Signs of Heroin Use. The signs of heroin use can vary depending on the individual and the severity of their addiction. Some common physical signs of heroin use include constricted pupils, slow breathing, and a disoriented or drowsy appearance.
By We Level Up NJ Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: April 11, 2023
Signs of Heroin Use
Heroin is a powerful and highly addictive drug that can devastate individuals and their families. The signs of heroin use, or signs of heroin addiction, can vary depending on the individual and the severity of their addiction. Some common physical signs of heroin use include constricted pupils, slow breathing, and a disoriented or drowsy appearance. Behavioral signs include secretive or suspicious behavior, changes in social circles, and a lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
Long-term use of heroin can lead to a range of physical and mental health problems, including respiratory failure, heart infections, and depression. Additionally, individuals who try to stop using heroin may experience withdrawal symptoms such as muscle pain, nausea, and anxiety, making it difficult to quit independently. Suppose you or someone you know exhibits heroin signs of using or signs of heroin withdrawal. In that case, seeking professional help as soon as possible is important to prevent further harm and increase the chances of recovery.
What are Signs of Heroin Use
Heroin use can have several physical, behavioral, and psychological signs. Physical signs of heroin use can include constricted pupils, drowsiness, slurred speech, itchy skin, nausea and vomiting, constipation, decreased respiration, and blue or gray lips and nails indicating low oxygen levels. Behavioral signs may include lying or being secretive, stealing or borrowing money, neglecting personal hygiene, losing interest in hobbies or activities, isolating from friends and family, sudden mood swings or changes in behavior, and poor performance at work or school. Psychological signs of heroin use may include depression and anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, confusion, memory loss, and difficulty making decisions or solving problems.
It is important to note that some of these signs may not be immediately noticeable and can vary depending on the individual and the amount and frequency of heroin use. If you suspect someone you know is using heroin, seeking professional help immediately is important to prevent further harm and addiction.
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Heroin Addiction Statistics
In 2020, heroin-involved overdose death rates decreased by nearly 7% 2019 to 2020. However, more than 13,000 people died from a drug overdose involving heroin in the United States, a rate of more than four deaths for every 100,000 Americans. The number of heroin-involved overdose deaths was nearly seven times higher in 2020 than in 1999. Almost 20% of all opioid deaths involved heroin.
Roughly 626,000 Americans had a heroin addiction in 2016
50 to 60%
When someone uses heroin, they have a 50 to 60 percent chance of developing an addiction.
Over 13,000 people died from a drug overdose involving heroin in the United States.
Heroin Drug Facts
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin.
How Do People Use Heroin?
People inject, sniff, snort, or smoke heroin. Some people mix heroin with crack cocaine, a practice called speedballing.
What Are The Effects of Heroin?
Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.
Heroin Chemical Name
Heroin scientific name: (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate
Scientific Name for Heroin – Molecular Formula: C21H23NO5
People who use heroin report feeling a “rush” (a surge of pleasure or euphoria). However, there are other common effects, including:
- Dry mouth.
- Warm flushing of the skin.
- Heavy feeling in the arms and legs.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Signs someone is using heroin over the long term may develop the following:
- Collapsed veins for people who inject the drug.
- Damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it.
- Infection of the heart lining and valves.
- Abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus).
- Constipation and stomach cramping.
- Liver and kidney disease.
Most Popular Heroin FAQ’s
Is heroin an opiate?
Yes, heroin is an opiate. It is derived from the opium poppy plant, like other opiates such as morphine, codeine, and oxycodone.
Is heroin a depressant?
Yes, heroin is a depressant drug. It works by slowing down the activity of the central nervous system, leading to a feeling of relaxation, euphoria, and decreased pain sensation.
What does heroin do?
Heroin is an opioid drug that produces a euphoric and sedative effect in the user. When heroin is taken, it quickly enters the brain and binds to opioid receptors, causing a flood of dopamine in the brain’s reward system.
Signs of Heroin Abuse
Heroin signs and symptoms, Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is derived from morphine, a substance that is naturally found in the opium poppy plant. It is typically injected, snorted, or smoked, and it can quickly cause physical dependence and addiction. Heroin use and addiction can devastate a person’s physical and mental health, as well as their personal relationships and financial stability.
Here are some of the signs someone is on heroin, addiction, and withdrawal:
Physical Signs of Heroin Overdose
- Constricted pupils: Heroin can cause the pupils of the eyes to become small, making them appear like tiny dots. This is because the drug affects the muscles that control the size of the pupils, causing them to constrict.
- Drowsiness: One of the primary effects of heroin is a feeling of extreme relaxation and sedation. This can cause users to become drowsy and even nod off during use.
- Slurred speech: As heroin use progresses, it can cause the user’s speech becomes slurred or difficult to understand. The drug affects the central nervous system, impairing speech, and cognitive function.
- Itchy skin: Heroin can cause users to experience intense itching, particularly on the arms and legs. This is thought to be related to the release of histamines in response to the drug.
- Nausea and vomiting: Many heroin users experience nausea and vomiting due to the drug’s effects on the digestive system.
- Constipation: Heroin can slow down the digestive system, causing users to experience constipation and difficulty with bowel movements.
- Decreased respiration: Heroin is a respiratory depressant that can slow down breathing and reduce the amount of oxygen in the lungs. This can be extremely dangerous and even lead to overdose.
- Blue or gray lips and nails: In severe cases of a heroin overdose, users may experience a lack of oxygen to the body’s tissues, which can cause the lips and nails to turn blue or gray. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.
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Behavioral Signs of Someone on Heroin
- Lying or being secretive: People struggling with heroin addiction may lie or be secretive about their drug use, as they may feel ashamed or afraid of judgment.
- Stealing or borrowing money: Heroin addiction can be expensive, leading some individuals to steal or borrow money to support their habit.
- Neglecting personal hygiene: Heroin addiction can cause individuals to neglect personal hygiene, as they may prioritize drug use over daily tasks like bathing or brushing their teeth.
- Losing interest in hobbies or activities: People struggling with heroin addiction may lose interest in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed, as drug use may become their main focus.
- Isolating from friends and family: Individuals with heroin addiction may isolate themselves from loved ones, as they may feel embarrassed or afraid to ask for help.
- Sudden mood swings or changes in behavior: Heroin addiction can cause mood swings or changes in behavior, such as irritability, aggression, or apathy.
- Poor performance at work or school: Individuals with heroin addiction may struggle to maintain employment or perform well in school, as drug use can impact cognitive functioning and motivation.
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Psychological Signs Of Someone Using Heroine
Heroin addiction often shows up in the mind as depression and anxiety. People with depression may always feel sad or hopeless, have trouble sleeping, or feel on edge and irritable. Heroin addiction can also cause paranoia, which is a feeling of not trusting or being suspicious of other people. Heroin use can make people have hallucinations, which are false sensory experiences. Some of these symptoms are seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. Heroin addiction can also cause confusion and memory loss, which makes it hard for people to remember important things or think clearly. Lastly, someone addicted to heroin may have trouble making decisions or solving problems. This can make it hard to live a normal life.
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Withdrawal Symptoms and Signs Someone is Doing Heroin
When a person stops using heroin, they may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Sweating: A common symptom of heroin withdrawal is excessive sweating, even in cool environments.
- Nausea and vomiting: Heroin withdrawal can cause severe stomach upset, leading to nausea and vomiting.
- Diarrhea: Diarrhea is another common symptom of heroin withdrawal that can lead to dehydration if left untreated.
- Muscle aches and pains: Heroin withdrawal can cause severe muscle aches and pains, making it difficult to perform daily activities.
- Insomnia: People going through heroin withdrawal may experience insomnia or difficulty falling asleep.
- Anxiety and agitation: Heroin withdrawal can cause intense anxiety and agitation, making it difficult to relax or remain calm.
- Depression: Withdrawal from heroin can also lead to feelings of depression and hopelessness. Seeking professional help is crucial to prevent relapse and support recovery.
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Heroin Addiction Treatment Near Me
Heroin addiction is a chronic disease and should be treated like other chronic diseases. Like those, it should constantly be monitored and managed. Heroin is a type of opioid. Opioid addiction treatment is different for each individual. The main purpose of opioid addiction treatment is to help the person stop using the drug. Opioid addiction treatment can also help the person avoid using it again.
The body goes through specific symptom stages known as opiate withdrawal. The opiate withdrawal timeline varies from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the type of opioid used, how long it was used, and any other substances that may have been used with opioids. Medically managed withdrawal opiate detox ensures the individual remains safe and stays as comfortable as possible.
Heroin Detox Treatment
The first step in treatment is medical detox. It will help you navigate the complicated withdrawal process but doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior contributing to heroin addiction. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.
Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can give the necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.
Inpatient Treatment for Heroin Addiction
There isn’t one treatment approach or style that will suit everyone. Treatment should speak to the needs of the individual. Inpatient drug rehab and addiction treatment aren’t just about drug or alcohol use. the goal is to help the person stop using drugs like heroin. Drug and alcohol rehab should also focus on the whole person’s needs.
Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior. When someone or their family is considering different treatment facilities, they should account for the complexity of addiction and the needs of the individual. The objective of attending an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab center for addiction treatment is to stop using the drug and re-learn how to live a productive life without it.
Most people benefit from inpatient rehab after a full medical detox from drugs and alcohol. Inpatient drug rehab can last anywhere from 28 days to several months. Patients stay overnight in the rehab facility and participate in intensive treatment programs and therapy. Once someone completes rehab, their addiction treatment team will create an aftercare program, including continuing therapy and participation in a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
Many rehab programs will also have early morning classes or programs. Group sessions occur during inpatient rehab, as do individual therapy sessions. Family therapy may be part of inpatient rehab when it’s feasible. Alternative forms of therapy may be introduced during inpatient rehab, like a holistic therapy program, yoga for addiction recovery, or addiction treatment massage therapy.
Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves changing both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.”
- Solution-focused therapy is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. Traumatic experiences can often result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend mainly on the treatment for both diseases done by the same team or provider.
Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT)
Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life make you rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.
Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery through our opioid addiction treatment program medically. So, reclaim your life, and call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.
Heroin Addiction Signs Recovery Story Video
Carlos’ Heroin Addiction Recovery Story
Carlos’ Heroin Addiction Recovery Story Carlos’ story is one of strength and courage in the face of his ongoing struggle with heroin addiction. Through dedication and faith, Carlos overcame the physical and mental challenges of seeking recovery from a crippling heroin addiction. His story highlights the importance of having a positive support system, staying motivated, and building a life of hope and strength despite the darkness of addiction. His is a story of self-determination and resilience in the face of adversity.
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