How to Spot Signs of Heroin Use

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Do you know the signs of a heroin addict? Learn more at Better Addiction Care

Do you know how to spot signs of heroin use? You may suspect your loved one is using heroin, but you aren’t sure. There are signs of heroin use that you can look for to help determine if your loved one is taking the drug. Heroin is a powerful opioid narcotic that is highly abused and addictive. Many people who suffer with severe pain may have been given prescription opioid medications to alleviate their problem. Some of these patients became addicted to their medications because they abused them by taking more than the recommended dosage. When their doctors would no longer renew their prescription, some of these patients turned to heroin. This may be the case with your loved one if he was on an opioid medication. Other individuals take heroin recreationally to get high, and they also pose a risk to addiction. Let us examine some of the signs of a heroin addict:

  1. Lies and Manipulation

One of the biggest signs of a heroin addict is lies and manipulation. An addict is so desperate for his drug, and fearful of experiencing withdrawal symptoms, that he will do whatever is necessary to achieve his goal. Heroin addicts will lie about everything that they want hidden from you, such as: where they went, with whom, where they spend their money, etc. If you notice that your loved one is constantly being caught in lies, you know they are hiding something from you. Manipulation can be used on you at every turn, especially if you are naive and trusting. Your loved one will give you all kinds of excuses for why he can’t or didn’t do something, or needs to borrow money, etc.

  1. Isolation

Signs of heroin use include the addict withdrawing from family and friends. Activities that he may have once enjoyed hold no interest for him now. Addicts prefer the company of other addicts, or to be alone to use their drug. Sadly, many heroin addicts wind up being estranged from family, and socially isolated and lonely when their addiction has a strong hold over them. You may begin to notice behavioral changes in your loved one also, because of the effects of heroin on his brain and body.

  1. Neglecting Responsibilities

Heroin addicts may begin to ignore their duties and responsibilities. They may begin to have problems at work because of poor attendance or performance that can result in losing their job. There may be problems in the family or with their spouse because of their addiction. Separation, divorce, abuse and neglecting to take care of their children can tear the family apart, and create a host of emotional fallout for all concerned.

  1. Physical and Mental Signs

Addicts tend to neglect personal hygiene and good grooming. They may appear unkempt and smell from a lack of bathing. Heroin addicts will wear clothes that cover their arms and legs if they want to hide needle marks from shooting up. Physical signs of heroin use can also include: sedation, muscle and bone pain, a weakened immune system, shivering, infections, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleeping, damaged teeth and gums, kidney or liver damage, trouble breathing, infection of the heart valves, weight loss, overdose, and a decrease in libido and sexual functioning. The mental signs of a heroin addict can include: euphoria, delusions, anxiety, mood swings, restlessness, hallucinations, hostility, and memory loss.

  1. On the Nod

Heroin has a sedative effect that can cause an addict to be sleepy. Sometimes the addict can fall into a deep sleep and will not wake up. This sedative effect, known as “on the nod,” is considered the gateway to fatal consequences. Heroin addicts run the risk of losing consciousness, falling into a coma, or their breathing can stop because the respiratory system has been severely depressed. They also run the risk of having an overdose.

No matter what signs of heroin use your loved one may be exhibiting, there is always the hope of recovery. There are many effective treatment programs available for heroin addicts at drug rehab centers. You can help your loved one recover from addiction by taking him to a rehab center near you.

 

Resources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/letter-director

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/scope-heroin-use-in-united-states