Heroin users are rarely honest about the fact that they are using, abusing and quite possibly even addicted to heroin. Thus, if you are concerned about a family member, friend or another loved one who may be a heroin addict, asking them directly may not provide you with the real answer. You may have to play detective and look for clues, signs and symptoms of heroin use. Below are some signs and clues that may help you determine if your loved has become a heroin addict.
Heroin “Leftovers” or Remnants
Heroin can be snorted, injected or smoked. Those that use heroin are typically careful not to be caught but in many cases, traces of their heroin use has been left behind. Finding traces of a white or light brownish powdery substance (sometimes even dark brown or even a black, sticky tar-like substance) could be evidence that he/she is using. Finding syringes (or its wrapper), a small glass or metal pipes, a dirty spoon or a lighter left behind, rubber tubing or belts that may have been used on the arm to make veins more pronounced for injection may be additional signs.
Signs and Symptoms of a Heroin User
Heroin is a relatively fast acting opiate, especially when injected. Within seconds to minutes after heroin has been administered, feeling of euphoria come rushing in. But with this so called “positive” feeling comes a certain set of symptoms that can be spotted by family and friends if they know hat to look for.
A heroin addict / user will have a very dry mouth causing the need to drink fluids quickly and often. His or her skin will be flush. His or her pupils will be “pinned” or constricted (opposite of dilated). A heroin user may get “noddy” and thus, their head may droop downward, their eyes may close and only open part way while the user fades in and out of consciousness and speech may be slurred. Breathing is also slowed as is the heroin user’s heart-rate. Regrettably, this is how a heroin overdose kills – breathing and the heart slow down so much that it stops.
A heroin user’s thinking is often unclear and impulsive. They will often make excuses, make promises they can’t or won’t keep, they’re forgetful and their decision making and self-control skills deteriorate. If someone you love simply doesn’t seem like themselves anymore, they could be using heroin.
Other symptoms of heroin use and abuse include constant itching, nausea, vomiting, constipation, having a difficult time urinating, problems sleeping, etc.. They may experience skin or other infections due to a weakened immune system and make regular use of laxatives to help alleviate problems with defecation.
A heroin addict often loses weight, skin is pale, eyes and cheekbones are often sunken in and an overall appearance of sickly or ill becomes the norm.
Changes in Behavior
As already noted, someone who suffers from heroin addiction will behave very differently than usual. They’ll often lie, cheat, manipulate and steal to get more heroin. A heroin addict will regularly be out of money and even ask to borrow some, making up some lame excuse as to why they need it. Anxiety and panicking becomes the norm when an addict is running out or has run out of heroin. Heroin addicts are typically quick to anger and may even “flip out” over the smallest things. Confronting them about their heroin use may also result in a tantrum and/or episodes of displayed anger.
Heroin Addiction is Serious and Often Requires Help
A heroin addict rarely acknowledges or even believes that they’ve become addicted. More often than not, they will be in denial and tell the few people who even know (and themselves) that they are still in control and that they can stop anytime they want. Meanwhile, you sit there wondering why they don’t’ “want” to stop when they’re literally losing all they’ve worked so hard for over the years. Everything including their physical appearance, their job, their hard earned money, their possessions, solid relationships with people become damaged or destitute. Their nutritional intake is reduced, their sleep patterns are affected and their arms may be covered with needle marks (if they inject). Yet they don’t “want” to stop?
At some point, some men and women suffering from heroin addiction may actually ask for help. However, many fear the dreaded withdrawal symptoms to come and as a result, continue using not because they are trying to get high, but to stay well and prevent becoming horribly sick. But the time a heroin addict asks for help is when you’ll have the greatest chance to get them into a drug rehab or an addiction treatment center to jump-start their recovery. Recognizing and ignoring a heroin user’s lies is the key to getting them the help they need and deserve.
If you are a loved one needs help getting clean, we are here to help. Please feel free to contact us or contact one of our recommended addiction treatment centers for more information. Addiction may not be curable but it is treatable and the person you know and love can and will return with proper treatment.
Written and Published By,
William – Publisher and Founder of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™
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