Millions of people around the world use heroin, and thus, many struggle with drug addiction. By learning to spot the symptoms of heroin addiction, you’ll be able to offer support to loved ones. The symptoms of a heroin addiction can be physical, emotional, social or financial. Above all, the sooner you can identify an addiction, the sooner you’ll gain tools for reaching lasting sobriety.
Changes in Appearance
A heroin addiction negatively impacts your life in many devastating ways. While users try to keep these hidden, others are clearly visible. For example, changes in appearance can reveal someone is struggling with heroin addiction.
Overall, the most immediate physical change is body weight fluctuation. Heroin decreases appetite, causing a notable reduction in calorie intake. This may lead to malnutrition. Weight loss is very common among heroin users. If a loved one has lost weight rapidly and without explanation, heroin could be to blame.
Additionally, heroin users consistently appear to have a cold. For example, they often have a runny nose, tearing eyes, and flushed skin. If you look closer, constricted pupils are a notable sign of heroin consumption as well.
Furthermore, a person’s skin also indicates whether they’re injecting heroin. You might see needle marks and bruising on frequent injection sites. In some cases, infections and abscesses are clearly visible as well. It’s important to consider whether a suspected heroin abuser wears long sleeves to hide their arms.
Chronic heroin use also affects sleep patterns. Users might regularly have drooping, tired eyes. They might even nod off unexpectedly while eating, watching a television show, or having a conversation with a friend. Above all, be sure to keep an eye out for these obvious physical changes in appearance to get your family member the necessary help.
The physical symptoms of heroin addiction don’t always reveal a problem, however. If you’re serious about helping a loved one, identifying an addiction by finding drug paraphernalia is possible. Heroin abusers consume the substance in several ways, and there are specific items to look for. The most common heroin paraphernalia includes:
- Burnt spoons
- Syringes and rubber tubes
- Glass pipes
- Tiny clear bags
- Residue that is white powder or a dark sticky substance
Additionally, the most common symptoms of heroin addiction aren’t always physical. Instead, they may be behavioral. Heroin affects the way that people live, work, function, and socialize. Noticing any obvious lifestyle changes could be a dead giveaway.
Heroin is a depressant, which means that it alters sleep cycles. Therefore, your loved one may appear tired. They’ll seem exhausted all the time, never appearing well rested. You might also notice they can’t remember anything and seem out of it. Slurred speech and blurred vision are possible as well.
Behavioral changes are different for everyone. For example, an outgoing man may stop socializing with friends and family. Likewise, a career-focused woman might lose her job. Many heroin users isolate themselves out of shame, guilt, or to hide substance abuse. It’s important to be aware of this.
What To Do if You Identify the Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
If you recognize a heroin addiction, seek help right away. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, incoming patients receive the treatment they need to recover from addiction. A selection of the diverse treatments and therapies available include:
- Individual talk therapy
- Family therapy
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Holistic therapies like yoga and massage
- Life skills and relapse prevention training
Learning to recognize the symptoms of heroin addiction could save a life. 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida, can help you or your loved one reach lasting recovery. Call 866-319-6126 and embrace a lifetime of sobriety.