The Signs of Heroin Use

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Heroin use is rampant in the United States, with estimates of nearly one million people actively abusing the drug. Learning to recognize the signs of heroin use can help you identify a problem within your family. Thus, let us explore the common heroin use signs and discover how to respond effectively to them.

Strange Sleep and Energy Cycles

Heroin can disrupt sleep cycles in a number of ways. For example, when a person is under heroin’s influence, they might nod off without explanation. It’s also normal for chronic heroin users to drift in and out of consciousness when using the drug.

As a result, most heroin users aren’t always awake during the day and asleep at night. Additionally, they might constantly appear tired, as they may be constantly awake during odd hours. Instead of long periods of sleep, heroin users tend to rest in small increments. However, they’re never truly well-rested.

Dilated Pupils

One of the more obvious signs a person is using heroin is evident in the eyes. For example, heroin causes pupil dilation, making them appear very small. The more heroin a person uses, the smaller the pupils appear. If you notice the pupils are like pinpoints, then the individual in question is probably regularly using large amounts of heroin.

Visible Skin Infections or Scratches

Overall, there are many different methods of heroin use. However, heavy users tend to inject the drug. Doing so often causes open wounds, infections, and abscesses. These skin problems tend to be on the arms, but they might be visible on other areas of the body as well.

Many heroin users scratch at their skin while under the drug’s influence, as well. For example, some people feel like there are bugs underneath their skin. Thus, you might be able to identify a heroin addiction by noticing damaged skin. In addition, look for people who wear long sleeves in warm weather.

Changes to Behavior or Appearance

Sometimes, people use heroin and don’t display any of these signs. On the other hand, some users display them all. If you’re working to identify heroin abuse, overall, look for unexplained changes. For example, if a person drastically changes their appearance, hygiene habits, or routine without a reason, this could be a sign of substance abuse.

Responding to The Signs of Heroin Use

If you spot any of these signs of heroin abuse, seek professional help immediately. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, heroin addiction treatment is always available. Clients can begin their journey to recovery with access to the following resources and treatments:

Cognitive behavioral therapy
Dialectical behavioral therapy
Group and family therapy
Dual diagnosis care
Holistic approaches to recovery

Recognizing these signs of heroin use means a loved one needs help. Fortunately, at 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida, there are programs designed to help you permanently conquer heroin addiction. Call (866) 319-6126 to learn more about your loved one’s personal path to recovery.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.