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Heroin is part of a class of drugs called opioids. Like other opiates, heroin is a central nervous system depressant that dulls senses, thought processes, and pain. Heroin can produce a euphoric high and is incredibly addictive. It can be smoked, snorted, or used intravenously.


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Here are some signs you might be struggling with Heroin addiction:

  • Rapid mood swings (depression, euphoria, anxiety, irritability, hostility) 
  • Lying about drug use 
  • Uncontrollable cravings for more  
  • Needing to use more heroin to achieve the same high (tolerance) 
  • Changes in appetite  
  • Weight loss 
  • Constipation 
  • Losing consciousness unintentionally (nodding out)  
  • Scabs at injection sites (track marks) 
  • Skin picking 
  • Skin abscesses (skin infections from IV use) 
  • Neglecting hygiene 
  • Feeling flu-like symptoms when you stop using or decrease the amount  

Behavioral Effects of Heroin Use

Abusing heroin can affect the ways you act and feel dramatically. It’s normal in heroin abuse to feel your moods swinging from one extreme to another, to become irritable and short-tempered when physically withdrawing, and to make decisions that don’t really line up with who you are as a person.  

Spending too much money (or money you don’t have), getting arrested, and pulling away from friends and family are some of the most frequent unintended consequences of heroin abuse. Deeper into the addiction process, things like stealing to support your habit, contracting bloodborne diseases from needle-sharing (think HIV, Hepatitis C), and putting yourself and others at risk can suddenly change from things you never imagined yourself capable of doing to your regular day-to-day grind. 

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Physical Effects of Heroin Use

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Without treatment and support, Fentanyl Addiction can be life threatening. Here are some of the risks you run when abusing it: 

  • Overdose 
  • Sedation 
  • Confusion 
  • Nausea  
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Mood changes 
  • Decreased urine flow 
  • Physical dependence  
  • Slowed breathing  
  • Death 

The body quickly adapts to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms set in when use is reduced or stopped. These withdrawal symptoms include, but are not limited to: runny nose, watery eyes, sweating, chills, muscle and joint pain, stomach cramps, backache, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, severe anxiety and restlessness. 

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We at HCBTS are available 24/7 to take your call and are committed to helping you get the help you need when you need it.

Read more about the levels of care we offer on our substance abuse treatment page.

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Every member of our admissions team has been where you are today – be sure to ask them about their journey!