We’ve all seen news articles and media posts discussing the heroin epidemic and how it is
spreading like wild fire. Communities are being overrun by waves of new heroin users and the
numbers don’t look to be diminishing anytime soon.
While many of us have read about the dangers associated with this debilitating disease, we never thought it could hit close to home. That is until it does, and you discover a loved one is facing a substance use disorder that is choking the life out of them.
Your mind starts to spin and an overwhelming sense of guilt and remorse rushes over you.
“How could I not have seen this?” you ask yourself. “How did I miss the warning signs?”
The reality is, families across the country face this truth every day and feel as if their inability to identify the warning signs of their loved one’s heroin addiction is somehow their fault.
You have to remember that you’re not to blame for your loved one’s addiction.
But by working to better understand the signs connected with addiction and the behaviors displayed by heroin addicts, you can increase your chances of helping your loved one confront their addictive impulses and work toward achieving sustained sobriety.
The Dangers of Heroin Addiction
While the number of heroin addicts has spiked over the past 10 years, the knowledge associated with the dangers of the substance and the manner in which it destroys its users
Heroin is an opioid that attaches itself to the natural receptors within the brain, causing it to release copious amounts of “feel good” chemicals unnaturally. This flood of dopamine leaves the user feeling euphoric and on top of the world – but the feeling is fleeting and the ramifications of repetitive heroin use are devastating to both the mind and body.
Heroin addiction can result in any number of consequences, including:
• Depressed breathing and heart rate
• Deterioration of brain matter
• Infections of the heart lining and valves
• Lung diseases, like pneumonia and tuberculosis
Signs of a Heroin Addict
Every person dealing with heroin addiction experiences the disease in a different way. The signs linked with addiction, however, are typically universal and easy to identify if you know what you are looking for.
These warning signs may include:
- Sacrificing of social or recreational activities – A person dealing with addiction may give up activities or social interactions in order to maintain their addiction.
- Increased risk-taking behaviors – An individual attempting to uphold their addiction may begin to affiliate with extremely negative social circles and dangerous locations in order to keep their drug supply flowing.
- Increased secrecy and solitude – This behavior is fairly straight forward and obvious, due to an individual’s increased desire to distance themselves from loved ones and positive social influences.
- Financial difficulties – Because of the costs associated with heroin addiction and the need to increase the quantity of use to achieve a desired high, costs of addiction can quickly fluctuate. Someone who is dealing with a severe heroin use disorder may spend up to $200 daily to support their habit. This can lead to them spending thousands of dollars a week just to sustain their addiction.
- Denial – Most people struggling with a serious heroin addiction will deny or refuse to acknowledge their grip that the substance has taken on their life.
If you see a loved one dealing with any combination of these symptoms and are concerned that they are struggling with a heroin addiction, encourage them to talk about their use and get help immediately.2
Behaviors Associated with Heroin Addiction
An individual wrestling with a heroin addiction will typically display obvious behavioral issues
and excessive emotionality. These can manifest through compulsive behavioral patterns,
impulsive decision making and emotional instability. Key behavioral issues linked with heroin addiction include:
- Loss of control or knowingly acting against appropriate decision patterns
- Emotional overreactions or excessive responses to typical daily stressors
- Aggressive tendencies and responses to typical daily interactions
- Verbal conflict directed toward loved ones attempting to provide assistance
While this is not an all-encompassing list of maladaptive behavioral patterns associated with heroin addicts, it is a good indicator of typical actions and reactions displayed by someone abusing heroin.3
Understanding the signs and symptoms of heroin addiction can help when attempting to provide support and guidance for a loved one struggling with the disease. Encouraging them to address their substance use disorder within the safe confines of a clinically qualified recovery facility is a great way to ensure that their personal and medical needs will be appropriately addressed.
Remember, you cannot force a loved one to get the help they may need to conquer their addiction, but you can provide the guidance, faith and encouragement needed to initiate their
Christian-Based Heroin Rehab Treatment at Covenant Hills
At Covenant Hills, it is our utmost mission to help your loved one return to the person they were made to be.
Through our Christian-based heroin addiction rehab program, your loved one can center their mind, revive their body, and awaken their soul. They can put an end to their epidemic.
Learn more about our Christian-based heroin addiction treatment program, or contact us for a free and confidential assessment.
1 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Heroin Overview. Accessed October 8, 2018. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/overview.
2 Medical News Today. Signs and Symptoms of Addiction. Accessed October 8, 2018. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/addiction/signs-of-addiction.php.
3 Psychology Today. 10 Patterns of Addictive Behavior. Accessed October 8, 2018. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201702/10-patterns-addictive-behavior.