How to spot heroin use?
To evaluate if someone needs heroin addiction treatment, look for the following signs. In the beginning stages, look for: Dry mouth causing excessive thirst. The user will keep a liquid with himself at all times and sip often. Constricted pupils is another indication. Heroin use will cause the pupils to reduce in size. Being sleepy at odd times is another symptom. Drowsiness and drifting into stupor even during conversations is an indication of a recent dose. Wakefulness and marked alertness can be seen with smaller doses but these will usually be short-lived and soon will lead to lack of attention and sleepy demeanor. Nausea is a very common side effect of heroin abuse. Vomiting and other digestive troubles such as diarrhea and stomach cramps are commonly observed in heroin addicts. Eventually, as a result of frequent vomiting, stomach acid gets deposited on the teeth which can cause rapid dental decay and tooth loss. When abuse gives way to addiction, the signs will be: Lethargy and an apathetic attitude towards activities which were formerly considered important. In personal hygiene, a marked lack of care. Addicts also start showing carelessness in personal relations and in handling personal possessions. Belongings which were once kept close will become neglected and ignored. The addict’s car will go unwashed and uncared for. Injection marks on arms, legs, between fingers and toes, and sites where a vein can be accessed will show holes, infected bumps and suppuration (discharging of pus). These wounds can and do become serious and life-threatening at times due to lack of attention and the pain killing effects of the drug. More signs include:
- Presence of drug paraphernalia
- Changes in attitude
- Changes in friends circle
- Changes in performance at work or school
- Dishonesty and theft
- An inability to face people and consequences
These are by no means the only signs of heroin abuse. However, some of these will be present when your suspicion of heroin abuse is correct. After spotting the signs of addiction, it is important to confirm your suspicion before confronting the addict. Addiction to opiates such as heroin can escalate rapidly and getting the person the treatment which they need will definitely be their best chance for a speedy and complete recovery. Treatment for heroin addiction or addiction to any other opiate is more effective the earlier it is started. So the ability to spot the trouble early is of major importance. Luckily, signs and symptoms of heroin addiction are some of the most obvious of any drug. Below mentioned are some of the more easily spotted red flags which can signify the abuse of opiates: Behavioral changes to look for in the heroin abuser or heroin addict include a more sullen or solitary attitude, being less willing to socialize with non-users, and having new set of friends. Users often become more defensive and exhibit a drop in job performance or in academic work. Their interest in their own achievements can wane and projects which were once the center of their activities, go untouched for long periods. Sleep patterns will change in very short order. Periods of sleep and wakefulness can completely reverse. The amount of sleep required might also change. Rather than sleeping at night, a heroin abuser often spends the night-time hours working or talking with friends. He then sleeps in the morning and most of the afternoon. Physical changes occur with continued abuse of heroin. Constipation is very common in addicts so laxatives are often used. Heroin causes nausea and frequent vomiting which leads to other problems such as rapid tooth decay and stomach problems. Needle marks along the veins on arms and legs were once the most important indication of all, but in recent years, heroin is nearly as often smoked or snorted. Long sleeves can hide these marks, but in hot weather, needle marks can be a compelling evidence too. However, with new supplies of opium and heroin coming from Afghanistan and Central and South America, heroin is not only likely to be more pure, but also more powerful. This can open the door for snorting and smoking among those who might have an aversion for needles. Wide mood swings are perhaps the most depressing changes in the life of the heroin addict. Moments of hyper-activity and enthusiasm can soon be replaced by depression, apathy, and lethargy. These are some of the most obvious changes; they also are among the most dangerous. With despair comes added risk taking. Overdosing and other self-destructive behaviors account for many of the thousands of heroin deaths each year. As mentioned above, the sooner the treatment for addiction to heroin or any opiate is started, the more is the likelihood of a successful outcome. In shorter period of abuse, less permanent damage may have occurred making full recovery more possible.