The Physical and Emotional Signs of Heroin Addiction

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Overcoming Heroin Addiction and Deciding to Get Help

Opioid substances are highly addictive due to the warm sedative feelings of happiness they bring to those who take them. In many cases, addicts who were once addicted to prescription pain medication turn to cheaper alternatives that produces a similar high, like heroin. Heroin addiction can eventually result in multiple serious health risks, if it is not treated in a timely manner. To detox heroin, it’s recommended that individuals who are addicted get help at an inpatient rehabilitation center to properly and safely go through the withdrawal process.

What Does Heroin Do to the Body?

One of the many bad things about heroin addiction is that it doesn’t take a long time to develop. Heroin, like other opioid substances, enters the system quickly by snorting, injecting, or smoking, and attaches to the brain’s pain receptors, resulting in feelings of euphoria. Because the area of the brain that is affected controls respiratory functions, blood pressure, and heart rate, these functions can suffer damage.

Short-Term Effects and Long-Term Effects

To someone who isn’t informed on what to look for when it comes to heroin addiction, it could be difficult to spot the signs of heroin abuse. Aside from the obvious track marks on arms, there are physical signs that you can look for. Common short-term signs of heroin abuse include:

  • Flushing or red skin
  • Overly dry mouth
  • Nodding in and out of consciousness
  • Sleepy, overly-relaxed state
  • Acting zoned-out or slowed down
  • Decreased respiration

These acute signs of heroin abuse are important to notice, since long-term use can cause more serious damage to the body. Heroin abuse over a long time can create issues, such as:

  • Infection of the lining surrounding the heart (endocarditis)
  • Severe stomach issues, including chronic constipation
  • Infections at the injection sight, including abscesses
  • Pneumonia
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Clogged blood vessels
  • Damage to the brain
  • Increased risk of HIV and hepatitis (in those who inject)

These are only some of the physical signs of heroin abuse. Emotional side effects from heroin include mood swings, paranoia, depression, panics, aggression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. These emotional side effects of heroin addiction are serious and need to be treated with behavioral or psychological counseling with trained professionals.

There Are Programs Out There to Help

Because heroin and other opioid substance withdrawals can be intense, both physically and emotionally, those who suffer from heroin addiction should seek professional help at an inpatient drug rehabilitation center. Breaking the physical dependence of the drug is a vital step in rehab. Supervision of medical professionals and having counselors available 24/7 to assist patients in coping with the emotional and physical withdrawals gives recovering addicts a better chance at a long-term and stable recovery.

Following through with outpatient therapy, once the inpatient program is complete, is always encouraged to continue to strengthen the coping skills learned during inpatient rehab. Better Addiction Care can point you in the right direction, likely, for detox heroin during inpatient rehab, as well as outpatient therapy including relapse prevention. Group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and individual counseling are all available services at Drug Treatment centers.

There is no such thing as being “too far gone” to get help for drug or alcohol addiction. If you are currently struggling with heroin addiction and feel like you’re ready to positively change your life, professional help is vital. If you believe someone you now if exhibiting signs of heroin abuse, it’s worth it to educate them on the programs out there ready to help them, regardless of how badly the problem may be.