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Common Heroin Addiction Symptoms

Opioids are among the most dangerous drugs due to the highly addictive nature of the substance. Recently, prescription opioids have become a national concern, but heroin abuse still remains a cause of many deaths in the United States. According to the NSDUH for 2016, just fewer than 1 million people had abused heroin at one point in the past year. The amount of heroin users has been on the rise since 2007. But how do you stop heroin abuse and addiction? For starters, knowing what the heroin addiction symptoms and signs are can help you to find the help you need before it’s too late.

3 Minute Read | Published Aug 11 2023 | Updated Mar 12 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Amber Asher
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Amber Asher
Reviewed by

Heroin Addiction Symptoms – What To Look For

Heroin Addiction Signs

Addicts behave differently from other people – they even behave differently than they would before becoming addicted. The behavior of an addict can be seen as a compulsive one. Once a person abuses enough heroin, they undergo various changes that affect the way their brain works. For example, the area of the brain that is in charge of the sensation of reward and pain becomes impeded. The use of heroin causes the production of natural chemicals in the brain to diminish in order to counter the abuse of the drug. Eventually, without the drug they cannot function properly, leading to the compulsive, drug-seeking behavior.

Noticing the heroin addiction symptoms is of the utmost importance if you are to stop the addiction from getting worse. The following are the most common heroin addiction signs:

  • Despite severe consequences, the person cannot stop using heroin.
  • There is a compulsion present that causes the person to obsess about getting and using the drug.
  • One of the heroin addiction symptoms is that the person is unable to control how frequently they use heroin or how much they use.
  • A craving that compels the person to use more of the drug is present.
  • A tolerance is one of the heroin addiction symptoms.
  • Withdrawal symptoms are another sign of addiction, which includes symptoms such as diarrhea, cold flashes, insomnia, vomiting, restlessness and pain throughout the body.
  • Things that use to be important such as hobbies are ignored.

These symptoms of addiction may be the only warning signs a person has before becoming another victim in the opioid epidemic.

Rehab for Heroin Addiction

It can sometimes require a serious event such as a person going into emergency care before they realize that they have a problem with addiction. From the addict’s point of view, the compulsive behavior drives them to substance abuse even though they might want to stop.

Rehab for heroin addiction is the most effective means of defeating addiction. Its multi-pronged approach to addiction treatment ensures that every aspect of the person’s addiction is being addressed and solved.

Rehab for heroin starts by first helping the addict through their detox. It’s far more effective than going cold turkey alone because not only do you have supervision to ensure a healthy recovery, but you can be given medication to help. Medication includes methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine among others. They are designed and distributed in a way that makes them difficult to abuse, and medications such as naltrexone can actually block opioid abuse effects.

Of course, medication alone is not enough to beat addiction. At rehab, a person can take part in various activities and therapy that can help them to discover new ways to cope with stressor and triggers. Other elements such as co-occurring mental disorders can also be addressed since addicts often have another mental disorder that is causing their substance abuse.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at (800) 429-7690.


bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020).
"DrugFacts: Heroin."
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bullet American Addiction Centers. (2021).
"Heroin Addiction Symptoms."
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bullet Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021).
"Understanding Drug Use and Addiction."
Retrieved on June 11, 2018
bullet Mayo Clinic. (2021).
"Heroin Addiction: Symptoms and Causes."
Retrieved on June 11, 2018
bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020).
"Commonly Abused Drugs Charts."
Retrieved on June 11, 2018
bullet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021).
"Heroin Overdose Data."
Retrieved on June 11, 2018
bullet American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2021).
"Definition of Addiction."
Retrieved on June 11, 2018
bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021).
"DrugFacts: Heroin Overdose Reversal with Naloxone (Narcan, Evzio)."
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bullet American Psychological Association. (2017).
"Substance Use Disorders."
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