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Recognizing Signs of Heroin Dependence

dejected looking young man seated on edge of bed failing to recognize the signs of heroin dependence

Heroin is a highly addictive drug, and users can be very secretive about their use due to the shame they feel in being dependent on the drug. Once addicted, the risk of relapse is very high without professional treatment. Heroin addiction is also commonly accompanied by a co-occurring mental health disorder. Dual diagnosis treatment is offered at most inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities. If you are concerned that a loved one may have a dependence on heroin, then you need to learn what signs to look out for.

The Arbor offers heroin addiction treatment in Texas and can answer any questions you may have about how to customize a treatment unique to your needs or the needs of a loved one.

Signs of Heroin Dependence

Recognizing the signs of someone having a dependence on heroin is the key to helping them overcome their addiction. As an opioid, heroin has a numbing effect that gives people relief from the pain they are feeling. The pain can be physical or emotional. In essence, heroin allows users to ignore the hurt they are feeling and get a euphoric high at the same time. This is why the drug is so addictive—because people chase this high.

Many signs can signal someone you care about has a dependence on heroin. Some signs are physical, and some are cognitive.

Physical Signs of Dependence

  • Poor hygiene
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Red skin or flushed appearance
  • Constant runny nose without other “cold” symptoms
  • Trouble speaking or slurring
  • Feelings of nausea
  • An unidentified odor on their physical self
  • Body shakes

Cognitive Signs of Dependence

  • Reclusiveness and social withdrawal from those close to them
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Shirking responsibilities
  • Money issues
  • Secret behavior
  • Unusual wardrobe choices to hide injection sites or bruising
  • Changes in friend group

Long-Term Effects of Heroin

The longer heroin use takes place, the more likely there will be lasting effects. Heroin addiction treatment programs are well-equipped to help you manage the short and long-term effects of heroin use and the withdrawal symptoms that set in when you remove the drug from your system. Using heroin can result in overdose and death just by using the drug to excess, but the long-term effects can also lead to death even after you stop using heroin.

With extended use, heroin takes a toll on the whole body. This can include physical, developmental, or mental effects.

Common long-term effects of heroin use include:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Issues with the lungs
  • Tissue infections
  • Blood disorders and tissue infections
  • Issues with sexual performance
  • Issues with menstruation
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss
  • Brain chemical imbalance
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Inability to manage stress or make important decisions

Heroin is a dangerous and destructive illicit drug that requires professional treatment. If you see the signs of heroin dependence in yourself or a loved one, don’t wait to seek help.

Lean on The Arbor For Support With Addiction Treatment in Texas

The effects of heroin addiction can be severe. Managing them can be even harder. Having help as you go through the treatment and recovery process will better serve you in achieving lifelong sobriety and lessening the risk of a relapse. Many do not seek treatment for a severe addiction because they are afraid of the withdrawal symptoms. With professional help, these withdrawal symptoms can be well-managed so that you can get the help you need and minimize the lasting effects of your addiction. Going through withdrawal on your own is never recommended. Being in a home-like setting among peers, where you are safe and well cared for, is the better alternative. Treatment may last a few weeks or a few months, but recovery is for life.

Let The Arbor help treat dependence on heroin through a combination of evidence-based, behavioral, and experiential therapies. Call 844.413.2690 today or contact The Arbor online for more information.