It has become the epidemic of our times, and it shows no signs of stopping thus far. It’s the last thing a parent ever thinks their child will succumb to, but heroin addiction rates have skyrocketed among young adults over the last decade, and it all leads back to the explosion of oxycontin in the mid 90’s.

With the announcement of even beautiful pop stars overdosing on heroin, the time is now to speak to your loved ones who are struggling with addiction and mental disorders.

So, coming from an ex-heroin addict, if you believe that you or your loved one may be struggling with a heroin addiction, here are some of the warning and tell-tale signs to pay attention to.

Financial Difficulties

To be honest, this is usually the first sign that someone is struggling with an addiction of any kind, let alone heroin. It usually starts small, before the addiction becomes full-blown, with just some experimentation and $20-40 being spent here or there. Over time, if the addiction continues, more and more money will start disappearing.

Entire paychecks will be spent on getting high, and then eventually, the individual will start asking for loans or to borrow money from family and friends. The money might be paid back in the beginning, but over time, it gets returned less and less, and the person starts to seek out other methods to make money.

Personally, I took out a title loan on my own car. I’ve had friends who would write checks to themselves and pull the money. I’ve pawned precious items. I’ve known people who stole from others. I’ve seen people, both sexes, go into prostitution. I’ve also seen people who managed to work three jobs, so long as they had the money to remain high to be able to work.

The reason it is so costly is because when someone is addicted to heroin, they have to have it or else they will become extremely sick, and pretty much unable to get out of bed, off the toilet, and unable to sleep. It is a personal, self-imposed hell, that stops as soon as more heroin is taken.

Extreme Mood Swings

If you see your loved one at one point in the day and they are either extremely chipper, talkative, and friendly, and then you see them at another point and they are irritable, silent, and withdrawn, and you have already had suspicions about their using drugs, this could be the indication of an addiction at play.

Primarily, when people are in the depths of a heroin addiction, when they do not or have not yet gotten high for that day, or if their high from earlier is starting to wear off, they will start to experience withdrawal symptoms. These can often look like:

  • Runny Nose
  • Irritability
  • Uncontrollable yawning
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Muscle Aches and Spasms
  • Stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating and clammy hands

However, as soon as that individual is able to use heroin again, all of these symptoms seem to magically disappear, and the person becomes chipper, friendly, upbeat, and maybe even talkative, while also potentially falling asleep at the dinner table.

If you watch yourself or your loved one go through cycles of these mood swings with the physical side effects throughout the same day, they might be struggling with a heroin addiction.

From my personal experience, when I woke up in the morning, without heroin, I was anxious, irritable, had no appetite, and could think of nothing else except getting high for the day. My roommate, on the other hand, was always much better at saving himself something for the morning, so he got his fix early, and woke up as happy as a clam. Once I finally got my fix, I became upbeat, ready to take on the world, and by that point, he was coming down. So we would alternate mood cycles around each other, like extreme cases of bipolar.

man holding heroin

Loss Of Interest In Anything

Before I started getting into drugs, I was very active in sports, loved to sing and dance, I rode horses, and I was great in school. Once drugs came around, and particularly heroin, nothing else mattered besides getting the dope, getting high, and sitting on the couch, until the high wore off and I had to start it all over again.

Everything I once loved fell to the wayside, I didn’t have hobbies, I lost all of my old friends, and I watched (passed out during) entire seasons of shows in a matter of days. I almost failed out of college (the invention of online classes really helped me get through), and my days revolved around getting high, going to work to make the money to continue to get high, and sitting on my couch.

Once I got sober I was able to rediscover my old loves for music and sports, and have taken up gardening and rock climbing, and I really only watch TV now when the day is done, and even then not for long.

Erratic Behavior

My mom first started to get the hint that I was doing drugs when I would start the day in a low, withdrawal mood, go out to “get something from the store” be gone for several hours, and then come back happy as a lamb. A few hours later, after my good mood wore off, I would go back to the store for “something I forgot”, and come back in a great mood again.

Every once in a while, she would have to come to rescue me because I ran out of gas or because my card wasn’t working and I begged her to spot me until I could pay her back with my tip money.

The days finally came where I was getting arrested and she was bailing me out, or I just wouldn’t come back home at all. When I was home, I was withdrawn, or angry, or asking to borrow money. She also caught me sneaking around the house looking for jewelry or through my little brothers piggy bank on multiple occasions.

Change In Physical Appearance

Another one of the biggest telltale signs for heroin addiction is an apparent change in the appearance of you or your loved one. Primarily, heroin addicts can go for some time without showing any strikingly apparent physical changes, but over time, the weight loss, the sunken eyes, the poor posture, and the track marks become too apparent to hide any more.

There is a common theme among heroin addicts to literally lose “the luster” in their eyes, which almost become lifeless, or constantly glazed over.


Being addicted to any substance, never mind opiates, can be very distressing for both you and your loved ones. And, the longer that you use for, the more difficult it can be to stop. However, with the right TREATMENT, you can finally end your opiate addiction and begin creating a life that is happy, healthy, and free from addiction.

Do not allow your addiction to continue. Reach out by contacting us right now so that we can help you get started on your road to recovery. We will not only help guide you along the way but also help you develop the skills you need in order to effectively manage your own well-being after leaving treatment.

Do not wait. Call us right now.