When Does Heroin Use Become a Problem?

This entry was posted in Rehab Info on by .

If you know someone who is addicted to heroin, then it can be a helpless feeling to watch that person suffer. Some people can use certain drugs for years and hide the effects from the people around them. But heroin is one of those drugs that will show physical effects after a while, especially as the person increases how much they take.

In order to understand the point at which heroin use becomes a problem, you first need to understand the effects that heroin has on the human body. Using heroin is always a problem, but it is important to act on the physical danger signs as soon as they become evident.

Behavioral Problems

Before physical problems start to appear with heroin addiction, there will be behavioral problems that will be evident almost immediately. These include chronic lying, avoiding eye contact with everyone, slurred speech, a lack of interest in favorite hobbies, a lack of interest in spending time with loved ones, and a complete lack of interest in school or job responsibilities.

Family members and friends are often able to dismiss these behavioral problems as just a phase the addict is going through. But when the addict drops out of school or finds it hard to keep a job, then that should be the signal that something more serious is going on.

Physical Symptoms

One of the most immediate physical changes that a person goes through with heroin addiction is the way they walk. If you notice that someone who used to have a spring in his step is suddenly walking like his arms and legs weigh too much for him to carry, then that could be heroin addiction.

Heroin users almost instantly start losing weight, and many also lose interest in food completely. Other physical signs of heroin use include a chronic runny nose, cuts that never seem to heal, and the injection tracks that run from the injection points. Some addicts are initially good at hiding these tracks. But as time goes by, they care less and less about hiding the tracks.

Physical Damage

Along with the loss of a social and professional life, another problem heroin poses is significant physical damage. Since heroin is a depressant, it tends to slow down the brain functions of the addict. This is why the addict shows a decreased interest in just about everything to do in his life. But the long-term problem is that heroin can lead to permanent brain damage.

Since the body slows down its functions while on heroin, its ability to fight off infection is compromised. People who are suffering from heroin are more susceptible to infections and serious diseases. While these kinds of issues are usually able to be controlled by medication, a body on heroin has compromised the body's ability to use medication to heal. This can lead to serious infections and even death.

The list of long-term physical damage that can come from heroin use includes liver disease, heart disease, pneumonia, blood clots, arthritis, and seizures. The problem with these long-term issues is that the presence of heroin in the blood will prevent a doctor from being able to stop the damage. Before a doctor can treat these conditions, the addict has to stop taking heroin. That is a vicious cycle that can cause death if it persists.

The Inability To Feel Pain

Once a person starts taking heroin, his pain threshold increases. The problem this creates is that the addict is usually unaware that he has sustained a serious injury. This creates a domino effect where the injury could become infected and the infection would spread quickly thanks to the heroin addict's diminished immune system.

The heroin addict is also able to ignore emotional pain that can come from regret for the things he has done. This occurs early on in the addiction process and can cost the addict the personal relationships that are important to him. His ability to take action without regard to the emotional repercussions allows him to steal from family members and inflict pain on family members without caring.

The moment that someone starts taking heroin, it generally becomes a problem. One may be able to hide their heroin use for a little while, but the telltale signs will eventually start showing over time. The moment you suspect that someone is using heroin, you need to do what you can to get that person the necessary help. Heroin is highly addictive and dangerous to the user's health which is why early intervention is key.