Is Your Child a Heroin Addict?
On the list of questions parents don’t want to ask themselves, “is my child a heroin addict” ranks pretty high. Coming to terms with your child’s drug use is frightening enough, but heroin addiction has a mystique all its own.
Consider the classic portrayal of a heroin addict – a homeless person, sleeping under a bridge, panhandling enough money to get their next fix, and retreating to a shadowy bathroom to shoot up.
Thinking that your child may be involved in any part of the above is enough to send chills down even the toughest parent’s spine. It’s the stuff of nightmares, real and imagined.
I’m a recovering heroin addict with almost seven years sober and, speaking from personal experience, I know my parents were at a complete loss. They didn’t know what to do, where to turn, or how to help. I doubt they were alone in their lack of knowledge.
Find signs of heroin use, the effects of heroin, and what to do if your child (or friend/loved one) is using heroin below. Knowledge is power. Let’s go from being powerless in the face of addiction to being powerful in the knowledge of recovery!
Signs of Heroin Use
Find a list of signs common to heroin use below:
• Constricted pupils – while many drugs, notably marijuana, dilate the pupils, heroin constricts them. This is commonly known as having “pinned pupils.” While there are many prescription and over the counter drugs which cause pupils to constrict, you may want to watch out for these other signs.
• Nodding out – heroin is a CNS depressant and causes users to slip into periods of semi-consciousness. This is called “nodding out.” Is your child or loved one nodding out regularly? There may be more than fatigue to blame.
• Excessive scratching – among other things, heroin makes users feel incredibly itchy. Is your child or loved one scratching themselves excessively? Are they scratching themselves to the point of bleeding? If so, they may be using heroin.
• Heroin paraphernalia – these are things like spoons, “cookers” (think a metal bottle cap), cotton swabs, tourniquets, and syringes. If you find this type of paraphernalia among your child or loved one’s belongings, they’re probably using heroin.
• Track marks – this is perhaps the most obvious sign of heroin use. Does your child or loved one have red marks and bruising around their veins? If so, they’re probably injecting heroin.
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Effects of Heroin
Find a list of effects common to heroin use below:
• Decreased respiration – as mentioned above, heroin is a CNS (central nervous system) depressant. This means that it reduces how the body’s nervous system transmits messages. This leads to things like a decreased or delayed pain response and decreased respiration.
• Constipation – On top of reducing the body’s central nervous system, heroin also affects the gastrointestinal system. It slows down how the system processes and expels waste. This leads to constipation.
• Feelings of warmth and contentment – this is the euphoria that heroin produces. It makes its users feel warm, fuzzy, and free of all worries. Users often describe the high from heroin as “being wrapped in a warm blanket.”
• Physical tolerance – long-term use of any drug leads to a raised tolerance. When it comes to heroin, though, this tolerance happens rapidly. This leads to users needing increasingly large amounts of the drug to feel its euphoric effects. Also, as heroin is physically addictive, it leads to users needing increasingly large amounts of the drug to delay withdrawal.
• Withdrawals – As mentioned above, heroin is physically addictive. Withdrawal symptoms include: chills, sweats, nausea and vomiting, muscle spasms, muscle pain, bone pain, depression, and anxiety.
What Do I Do if My Child is Using Heroin?
This is the million-dollar question. Having to face the fact that your child or loved one is using heroin is hard enough. What’s next, though? What comes after accepting someone has a dangerous drug addiction?
Well, the first thing you should do is attempt to find out the scope of your child’s heroin use. Are they experimenting with the drug, using it recreationally, abusing it heavily, or physically addicted?
Once you’ve ascertained how serious your child or loved one’s use is, you’ll know what course of action is best. Does your child need treatment? If so, what type of treatment?
All the above questions are confusing and probably overwhelming. Reach out for help! Call a treatment center where their primary job is figuring out and treating drug use. To that end, give us a call today. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about your child’s heroin use.
Call us today at 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE or 1-(561)-381-0015.