Signs and Symptoms

heroin addiction signsHeroin is one of the most commonly abused narcotics, accounting for 40 percent of all drug addictions. Heroin will quickly have an effect on the brain cells of the user. According to a survey from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 560,000 people have abused heroin in the past year. Heroin addictions can be devastating for families and heroin addicts run a high risk of suffering from long-term health problems and even death. There are many signs that can indicate that an individual is using heroin. The most common sign that will be noticed in more than 85 percent of all heroin addicts is a drastic change in the life of the addict. There are various reasons for drastic changes to be made that result from a heroin addiction.

  • Heroin addicts will have a change in performance, either at work or at school. They may have increased absenteeism, perform poor work and have little interest in their job.
  • The addict will begin to neglect personal care. Personal hygiene will suffer and the addict will wear the same clothes for days. Heroin addicts take little time to care for themselves.
  • Consequences have little meaning to heroin addicts. They will tend to be very reckless and do things despite the consequences, including stealing and engaging in dangerous behaviors.
  • Addicts will show withdrawal from friends, family members and activities. Changes in friends can also indicate heroin usage. More than 75 percent of heroin addicts will begin to hang around a different set of friends, usually those who also are addicted to heroin.

Additional Signs of Heroin Addiction

Aside from displaying major changes in the way the addict lives, there are some other signs that can indicate the possibility of an addiction to heroin. These signs are very common and seen in almost 90 percent of heroin addicts. Signs to look for can include:

  • Constant sniffing and a runny nose
  • Needle marks on the arms, legs, thighs and hands
  • Slurred speech and the inability to have a conversation
  • Little motivation and no desire to discuss plans for the future
  • Addicts will be hostile towards other people, especially those they care about
  • The possession of drug paraphernalia indicates drug use

It is important to note that these signs do not always indicate a heroin addiction. They can sometimes mean the person is severely depressed. However, with 90 percent of heroin addicts displaying these signs of addiction, they can usually indicate the person has a problem with the drug.

heroin abuseSigns of Heroin Overdose

Those who are abusing heroin run a high risk of overdose. Last year, more than 120,000 cases of heroin overdoses were reported in the United States. When an addict overdoses, the chances of death are high if they do not receive medical treatment immediately. An estimated 25 percent of heroin addicts will die from an overdose if they continue to use the drug. Heroin overdoses cannot be treated at home. There are some signs that can indicate an addict has overdosed on heroin. It is important to avoid inducing vomiting if any of these signs are evident.

  • Shallow and slow breathing; difficulty taking breaths.
  • Small pupils
  • Discolored tongue
  • Dry mouth.
  • Weakened pulse and lowered blood pressure
  • Blue lips and fingernails
  • Constipation and spasms in the stomach
  • Involuntary muscle spasms
  • Disorientation and confusion, often leading to delirium
  • Coma

Find Help for an Addiction

Heroin use has serious consequences. It is important to be aware of all signs and symptoms that are associated with heroin addictions. If any of these signs are noted, the addict should get professional help. Treatment for heroin addiction is successful in 80 percent of addicts. When a person develops a heroin addiction, there will be immediate effects on the body that could result in permanent damage, including brain, heart, kidney and liver damage. Heroin addicts who continue to use and abuse the drug will run the risk of experiencing an overdose at some point. The longer the person uses the drug, the higher these chances are. An overdose results in death in 20 percent of reported heroin overdose cases.

Who Needs  Treatment?

The simple answer to this question is this: anyone with a heroin addiction needs heroin addiction treatment. If you are physically and/ or psychologically addicted to the drug, heroin addiction treatment is absolutely necessary – the sooner, the better. The longer you spend in heroin addiction, the higher your dose necessary to get high and the worse the withdrawal symptoms will be. Heroin addiction treatment can provide you with a medical heroin detox to help you stop using the drug safely as well as extended heroin addiction treatment that includes therapy and counseling to help you remain heroin-free after you leave heroin rehab.

Who Needs Detox?

Few people can use heroin regularly for more than a few days without becoming physically dependent upon the drug. Because there is no medical use for heroin addiction, there is no way to find medical supervision as you slowly lower your dose and break your physical dependence. If you are physically addicted to the drug, you will need and benefit from heroin detox to help you stop using it safely. At a heroin detox, you have the benefit of taking medications designed to ease your experience of the withdrawal symptoms. These drugs allow you to stop taking heroin right away and begin to live a normal life even as you slowly get your body to adjust without opiates.

When you choose heroin addiction treatment, you choose a better life for yourself and for those who love you. Call us today to get more information about what heroin addiction treatment resources are available near you.