When someone chooses to use heroin, they are introducing something to their body that will destroy it. The impacts of heroin on the body are something that isn’t immediately apparent, but with a few uses, it’s clear that the drug has a profound effect on the human body.
Recognizing the Signs of Heroin Addiction
So, what are the symptoms of a heroin addict?
The drug dramatically affects the skin and blood of the user, not to mention the way the person feels mentally and the behavior they exhibit. Those around the user will likely begin to observe the changes in their attitude and how they are physically acting before the user themselves notice that these changes are happening or admit that they are taking place.
This is why the first warning signs that a person has a heroin addiction so often come from external places. This means friends and family surrounding the user may notice signs of heroin abuse and want to help. They might not even know their loved one is using heroin, but simply sense that something is off.
Because heroin users all too often keep their drug usage a secret, by the time they realize that there is a problem, the addiction already has a strong hold over them.
Noticing Heroin Symptoms
The negative effects of heroin don’t take effect right away. If they did, no one would ever want to use a second time.
The drug first reels people in with positive stress rewards that they might experience in the short-term or the when they first begin to use:
- Sensations of pleasure
- Relief from pain
- Relief from depression and anxiety
- A feeling of warmth throughout the body
- A sense of heaviness in limbs
- A sedative effect
These warm and pleasurable feelings that spread throughout the body, however, don’t last long. And once they fade away, they are replaced almost immediately by a sense of lethargy.
Those who consume large quantities of the drug will feel like they are falling asleep almost right away after introducing the substance into their body. This is because, at this point, the heart rate begins to slow, and the person starts to nod off.
This point, where the person feels like they may fall asleep, is a critical point. This is the point of the high in which death from overdose can occur. It’s important to note that a person can die from overdose even if they use the drug only once, because you never know how a person’s body will react to the substance.
What we just discussed, however, are only the short-term effects of using this dangerous drug. Now, let’s talk about the signs of snorting heroin, injecting it, or consuming the drug in the long-term:
- Dental issues like receding gums or broken teeth
- Skin sores
- Extreme weight loss
- Drastic changes in sleeping patterns
- Track marks / Swelling in the area the heroin is injected
- A weakened immune system
- Liver and kidney trouble
- Decrease of oxygen throughout the body, impacting the brain
- Infections at injection sites
- Abscesses in the mouth
- Infections of the heart and lungs
- Children with withdrawal symptoms
The above are the long-term impacts from heroin use that can linger for months or even years after a person discontinues the use of the drug. They may even begin to crop up before a person even recognizes they have a problem.
If you believe that a person close to you might be involved with heroin abuse, then looking out for these signs can be helpful in identifying that they may have a heroin addiction. Familiarizing yourself with the appearance of needle track marks can help as well. What do needle track marks look like? Similar in appearance to a puncture wound, with older marks looking like raised, discolored scars.
The Dangers of Heroin
All the signs that come with heroin addiction should make it clear enough that this is a dangerous substance. However, what makes heroin even more dangerous is its high rate of addiction.
A person only needs to use heroin once or twice to be hooked and for their body to physically crave or depend on the drug. With how quickly a person can become hooked, it is easy to understand what makes heroin such a dangerous and even deadly drug.
Check out our heroin addiction guide here.
Intervention and Treatment for Heroin Addiction
If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, it’s important to know that there are places to turn to for help. If you’ve noticed the physical signs of heroin use in yourself or someone important to you, then seeking out the support and treatment you need to safely and effectively overcome the addiction is an essential step to getting life back on track.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you to know how to spot a heroin user, so you can help yourself or your loved ones to get the necessary aid and treatments.