10 Signs Your Loved One is a Heroin Addict

Heroin is one of the most powerful and devastating drugs known to man. The effects of heroin are immediate, and users become addicted after the first use. Heroin often ruins the the life of the addict, and it impacts the lives of their family and friends to the point of dysfunction.  

If someone you love is a heroin addict, you must know the signs of heroin addiction. This knowledge of these signs is crucial in helping your loved one get the professional support and help they need to beat heroin addiction. 

The following are 10 signs your loved one is a heroin addict.

Impaired Speech and Disorientation

One of the biggest signs of heroin addiction is the presence of slurred speech and noticeable disorientation. When the initial high wears off, heroin users experience a pronounced sense of sedation which can last for a few hours. Those who use heroin will feel drowsy and become extremely lethargic. The most obvious sign of this is slurred speech and difficulty walking or standing.

Significant Weight Loss

Another major sign that a loved one is a heroin addict is significant weight loss. The drug causes nausea in users. As a result, they will eat very little or nothing at all. Even if a heroin abuser eats, it does not have the calories or nutritional value to sustain.  As a result, chronic heroin users will be severely malnourished, extremely thin and gaunt.

Needle Marks 

The most common way heroin users administer the drug is by injection. Injection of heroin intravenously leaves users with needle scars known commonly as track marks. These marks are commonly found on the arms and neck of users as well as the ankles, between the toes or the leg. A strong sign of a heroin addict is the wearing of long-sleeve shirts, pants or high-collared shirts in inappropriate weather 

A Decline in Personal Appearance

Heroin is a powerful and all-consuming drug. As the use of heroin increases, the user’s personal appearance and hygiene becomes less important. If a loved one is addicted to heroin, they will go long periods without bathing which makes them look dirty and disheveled. Another strong sign that a loved one is addicted to heroin is their skin. Chronic heroin use often leaves a user’s skin looking pasty from the lack of sunlight.

Abrupt Changes in Mood

In general, drug addicts seesaw between highs and lows regarding their moods—and this is particularly true with heroin addicts. If a loved one is using the drug, they will normally experience a euphoric rush as the drug suddenly reaches the pleasure receptors in the brain. During the times when a heroin addict is on a high, they will often seem to be in a great and pleasing mood. However, when a heroin user comes down from the drug, they can be enormously uncomfortable since the symptoms of heroin withdrawal are incredibly painful and unbearable. 

Abnormal Sleep

Heroin is an extremely powerful narcotic drug. The drug itself is made from the poppy flower of the opium plant. Literally translated, the plant’s scientific name papver somniferum means the sleep producing poppy. If a loved is a heroin addict, the numbing effects of the drug often will allow them to sleep for extended periods of time. 

Finding Needles

If you find intravenous needles in a loved one’s room, in a bag, or elsewhere in their room, it should raise alarm they are a heroin addict. Because of the secrecy of addiction, chances are slim that a heroin addict is leaving needles in plain sight. However, you may find needles buried in their trash can, hidden in a hollowed-out book or in another secret location. Oftentimes heroin addicts will place old needles in empty soda cans.

Financial Problems

For the heroin addict, the addiction itself not only can be physically and psychologically taxing, it is also financially taxing as well. As their addiction worsens, they can deplete all their financial resources. As a result, they will resort to stealing money from others to support their habits. Additionally, they may sell or pawn their valuables to get the money needed to continue their habit. Once their possessions are gone, they will resort to stealing other people’s possessions. If you notice valuable items or money missing from your home, it is a clear sign that your loved one may be addicted to heroin.

Lying and Manipulation

Heroin has the ability to overwhelm the areas of the brain that govern reasoning and impulse control. As a result, heroin addicts will do anything and everything within their power to continue their habit. In addition to stealing money and valuables, the heroin addict will resort to lying to family members and friends to cover up their addiction. Another sign of heroin addiction is when the user manipulates family and other loved ones, and guilting them into providing money to buy more drugs.


One of the biggest signs that a loved one is a heroin addict is the discovery of paraphernalia in their room or other secret space. In addition to needles, you may find bent spoons, syringes, tin foil, glass or metal pipes and balloons. Once you see these items, you will need to admit that your loved one is struggling with an addiction to heroin.

Finding Treatment for the Heroin Addict

When a loved one is addicted to heroin, you must act immediately and find them professional help. This may prove difficult, because the heroin addict operates under heavy denial. Also, heroin addict may think they can quit heroin “cold turkey” using a wide variety of self-detox methods. This can prove extremely dangerous in the fact that heroin produces withdrawal symptoms that can be extremely uncomfortable and painful to endure. This can include the following:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle cramping

For the heroin addict to have the best chances at meaningful recovery, they must enter an intensive drug treatment program. Because of the withdrawal symptoms that occur, heroin addicts must undergo medical detoxification that are found in many quality drug treatment facilities. Through the use of medications and other interventions, the withdrawal process becomes more tolerable.

During the detox process, experienced personnel will conduct comprehensive medical and mental health examinations to find underlying issues that can impact their recovery. Once any issue is discovered, treatment staff can create an initial treatment plan that will specifically address those problem areas. Once the addict is both mentally and physically stable, they will transition to an intensive drug treatment program.

An intensive drug program is comprised of several important components. These include individual and group counseling, 12-step group attendance and support, life and coping skills training and a wide variety of traditional and holistic therapies. Experienced drug treatment staff will work with each client on an individualized drug treatment program that that will meet their unique needs. Since addiction is seen as a family disease, many heroin treatment programs feature family therapy programs to help the family heal, grow and provide a nurturing environment for the newly recovering addict to flourish.

These programs generally run 30 days, but it is highly advisable to find treatment programs that last for 90 days or longer. Treatment programs that are longer in duration give the addict the time and space they need to fully address the root causes of their heroin addiction. Additionally, it is also advisable those who complete treatment enter into an aftercare program that includes intensive outpatient or sober living to get extra support as they transition back into their daily lives.

Quality Heroin Addiction Treatment is Closer than You Think

Witnessing a loved one struggle with addiction brings tremendous feelings of helplessness and heartbreak.  You want to do everything in your power to help your loved one break free from heroin addiction, but you may not know where to turn or who you call talk to. You may feel all alone, and while your attempts at helping a loved one get clean are honorable, it may do more harm than good.

The only way your loved one can get clean and sober is through the help and support of a reputable drug treatment center. For the resources and support you need to help a loved one find lasting recovery, Drug Program Rehab Journal is a phone call way. Our experienced and compassionate personnel will provide the tools needed to help you, your family and your addicted loved one find happiness, health and healing 

No matter the severity of your loved one’s heroin addiction, the experience and compassionate staff at Drug Program Rehab Journal are at your side. We provide the tools and support that is needed so that the entire family can heal and grow. Don’t wait another day to address a loved one’s heroin addiction, Call Drug Program Rehab Journal toll-free today at 1-800-205-1201.

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