Last updated: 10/25/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Heroin addiction is extremely dangerous, and many of the signs that point to this condition are physical. In addition, a person’s behavior will change drastically when they become addicted to this drug. If you are concerned that someone you know is addicted to heroin, look for them to exhibit these behavioral signs and consider seeking treatment for them.
Behavioral Signs of Addiction
Addiction itself has certain behavioral signs which should raise awareness in friends and family members. Because the person is already addicted to heroin, they will not want to talk about the drug and will likely try to hide their abuse of it as much as possible. Some of the behavioral symptoms of drug addiction, as stated by the NLM, are when the individual:
- “Cannot face daily life without drugs”
- Denies that there is a problem
- Becomes aggressive, angry, or hostile when asked about their drug abuse
- Exhibits suicidal tendencies
- Cannot control the amount they use
- Neglects eating
- Does not care about their physical appearance
- Changes their circle of friends in order to only spend time with other drug abusers
- Makes excuses in order to use drugs or use them more often
- Misses work, school, or neglects responsibilities in order to abuse the drug
- Needs “daily or regular drug use to function” (Dependence)
- Needs to take more of the drug in order to feel the effects they once felt from the original dose (Tolerance)
- Experiences legal, relationship, work, and school problems as a result of drug abuse
- Will not stop taking the drug in spite of these problems
All of these are behavioral signs of addiction which often apply to heroin abusers. When a person starts to display many of these signs, it is very likely that they are already addicted to heroin.
Behavioral Signs Specific to Heroin Addiction
When someone is addicted to heroin, their behavior will change. However, it will be different than the behavior of someone who is addicted to stimulants or marijuana. According to CESAR, the behavioral signs specific to heroin addiction include:
- Injecting the drug which puts them “at risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other blood-borne pathogens”
- Experiencing financial problems as a result of tolerance and a need to abuse more of the drug
- “The average heroin addict can spend up to $200 per day to maintain his or her addiction.”
- The use of heroin-specific drug paraphernalia including:
- Hypodermic needles
- Bottle caps
- Cotton balls
- Bottle caps
When currently on the drug, a person will exhibit signs of sleepiness, euphoria, moving more slowly, and being especially calm. This is not always a sign of addiction so much as abuse, but if a person is constantly exhibiting these symptoms, there is a likelihood that they are addicted to heroin. If the person stops abusing heroin for a certain amount of time, they will likely become anxious, restless, and unable to sleep, while exhibiting other heroin withdrawal symptoms.
Heroin addiction has many behavioral symptoms. A person’s behavior will completely change and their whole lives will revolve around seeking, obtaining, and abusing more heroin. As a principle of addiction, they will likely not be able to stop on their own.