How To Recognize Heroin Addiction in Your Family
Recognizing the signs of a substance use disorder, especially one associated with heroin addiction, is important. Being able to notice this type of issue developing in someone you care deeply for is often the catalyst for making sure the individual gets help and is able to rise above their addiction.
Don’t dismiss your concerns if you suspect someone you love is hiding their struggles with heroin. Heroin addiction can be a problem for a person of any age, as young as 11 and well into retirement. If you’re looking to find help for someone you love, call 800-910-3734 and get them the treatment they need as soon as possible.
Heroin Addiction and Opioid Abuse
Heroin is a powerful opioid that is also one of the most commonly abused substances on the planet. Because of its similarities, heroin addiction and opioid addiction will appear very similar.
According to the Government of South Australia, “Opioids are morphine-like drugs that work by binding the opioid receptors which are found principally in the central and peripheral nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract.” They are often prescribed to treat pain. In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written in the US for drugs in this category, which according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, would allow every American adult to have their own bottle of opioid pills.
Many who start out abusing opioids can quickly transition into having a full-fledged heroin addiction. Considering the overwhelming rate of overdose, getting help for your loved one is of the utmost importance.
Opioids, and especially heroin, can create dependence for those who take them regularly, and those who abuse them can become addicted. But how can you know if your loved one has developed an addiction to these dangerous drugs?
Signs and Symptoms of an Opioid or Heroin Addiction
An individual who becomes addicted to heroin or opioids will act differently than they used to. The drug will become their main priority, and in many cases, they will become consumed with obtaining and using more. They will exhibit other behaviors as well, including:
- Hostility when asked about their substance abuse
- Secretive behavior where they attempt to hide where they are going or who they have been with
- Mood swings that will be caused by their constant substance abuse
- Altered eating and sleeping habits
- A disinterest in their physical appearance and/or hygiene
- A disinterest in activities that used to matter to them, including hobbies, work, and school
- Spending more time alone or with people you don’t know
According to the National Library of Medicine, your loved one may even begin to exhibit violent episodes because of their substance abuse, although heroin and opioids normally cause mood fluctuations between excitable/euphoric and depressed. Your loved one will also start to miss school or work because of their excessive substance abuse.
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As their addiction begins to intensify, they may begin to exhibit certain physical side effects that are often related to the consistent use of an opioid. These can include:
- Dry mouth and dry mucous membranes in the nose
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Physical withdrawal symptoms when unable to use the drug such as:
- Runny nose
- Muscle and joint pain
- Abdominal pain
People who become addicted to heroin or opioids and experience these type of side effects will usually refuse to see a doctor or to stop taking the drug that is causing them. This is another sign of addiction because your loved one is refusing to stop using heroin, even though the drug is causing serious problems in their day-to-day life.
If your loved one is injecting the drug, they will likely begin to exhibit track marks on their arms and legs. They will also attempt to hide drug paraphernalia in their room or in places they think you will not look. These items can include syringes, tie offs, and spoons. Someone abusing opioids may also have pill bottles.
There Is Hope for Your Family
If you think someone you love is struggling with an opioid or a heroin addiction, there is a way for them to get better and for both of you to rebuild your relationship. Addiction requires treatment because it is not an issue of willpower; it is a legitimate disease that can only be overcome with professional care.
Call Today to Get Help for Your Loved One
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