Heroin, a commonly abused illegal drug in the U.S.,  is a member of the opiate family and is derived from the opium poppy plant made from morphine. Heroin addiction is a rampant disease that claims countless lives every year, and as the opioid crisis has risen, so has the continued illegal use of this heavily addictive drug.

What Does Heroin Look Like?

Heroin is an opiate made from morphine that can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Otherwise known as smack, dope, junk, or horse, heroin is an extremely addictive substance that comes either in the form of powder or a black, sticky substance. Heroin is made from morphine and changes back into morphine when it enters the brain. 


When heroin enters the system, it binds to opioid receptors, which are the parts of the brain responsible for pleasure and mood. Heroin strikes the brain stem, which is responsible for controlling bodily functions such as breathing, blood pressure, and arousal. The potency of heroin is so extreme that those who use it feel the high very quickly. 


Heroin is most commonly ingested in powder form through snorting the substance into the nose. The substance can appear either white or brown in color, and it varies based on the purity level of the drug. On the other end, heroin is also seen in a solid, sticky form that can be hard to the touch. 

Signs and Symptoms of a Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a powerful opioid that causes a shift in a person’s brain, causing a person to experience intense cravings for the drug and leading them to abandon former interests and other parts of life. There are many signs and symptoms that may be indicative of someone who is suffering from a heroin addiction that loved ones should look out for. 


Some of the behavioral signs and symptoms of a heroin addiction include stealing money or items to pay for heroin, asking family or friends to borrow money for drugs, experiencing eviction, foreclosure, or bankruptcy as a result of spending money on heroin, avoiding loved ones, forgetting or ignoring family responsibilities, failing to go to work or attend school, becoming uncharacteristically violent, and lying to avoid being caught.


Some of the other physical signs and symptoms of heroin addiction include loss of appetite and lack of eating, losing a significant amount of weight, wearing long sleeves even when it is hot out to hide needle marks, unexpected changes in mood, and a change in the appearance of teeth and skin. 


Although it may be difficult to confront a loved one who you suspect is experiencing an addiction to heroin, it is important to bring up your concerns. Heroin is a dangerously addictive substance that can take over a person’s entire life after using the drug once. The long-term effects of heroin use include severe damage to a number of different organs in the body including a person’s lungs, liver, kidneys, and brain. Sharing needles also adds a layer of danger that can lead to infections such as HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Therefore, it is extremely important to confront a loved one who you suspect is abusing heroin. 

How To Get Your Loved One Help With a Heroin Addiction 

Heroin addiction can be difficult to treat, and therefore it is important to open their eyes to getting help. Heroin addiction can be treated through rehab at treatment centers that offer varying levels of care depending on the level of addiction someone is experiencing and how they respond to treatment. 


Some of the different types of rehab for heroin addiction include inpatient rehab for heroin abuse, outpatient rehab, residential rehab, teletherapy for heroin abuse, dual diagnosis treatment and more. Some of the types of therapies that one should expect include a 12-step facilitation therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, community reinforcement approach, contingency management, family behavior therapy, teletherapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, and more. 

Reach Out to the Team at Footprints of Serenity Today

Footprint of Serenity offers intervention services for people looking to help their loved ones to overcome a heroin addiction. Confronting your loved one will be life-altering for them, and they will end up thanking you when they ultimately overcome their battle with drug addiction. Heroin is an extremely powerful drug that can cause life-threatening side effects, and confronting your loved one about it will show how much you care and they will feel better knowing that someone has faith in their potential. Contact us today for more information. 

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