Watch Out For These 5 Symptoms of Heroin Use
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: February 18, 2021

Heroin is an illegal drug with highly addictive qualities. Available for injecting, snorting, or smoking, it delivers a “rush” resulting from the artificial triggering of the brain’s reward center. Because of the sudden release of dopamine and the feelings of well-being it delivers, addicts of the drug focus their lives on chasing the next dose. For parents and loved ones, there are five symptoms of heroin use to look out for.

Three Physical Signs Your Loved One Might Be Taking Heroin

The symptoms of heroin use are varied. Taken individually, they may pinpoint another condition. However, we suggest considering a combination of signs a clear warning:
Sleep habits. Users report feelings of drowsiness after taking the drug. It isn’t unusual for them to sleep for hours after an injection. Even when awake, an addict may be nodding off periodically.

Skin problems. After heroin enters the bloodstream, it creates an itching sensation of the skin. Users tend to scratch themselves to make it stop, but because the drug temporarily numbs pain receptors, they may scratch until they bleed. The repeated damage to the skin and incomplete healing can lead to abscesses and infections.
Usage signs. Look for needle marks on the arms. Addicted individuals will eventually have to find new injection sites and you may notice marks and bruises. Those who snort the drug regularly suffer from a runny nose that has nothing to do with a cold or allergic reaction.

Two Social Symptoms of Heroin Use

In addition to the physical manifestations of heroin use, there are also prominent social signs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) point to the demographics affected by the heroin epidemic for additional signs to observe. Since heroin addiction is rarely a stand-alone condition, they note that frequently there is additional drug use. For example, addicts of opioid painkillers are 40 times more likely to have an addiction to heroin. Marijuana users have a three times higher likelihood of suffering from a heroin addiction as well. In fact, the majority of users tend to abuse three additional drugs concurrently.1

A second more socially focused symptom of the drug use is extreme agitation and hostility toward others between doses. Mood swings make it difficult to be around the person, whose focus is now almost solely on obtaining the next fix. Dishonesty is also a common trait in those using this drug. They may not be honest about where they are going or who they are spending time with. Personal hygiene, an appreciation of prized belongings, professional or educational ambition, and the ability to meet social obligations also rapidly decrease.

Getting Help is Possible

Addiction doesn’t have to be the focus of your loved one’s life any longer. Get help after noticing the first symptoms of heroin use in a loved one. Call 866-374-0561 to learn how to help a loved one overcome addiction with a quality drug rehab experience.