Heroin addiction does not discriminate, you could be poor or rich, female or male, it can happen to various people in the world. If you are a worried family member or friend of a possible user, this post might help you understand more about the signs of heroin use, and what drives your loved one to use a dangerous drug like heroin.

Heroin addiction, and what it exactly is

Heroin is one of the most popular and dangerous drugs in the world. Its main effects are euphoria – feeling extremely good and happy – and it also has an effect on those who use it as a way of pain relief.

It started off as a medication, but due to its extremely addictive working substance and the highs, it has become more recreational. The brain craves pleasurable feelings, and the euphoria induced by your brain during heroin use.

The definition of addiction is when you cannot control your intake and it becomes compulsive. Most of your moral values will go out the window, and the drug controls your loved ones’ life.

This is often a hard part for the family to understand at times, yet it is imperative to know what your friend, sibling, parent, child or partner is going through. The signs of heroin addiction are often clear, and you should be able to tell quickly. Seeking heroin rehab is essential for recovery.

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Behavioural changes

Often if your loved one is struggling with addiction, you should look at the changes the person goes through. In most cases, it starts with secrecy, as he/she might be ashamed of their new habit. Another telltale sign is the way he/she treats you.

If you were affectionately treated before, and you see a sharp change in his/her attitude, it might indicate a heroin addiction. This could be because the person is having withdrawal symptoms, and might be agitated because they are not high.

Mood swings are frequent in heroin users. Like above-mentioned issues, someone might be struggling with withdrawal symptoms, which makes someone’s behaviour erratic. If the person is desperate enough, they might throw tantrums and more, for no apparent reason.

Lying is a significant issue with heroin users. When a user needs his/her fix, they will lie to achieve their goal of getting high. Because they have no control of their addiction, they will fall below their own moral standards that others expect from them.

Was your friend, partner or family member an organised and clean person, who suddenly seemed to stop caring about personal hygiene? That could be one of the signs of heroin use.

Relationships will come under serious strains. Living with, or being related to a heroin addict is not easy at all. It’s important to keep in mind that your loved one is destroying themself, and that this is not your friend or family member exhibiting this behaviour.

Physical changes

In combination with the changes in behaviour, you might notice the heroin also tends to have a serious effect on the body. You might notice that the person you loved went from a healthy figure, to an extremely thin person.

This has nothing to do with heroin as a chemical substance inducing weight loss, but more about lifestyle. A healthy diet becomes secondary to shooting up heroin.

To add to that, a lot of heroin addicts will have financial issues because they cannot function in society because of their addiction. Most of these addicts will spend their last pounds on drugs, and therefore will not be able to afford food.

After periods of prolonged use, your loved one might go through changes in regards to their skin. They might turn pale. Or they’ll have scabs on their face, due to scratching and picking their skin.

This normally happens in periods where they are suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Often the skin will feel irritated and therefore compulsive picking and scratching take pace.

See any bruises on your loved ones’ body? That does not necessarily mean that this happened through physical contact. When people inject heroin, a substance called histamine will also be released into your body.  This will cause random bruises in addition to itchy skin.

How to help those who can’t help themselves

In short, there is no way to do that. You cannot force someone to get help if there are signs of heroin use. The only thing you can do is to help your loved one realise they have a problem.

A family intervention could be a useful tactic to urge the user to stop doing heroin and to get professional help through a heroin rehab programme. If you think your loved one will want to speak to Ocean Recovery Centre, you can always steer them to our website for more information.

Call us today for more information.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: December 22, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.

Dr Robert Lutaaya - Clinical Reviewer - Last reviewed: December 10, 2023

MBChB, MSc Psych

Dr Robert Lutaaya qualified in 1995 from Worclaw Medical University as MBChB, and obtained a MSc Psych from the University of Manchester in 2014. Dr Lutaaya has previously worked for the CGL Substance Misuse Service and as an on-call doctor substance misuse Doctor for 17 years before joining Ocean Recovery. Dr Robert Lutaaya is committed to helping those struggling with alcohol and drug addictions.