If your loved one is struggling with heroin addiction and you’re wondering how to confront them and get them help, there are several things you should know first. By knowing what heroin is, what the signs of heroin use are, and how to confront a heroin addict, you can help determine the type of treatment they need.
Contact Impact Wellness Network to access our comprehensive group of addiction treatment centers focused on providing care to every individual.
What Is Heroin?
Derived from the Asian poppy plants naturally occurring morphine, heroin is an addictive pain killer identified as a narcotic or opioid. Heroin’s pain-killing properties were once harnessed by doctors and physicians until they determined that it was also extremely addictive.
This addictive opioid has since become an illegal narcotic. However, the number of people using heroin in the United States annually is well over 1 million users with approximately 18,000 overdose deaths per year.
While a heroin high may create a “rush” or euphoric high, use can also cause dry mouth, a warm flushing of the skin, heavy feeling in the arms and legs, nausea and vomiting, severe itching, clouded mental functioning, and going on “the nod” between consciousness and semiconsciousness.
But addiction is so much more than just occasional use. Heroin addicts struggle with frequent, chronic use, overdose, and mental and behavioral changes.
What Are the Signs My Loved One Is a Heroin Addict?
If you are worried about your loved one, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of use, chronic use, and overdose. Knowing these signs and symptoms can help save their life.
Repeated, chronic use can create the following negative side effects:
- Collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
- Damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
- Infection of the heart lining and valves
- Abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus)
- Constipation and stomach cramping
- Liver and kidney disease
- Lung complications, including pneumonia
- Mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
- Sexual dysfunction for men
- Irregular menstrual cycles for women
Finally, it is important to know that individuals overdosing on heroin will often experience hypoxia. This means that their breathing has slowed or stopped to the point that their brain is not receiving oxygen. This can lead to coma, permanent brain damage, and death.
A heroin addict may also lie or steal to get money for drugs. You may notice significant changes in their social group or close relationships, changes in personal hygiene, and changes in performance and attendance at work and school.
The combination of the physical and behavioral changes can indicate the need for addiction treatment. But how do you get them help?
How to Confront a Heroin Addict
Confronting someone, especially someone you love, about drugs is not an easy task, but you can do it. There are several steps that go into an intervention process.
- Gather information
- Speak with your loved one/have them speak with a medical professional
- Give them the information
The first stage of how to confront a heroin addict is gathering information. By knowing the facts about drug use, statistics about heroin overdose rates, and finding several treatment centers that you think could be supportive for your loved one, you can provide them with a thorough plan and options for recovery.
The second stage of how to confront a heroin addict is actually speaking with them or having a medical professional speak with them. When speaking to your loved one about their drug use, remember to use “I” statements. When you say things like, “I love you. I am worried about you.” That puts your ownness on yourself and doesn’t place blame on the other person. This is not a time for negotiation, blame, or an argument.
The last stage of how to confront a heroin addict is giving them the information they need to be successful. In the first stage of gathering information, you collected information about treatment centers that might be supportive for your loved one. Provide them with this information and their contact information so they can access addiction treatment.
Remember that they might not be receptive, but this has nothing to do with you. Your loved one needs to make the decision to get clean for themselves. All you can do is provide the information to get them there.
How To Get a Heroin Addict Help
Through Impact Wellness Network, our group of high-quality addiction treatment centers can provide the addiction treatment your loved ones needs to live their lives sober.
Contact us today to speak with a professional about which of our treatment centers can best fit your loved one’s addiction treatment needs.