Heroin is an opiate that is fast acting. After an individual uses heroin, the effects occur quickly and produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. This is due to heroin acting on areas of the brain that are related to pleasure. Heroin also blocks the ability for the user to feel pain. Individuals using heroin typically have a dry mouth and flushed skin immediately after using. Their pupils will constrict and they will begin to become lethargic drifting in and out of sleep.
Signs and symptoms of heroin addiction may include the following:
- Drooping appearance
- Shortness of breath
- The cyclical appearance of being alert and then drifting off
These signs occur during heroin use and for several hours after heroin has been used. Warning signs that someone may be using heroin include having syringes or needles, aluminum foil with burn marks, silver spoons that are burned, burnt straws, shoes with missing shoelaces, plastic bags with a white residue, and possessing a pipe.
Behavioral Signs of Heroin Addiction
Individuals who are engaging in heroin use may also behave differently then they did in the past. They may begin to lie or use deception to obtain money to buy heroin or to hide their heroin use. They may also become distant and avoid social engagement. Individuals who are addicted to heroin may also begin to experience issues at work or school, with their performance drastically declining compared to their past performance. They may begin to lose motivation toward their goals, have a lack of care toward their physical appearance and overall hygiene, and slur or become incoherent when they speak to others. They may also engage in aggressive behavior toward friends and family. Individuals who engage in frequent heroin use might also ask for money or steal from their family in order to obtain more heroin. They may also wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, even in the summer, in order to hide their track marks.
When an individual becomes addicted to heroin, their tolerance builds quickly. They begin to use more heroin to maintain the same effects they felt in the past with a smaller amount. Individuals with a high tolerance to heroin may show other symptoms and signs of use. These signs and symptoms include runny nose, weight loss, amenorrhea (i.e., loss of monthly menstrual cycle). Further, individuals that frequently use heroin may have abscesses or infections where they inject heroin, needle marks (i.e., track marks) on the arm, and scabs from picking at the skin. If you would like more information on the signs and symptoms of heroin addiction and how to get help for yourself or a loved one, please call us today at 800-411-8019.