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What Does a Heroin Addict Look Like? Behavior Patterns to Look Out For

A young man staring out at the city as he struggles with his heroin addiction.
While some heroin addiction behaviors are set in reality, others are complete myth. Find out what the real behavior patterns of a heroin addict are.

What does an addict actually look like? We’ve all seen movies or television shows where an addict is portrayed as a shady character or a bum; a ghost of a person who won’t ever amount to anything. Or the addict is viewed as a violent criminal or bad person who doesn’t care about anyone else.

Despite what the media tells us, you know differently. Your loved one has always been a good person with goals and ambitions. But lately, they haven’t been acting like themselves. They’ve been acting more and more like the stereotypes seen in the media.

You suspect your loved one is abusing drugs, and you think it might be heroin. But you need to understand more of what a heroin addict looks like before you confront them about it. Let’s take a look at some of the key characteristics of heroin addicts and the behavior patterns to look out for.

Characteristics of a Heroin Addict

1. Physical Changes in Appearance

This is one of the most obvious signs that your loved one is struggling with heroin addiction. While any drug abuse takes a toll on a person’s body, there are some key signs that your loved one’s substance of choice is heroin.

For starters, look out for clothing changes. If your loved one is using heroin, they’ll most likely start wearing long sleeves on a daily basis to hide the physical evidence. They may also start to wear sunglasses more often to prevent you from seeing how sunken in their eyes look now.

Unlike some drugs, heroin takes almost an instant physical toll on the body, so the changes in appearance will be sudden rather than slow and drawn out. See if your loved one’s skin has turned more grey-colored, and try to notice if their overall hygiene has deteriorated (not brushing their teeth or showering, not wearing clean clothes, etc.).

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2. Money Problems

This characteristic isn’t as easy to spot as the physical changes – unless you have access to their bank account information, of course. But since heroin is incredibly addictive, those who are abusing it need higher and higher doses to feel its effects. Their cravings ultimately become the driving force behind their purchase decisions and they may end up blowing all their money on heroin.

Think back to times your loved one has asked to borrow money from you or others in your household. Was your loved one aggressive in their request to borrow money? Were you concerned that they’d get angry or even violent if you said no? Those struggling with heroin addiction can exhibit aggressive behaviors as a way to get the money they need for heroin.

Strange Household Items Going Missing

Collecting weird items from around the house is another characteristic of heroin addicts. If your loved one is truly addicted to heroin, something to keep in mind is that every action they take is motivated by their cravings and addiction.

We’ve already mentioned your loved one needs more and more money to keep their addiction going, so keep a closer eye on your financials and valuable possessions in case any of it goes missing.

Your loved one may also be collecting items like spoons, shoelaces, syringes, wax paper, razor blades and aluminum foil. If you notice any of these items going missing or spot these things in your loved one’s room, your loved one may very well be dealing with a heroin addiction.

Mood Swings

Heroin addiction has a way of causing extreme mood swings and unnatural behaviors in the most gentle of people. As mentioned earlier, your loved one may be unnaturally violent or aggressive towards you if they aren’t getting what they need to satisfy their heroin addiction. You may notice that your loved one is trying more and more often to lie to you and manipulate you, as well.

Heroin addiction tends to be extremely isolating, keeping your loved from enjoying the activities and people they used to be interested in. If you notice your loved one only showing interest in you when they want something and then getting hostile when they don’t get what they want, it’s important to realize that it’s more than likely the heroin addiction taking over.

Heroin Addiction Treatment at The Raleigh House

Heroin addiction can show itself almost immediately if you know what characteristics and behavior patterns to look for. If you suspect your loved one is addicted to heroin and you don’t know what to do, call us.

At The Raleigh House, we provide evidence-based heroin addiction treatment that can help get the drugs out of your loved one’s system. Beyond that, we will work with your loved one in our residential treatment program to help them get to the bottom of their addiction and develop new ways to cope with stress or other issues that may have led them to using heroin in the first place.

Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our approach and addiction treatment programs.

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