Heroin dependency is a dangerous condition that means the individual is unable to stop using this powerful opiate, despite a clear understanding of the damage it is causing their health and their relationships. Understanding heroin abuse and dependence means being able to help find the answers to heroin addiction that have remained elusive for so long.
The Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Dependence
There are a number of classic signs and symptoms associated with heroin drug dependency that every individual should be familiar with – as they could mean the difference between finding help for a loved one, and watching them slip deeper and deeper in the cycle of addiction to heroin.
Among the most common signs and symptoms of heroin addiction are:
- Strong drug cravings
- Sudden mood swings
- Depression and anxiety
- Long, unexplained absences
- Lying about whereabouts and drug use
- Stealing or other criminal behavior
- Scars and “track marks” on the arm or other parts of the body
- Sniffling, sneezing and other cold-like symptoms
Professionals usually look for one or more of the above symptoms when diagnosing a heroin dependence (with a duration of six months or longer).
Dependence on Heroin and Tolerance
When developing dependence on heroin, a heroin drug addict is likely to build up a tolerance to the drug. That means it will take more and more heroin to achieve the desired “euphoric effect” experienced when the individual first started using heroin. The risks of heroin tolerance are numerous, but the most significant is the increased risk of overdose. If the individual must constantly be taking large amounts heroin in order to get high, they are always running the risk of taking a dose that their body cannot handle.
Overcoming Heroin Abuse and Dependence
In order to treat heroin dependence, the individual must enter into a comprehensive drug rehab program. Drug rehab is a chance to address both the physical and psychological dependence on heroin through three primary steps. These steps include heroin detox (overcoming the physical addiction to heroin), counseling (therapy to help conquer the psychological dependence on heroin) and aftercare (how to maintain one’s sobriety when rehab is complete).
Taken together, these programs offer the individual the absolute best chance to overcome their heroin addiction. The program may take anywhere from a month to over a year, but the investment in time pays off with a new lease on life and rejuvenated spirit that the individual can succeed without being a heroin user.
If you think you have a loved one with a dangerous heroin habit, don’t waste any more time and bring them to a treatment center immediately. Doing some reading on the nature of drug addictions might also help you understand what you need to understand about the disease.