Family Support for Heroin Addiction: What You Need to Know

An Opioid Problem With Wide-Ranging Impacts

Opioid addiction has far-reaching impacts beyond the individual’s mental and physical effects. Family members, friends, coworkers, and others are also hugely impacted by addiction. It is difficult to watch someone you love struggle with substance abuse. Heroin addiction can also cause strains in relationships or codependency which can be hard to overcome without professional help. It is important for family members, partners, and friends to practice self-care techniques and also find family support for heroin addiction during this time.

For more information on how our addiction treatment programs can help heal drug or alcohol dependence, please give The River Source a call at 866-294-9331.

7 Signs of Heroin Addiction

It is not always easy to tell if your loved one is struggling with heroin addiction. Often, addicts will go to great lengths to hide their substance abuse or become more isolated, making it challenging to distinguish between someone just being moody or not feeling well with heroin use. However, there are several physical, behavioral, and psychological effects from heroin abuse and if you notice a person is struggling with several of these issues, they may have heroin abuse issues.

Some signs of heroin addiction include:

  1. Issues at school or work. Heroin abuse can lead to a person falling back on their work, increasing absenteeism and tardiness, or even to being expelled or fired.
  2. Financial problems. Addictions are expensive and lead to financial issues. They may be falling back on their bills, frequently discussing their financial problems, or asking to borrow money. This is especially concerning if these were never issues for them in the past.
  3. Behavioral changes. Individuals with substance use disorders will often become more isolated and secretive, will no longer be interested in activities once enjoyed, engage in risky behaviors, and steal or lie.
  4. Possession of paraphernalia. Finding heroin paraphernalia such as hypodermic needles, spoons, heroin pipes and straws, aluminum foil, lighters, and tie-offs (i.e., rubber hose, shoelaces, etc.). It is important to note that most of these items are common household items and finding just one is not a sign of heroin paraphernalia, but finding multiple items together may be a sign. This is especially true if you have also found bags of heroin that can look like a brown or white powder.
  5. Changes in appearance. Heroin will often lead to a decrease in attention to personal hygiene. They can also have severe weight loss and scabs or bruises due to picking at the skin. Other physical symptoms include constricted pupils, flushed skin, and extreme itching.
  6. Trouble staying awake or increased drowsiness. Heroin is a depressant that will cause increased sleeping, slurred speech, lack of motivation, apathy, nodding off during conversations, and falling asleep at inappropriate times.
  7. Psychological changes. Heroin abuse causes changes in the brain with psychological symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, hostility, and agitation.

What Should Family Members Do If They Suspect Heroin Addiction?

If you suspect your loved one is struggling with heroin abuse and addiction, getting them help as soon as possible is important. Heroin addiction can lead to several mental and physical health issues including liver disease, depression, increased risk of contracting hepatitis and HIV, pulmonary infections, infections of the skin and heart, and kidney disease. The sooner someone gets help for heroin addiction, the better their chances are for not developing some of these health issues and for long-term recovery. It may not be easy to talk to your loved one about their potential substance abuse issues, but it is harder to watch someone you love struggle with addiction.

Some actions you can take if you suspect heroin addiction:

  • Educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of heroin abuse and addiction.
  • Observe your loved one’s behavior closely for a period of days or weeks to understand what has led you to believe there is a problem. This is also good information to have when you decide to talk to them.
  • Share your observations with other family members or loved ones to determine how they view the situation. If they agree, it is definitely time to begin the intervention process.
  • Talk to your loved one about what you have observed and express your concern about their substance abuse. It is important to come from a place of concern, not accusatory or angry. It is common for them to deny any problem or need help.
  • Talk to an addiction specialist or counselor. They can help you take the next best steps toward getting your loved one into substance abuse treatment.
  • Research heroin addiction treatment options and programs. You can also reach out to rehab centers to start the admissions process. They may also help you with other resources or steps to get your family member into treatment.
  • Hold an intervention with an intervention specialist, other family members, close friends, and other important people in their lives. This may be the best way to get them into a rehab facility if they are not ready to accept they have a problem with heroin abuse.

Family Support for Heroin Addiction

3 Tips to Find Family Support for Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction is a chronic disorder with impacts on the family members and loved ones of the addict. Family and friends can be affected by watching their loved one struggle with substance abuse, and it is important to practice self-care during this time as well, including through outside support.

Here are some find family support for heroin addiction:

  1. Attend support groups or gatherings for families of addicts alone or with your loved one, such as Nar-Anon and SMART Recovery. These programs allow others in similar situations to share their struggles and provide mutual support. Members can share as much as they want and will gain feelings of community and safety. They also offer resources and insight into handling situations through their experiences.
  2. Online support groups. This form of support can exist through virtual meetings, online forums, and social media groups. Online groups can help facilitate more access to programs for those who want more anonymity, have transportation issues, have social anxiety, or are immunocompromised. An online search will turn up various online support groups and forums.
  3. Going to family therapy with an addiction counselor. Family therapy is greatly beneficial for families struggling with addiction. Therapists can help facilitate better communication, identify codependent behaviors, and provide tools and skills to correct these issues. It can also help family members learn better ways to support the person struggling with addiction.

Get Support for Your Loved One and Your Family in Fighting Heroin Addiction at The River Source

The River Source offers holistic addiction treatment for heroin and other substances with robust treatment programs that include family therapy and education. Holistic addiction treatment looks at the person as a whole and all areas of their lives impacted by heroin addiction, which includes family dynamics. We aim to heal family relationships and support loved ones and the substance use disorder itself. Family and friends can be one of the greatest support systems during recovery, but it can also be a tough job. We will educate you and your family on how to be supportive while also knowing how important it is for everyone to practice self-care and hold their boundaries.

If you or your loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, please contact The River Source by calling 866-294-9331 today. 

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