Every day, thousands of people around the world develop an addiction to heroin. In many cases, the families of these individuals stand by helplessly, as they watch their loved one slip deeper and deeper into the cycle of drug dependence. Many people will wonder aloud, “what could we have done to prevent this from happening?”
And although such self-incrimination is not healthy, it is important to note that there are a number of tell-tale signs of heroin addiction that, if spotted, can help families get their loved one into a proper drug rehab program.
Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
There are a number of tell-tale heroin addiction symptoms that family members should be aware of if they believe their loved one has been using drugs. These heroin addiction signs and symptoms include:
- Unexplained absences. Heroin users may disappear from stretches of time when they are off using drugs. Many will lie about their whereabouts to those closest to them.
- Scars and needle marks. IV heroin users who inject the drug will begin to develop “track marks” – or scabs and scars from needles that have been repeatedly inserted into the body. This may also be accompanied by continuous scratching behavior.
- Mood swings. When an individual is high on heroin, there is seemingly nothing in the world that can bother them. But when heroin addicts are between doses, and looking for a fix, they can turn mean-spirited or become depressed at the drop of a hat. Watch for these sudden mood swings in individuals who were once emotionally stable.
- Poor performance at work or school. An individual who uses heroin will neglect everything in their life in the name of getting high. That means successful professionals and students may see their performance falter as a result of their heroin drug addiction.
- Criminal behavior. Heroin costs money, and the non-stop desire to get more and more of the drug will lead many to criminal behavior in order to buy heroin. This can include everything from robbery and drug sales to self-prostitution.
Heroin Addiction Symptoms and Tolerance
Perhaps the most important symptom of heroin addiction is tolerance. Tolerance is defined as needed more and more heroin over time to achieve the desired euphoric effect. This occurs because the body literally develops a tolerance to the drug. Heroin tolerance is a dangerous symptom for a number of reasons. The individual who uses large amounts of the drug in a single session is much more likely to suffer a heroin overdose. Also, the constant need for more and more and heroin leads the individuals to a number of high-risk situations, including:
- Taking part in criminal activity to obtain more heroin
- Buying suspect versions of the drug in an effort to get high (heroin is often cut with dangerous chemicals that can lead to serious illness or death)
- Stealing money from friends or family in order to obtain more of the drug
Getting Heroin Addiction Help
The most effective way for an individual to get help for heroin addiction is through a heroin rehab program. Drug rehab for heroin addiction addresses both the physical and psychological dependence on drugs through a three-pronged process that includes detox (physical addiction), which is not a comfortable process, but is absolutely necessary; counseling (psychological addiction) and aftercare (preparing for life after drug rehab).