Psychological dependence occurs when an individual firmly believes that he or she cannot function without heroin. Both of these forms of heroin dependence are addressed in a proper rehab setting. The drug itself is often sold in small glass or plastic vials or in small, tightly wrapped plastic bags. Since most heroin users inject the drug, syringes heroin addiction treatment or needles are another red flag for heroin abuse. A heroin overdose occurs when the adverse effects of the drug overwhelm the body, resulting in life-threatening symptoms such as respiratory arrest and hypoxic brain injury. During this phase of treatment, you may be prescribed another medication to minimize heroin withdrawal symptoms.
In some cases, this can make a person appear unrecognizable from who they were before. The primary sign of dependence is experiencing symptoms of heroin withdrawal within as little as six to 12 hours after last using heroin. Using heroin repeatedly over time can cause an increased tolerance for heroin (requiring higher doses to feel the same effects) and physical dependence. This side effect can occur from taking a high dose of heroin. If someone continually misuses heroin, they may develop an opioid use disorder (OUD). One sign of an OUD includes increased tolerance to heroin, meaning that a person has to take larger amounts to get the same effect.
How to get support
Rather, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) relies on the term substance use disorder. The DSM-5 is considered a main handbook for mental health purposes. The book is so important that if a disorder is not listed in it, insurance companies typically won’t cover claims for treatment.
- According to annual survey data, over 900,000 people in the United States used heroin in 2020, and nearly 700,000 people had a heroin use disorder, also known as addiction.
- Treatment can include a combination of medication, therapy, and support groups.
- This can include a mental health professional like a licensed drug or alcohol counselor or a social worker, physician, or psychiatrist.
A person like this might become secretive, concerned about money, and willing to skip work and family obligations in order to get drugs. Physical signs include track marks, frequent sedation, clouded thinking, and flu-like symptoms between drug doses. People who abuse drugs, including teenagers, may also exhibit specific behavioral signs. Any drastic change in behavior may be a sign of drug addiction or another mental health issue. While heroin is a much stronger opioid than its predecessor, it can also cause a number of serious side effects. These include a high risk of physical dependence, which may progress to addiction, or opioid use disorder, in some people.
The central nervous system is depressed so someone on heroin won’t feel pain. All of this results in a sedated appearance that is hard to ignore. If you have experienced at least two of these, you will have met the criteria for a “mild” substance use disorder. More symptoms will warrant a “moderate” or a “severe” heroin use disorder, depending on the amount of endorsed symptomatology. Track marks are visible marks on a person’s skin that can develop as a result of injecting heroin or another common drug of abuse.
If a person takes too large a dose, they may unintentionally overdose. A person can also talk with a healthcare professional or psychiatrist to get information on local treatment centers and support groups. Additionally, a person can unintentionally overdose on heroin. The half-life of a drug is the time it takes for the amount of a drug’s active substance in your body to reduce by half.