Behavioral Signs Of Heroin Use: How Do People Act On Heroin?

Someone under the influence of heroin will have slow reactions, slurred speech, and appear to be falling in and out of consciousness (called “nodding”). Long-term effects of heroin abuse lead to damaged mental health, body changes, and relationship problems.

Heroin is an addictive drug that can cause a number of changes in a person’s behaviors, actions, and social skills.

Long-term behavioral signs of heroin abuse can include mood swings and relationship problems, while short-term behavioral signs may look like slower reaction times and strange or unusual behaviors.

Read on to learn more about the behavioral signs of heroin abuse.

Behavioral Signs Of Heroin Use

If you’re concerned that a loved one may be using heroin, there are a few key behavioral signs that may be exhibited shortly after using the drug.

After using heroin, a person may exhibit the following:

  • slow reaction time
  • sleepiness or drowsiness
  • slurred speech
  • falling in and out of consciousness (“nodding out”)
  • clouded thinking
  • constant itching
  • calmness
  • lessened anxiety

Behavioral Signs Of Heroin Addiction

As a person continues to use heroin regularly, they may form an addiction to the substance. This may result in a number of longer-term changes in behavior.

A few of these behavioral signs of heroin use may include:

  • wearing long sleeves and long pants to cover up injection site marks (known as “track marks”)
  • constant itching of the neck and arms
  • loss of sex drive
  • poor decision-making

Increased Risk-Taking Behaviors

One of the symptoms of heroin addiction is engaging in risky behavior, such as lying to friends and family members about their drug use.

When lying to cover up drug use or poor decision-making, a person abusing heroin might become argumentative and act suspiciously.

Your loved one may steal money or goods to get money to purchase more heroin, increasing the risk of run-ins with the law.

Substance abuse may cause someone to become aggravated, angry, or even hostile, leading to physical altercations and abuse.

Mental Health-Related Behavior Changes

You may also witness changes in behavior due to worsened mental health, such as the development of a mental illness or co-occurring disorder (someone who has a substance use and mental health disorder).

Some of the behavioral changes related to mental health may include:

  • irritability
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • aggression
  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • an inability to deal with stressful situations
  • difficulty concentrating for long periods of time
  • loneliness
  • loss of interest in passions or hobbies

When a person has a physical dependence on a drug such as heroin, they may find it difficult to manage the above emotions and mental states.

What results are often unusual actions, drastic changes in behaviors, and increased drug use, which can lead to heroin overdose.

Social Changes With Heroin Use

Drug abuse has the power to affect not just the body and mind, but also impact relationships with loved ones and friends.

Heroin abuse can cause someone to:

  • withdraw from family members
  • lie and steal from loved ones
  • perform poorly at work
  • run into trouble with law enforcement
  • become untrustworthy
  • forget their goals and aspirations
  • lack communication skills
  • put others in danger

Drug Paraphernalia

You may find certain heroin paraphernalia items in or around your loved one’s space, indicating drug addiction.

A few of these items may include syringes, aluminum foil, straws or tubes, spoons, or lighters.

You may also find a “kit,” which refers to a small box or bag of items used to inject, snort, or smoke heroin.

Treatment For Heroin Addiction In Massachusetts

If you or your loved one are dealing with a substance use disorder, help is available at our behavioral health treatment center.

At Spring Hill Recovery Center, we can help you to recover. Our treatment approach includes medical detox to alleviate heroin withdrawal symptoms and opioid cravings.

If you or a loved one need assistance finding an alcohol or drug rehab center in Massachusetts, reach out and talk to a treatment provider today.

  1. Better Health Channel — Heroin
  2. National Institute On Drug Abuse — Heroin Research Report
  3. National Institute On Drug Abuse — Heroin

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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