warning signs of heroin addiction

Warning Signs of Heroin Addiction

Warning Signs of Heroin Addiction

Drug addiction is truly an epidemic across the country, affecting increasing numbers of individuals all the time. Some people start with prescription drugs, never realizing that using opioids and similar painkillers may leave them pre-disposed to long-lasting addictions. Others use street drugs and can never seem to break their habits on their own. If you believe that someone you love may be using heroin, is important to recognize some of the common signs of heroin addiction. Whether you are suffering from the addiction or someone you love is struggling, you can always seek help at our Arizona treatment center.

How Big of a Problem Is Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse is a growing problem in the United States with almost 20 million people over the age of 12 having a problem with substance abuse in 2017. Over a third of these adults used illicit drugs. In Arizona, heroin-related deaths have more than doubled between 2013 and 2016.

This problem extends beyond the individual and into his or her family and community. Many older generations now have grandchildren living with them as parents are incapacitated from drug use. The health care system is burdened with caring for these individuals’ health concerns, and even law enforcement agencies have found their resources taxed in responding to drug-related crimes.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is an illegal drug known as an analgesic. This means that it decreases pain throughout the body and gives a person an overall calm, relaxed feeling. Heroin usage has shot up in recent years. Some people turn to it after abusing prescription drugs. Because such prescription opioids as OxyContin and Vicodin are so similar to heroin, they are the most frequent gateway drugs.

Heroin comes from morphine and is ultimately produced from the poppy plant. It may be white, brown or black and can be called big H, hell dust or smack on the street. The black powdered version is sometimes called black tar heroin. Powders are easy to mix with other substances, such as sugar, making it nearly impossible for users to know how pure their heroin is or how much they are using. Users can inject, smoke or snort heroin although many choose to snort it.

Continued after infographic:

signs of heroin addiction

What Are the Behavioral Signs of Heroin Addiction?

Heroin causes many behavioral symptoms, including secrecy and hostile behaviors. The individual may be unable to maintain eye contact and may suddenly cut off certain relationships while remaining relationships are quite strained.

In addition, the individual may lose motivation at work or school. Even extracurricular activities or social activities that they once loved may be dropped in favor of getting their next high. Those who suffer from addiction can veer from one extreme behavior to the next, having a difficult time managing their emotions. Depression or anxiety are frequently based on when the last time the individual had a dose of heroin.

What Are the Physical Signs of Heroin Addiction?

Heroin is an incredibly addictive drug that creates a quick high before making users feel very sleepy. They may feel as if they are in a “twilight zone.” Inside the body, heroin quickly rushes to the brain where it attaches itself to opioid receptors. Thus, it decreases pain while creating a highly pleasurable feeling. Much like other opioids, it specifically affects the heart rate and respiratory rate.

Physical signs and symptoms may also include the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Small pupils

Further physical signs of heroin addiction will develop following prolonged use of the drug. Over time, users may develop heart disease, which could include infection of the heart lining. Men may suffer from sexual dysfunction while women may have irregular menstrual cycles. Gastrointestinal symptoms could include stomach cramps and constipation. The liver and kidneys may also become diseased and may be unable to rid the body of toxins.

What Are the Visual Signs of Heroin Addiction?

You may notice that a person is acting differently from normal, leading you to wonder if he or she has used heroin. You may even see the person’s drug paraphernalia, such as needles, pipes or straws with burn marks. By understanding the visual signs of addiction, you can help your loved one seek quick treatment and experience the least amount of damage to the body from this drug.

After the person experiences the euphoria or high of initial use, they will seem to become very sleepy and may nod off for no obvious reason. This is probably the easiest sign to notice. Additionally, you may notice that their pupils are very small, which is described as “pinpoint.”

Changes in the person’s appearance is another common visual sign of addiction. He or she may have a newly unkempt appearance or may even be hiding his or her body to cover up needle marks.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms, such as cold flashes, vomiting, restlessness or full body pain, may occur if the person cannot get another dose of heroin at the right time or uses heroin that is not as pure as what he typically uses.

How Can Our Heroin Treatment Center Help?

It can be nearly impossible to break an addiction to heroin or opioids on your own. You need help to deal with your symptoms, break your dangerous habits and turn your life around. At our Arizona treatment center, you will be surrounded with support from the moment you walk through the doors. You will find compassionate but experienced professionals who can help you through the difficult detox period and who will help you deal with your physical and mental symptoms. At Desert Cove Recovery, you will find help from other individuals who are going through the same process that you are.

From medications and physical treatments to therapy sessions and biofeedback, we can help you break free from your heroin addiction and rediscover the fullness of your life once again. Contact Desert Cove Recovery today and find hope and help for the rest of your life.