What are the Telltale Heroin Addiction Symptoms and Signs?

In 2015, the CDC reported that 81,326 people had to go to the emergency room for heroin-related overdose and poisoning. Close to 948,000 people had abused heroin within the last year in 2016. Heroin remains a large-scale problem in the United States, especially as people addicted to prescription opioids look for alternatives. Addiction prevention is perhaps the best thing that each of us can do to stop yourself or a loved one becoming a statistic. As such, we will discuss the common heroin addiction symptoms and explore the types of treatment programs that are highly effective in the treatment of heroin dependence and addiction. 

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The Signs That Someone May Be Abusing Heroin

Heroin abuse has serious consequences. Once a person has started to abuse the drug, it’s not long before signs of their abuse become evident. The following looks at the common heroin addiction symptoms and signs.

Signs of Current Use

The signs that someone is currently on the drug include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Alternating between nodding off and sudden alertness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Fatigued appearance with their limbs seemingly heavy
  • Disorientation
  • Sudden behavioral changes

Drug Paraphernalia

Heroin use is often accompanied by various drug paraphernalia that can be found in the person’s room, car or on themselves. They include:

  • Straws that appear to be burnt slightly
  • Silver spoons with burn marks
  • Glass or water pipes
  • Tin foil with burn marks
  • Small plastic baggies with a powdery substance
  • Missing shoelaces

Behavioral Heroin Addiction Symptoms and Signs

The behavior of a heroin addict will also change. Behaviorally, the signs of heroin abuse include:

  • Wearing long sleeve clothing to hide the areas where they inject the drug
  • Hostile behavior
  • Poor hygiene and they no longer take care of their appearance
  • Deceptive behavior and lying
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Incoherent speech
  • Motivational loss about their future
  • They are no longer interested in their hobbies
  • Stealing items for money, or constantly asking to for money
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Social isolation

Heroin Withdrawal

One of the clearest signs that a person has become addicted to heroin are what happens when they don’t use the drug. Heroin withdrawal symptoms occur in those who have become dependent or hooked on the drug.

Common heroin addiction symptoms during withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Intense cravings for opioids
  • Cold sweats
  • Aches and pains in the bones and muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Profuse sweating
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Leg switches as a result of cramping

Once these withdrawal symptoms become apparent when the individual tries to stop or hasn’t had their “fix” recently, then it is clear that there is a dependence to heroin, and heroin addiction recovery through rehab programs is usually the best solution.

Heroin Addiction Recovery

At the best heroin treatment centers, addicts can find treatment programs specifically designed to help deal with the symptoms of withdrawal and the behavioral problems that caused the abuse of the substance. The best heroin treatment centers also often incorporate medications in the treatment plan to help those with severe addictions to better cope with the cravings that they will experience among other things.

The process of recovery for heroin addiction usually follows the following path:

  • Assessment – This establishes the physical and mental state of the person, and looks at the severity of their addiction among other things. Through an assessment, a treatment plan or approach can be formulated.
  • Detox – A medically-assisted detox usually follows, which incorporates FDA-approved medications. These medications lower withdrawal symptoms and help to stop the cravings that can lead to relapse.
  • Therapy and counseling – Therapy and counseling are perhaps the most important part of treatment as it helps to change the addict’s behavior and thinking so that they are motivated to change and have the tools needed to avoid heroin abuse.
  • Aftercare – After leaving rehab with a relapse prevention plan in hand, the person is then advised to manage their abstinence through the use of aftercare services such as support groups.
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.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.