Signs Someone Is Addicted to Heroin and How to Help

It can be hard to accept that someone close to you needs heroin addiction treatment. Heroin is a drug that can impact anyone’s life, regardless of their age, race, gender, or income. It affects millions of people and families every year.  

Heroin is an extremely addictive drug and can appear as a white, brown, or black sticky substance. If you suspect that someone you know and love is using heroin, you should do some preliminary research and proceed with caution.

Educate yourself so that you fully understand the warning signs of heroin addiction before confronting someone. Once it’s confirmed that they’re abusing the drug, you can better help them on their road to recovery and sobriety, starting with heroin rehab.

Warning Signs

There are several red flags that indicate someone you know and love is likely using heroin. Keep in mind that not every addict will exhibit the same set of signs. Individuals who suffer from substance abuse tend to hide their addiction. So it is important to make sure you’re paying close attention to their health and daily behavior.

Some of the common signs of heroin abuse that you may notice in the life of your friend or family member include the following:

Paraphernalia: Look for the presence of heroin paraphernalia. This includes needles, cotton, and small bowls that could be used to dissolve heroin in water.

Use of Street Slang in Relation to Heroin: If someone you know begins using nicknames for heroin, it could be an indication that they are using. Heroin users tend to interact with other heroin or illicit drug users and their terminology will naturally seep into your loved one’s vocabulary. Street names include junk, dope, smack, H, white and black tar. And the actual use of heroin can be referred to as chasing the dragon, skin-popping, and speed-balling.

Legal Trouble: Heroin is not cheap, and it becomes even more unaffordable when the user is unable to work due to their addiction. Thus, heroin addicts may turn to crime in order to get their fix. This can include stealing from others, drug dealing, or other nefarious activities. When confronted, the addict may apologize or deny any wrongdoing.

Loss of Focus or Interest: Someone who’s addicted to heroin will often lose interest in work, school, or familial responsibilities. Heroin becomes their sole focus and they can barely think of anything else. They will also have withdrawn behavior towards friends and family.

More Signs of Heroin Abuse

Flushed Skin and Dry Mouth: Users of heroin will often appear flushed and experience dry mouth when they’re on heroin.

Nodding Off: Someone who is on heroin may appear to nod off for no real reason, alternating between consciousness and semi-consciousness.

Confusion and Memory Loss:  It can be very difficult to have a coherent conversation with someone who is on heroin. They may have a hard time remembering things that were just said and will appear as if they’re falling asleep.

Tiny Pupils: A very noticeable sign that someone is on heroin is that they may appear to have tiny pupils, almost as small as a pinpoint.

Track Marks: Track marks can also be a telling sign of heroin use. But don’t just look to the inside of the arm. Users can inject themselves behind the knees and even between toes.

Abscesses at Injection Points: In addition to track marks, long-time heroin users may develop abscesses at the injection points, as well as collapsed veins and infections.

Withdrawal Symptoms: Someone who is using a smaller dose of heroin than they normally would or who is attempting to stop cold turkey will show signs and symptoms of withdrawal. 

These signs can include: pain throughout the body, cold flashes, and goosebumps, anxiety, digestive issues, involuntary leg movements, vomiting, restlessness, insomnia, depression, or paranoia.

How To Help

These withdrawal symptoms can be intense and extremely hard to deal with for the user, but there are always ways to help them on their road to recovery. There are different treatment options and things you can do to help your loved one who is suffering from heroin addiction.

Understanding and Identifying Enabling Behavior 

While you may have good intentions, it is important to be aware of enabling behaviors that might unintentionally encourage your loved one to continue using. Enabling behavior comes in different forms and usually stops the user from seeing the consequences of their actions. 

These behaviors might include doing things that the addict should be able to do on their own. Or you may be coming up with excuses for the individual. A common form of enabling is continuing to give your friend or family member money. After all, it is very likely that this money is going towards heroin.

There is a fine line between helping and enabling a loved one. It’s important to spot behaviors that might encourage your loved one to continue using. You should continue to support and be patient but set boundaries for yourself and your addicted loved one. 

Convince Your Loved One To Get Treatment

The first step toward sobriety is admitting that you have a problem and that you need help. Once your loved one has done this, you need to suggest that they go to a facility for heroin treatment. It can sometimes be hard to convince an addict that they need professional help and that they can’t do this on their own. But with patience, love, and encouragement, you can do it.

A common option for many addicts and their families is to set up an intervention. Heroin abuse typically changes how an individual thinks. This makes it harder for them to overcome their addiction and state of mind. 

You and your family might think about setting up your own intervention. But, sometimes it’s better to turn to a professional who can help turn the individual towards recovery while recommending treatment plans along the way.

Provide Family Support During Recovery

Helping a heroin addict takes a strong foundation of support and patience. Heroin addiction is often seen as a family disease because it affects not only the addict but everyone around them as well. 

It is important to stay by the individual’s side through the recovery journey. Sometimes there are different options for family therapy to tighten this bond and make sure there is a strong foundation while your loved one goes through recovery. 

Another common way to help a loved one who is struggling with heroin addiction is offering financial aid towards treatment. Many treatment options can get expensive. But by helping them pay for it, you can ease the burden so they can focus on getting better.

Determine Which Heroin Treatment Program Is Best

Another way in which you can help is to find a rehab center for your friend or family member. There are a lot of great treatment options for Heroin addicts. Depending on the severity of the addiction, some treatment options will work better than others. 

Heroin Detox Programs

There are inpatient detox programs that are often better options for loved ones who have a moderate to severe addiction to heroin. Detoxification is used to help addicts with chemical dependency. 

The Daylight Recovery Services residential program offers 24-hour care and monitoring to help make sure that the person is comfortable and safe during the detox process. The detox process itself is usually not enough for full treatment, but it is especially important if the individual hopes to reach long-term sobriety. 

It is typical for the individual to go to rehab after the detoxification process is completed and the detox process itself usually lasts 5 to 7 days. 

Residential Drug Rehab 

Residential rehab is an intensive, inpatient program designed to treat severe addictions. It is typically the highest level of care when it comes to addiction rehab. It is typically essential for those who have moderate or severe cases of addiction. 

When a loved one enrolls in an inpatient rehab center, there are some important things you can do to help support them on their journey to recovery. This includes educating yourself on what goes on in a residential abuse treatment facility. You can also continue offering constant encouragement and emotional support.

Daylight Recovery Services is Here to Help

If you feel that you need help from a professional interventionist or guidance from drug treatment experts, Daylight Recovery Services is here for you. 

Our mission is to help addicts and their loved ones through the recovery process to reach sobriety. We’ll help you and your loved ones through the journey to recovery with a passionate staff and stellar residential housing. 

If you need more information or help to convince a loved one to get heroin treatment, reach out to our trained staff today.