It is not easy for a layperson to notice a heroin addiction in their loved one because it sometimes manifests in the form of severe mood swings. Many variables come into play, and while it is easy for some people to spot a heroin addiction, others may mistake it for extreme mood swings. You should pay more attention to a loved one, especially if they hang out around people you suspect use drugs or if they are on prescription opioids that may provide a getaway to using heroin.
But what does heroin look like? Heroin is an opioid that comes from an opium poppy plant. It can be a white, brown, or green powder or sticky tar that is addictive, which is why it is illegal in the United States and many other countries. Many people use heroin by snorting or injecting it in their veins. But no matter the delivery method, heroin is addictive, and even after using it once, twice, or three times, you find yourself yearning for more.
After using heroin, someone experiences a rush of happiness and good feelings. One may think or walk slowly because they feel like the whole world has stopped. What happens is that heroin prevents the body from receiving pain messages, slows the heart rate and breathing. Many people start using it to deal with anxiety, depression, worries, and other stressors only to realize they are addicted when it is too late. Since it slows down the heart rate, an overdose can quickly cause death.
How do you step in if you suspect a loved one is addicted to heroin?
Now that you know how heroin works, how do you know or step in if you suspect that your loved one is experiencing heroin addiction? Let’s look at the signs of heroin addiction.
- Behavioral changes- the individual tends to be secretive about activities and personal space or a general drastic change in their behaviors.
- Money problems, for instance, borrowing unexplained loans often.
- Work or school problems, for instance, the individual appears disinterested or starts slowing down in terms of performance.
- Disinterest in physical appearance especially grooming.
Heroin addiction is hard to deal with, and the individual may be going through a hard time, so you should be compassionate with them. Other outward signs to look out for include:
- Coordination problems.
- Problems with attention or memory.
- Slurred speech.
- Severe mood swings.
- Irregular sleep patterns.
- Lack of attention to surrounding things and people.
- Scars on arms due to the heroin injections.
It is not easy for a concerned person to recognize withdrawal symptoms of a loved one who is early into heroin addiction. Symptoms similar to flu infection, such as sweating, fever, abdominal pains, goosebumps, etc., can indicate a heroin withdrawal.
If you notice your loved one has those signs, you should seek addiction treatment immediately. Addiction treatment professionals can help your loved one find a treatment plan that works for them, such as medication-assisted treatment. That involves the use of medications to reduce cravings and wean the body off heroin. Remember that the sooner they get help, the better.