Heroin abuse is a common form of substance abuse today. In many ways, it is an extension of the broader opioid crisis that has swept the United States in the 21st century. Heroin is classified as a type of opioid and thus shares many similarities with prescription opioids like oxycontin. These drugs impact the brain in similar ways. People who struggle with opioid use often turn to heroin because it is stronger and produces a more potent high. It can just as quickly be someone’s entry point to drug use since it is widely available.
Regardless of how someone first begins using heroin, any amount of use is dangerous. If you suspect your loved one is struggling with heroin abuse, it is imperative that you learn to recognize the symptoms of heroin abuse. Knowing the signs of heroin abuse means you can intervene and help them get timely help before their addiction causes untold damage.
Common Symptoms of Heroin Abuse
The symptoms of heroin abuse can vary from person to person. Looking for just one or two signs is thus generally insufficient. Instead, look to paint a broader picture of your loved one’s situation by keeping alert to the full range of symptoms of heroin abuse. These tend to fall into three categories: behavioral, physical, and cognitive. Each category for the signs of heroin abuse is detailed below.
1. Behavioral Symptoms of Heroin Abuse
Heroin abuse inevitably changes the way a person acts. People who abuse heroin often become more secretive and avoidant because they do not want people to know they have a drug issue. This can manifest as your loved one wearing long sleeves to hide needle marks, stopping a hobby or activity they have long enjoyed, or them becoming less social.
Other behavioral signs of heroin abuse include constant picking or scratching at the skin, struggling to perform normal tasks or responsibilities, and significant alterations in the crowd they associate with regularly.
2. Physical Symptoms of Heroin Abuse
Heroin abuse tends to have significant physical implications. While it does produce a high when used, the lasting physical impacts are much nastier and often noticeable to loved ones. A few of the most significant physical signs of heroin abuse are:
- Constant flu-like symptoms
- Major changes in appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Runny nose
- Bruising or scabbing
These can also be signs of the use of other drugs.
3. Cognitive Symptoms of Heroin Abuse
The last category for the symptoms of heroin addiction is cognitive. This area can be more challenging for loved ones to notice since these symptoms are entirely mental. However, a close eye can still perceive the ways that heroin is changing your loved one’s brain. For starters, heroin abuse can cause difficulty concentrating and a lack of impulse control. Other cognitive effects of heroin abuse are hallucinations, paranoia, and disorientation.
Addressing the Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
Your loved one’s recovery is not solely dependent on you. At the same time, you have an essential role in helping your loved one access quality treatment and get the support they need to overcome heroin abuse. Knowing the symptoms of heroin addiction is a significant first step.
But once you notice the symptoms of heroin addiction in your loved one, what next? Frequently, an intervention is necessary to jolt your loved one from their situation. An intervention could be as simple as a frank, candid conversation. It could also be more involved. Trained addiction specialists can be hired to help with an intervention. In addition, you’ll want to make sure you know what treatment options are for your loved one. It’s also recommended that you rehearse what you say and lay out a clear action plan following the intervention.
Find Help For Heroin Abuse at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset
Evoke Wellness at Cohasset is committed to helping your loved one recover from heroin abuse. Contact us at 866.931.6429 to learn how we can partner with you in treating your loved one’s heroin addiction.