More than 64,000 deaths. That’s how many lives drug overdose claimed in 2016.
That number represents a massive 21% increase from the drug overdoses the year before. And three-quarters of these lost lives? Opioids, heroin, in particular, is to blame.
It can be easy to think of heroin addicts as those who have pinhole pupils, drooping eyelids, and excessive thinness. Many even think that addicts often sleep in alleyways.
The truth is, there are many subtler signs of heroin addiction. Many heroin addicts can even go on living high-functioning lives.
So, how can you tell if a loved one has fallen into this opioid’s clutches? It won’t be easy, but there are five signs that can help you uncover the truth.
And once you do, it’s important you respond right away. It can make all the difference between a life and death situation.
1. High Functioning on the Outside, Unraveling on the Inside
Think of Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, the life of whom heroin claimed in 2014. Or talented River Phoenix, who died at such a young age of 23. And let’s not forget Janis Joplin, whose name you’ll now see in The 27 Club.
The list of high functioning addicts goes on. And they all point to the fact that people, despite addiction, may not look like it.
This is why you, as a loving and concerned family member or friend, need to look out for clues that don’t appear on the surface. If you think there’s something amiss, there probably is.
This doesn’t mean you should automatically assume someone’s a heroin addict. But know that many of them find it easy to cover their tracks, whether through lying or simply avoiding people. Avoidance makes it easier for them not to lie, all the while hiding their use.
So, how do you tell someone’s ‘unraveling on the inside?’ This can literally mean inside of their house. Maybe you’ve noticed littered bottle caps – particularly the big ones you’ll find on juice bottles. Or maybe bent spoons or those with burn marks.
On a more psychological, personal level, this can mean several incidents of lying. You’ve already established they’re not telling the truth, but they came up with excuses for it anyway.
2. Dark Behavior and Personality Changes
These ones here are more signs of ‘unraveling on the inside.’
In an attempt to avoid detection, heroin users and addicts keep to themselves. To the point that they may even start hanging out with a different crowd. They may even start avoiding people they used to share good bonds with.
It’s also not rare for addicts’ family to experience and go through dysfunction. Arguments will become more frequent.
This is especially true for those who mix heroin with benzodiazepines. It’s typical for this combination to induce blackouts, common in people who binge drink. This memory loss often leads to misunderstandings, which can quickly escalate to fights.
You may also have noticed your loved one or friend always having to go somewhere. Whether it’s the toilet or bath, or someplace else, take it as a sign something is going on.
There’s also a certain kind of darkness amongst heroin addicts. It’s a literal and figurative kind of darkness that sets in amongst them.
Dark bags under the eyes, an ashen appearance of the skin, and an empty look. Like how it seems they’re staring blankly and without emotion at the distance.
These are signs you shouldn’t ignore. Getting them help through a heroin addiction treatment and rehabilitation center now can be all it takes to save their life.
3. Disinterest in What They Once Found Pleasurable
The depressed and addicted share something in common. They no longer enjoy doing things and activities they once did. They may also do the same thing to people.
And that includes you, a romantic partner, and/or close friends. For the sake of the high and the elation they feel, they would drop anything in a second.
Maybe your loved one used to love sports or often go to the gym. Or they used to enjoy weekends camping out or fishing. If they suddenly dropped these, take it as a clue. Not necessarily of an addiction, but that something is possibly wrong and they need help.
Again, depression and addiction are different conditions, but they share many similarities. The most dangerous though, is that both are deadly.
4. Constant Losses of and Search for Money
Alcohol and substance addiction isn’t cheap. And that goes true for heroin too, despite its fame as a cheap drug.
So how does this go from cheap to expensive?
On average, a heroin dose costs about $10 to $25. That’s one of the primary attractions of this drug. But because it’s addictive, a single dose won’t satiate a user’s cravings.
This can easily multiply tenfold, with most addicts shelling out a daily $150.
That doesn’t end there though. The opioid crisis has led to a whopping $504 billion economic cost in 2015.
As you can see, it’s cheap on its own, but the addiction makes it pricey. If you’ve noticed your loved one having money troubles, such as constant borrowing or even selling of stuff, take that as a sign.
Help them get help before it ends in the worst way possible.
5. Changes in Sleeping Habits
This is another hard-to-uncover symptom of heroin addiction. Because they’re in their personal space, it’s hard for others to catch sleeping habit changes in heroin users.
However, it’s still something you, as a loving, caring family member or friend can uncover.
You may have noticed how long it takes them to respond to text messages or emails. Or how they don’t answer calls even during times it’s okay to ring them up. Or how they’re awake during strange hours of the day.
All these signal changes in sleeping habits. With the presence of the four other previously-mentioned signs, then it’s already possible heroin has something to do with what’s happening.
Knowing the Hidden Signs of Heroin Addiction Can Save Lives
Heroin can kill. And as history has shown, it has a long list of victims.
Don’t let it claim the life of your loved one. As soon as you uncover these hidden signs of heroin addiction, take action right away. Give us a call right away and we’ll provide you and your addicted family member or friend with immediate help.