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4 Signs of Heroin Addiction to Be Aware Of

man presenting the signs of heroin addiction

Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs available; it is also one of the most highly addictive. Without professional guidance, recovery from its influence may be impossible. If you have developed a dependence on heroin, help is always available. At Midwest Center at Youngstown, we understand the wide-reaching consequences of heroin use and how bleak the future may currently appear. Our heroin addiction treatment program in Youngstown, Ohio, offers the comprehensive support structure required to end the cycle, allowing you to regain control over your life. Call our team at 844.544.0502 to guide you through the first steps today. 

Four Signs Of Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a potent derivative of morphine. When injected, snorted, or smoked, it causes the brain to release a wave of dopamine, inducing a euphoric state of total relaxation. The intensity of this experience can result in almost instant addiction. However, individuals using heroin quickly become tolerant of its effects, requiring larger and larger doses to achieve the initial high. 

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one’s substance use, it is important to be aware of the signs of heroin addiction:

1. Physical Signs

Heroin is one of the fastest-acting illicit drugs. It may have a half-life of only 30 minutes depending upon an individual’s height, weight, gender, body composition, and history of use.

While under the immediate influence of heroin, individuals will demonstrate an overall slowing down of bodily functions, resulting in:

  • Warm, visibly flushed skin
  • Dramatically lowered heart rate and pulse
  • A high degree of muscle relaxation 
  • Shifting in and out of consciousness
  • Almost instantaneous pain relief
  • Slurred speech, outward signs of inebriation 
  • Constipation

2. Short-Term Withdrawal Symptoms

If a person has developed a dependence on heroin, they will begin to demonstrate withdrawal symptoms within a few hours. These will generally appear the opposite of symptoms incurred under the influence with a general “speeding up” of bodily functions and include: 

  • Accelerated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Runny nose
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Digestive problems such as nausea or diarrhea 
  • Agitation and panic
  • Extreme sweating
  • Hallucinations 
  • Fever
  • Intense muscular aches
  • Insomnia 
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Hostility

3. Long-Term Physical Signs of Abuse

Although some heroin users will display characteristic track marks in their arms, others may conceal injection sites by rotating limbs or changing their method of consumption. However, this does not halt the long-term, catastrophic effects of the drug, which may present as:

  • Loss of appetite/extreme weight loss
  • Scars from repeatedly scratching the skin 
  • Overwhelming cravings
  • Damage to the heart, kidneys, and lungs
  • Collapsed veins
  • Blood clots or stroke
  • Seizures
  • Increased risk of HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C

Over time, the risk of accidental overdose increases, which can be fatal. However, abruptly quitting heroin can also result in dangerous medical complications and should only be attempted under close medical supervision. 

4. Psychological and Emotional Signs

For many, obtaining and using heroin becomes an uncontrollable, full-time pursuit. It is an expensive drug that can only be obtained illegally, often requiring individuals to resort to criminal behavior to sustain their habit.  Other effects can include:

  • A belief that the individual cannot function without heroin
  • Chronic depression 
  • Lack of regard for personal hygiene or appearance
  • Reduced motivation, and inability to fulfill obligations at work or school 
  • Memory loss and brain damage from reduced oxygen consumption 
  • Impaired cognition and decision-making

Long-term heroin users face dire impacts on their personal relationships, financial health, and ability to maintain employment. Often, individuals using heroin will take dramatic steps to conceal their dependence from others, resulting in lying, deceit, and inevitable social isolation.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Program at Midwest Center At Youngstown, Ohio

Despite the devastating impacts of heroin use on you and your loved ones, it is never too late to pursue treatment. At Midwest Center at Youngstown, we can help support you through medical detox and help your life get back on course. Call our team today at 844.544.0502 to resume control over your life.