Addiction can be both an easily concealable and extremely dangerous disease. Although strong indicators may be evident during advanced stages of addiction, they can be overlooked by those unaware of the signs to look for. According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 4 percent of Americans met the criteria for a substance use disorder within the past year, with approximately 10 percent reporting a substance use disorder at some time in their lives.
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While many indicators of addiction are universal, some substances generate particular side effects within the user. Such is true with heroin abuse. Heroin, an extremely potent opioid, is one of the driving forces behind the current opioid epidemic. Because of this,it is important to understand the common indicators of substance addiction in general, as well as the unique signs of heroin abuse. By understanding these symptoms, you will be equipped to discern if you or a loved one is battling a heroin addiction.
Common Indicators of Addiction
Many signs of addiction are universal. These common indicators may be applied to any substance addiction, from heroin, to amphetamines and alcohol. They include:
- Change in Appearance
If an individual has lost or gained significant weight, it is often a sign that a substance addiction has developed. Being indifferent towards personal hygiene or grooming is also common among those battling addiction.
- Financial and Legal Troubles
Those struggling with a substance addiction are frequently involved in legal issues, such as arrests or receiving citations. Due to the cost of maintaining a supply of their drug of choice, financial stress is another common indicator of abuse.
- Loss of Interest
Once an addiction has fully formed, individuals often lose interest in hobbies and relationships they once enjoyed. The addiction eventually becomes the sole interest of the individual.
- Neglecting Responsibilities
Neglecting family, employment, or other fundamental responsibilities is a strong indicator of substance abuse. Once addiction has developed, the only remaining responsibility in the mind of the user is obtaining more of their drug of choice.
Signs of Heroin Abuse
Heroin has a profound impact on an individual’s life and health. These signs are unique to heroin abuse. Along with the previously listed common indicators, the following side effects are indicators that heroin use has become an addiction.
- Scarred or Collapsed Veins
Because the most common method of heroin administration is injection, those suffering from this addiction will likely display injection scars on the body, most commonly in the arms. Frequent heroin injection will cause the veins to eventually collapse or become infected over time.
- Viral Infection
Because injection is common among heroin users, the risk of contracting blood-borne viruses is very high. If an individual has contracted diseases such as hepatitis or HIV, it is a strong indicator that a heroin addiction has fully developed.
As a central nervous system depressant, heroin slows down cognitive functioning. Individuals under the influence of this strong opioid will often appear drowsy, lose consciousness or be unable to keep their balance. Speech may also often be slurred.
Asheville Recovery Center Can Help
Heroin is a highly addictive substance that has the potential to cause irreversible damage when abused. It is important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is struggling with this addiction. At Asheville Recovery Center, treatment specialists have developed a unique, hybrid model of treatment which combines a traditional 12-step program with holistic rehabilitation.
A multitude of services, programs, and therapies are offered, including the Partial Hospitalization Program, Residential-style treatment, outpatient rehabilitation, and more. The founders of Asheville Recovery Center, as well as many of our addiction therapists, have struggled with addiction and now enjoy life in recovery. They understand the struggles of addiction and how difficult it is to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call (828)518-6996 and speak with an addiction expert today so you can take the first step towards a rewarding life of sobriety.