Heroin Abuse Warning Signs

Suspecting your loved one or someone you know is abusing heroin can be an uncomfortable feeling. They may be doing things they normally would not do and are showing signs that something is not right. Your gut feeling is telling you that they are possibly doing something they should not do and you are hesitant on how to feel about it.

It is important to recognize signs of substance abuse. Being able to identify signs of abuse could potentially save someone’s life. Heroin abuse is something that is hard to hide. Most abusers show the most obvious signs.

Noticeable Signs

Heroin produces a “downer” effect that rapidly induces a state of relaxation and euphoria (related to chemical changes in the pleasure centers of the brain). Like other opiates, heroin use blocks the brain’s ability to perceive pain. Heroin abusers, particularly those with prior history of drug abuse, may initially be able to conceal signs and symptoms of their heroin use.

Loved ones or co-workers may notice several signs of heroin use, which are visible during and after heroin consumption:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Constricted (small) pupils
  • Sudden changes in behavior or actions
  • Disorientation
  • Cycles of hyper alertness followed by suddenly nodding off
  • Droopy appearance, as if extremities are heavy

The above signs are not unique to heroin abuse. More definitive warning signs of heroin abuse include possession of paraphernalia used to prepare, inject, or consume heroin:

  • Needles or syringes not used for other medical purposes
  • Burned silver spoons
  • Aluminum foil or gum wrappers with burn marks
  • Missing shoelaces (used as a tie off for injection sites)
  • Straws with burn marks
  • Small plastic bags, with white powdery residue
  • Water pipes or other pipe

Behavioral signs of heroin abuse and addiction include:

  • Lying or other deceptive behavior
  • Avoiding eye contact, or distant field of vision
  • Substantial increases in time spent sleeping
  • Increase in slurred, garbled, or incoherent speech
  • Sudden worsening of performance in school or work, including expulsion or loss of jobs
  • Decreasing attention to hygiene and physical appearance
  • Loss of motivation and apathy toward future goals
  • Withdrawal from friends and family, instead spending time with new friends with no natural tie
  • Lack of interest in hobbies and favorite activities
  • Repeatedly stealing or borrowing money from loved ones, or unexplained absence of valuables
  • Hostile behaviors toward loved ones, including blaming them for withdrawal or broken commitments
  • Regular comments indicating a decline in self-esteem or worsening body image
  • Wearing long pants or long sleeves to hide needle marks, even in very warm weather

Users build tolerance to heroin, leading to increases in the frequency and quantity of heroin consumption. With growing tolerance, more definitive physical symptoms of heroin abuse and addiction emerge:

  • Weight loss
  • Runny nose (not explained by other illness or medical condition)
  • Needle track marks visible on arms
  • Infections or abscesses at injection site
  • For women, loss of menstrual cycle (amenorrhea)
  • Cuts, bruises, or scabs from skin picking

A lot of these signs are hard to deal with noticing. Confronting a person in regards to their possible substance abuse can become nerve wrecking and scary. You never know how the person might react or could you be wrong? If your gut is telling you something is wrong, do not hesitate to find help for the individual, as you could be much save their life! It is more important to help them find treatment verses something serious as an over dose or death happening to them.

Heroin Recovery Stories

Having an addiction to any substance can take over someone’s life.  Addiction isn’t a choice someone makes. Sometimes a person can be trying something for the first time and can create an addiction after only the first time abusing the substance. Regardless of how someone became addicted to a substance or what substance they are addicted to, being able to reach recovery through the storm of addiction can be one of the most rewarding things a person could do.

It is common for a person to go from one substance to another.  A lot of times people become addicted to prescription pills that they once needed and were prescribed. They begin to enjoy the feeling they are receiving from the prescription and eventually want more of it, or the pills aren’t enough of a high so they then turn to other substances like heroin to continue the feeling they began to feel from the prescription pills. Heroin Recovery along with recovery from other substances at the same time can be very accomplishing.

Christina’s Story

This is what began to happen to Christina, who suffered from a back injury and was prescribed pain medication to help with the back pain. Becoming addicted to the pain medication wasn’t the plan or expectation for Christina. When first prescribed she simply took them as ordered by the Dr. and even taking them as she was supposed to she began to enjoy the feeling they pills gave her. She felt they “Gave her more energy”. When really, they didn’t. It was just all a part of the euphoric feeling she was receiving from the medicine.

Where the Addiction Began

Enjoying the feeling she was receiving from the medicine she began to take it increasingly. When she ran out and no longer had the pills to receive the feeling she was craving, she turned to heroin. Like many people who suffer from addiction, she hurt many people who were close to her and did many things she would never imagine possible when under the influence. When people suffer from addiction they tend to hurt and do wrong to the people closest to them that love them the most. The hardest part about it is they know they are hurting the ones they love, they know they are doing the wrong things, and they know addiction is controlling their life. It takes a very strong willed person to be able to find themselves help and to get the help and work on changing their lives for the better! Luckily that is exactly what Christina was able to do.

Christina was able to get herself into Choices Recovery Center and finally get the help she needed. Choices was able to help make Christina feel like she mattered, to feel like she had a purpose and to know she didn’t have to live everyday of her life alone!

 

 

 

When suffering from addiction, getting yourself or your loved one into a treatment center can save your life or theirs! It can save you from a possible overdose that could have occurred with only one more use. Attending a treatment center can be the most effective way to get your life into recovery and on the right path again.

Getting Lost in Addiction

When caught up in an addiction it is easy to forget about the most important things in your life. Responsibilities, family, and friends are things that can remain there for a person during their addiction. Sometimes those are the things that are lost track of. This is what happened for Corey. When finally coming into recovery from his addiction it started to affect him by how much he was affecting others in his life. It was a sad and hard thing to deal with. Corey is thankful for his recovery that he was able to notice the things he was taking for granted while battling his addiction.

Addiction Controlling Lives

When under the influence of drugs or alcohol people begin to ignore the things that matter the most to them. They do betraying things to the people they love the most. Corey was lucky to be able to have the chance to get things back right with his son and on the right track and to be able to still have his family by his side. A lot of people give up on their loved ones because they are suffering from an addiction. When someone is suffering from addiction and gets so wrapped up in it, that’s all the people on the outside see is the addiction. Just like it’s hard for people to lose the people closest to them while wrapped up in addiction, it’s also hard for people to give up on someone they love because of an addiction.

Corey states that addiction isn’t fun. To some it may be an enjoyable high or time while using, but when a hard addiction occurs it becomes scary. A person can want more than anything to stop abusing drugs or alcohol but are simply terrified to do so. It’s the first step of detox and withdrawal than people are afraid to take. Going to a treatment center there is support so that first step isn’t one taken alone and is safe.

When finally getting into recovery Corey wanted to help others. He recognized the help he received from Choices Recovery and wanted to be able to help others, “Because in the end that’s what it’s about. People need help!”

 

Never hesitate to reach out for help for taking the first step in recovery for you or a loved one and call today!