Heroin is a highly potent, highly addictive and highly dangerous opioid drug substance that can be incredibly difficult to recover from. A body that has become dependent upon heroin will punish abstinence with uncomfortable and sometimes even incredibly painful withdrawal symptoms. This is actually the reason why many heroin addicts are either unable or unwilling to reach out for help, and why they may go to great lengths to hide their addiction problems from others. Even when an individual has courageously admitted to himself that he has a problem with heroin, he is often quite certain that it would be easier to continue living with addiction than it would be to work through withdrawals. It is for this and other reasons that family members and friends should learn the signs of heroin use–so they can reach out and help their loved one where necessary.
Top Warning Signs of Heroin Use
1. Dramatic changes in behavior. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of a heroin user’s most noticeable changes in behavior is lying. A heroin user will lie to cover up their heroin use, their general activities and their whereabouts. They will also usually avoid eye contact with other people, and may suffer from slurred or incoherent speech. They can experience inexplicable shifts in behavior toward others–including hostility toward loved ones. They will often break their promises and commitments because their entire focus is on how to obtain and use more heroin. It is also not unusual for them to sleep more deeply and more often, as heroin depresses the functioning of the human body.
2. Dramatic changes in physical appearance. Heroin users will often purposely change their wardrobe in an effort to hide needle marks and bruises on their arms and legs–wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts on a regular basis. Their skin will often take on a very pasty and unhealthy appearance, and they may experience an unhealthy weight loss in a short period of time. They also may have a persistently runny nose, without any other symptoms of allergies or a cold.
3. Overwhelming financial problems. Heroin is an incredibly expensive drug substance, and many addicts are willing to do anything to get more of it. This means that they will often neglect bills or groceries if it allows them to spend more money on heroin. They may have a good job with a decent income, and yet somehow never seem to have enough money to even “make it by”, and will sell household items or ask for loans in order to buy more heroin. It is not beneath a heroin user to steal items from others in order to sell them for heroin money.
4. New friends and social hangouts. It is a sad truth that a heroin user doesn’t usually have any real friends among those individuals he hangs out with–just fellow junkies who likewise want to get high as much and as often as possible. A heroin user will often dispense with and ignore the friends and activities he once enjoyed, giving poor excuses for why he suddenly “doesn’t feel like” hanging out anymore.
5. Low levels of concentration or interest. A heroin user has a very difficult time concentrating on anything except obtaining and using more heroin. They may suddenly be doing terribly at work or in school, and may drop their responsibilities at home. They may seem to drift away from family relationships they once treasured, and simply seem not to care much about anything anymore.
When an individual suspects that a loved one is using heroin, they must take immediate action. There is no doubting that their loved one will often deny their heroin use or their need for help, but family members and friends must recognize that their loved one’s life is literally on the line and they must be firmly persistent. With proper rehabilitation treatment, a heroin user can successfully be restored to a healthy, happy and productive life.