WisHope Recovery


Heroin is a highly addictive substance that causes quick dependence in users. Addiction to this drug is a severe medical disease that grows progressively worse with time and often leads to death or overdose. The best way to prevent this is to spot use early before dependency develops.

Recognizing the risks involved in heroin use is crucial for preventing addiction and staying safe from harm. Or perhaps, you suspect a loved one is using heroin and need to know for sure. Whether their addiction is new or has already been going on for a while, finding them treatment is absolutely necessary. Let’s look at some of the signs that someone is using heroin.


Heroin causes a “downer” reaction in the user that leads to euphoria and relaxation. Similar to other opiates, the drug blocks your brain’s pain-perceiving ability. At first, hiding the symptoms of use may be possible for the user. However, over time, co-workers or relatives could recognize these symptoms:

  • Small (constricted) pupils.
  • Sudden behavioral changes.
  • Disorientation.
  • Dry mouth.
  • High energy followed by “nodding off.”
  • A weighed down or heavy appearance.
Many symptoms of heroin abuse

The signs listed above don’t only apply to heroin use. More positive signs of abuse are, of course, related paraphernalia, such as burned spoons, syringes or needles, gum wrappers or foil with burn marks, shortened straws, and small, empty bags. Signs and symptoms of heroin use or abuse should never be ignored.


There are also some behaviors that are telltale signs of heroin use to watch out for. These are:

  • Deception or lying.
  • A sudden increase ours spent asleep.
  • Incoherent or slurred speech.
  • Trouble holding eye contact.
  • Less concern with hygiene.
  • Apathy about goals.
  • No interest in activities or hobbies.
  • Stealing or borrowing cash.
  • Unexplained hostility.
Heroin changes people

Eventually, a user of heroin will build up a tolerance, requiring higher doses of the drug. This will lead to physical dependence and eventually, addiction and withdrawal. The symptoms of this include weight loss, a gaunt appearance, a runny nose, and track marks. Women will also stop having their menstrual cycle, oftentimes, once addicted.


Someone going through withdrawal from heroin is in danger of some serious complications and death, though the specific side effects can vary from addict to addict. These can lead to liver disease, serious bacterial infections, tissue death or blood clots from injecting the drug, and heart problems. They are also at risk for seizures. Since heroin users never know how strong the drug they are purchasing is, they are always at risk of death or overdose.

Side effects of heroin


Stopping longer term abuse of heroin suddenly often leads to serious health problems and possible death. For this reason, detox from the drug shouldn’t be done at home without supervision from a medical professional with experience treating withdrawal. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from withdrawal or heroin dependence, contact the proper support right away to prevent any complications.