Heroin Addiction Signs and Symptoms

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What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug that is made from morphine and extracted from certain poppy plants. Heroin comes in a white or brownish powder or a black sticky substance known as “black tar heroin.” Heroin is used by injection, smoking, or snorting. This drug is highly addictive and repeated use of it can have many negative side effects.

Heroin Abuse Statistics

Heroin abuse affects millions of lives every year. It takes a toll on not only the person that is struggling with the addiction but also those who care about them the most. Four in five people who recently began using heroin started out misusing prescription painkillers.

According to asam.org, “94% of respondents in a 2014 survey of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they chose to use heroin because prescription opioids were far more expensive and harder to obtain.” The fact that so many people found heroin easier to obtain is shocking and shows how heroin abuse can get out of hand quickly.

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

When someone is struggling with addiction, they may try to cover up what’s going on, which makes it hard to tell what they’re going through. However, there are some visible signs and symptoms of heroin addiction. Signs of addiction may be physical, psychological, or behavioral. Some common signs of addiction are:

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Psychological and Behavioral

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Lying or deceptive behavior
  • Loss of motivation
  • Withdrawal from social life
  • Underperforming at work or school
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Physical

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Falling asleep without warning
  • Constricted or small pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Itchy or flushed skin

Heroin Side Effects

When heroin is used, it binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. People who use heroin typically say they feel an enjoyable sensation when they abuse it. The heroin rush is usually a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and their body starts to feel heavy. After someone takes heroin, they will be drowsy for several hours, their thoughts will be clouded, heart function slows, and breathing is severely slowed.

Immediate Heroin Side Effects

When heroin is used, it binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. People who use heroin typically say they feel an enjoyable sensation when they abuse it. The heroin rush is usually a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and their body starts to feel heavy. After someone takes heroin, they will be drowsy for several hours, their thoughts will be clouded, heart function slows, and breathing is severely slowed.

Long-Term Heroin Side Effects

Long term use of heroin can have many negative side effects. When it is used over a long period of time, it can become very addictive, and physical and psychological dependence can be formed on the drug. Other long-term effects of heroin use are:

  • Changes in the physiology of the brain that creates chemical imbalances
  • Decreased decision-making abilities
  • Trouble regulating behavior leading to irrational decisions
  • Tolerance to the drug that leads to taking higher doses to get the same effect
  • Problems maintaining relationships and steady employment

Heroin Side Effects – Heroin Eyes

One of the signs of heroin abuse or addiction can be what is called “heroin eyes.” Heroin makes the pupils in a person’s eyes get very small. Eyelids may also droop, and the eyes can become bloodshot. The look in someone’s eyes who is abusing heroin is often dull, lifeless, and unable to focus. Approximately 7-10 hours after heroin use, a person’s eyes will begin to tear up and have a sunken-in look. The eyes may also develop black circles around them. These can all be telltale signs that someone is struggling with heroin abuse.

Treatment Options

Heroin addiction is serious and there are resources available to help with the recovery process. If you or someone you know is struggling, seeing a medical professional, or contacting a treatment center is often a good first step. A treatment center can provide many resources that are beneficial for recovery. At a treatment center around the clock medical supervision is provided with therapy to work on reshaping behavior patterns and other underlying issues. While there, you will learn skills to cope with the stresses of life without drug use. If you think you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, call today.

If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
(888) 744-9969 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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