There are various signs and symptoms that someone is abusing or addicted to heroin. Some of these signs are noticed immediately, while others only become evident after sustained or repeated drug use.
A symptom is a subjective observation that heroin users perceive in themselves. A sign is a manifestation of heroin addiction or abuse that other people observe.
Immediate Signs and Symptoms
Some of the signs and effects of heroin include:
- Dramatic changes in behavior
- Loss of interest in activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Small pupils
- Unexpectedly drifting off
- Episodes of hyper-alertness
- Shortness of breath
- Cold flashes with goose bumps
Signs and Symptom of Prolonged Heroin Abuse
When someone uses heroin repeatedly over time, it can have pronounced effects on their mental health, physical health, and behavior. They may become dependent on the substance and experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop. They may also develop an addiction where they compulsively seek and use heroin.
Physical signs and symptoms of prolonged heroin abuse include:
- Flushing of the skin
- Dry mouth
- Heavy arms and legs
- Nausea and vomiting
- Persistent withdrawal signs
- Weight loss
Behavioral signs include:
- Becoming increasingly self-isolated and pushing loved ones away
- Stealing from or lying to loved ones
- Acting deceptively or secretively
- Wearing long clothes in warm weather to hide needle marks
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Hostile behavior
- Severe itching
- Changes in eating
Psychological signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling irritable or hostile
- Sleeping difficulties such as insomnia
- Feeling restless
- Increased paranoia
- Rapid mood changes
- Inhibited cognitive functions such as difficulty problem solving, concentrating, and thinking clearly
What Are the Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal?
If an individual who has repeatedly been using heroin tries to stop, they typically experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. If someone exhibits persistent withdrawal signs, they may have been using and become dependent on heroin.
Withdrawal signs and symptoms vary depending on the severity of the addiction and the individual’s biological and environmental conditions. Usually, these symptoms begin a few hours after the last injection of heroin. Major withdrawal symptoms peak twenty-four hours later and begin to subside after about a week.
Common symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:
- Muscle and bone pain