Using heroin is not only a danger to health, but it can lead to a lifestyle of severe addiction. Heroin is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. And, with overdose death rates rising as the opioid epidemic continues, heroin addiction is more prevalent than ever before. Fortunately, treatment is effective in combating heroin addiction and establishing a life of sobriety. In turn, it’s also effective in helping to prevent loss of life due to heroin overdose. But, in many cases, people struggling with heroin addiction or abuse may not get the help they need. In these cases, it’s imperative for family and loved ones to step forward and attempt to identify signs of heroin addiction their addictive loved one may portray. This way, an intervention can commence and individuals can begin to face the reality that they need to consider help through treatment.
Some of the Hazards of Abusing Heroin
Family members and loved ones of individuals abusing heroin should know and understand the dangers that come with heroin abuse. This way, they understand just how serious their loved one’s issue with this substance truly is. And, may be more willing to take part in supporting the person struggling with addiction so they can go on to get the help they need. Some of the hazards that come along with abusing heroin include:
Psychological Addiction: As with any addictive substance on this planet, heroin can lead to psychological dependence. This results in extreme cravings and mental health effects when the substance is not being used. Essentially, using addictive substances like heroin provides a numbing experience so individuals who use it can run from negative emotions or experiences. So, once addiction forms and heroin isn’t present, an individual may experience psychological withdrawal symptoms like agitation, mood swings, anxiety, and severe cravings.
Physical Addiction: While psychological addiction deals with the brain and mental health, physical addiction deals with the body. Basically, after using an addictive substance for some time, the body begins to adapt. And, when this happens, the body basically requires the drug to function properly. So, when heroin isn’t present, a person who’s physically addicted to the substance will experience physical withdrawal symptoms. These can include nausea, abdominal cramping, muscle spasms, shivering, sweating, lack of appetite, and more.
Overdose: Along with addiction, people who abuse heroin can suffer from an overdose. This happens when an individual uses too much of an addictive substance in one sitting. With heroin being a central nervous system depressant, those who use too much may experience slowness in breathing and heart rate. Thus, falling asleep to never wake again. In many cases, heroin overdose can be reversed with prescription medications like Narcan. However, unfortunately, thousands of people a year in the USA die of a heroin overdose. Essentially, the only way to prevent heroin overdose is to not to use heroin. So, no matter how long a person has been using or not, the risk of a heroin overdose is always prevalent when one uses this substance.
Signs of Heroin Addiction
Now that you understand the dangers of this toxic component, you can look for signs in your loved one’s behaviors and lifestyles that may point to heroin addiction. This way, you can encourage your loved one to get help and learn more about how you can support the recovery journey. Signs of heroin addiction you can look for may include both psychological (behavioral) and physical signs, just like addiction is both psychological and physical.
Psychological signs of heroin addiction may include:
- Not being able to keep up with financial goals or tracking
- Frequently missing social events
- Having excuses for not showing up to an event/family gathering/work
- Ditching old friends for new friends you’ve never heard of
- Not being able to keep a healthy sleep pattern (falling asleep while doing things)
Physical signs of heroin addiction may include:
- Smaller pupils than usual
- Paler skin than you remember
- Malnutrition and weight loss
- Bad hygiene practices
- Track marks (where needles have entered the skin and left bruising or scarring)
Certainly, some of these signs of heroin abuse could be attributed to other mental health issues. However, in either case, it’s important to address these warning signs and take them seriously as they could be a sign that your loved one is dealing with something dangerous.
Helping Your Loved One With Heroin Addiction
If you think that your loved one is struggling with a heroin addiction because you notice some of the signs listed above, there are some things you can do. First and foremost, learn about heroin addiction yourself. This will put you in the best position to help your loved one and understand what they’re going through. Next, you can attempt to talk to your loved one about getting help at a place like Willow Place for Women.
Here, we provide heroin addiction treatment and therapy services for women struggling with heroin and all other types of addiction. If you’re having trouble convincing your loved one to get help or just simply want to learn more about how we can help, contact us today.