Signs of a Heroin Addiction North Jersey Recovery Center - A young man is struggling with a heroin addiction and worrying whether or not his family and loved ones are able to notice signs of heroin addiction with his actions and if he needs to go to treatment to start an addiction-free lifestyle.

What is Heroin?

What are the signs of heroin addiction that you should look for?

First, what is heroin? Heroin is an illegal drug that is derived from certain types of poppy plants.

In a powder form, it can be mixed with other white powders (powdered milk, sugars, or starch).

It often comes as a white or brownish powder. Black tar heroin has impurities in heroin and is usually injected.

It can be injected, sniffed, snorted, or smoked. Black tar heroin is the cheapest form of heroin.

Heroin is Highly Addictive

Heroin is highly addictive.

It is derived from opioids, and it binds to the opioid receptors in the brain.

This leads to feelings of pleasure and euphoria when used.

It also slows breathing and causes the arms and legs to feel heavier than usual.

Users can even go unconscious briefly after using it.

Heroin floods the brain with the feel-good chemical of dopamine and immediately changes how the brain processes what is happening.

Our bodies are designed to recreate things that feel good.

This intensity of euphoria can lead many individuals to forever want more with a single-use.

This immediate effect on the brain makes heroin an extremely dangerous drug and puts users at a high risk of addiction after even one use.

It is considered the most addictive substance that exists.

Signs of a Heroin Addiction North Jersey Recovery Center - Because heroin is one of the most addictive substances, a man is struggling trying to stop using the drug and is debating entering a heroin rehab center.

Understanding Heroin Addiction

Dependence on heroin is a surprisingly fast process.

After the first use, the brain almost immediately sends signals to receive more. The second and third uses may not feel the same level of happiness as you did with the very first try. As a result, you may have tried to use more heroin. This further increased tolerance and desire to use more and more in order to reach that highest point.

The hard truth is that the desired highest point will never successfully be reached. This cycle of searching for more and more can easily lead to a fatal overdose.

Your brain is wired to make you want more heroin after the first try.

This is why it is important not to ignore the signs of heroin addiction.

Heroin use gives overwhelming pleasant effects then signals to receive more. If more is not taken, then uncomfortable withdrawal effects can begin, sometimes as quickly as within a few hours.

Signs of Heroin Addiction

There are signs of heroin addiction that you should look for.

Previous opioid addictions are the highest predictive factor, but other common signs include:

  • Previous or current addiction to other opioids (oxycodone, morphine, etc.)
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Job loss
  • Unresolved mental traumas
  • Previous or concurrent mental health disorders

Heroin addiction can have a variety of symptoms. Some of these symptoms include the below:

  • Erratic behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Getting drugs becomes a high priority
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Weight loss
  • Aggressive behavior

Heroin use can make your pupils very small, almost pinpoint.

If heroin is injected, someone may have track marks on their arms or feet.

Heroin can be very difficult to stop using once you become addicted.

This means that the withdrawal process can be very unpleasant.

Many users report using again just to hold off withdrawal symptoms. This starts a cycle of using, chasing a high, going into withdrawal, using again, etc.

It can be an endless circle of trying to regain control of your life.

If you are addicted to heroin, professional help is suggested.

We can assist with easing the withdrawal symptoms and put you on the path towards recovery.

Effects and Abuse of Heroin

Someone who is living with drug addiction, and those around them can have hope that recovery is possible.

Continued drug abuse can alter the chemical pathways in the brain and can lead to distorted thinking.

Heroin use will affect almost every part of the body.

Without treatment, the effects of drug abuse can be permanent.

Drug abuse can alter behaviors.

It can sometimes be difficult to “find” the person that existed before heroin use started.

Some examples of behaviors caused by drug abuse are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Itchy, nervous, pacing behavior
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Paranoia
  • Loss of self-control
  • Secretive or unexplained activity
  • Sleepiness or very slow movements immediately after using

Behaviors can be the biggest indicator of whether or not addiction is present.

Heroin generally causes issues in the user’s life.

Many find that they live to get a supply of heroin once they become addicted. This cycle of addiction can be exhausting to maintain.

We can help lift this burden of addiction and move towards a clean and sober life.

Mental Illness and Heroin Addiction

Are mental illness and heroin use related?

In over half of the people that use heroin, the answer is yes.

Having a mental illness such as depression or anxiety can make a loved one more vulnerable to the effects of heroin use. At times heroin can be used to self-medicate an existing mental health issue.

When the underlying condition is treated, this can help relieve the desire to search for relief.

Heroin use can seem like an option to cope with difficult emotions; however, this introduces other more dangerous effects.

Treating both mental health and addiction is vital for long-term recovery.

As tolerance develops and addiction grows, the effects of heroin on the brain can lead to new mental health issues that become intertwined with the addiction. This is what we call a dual diagnosis.

Treatment of Heroin Addiction

When people look back, they often see the signs of heroin addiction that they missed at the time. That will add to the length of the addiction and the difficulty recovering.

If you have a desire to have a life without heroin, you have made the first step towards a healthier life.

Maybe you had tried to stop using heroin before and were not successful. That does not mean that you can never be free of your addiction.

We have successfully treated heroin addiction in many people and are ready to help you too.

Treatment of heroin addiction can involve inpatient treatment at a rehab center, medical detoxing, counseling, transitioning to a sober house, and continuing outpatient treatment.

In some people, medications may be given to help ease detox and to reduce cravings.

Your treatment course will be customized to meet your individual needs.

A 12-Step Group, such as Narcotics Anonymous, may also be a helpful recovery tool.

To prepare yourself for a new life without heroin, you may need to make significant changes in your life.

We can assist in beginning this process and providing you with new healthy coping strategies, tools, resources, and more to help you reach sobriety and maintain this sobriety.

Healing and committing to a new sober life can lead to regaining control over your life and long-term recovery success.

Signs of a Heroin Addiction North Jersey Recovery Center - A group of individuals who entered an inpatient heroin rehab center because their loved ones saw signs of heroin addiction are working on the path to recovery by attending a group therapy session to share stories, support, and coping strategies.

Payment Information

Managing an active addiction is expensive.

You may have already experienced significant financial problems.

If you desire treatment but fear of unmanageable costs are holding you back, give us a call.

Affording treatment may be easier than you think.

We provide free insurance verification for treatment.

If you have limited funds and need additional advice on the best option for you, let us help.

We have trained financial counselors who can help you understand your treatment options in a manner that works for you.

How to Get Help

The first step is to ask for help.

At North Jersey Recovery Center, we provide a thorough assessment of any addictions and mental health disorders to determine an individualized plan for your treatment and recovery process.

If you think you will never escape the life you are living, you can have hope that we have helped many heroin addicts successfully.

You do not have to live with an active addiction for the rest of your life.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Laura Riley

Medical Reviewer

Laura comes to NJRC with 23 years of vast clinical experience in hospital, residential, outpatient, and community outreach settings where she has worked, supervised clinical teams, and volunteered. She has provided substance abuse and mental health counseling, clinical coordination, and advocacy to individuals, families and groups, and specializes in co-occurring disorders for both adults and adolescents.