According to the CDC, 494,000 people reportedly used heroin in 2017. This problem continues to plague the country.
What kind of drug is heroin?
Processed from morphine, heroin is an opioid narcotic. This illegal drug carries a high potential for abuse.
Do you suspect a loved one of using heroin? If so, learn the signs of heroin addiction, so you know what to look for.
Knowing what to look for can help you pinpoint heroin addiction in a loved one. Detecting this serious problem can help prevent irreversible damage and death from overdose.
6 Signs of Heroin Addiction
Early detection and prompt heroin detox treatment may save your loved one’s life. Keep reading to learn 6 telltale signs of heroin use.
Drugs alter the brain’s chemistry and lead to uncharacteristic behavior in the user. People who use heroin tend to sleep more often than usual and begin to isolate themselves.
They may seem fidgety and irritable when they need a fix. During their peak high, however, they may seem unusually calm and distant.
You may notice that they nod out while sitting or standing. They may also leave frequently and start stealing.
Heroin users tend to appear different. One striking characteristic includes a change in their eyes.
Their eyes may regularly appear bloodshot. They will also droop and develop dark circles underneath them, making the person appear chronically exhausted.
Pupil size can also alert you to heroin use. The drug works on the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes the pupils to constrict and look tiny. During an overdose, however, the pupils will dilate to appear very large.
When people use heroin intravenously, they cannot hide it for long. With each use, the needle punctures a different spot along the vein, leaving behind a telltale sign.
They look like puncture wounds or lesions and may swell or bruise. You may see them on the hands, arms, and even the legs and feet. Users tend to attempt to hide the marks by wearing long sleeves or pants, even in warm weather.
Chronic Cold Symptoms
Some methods of administration can leave the person appearing to suffer from a chronic cold.
Snorting heroin will leave the user constantly sniffing a runny nose. The drug may also chap the skin around the nostrils.
Smoking heroin can create chronic, dry, unproductive cough. The person may also start to wheeze and develop a raspy voice.
Drug addiction alters the mind to think about nothing except their next high. This can lead to poor choices and a quick decline in personal hygiene.
Proper nutrition loses importance to them. They may skip meals and rapidly lose weight.
Normal activities like showering, combing their hair, and bushing their teeth might take a back seat as well. They may smell bad and appear greasy or even visibly dirty.
You are Not Alone
Dealing with addiction can feel lonely for both the user and their loved ones. Creating a strong network can help you get through this, especially when it comes time to confront your loved one about their signs of heroin addiction. Gather other loved ones to show support and seek prompt professional help.
During this difficult time, you still need to take care of yourself. Read our health tips on our website.