Signs of Heroin Addiction

Signs of Heroin Addiction

Any form of drug addiction can be dangerous. This article will shed light on some of the common signs of heroin addiction.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Drug addiction is a universal problem that has been constantly on the rise since the twentieth century. The condition is defined as the over dependence on an illegal drug or prescribed medication, even though the user is well aware of the ill effects of these substances. The user will not be able to control the unabated use of this drug as he has a constant craving for it. This makes it impossible for him to quit the habit. There are various illegal drugs as well as prescription medication that can cause addiction. Heroin is one such illegal drug that has thousands of users all over the world.

Heroin Addiction

Heroin is an illegal drug that is made from morphine, which in turn is a drug made from the seedpods of certain poppy plants. In fact, heroin is one of the most highly abused illegal drugs and is said to have a very fast effect. It is said that the user starts developing a pleasurable feeling within seconds of using heroin. Studies show that heroin contains two alkaloids, termed codeine and morphine, which are responsible this action of the drug. The purest form of heroin is white in color and is available in powder form. It is also available in off-white, brown and black colors. It is said that the color change is due to the presence of impurities and other additives.

The most common ways of delivering this drug to the body is through smoking, snorting or injecting. There is a common misconception that injection of heroin leads to addiction, as compared to snorting or smoking. Some people also use this drug as vaginal or anal suppositories. Ingestion is the most uncommon methods of using this drug. Whatever may be the method of use, heroin addiction can happen with successive uses. Apart from causing harm to the health of the user, such a drug addiction has many socio-economic impacts too. So, detecting and treating the condition at the very beginning is a real necessity.

Heroin Addiction Symptoms

Prolonged use of heroin leads to addiction, which can cause both, mental physical and behavioral changes. The following are some of the common physical signs of heroin addiction.
  • Bluish color of the skin, lips and fingernails
  • Slow and shallow breathing
  • Constricted pupils and a lost appearance in the eyes
  • Unusual lethargy and laziness
  • Poor hygiene
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • Weight loss
  • Injection marks on the body
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Cravings between uses
  • Cold and sweaty hands
  • Puffy face and red eyes
These are some of the warning signs of heroin addiction. Behavioral symptoms include change of friends, withdrawal from social life, sudden shortage of money, weird behavior, secluded life, etc. Such people may also have poor memory, disorientation and difficulty concentrating. If you have such a friend or relative, look for substances like capsules, injection syringes and other such items in their house. All these symptoms are indicators of addiction to heroin.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Those with addiction to heroin must be provided with adequate treatment at the earliest as this drug can cause various harmful effects. It can also lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, in case the user discontinues its use. Normally, such symptoms develop within 7 to 24 hours from the last dose. Treatment for heroin addiction includes detoxification of the body from the toxins accumulated with heroin use. The method of detoxification may vary from one user to another. While, some people are advised to quit the drug all of a sudden, others do it with the help of medication. In the first case, medical attention is provided to manage the withdrawal symptoms. In the second case, medication is used instead of heroin and this prescription medication helps to wean off heroin, in a better way. The dosage of the medication is gradually lowered and is finally stopped. Apart from detoxification, behavioral therapies are also an important part of heroin addiction treatment.

The above said is only a brief overview about the signs of heroin addiction and its treatment. This article is for information purposes only. So, it is always better to clear your doubts with a qualified health practitioner.