Heroin is a highly addictive drug that imparts a downer effect to users. It brings users to a state of relaxation and euphoria brought about by the surge of pleasure chemicals to the brain. Like other opiates, heroin also blocks the brain’s ability perceive pain.
Although methamphetamine is the drug of choice of most Asians, heroin addiction and overdose statistics continue to be a problem. In fact, opium poppies were once commonly cultivated in Myanmar, Thailand and Laos. Nevertheless, heroin is still a widely used drugs all over the world and is causing millions of deaths every year.
So how do you not become addicted to heroin?
There is only one answer: Don’t use it.
Heroin is highly addictive, because the gratification in brings is instant. The rush of euphoria it brings comes within seconds after you first inject it, but it can also be smoked and ingested.
One of the saddest things about heroin addiction is that the addicts are not aware of the damage the drug does to their lives. They will often neglect their responsibilities and their own needs just to acquire the day’s dose, which takes center stage in their lives.
Not many heroin addicts would ask for help. Some fear being arrested, while most fear the pain and sickness of the withdrawal. Oftentimes, it is the family or loved ones that bring the addicts into withdrawal and the knowledge of the signs of heroin use and addiction is key to helping them get the help they need.
Tell-Tale Signs of Heroin Use
These are visible physical signs during and after taking heroin:
- dry mouth
- shortness of breath or breathlessness
- constricted pupils
- sudden change in behavior, mood, or actions
- cycles of being highly alert followed by suddenly dozing off
- heavy extremities
Other signs that definitely point to heroin use include:
- possession of needles or syringes that are not used for medical purposes
- aluminum foil or gum wrappers with burn marks
- straws with burn marks
- burned and bent silver spoons
- small plastic bags with powdery residue
- water pipes or other makeshift pipes
Other Physical Symptoms of Heroin Addiction
- rapid or distinct weight loss
- persistent or constant runny nose
- needle or track marks on arms and other parts of the body
- infections on the injection site
- loss of menstrual cycle for women (and even spontaneous abortion for pregnant women)
- cuts, bruises or scabs from picking on skin
Many heroin users at first would feel like they have a “flu” that needs to get better with another dose. This intensifies as the user becomes an addict and the compulsion becomes more intense. For some, the desire to use is replaced by the fear to feel withdrawal.
The withdrawal symptoms include:
- Intense cravings
- profuse sweating
- breaking out in cold sweat
- runny nose
- feeling of heaviness
- nausea and vomiting
- severe muscle and bone pain
- intense cramping of limbs
Those who have long-term heroin addiction may experience fatal withdrawal symptoms that can lead to serious medical complications causing death.
If you or your loved ones have a problem with heroin use and dependence, seek help now.