Learn the Heroin addiction warning signs and symptoms in order to get your loved ones help.
Heroin is a powerful opioid narcotic that has become a leading contender in drugs of abuse and addiction in the U.S. Many patients who suffer from chronic and severe pain were given prescription opioid medications to alleviate their pain. Many of these patients became addicted to their medications, and when their doctors would no longer renew their pain-pill prescription they turned to heroin. Addiction to opioid medications can happen when the patient begins to build up a tolerance to the drug, causing the effects of the drug to lessen. When this occurs, the patient has to take more than the recommended dosage of the drug to achieve the same effects as before. The addiction of pain pill medications has caused heroin use and addiction to escalate, reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S. If you suspect someone of abusing heroin, there are heroin addiction warning signs that can help you determine if that person has an addiction problem.
Some of the common symptoms of heroin use include:
- Heroin has a sedative effect on an addict that causes him to be sleepy, and in some cases the addict can fall into a deep sleep where he cannot be woken up. This sedative effect is called “on the nod” and it is considered the gateway to fatal consequences. Heroin addicts can lose consciousness, fall into a coma, overdose, or stop breathing because their respiratory system has been depressed to a dangerous degree.
- Heroin can have many destructive effects on the brain both chemically and structurally. These effects can alter personality, brain function and behavior. The drug can cause deterioration of the pre-frontal cortex of the brain creating impairment of executive functions that regulate: decision making abilities, discernment of contradictory thoughts, personality expression, cognitive ability, self-control and social behavior. Structural damage to the brain can also occur from the effects of heroin, causing impairment in neuro-transmissions.
- Heroin side effects also include the release of histamines into the body, which may cause a rash, skin irritation and severe itching to occur. When heroin is in its pure state, and not combined with many other compounds, it has a greater potential to release histamines.
- Another symptom of heroin use is a change in behavior and personality. The heroin addict may begin to manifest behavioral changes such as lying about his whereabouts and what he is doing in an attempt to try and cover-up his addiction. He may try to use manipulation to get his way, and will often blame other people or situations for his problems.
- Other Heroin addiction warning signs include isolating himself from family and friends and associating with other drug users. The addict may become estranged from his family and become isolated from society.
- Addicts usually begin to neglect their duties and responsibilities at home, school and at work. Their work performance and attendance may begin to deteriorate and they may lose their job.
- A lack of personal hygiene and grooming is common among addicts and they may appear unkempt, dirty and have strange odors.
- Borrowing and stealing money to buy heroin is another heroin addiction warning sign. The addict will say he needs the money to pay bills or some other excuse, but it will ultimately be used to buy more heroin.
- Drug paraphernalia is another warning sign of heroin use. Items can include: needles and syringes, spoons, lighters, smoking pipes, a rope or cord, small plastic bags, aluminum foil or gum wrappers, and straws. The addict may wear clothing that hides needle marks on his arms and legs
- Heroin side effects may include kidney failure, heart problems, lung damage, mental impairment, infections, blood clots, a weakened immune system, fatigue, malnutrition, nausea, vomiting, slow breathing, disorientation, collapsed veins, seizures, liver disease, coma, overdose and death.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.