Heroin abuse affects millions of lives every year. It takes a toll on not only the person that is struggling with the addiction but also those who care about them the most. Four in five people who recently began using heroin started out misusing prescription painkillers.
According to asam.org, “94% of respondents in a 2014 survey of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they chose to use heroin because prescription opioids were far more expensive and harder to obtain.” The fact that so many people found heroin easier to obtain is shocking and shows how heroin abuse can get out of hand quickly.
When someone is struggling with addiction, they may try to cover up what’s going on, which makes it hard to tell what they’re going through. However, there are some visible signs and symptoms of heroin addiction. Signs of addiction may be physical, psychological, or behavioral. Some common signs of addiction are:
When heroin is used, it binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. People who use heroin typically say they feel an enjoyable sensation when they abuse it. The heroin rush is usually a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and their body starts to feel heavy. After someone takes heroin, they will be drowsy for several hours, their thoughts will be clouded, heart function slows, and breathing is severely slowed.
Long term use of heroin can have many negative side effects. When it is used over a long period of time, it can become very addictive, and physical and psychological dependence can be formed on the drug. Other long-term effects of heroin use are:
One of the signs of heroin abuse or addiction can be what is called “heroin eyes.” Heroin makes the pupils in a person’s eyes get very small. Eyelids may also droop, and the eyes can become bloodshot. The look in someone’s eyes who is abusing heroin is often dull, lifeless, and unable to focus. Approximately 7-10 hours after heroin use, a person’s eyes will begin to tear up and have a sunken-in look. The eyes may also develop black circles around them. These can all be telltale signs that someone is struggling with heroin abuse.
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