Heroin Addiction Symptoms – BAART Van Ness, Fresno

Knowing heroin addiction symptoms may save your life or the life of someone you care about. It’s not just in Fresno, CA. Addiction and overdose is everywhere. According to a recent drug overdose study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “In 2015, the percentage of drug overdose deaths involving heroin (25%) was triple the percentage in 2010 (8%).” With such rapid increase in usage that leads to death, what exactly are heroin addiction symptoms?

Heroin addiction symptoms

You may notice the following symptoms of chronic heroin use:

  • Change/lack of attendance in school or at work
  • Neglect of hygiene and appearance
  • Failure to eat regularly or food that’s necessary
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Chronic lying
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Hostile behavior and blaming
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Borrowing money or stealing
  • Lack of interest in activities he or she used to enjoy
  • Wearing long sleeves/long pants even in hot weather
  • Loss of motivation
  • Unawareness of the damage and wreckage that’s happening in their life


Signs of heroin use

  • Before you notice heroin addiction symptoms, you’ll notice signs that someone is using heroin:

  • Surges of euphoria (typical with injection)
  • Tiny pupils
  • Dry mouth, thirsty or nauseous
  • Flushed (red) skin, itchy
  • Sudden extreme sleepy-ness or nodding off
  • Cloudy thinking, loss of memory
  • Poor decision making and lack of self control
  • Seeking laxatives for constipation


How to help someone with heroin addiction symptoms

It’s difficult to know what to say to a loved one that you think is addicted. Addiction is isolating, and you may or may not have the opportunity to make a difference. You need to have clear boundaries about what is ok for you, so that you don’t enable the addict. There is a good chance that the addict will take your conversation as criticism or blame. The addict will need your support if/when he or she decides to seek help and treatment for heroin addiction symptoms. Before having a conversation with the addict, it may be a good idea to seek counseling for yourself. Talk with a professional who can help you with coming up with the right words.


Heroin addiction treatment

The good news is that treatment is available. Medication-assisted treatment has over five decades of success treating opioid addiction with methadone. Methadone isn’t trading one addiction for another. It is a safe, long-acting medication that helps the body ease through withdrawal and stabilize. People can stay on methadone for as long as they need. It is even safe enough for pregnant and breastfeeding women. People who try to quit heroin addiction on their own are rarely successful. In fact, relapsing after stopping heroin may lead to death from overdose. So, if the person you care about indicates a desire to stop using, encourage him or her to get medication-assisted treatment for the best opportunity for success.


What to expect in medication-assisted treatment

The first step is an evaluation. The treatment center will ask a lot of questions. Don’t be offended by the questions. It’s necessary to know all about the addict and use so that they can help. After the evaluation, the treatment can begin. The addict has to start the process of withdrawal, which is about 6-12 hours after the last dose of heroin. The withdrawal may go on for a day before the person can start taking methadone. This is so that the doctor knows the right amount to prescribe. It’s all very individual. The treatment center monitors the person’s vital signs during the early stages of methadone. The correct dosage of methadone eases the withdrawal symptoms to make it manageable. Within about a week or up to 10 days maximum, the person can go onto maintenance doses of methadone.


Counseling as an important step

When a person begins recovery, it’s important to have counseling and support for success. Counseling is the part of treatment that most prevents relapse. And support from family, friends, and/or a support group can make a significant difference.


For more information and resources in Fresno, contact BAART on Van Ness Avenue.


Medically Reviewed By:

BAART Clinical Team

BAART Clinical Team

The Clinical Team at BAART Programs is our team of physicians and medical directors within the organization. BAART is a CARF accredited organization and has been providing opioid addiction treatment services to the San Francisco Bay Area and greater United States since 1977.