Is this a question you’ve been asking yourself? All scare tactics aside, heroin is incredibly addictive, but that doesn’t mean you instantly develop physical dependency on it the first time you use it. Addiction is more insidious, which is one thing that makes it so dangerous.
Especially if you start with pills or smoking small amounts of heroin, you might not develop dependency right away. And even if you come down, you might not feel any signs of withdrawal. So far, so good, right? So what happens? You use more.
Once you do feel those telltale signs of withdrawal and dependency, it’s too late. You’ve already developed an addiction. One of the reasons you’ve ended up here is that whatever emotional factors pushed you to dull your senses and use heroin in the first place have never gone away. You’ve been using heroin to escape your problems. Now, your problems are still here, and you’ve got new ones, too. What now?
The American Heroin Epidemic
First of all, it really is important to know that you are not alone—not in your fight to beat addiction, and not in heroin addiction itself. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heroin use has been spiking across the country, in every age group, among both men and women, and among people of all socioeconomic classes.
More heroin use and abuse has brought with it more heroin dependence, and more tragically preventable heroin-related overdose deaths. The number of heroin-related overdose deaths has quadrupled since 2002, jumping up to more than 8,200 deaths. So, if you’re wondering if you might have a problem, take comfort in knowing that many Americans do.
According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, that the typical person who is addicted to heroin and needs treatment now is a twenty-something who lives in the suburbs. Most of these new addicts used heroin only after they developed an addiction to opiates with what was probably once a legitimate prescription. It hardly matters whether it was or wasn’t; both heroin and prescription opiates bind with the same receptors in the body and produce the same kinds of effects.
Heroin creates feelings of drowsiness, euphoria, nausea, tolerance of pain, and slower, shallow breathing. It also creates “tolerance,” meaning that users need more and more of the drug just to feel the same high. It’s this tolerance that contributes to both symptoms of withdrawal and cravings, and in the case of heroin, those symptoms are severe. Heroin withdrawal begins 6 to 12 hours after the last time you use heroin, peaking 1 to 3 days later. Symptoms usually subside about one week later, but they can also persist for months, or even years.
What are Common Heroin Addiction Symptoms?
So, what are some common heroin addiction symptoms? Of course, every user is different, but there are some common threads. Typical physical symptoms of heroin addiction include:
- Burn marks on the fingers or mouth from smoking
- Bags and dark circles under the eyes
- Chest pain
- Cuts, bruises, and scabs
- Cotton mouth
- Excessive yawning
- Flu-like symptoms (such as aches, fever, chills, or vomiting)
- Infections and abscesses
- Hacking cough
- Itchy skin
- Loss of appetite
- Legs and arms that seem heavy
- More energy
- Low sex drive
- Muscle spasms or cramps
- No menstrual cycle
- Needle marks or “track marks” (which look like little red dots or bruises)
- Pinpoint pupils
- Rapid heart rate
- Puffy eyes
- Runny nose, sniffling
- Respiratory problems
- Sudden weight loss
- Sleep disturbances
- Watery eyes
Alone, any one, or even two of these symptoms probably wouldn’t necessarily indicate heroin addiction. However, as you’ve probably guessed, the more signs you see in yourself, the more likely it is that you are addicted to heroin.
If you’re serious about knowing the truth, though, don’t stop at physical symptoms of heroin addiction; focus on behavioral symptoms of heroin addiction:
- A need to buy antihistamines in bulk (to counteract the release of histamines from heroin)
- Bad performance at school or work
- Frequently borrowing money
- Avoiding other people, including family and friends
- Hoarding or saving bottle caps, foil, bottled water, and other apparatus for your drug habit
- Excessive sleeping
- Hiding things
- Garbled, incoherent speech (words may be understandable, but still don’t make sense)
- Hyper alert or jittery moods followed by sleeping and fatigue
- Hostility toward others
- Lack of hygiene
- Keeping needle marks covered with long sleeves, pants, and closed shoes, even when it’s hot
- No motivation
- Letting one’s physical appearance goLoss of interest in activities and hobbies that used to be important
- Slow movement
- Spending time with a new friends that also use heroin
- Poor coordination
- Wearing sunglasses all the time, even inside and at night
- Slurred speech
- Failure to make eye contact
If these symptoms sound familiar to you, why not take a free heroin addiction assessment?
Free Heroin Addiction Assessment
It only takes a moment to find out. Take our free heroin addiction assessment here, and take charge of your life again.