversation or driving)
  • Sleeping more than normal
  • Slowed breathing patterns
  • Slowed physical movement
  • Reduced reaction times 
  • Mental confusion 
  • Apathy towards physical hygiene and cleanliness of the living area
  • Detachment from surroundings 

Heroin can make it appear as if the life has been sucked out of a person who is hooked on this drug. Typically, these symptoms are most prominent when a person is high on heroin, as the drug itself produces these depressant effects. 


Drug-seeking behaviors

Heroin is a highly addictive drug. As with most opioids, it can take only a matter of days to become dependent on heroin because of its potency. Once dependent on heroin, a person has to keep using it in order to avoid the onset of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can range from being slightly uncomfortable to completely debilitating. Therefore, it becomes one’s main priority to ensure that they always have heroin on hand. This is what leads to the development of drug-seeking behavior, which is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Neglecting important responsibilities in order to obtain heroin
  • Lying about why he/she needs money (e.g. asking for money to buy gas but instead spending it on heroin)
  • Stealing from friends, family members, and local businesses in order to sell stolen items for drug money
  • Frequenting emergency rooms or doctor’s offices looking for opioids 
  • Taking a loved one’s prescription opioids that are accessible 

When addicted to heroin, an individual is likely to behave in ways that he or she never has before. The intense cravings for heroin can make even the most honest people do deceitful things in order to use heroin.


Health problems 

Anytime a substance is being abused, there exists a number of health problems that a person can develop. People who are addicted to heroin are often more fixated on using than caring for their physical wellbeing when active in their addiction. This is to be expected, however, real damage can be done when someone continues to abuse heroin.

There are several health effects that a person abusing heroin can experience. Someone who is addicted to heroin can exhibit symptoms related to these issues. The severity of the effects often depends on a number of factors, including how much and how often heroin is being abused as well as if there are any other physical health problems occurring. Specific to heroin, some of the most common health problems caused by this type of addiction can include the following:

  • Pulmonary infections
  • Heart infections
  • Chronic constipation
  • Collapsed veins, HIV, hepatitis (for intravenous users)
  • Liver disease
  • Deterioration of white matter in the brain (responsible for learning and overall healthy brain function)
  • Infertility in women
  • Depression
  • Skin infections
  • Chronic coughing (in a hacking-like manner)

Many of these potential effects associated with heroin addiction can be permanently life-changing and even deadly. Some of the physical impacts that heroin users can experience can stick with them even if they get sober (such as HIV or liver disease). Unfortunately, anytime heroin is being abused, there is a risk for overdose, which can also be fatal. 


Do You Need Professional Help for Heroin Addiction? Call Us Right Now.

If you are struggling with a heroin addiction, get help right now. You do not need to continue to abuse this substance nor do you have to keep suffering. We can help you obtain the addiction treatment that you need in order to stop actively abusing heroin once and for all. 

If you know someone who is hooked on heroin, getting them to accept help can save their lives. We understand the challenges you are facing when it comes to this topic, so we encourage you to call us today. You do not need to go through this alone.

No matter where you are or what your situation is, call us now. We can help.

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