The Subtle Signs of Heroin Use

The Subtle Signs of Heroin Use

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that can have devastating consequences. This is why it’s so important to recognize the signs of heroin use in a loved one, as stepping in and seeking the best rehab in Phoenix can make all the difference in their outcome. 

Too often, people think their loved one is using heroin casually, but this is rarely the case. For most people, heroin is too addictive of a drug to be used on occasion. Let’s cover some of the more subtle signs of heroin use and how to identify them in someone you care about. 

Privacy Issues 

In the early stages of heroin abuse, users typically display behavioral changes. One of the first subtle signs of heroin use is wanting more privacy. Users want this privacy so they can use heroin and experience the high, which usually lasts about four to five hours. 

Another reason why heroin users like their privacy is because of the paraphernalia involved. It takes time to set things up. Common paraphernalia you may find around the home are spoons, needles, pipes, rubber tubing or elastic bands. 

Unexplained Money Problems 

Heroin has a reputation for being a cheaper alternative to prescription opioids, but even this drug quickly adds up for frequent users. On average, a 0.1 gram bag of heroin costs between $15 and $20. Heavy users may spend up to $150 to $200 a day on their habit. 

Furthermore, when a person regularly uses heroin, they’re eventually going to have a hard time working a full-time job. Without an income, they might start selling off their possessions or stealing from others to support their habit. If you notice that your loved one is suddenly having money problems with no explanation, this is a red flag for substance use. 

Sudden Weight Loss 

Heroin suppresses the appetite so it’s common for users to experience sudden and rapid weight loss. Not only do heroin users skip meals and snack less, but also they often sacrifice their basic needs to get and use heroin. Preparing fresh, healthy meals is no longer a priority. 

It’s also possible for heroin to cause nausea which can lead to weight loss. The only time people gain weight when using heroin is if they use marijuana as well to control the nausea. The marijuana can stimulate the appetite, causing the person to consume more calories than they need. Otherwise, heroin users tend to be very thin. 

Physical Symptoms 

It usually takes time for the physical symptoms of heroin use to appear. The symptoms also depend on how the heroin is used. For instance, those who smoke heroin may have sores on their lips and nose. This is caused by the heat used to heat up the heroin. They might also have burn marks on their fingers and mouth. 

Those who snort heroin often have an increase in nosebleeds, while those who inject the drug will have needle marks at the site of injection. Skin picking and abscesses are also common. Because these subtle signs of heroin use are telling, it’s important to move forward with drug rehab in Phoenix right away. 

Abnormal Schedule 

Heroin is quickly addictive. Before long, this drug takes center stage in a person’s life. They’ll spend a lot of their time obtaining and using heroin, experiencing the high and then coming down from it. Heroin users often feel tired after using the drug and may nod off or slip in and out of consciousness. 

Obviously, you can’t maintain a healthy, well-rounded schedule when you’re abusing drugs. You may notice that your loved one sleeps irregularly or at odd times throughout the day. They are likely to skip meals and become socially withdrawn as well. 

Mood Swings 

Heroin users often suffer from extreme mood swings that can range from sadness to full-blown anger. Sometimes, these symptoms can come from withdrawal, but other times they are from the heroin use itself. 

Heroin is a powerful drug that changes the brain chemistry and leads to mood changes, mental dependence and suicidal thoughts. In fact, nearly half of opiate users feel suicidal at some point in their lifetimes. You might find that your loved one is violent or just doesn’t care anymore. Either way, intervention is key.

Withdrawal or Flu-like Symptoms 

The first withdrawal symptoms usually appear around 6-12 hours from the last use. Symptoms peak around 1-3 days and taper off over 5-7 days. However, some people experience long-term withdrawal effects called post-acute withdrawal syndrome or PAWS. 

To an outsider, withdrawal can look like a severe case of the flu. You may notice your loved one going through severe aches and pains, chills and sweats, diarrhea, cramping, etc. Fevers are also common. Because some of these symptoms can be life-threatening, partial hospitalization programming is recommended. 

Is Heroin Addiction Treatable? 

Heroin addiction is very serious. In 2018, nearly 15,000 people died from a drug overdose involving heroin. For the first time, Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident. 

Fortunately, a variety of treatments are available for treating heroin use disorder. The recommended treatment plan includes both behavioral therapies and medications. Together, these restore normal brain function and behavior, as well as manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms. 

Continuum Recovery Center provides rigorous outpatient rehab in Phoenix for heroin users. We’re able to manage symptoms with various medications and provide adequate emotional support during the recovery process. To learn more about our approach to treating heroin abuse and how to get started with our program, contact Continuum Recovery Center today