Signs You Need Heroin Detox

Published: 02/5/2014 | Author:

As of 2011, as many as 42 million Americans reported having tried heroin on at least one occasion. According to the National Institute on Drug abuse, an estimated 23 percent of those who try heroin will become dependent on the drug. Heroin’s wrenching effects on the mind and body of the individual make this particular addiction difficult to conceal. Anyone who becomes dependent on the drug will likely need heroin detox treatment.

Once a person reaches a certain point, heroin detox may be the only way to regain control of his or her life. Heroin detox specifically addresses the physical, psychological and behavioral changes caused by heroin use. The sooner an addict enters heroin detox the better the chances of recovering from the effects of the drug. Call 866-351-3840(Who Answers?) to find heroin detox centers near you!

Anyone concerned about an encroaching heroin addiction may want to keep a look-out for the following signs.

1. Central Nervous System Effects

As a Schedule I narcotic drug, heroin is a morphine-based opiate that acts as a central nervous system depressant, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research. The central nervous system naturally produces morphine and uses this substance to regulate nerve signal transmissions throughout the body.

Not surprisingly, the brain readily accepts heroin much like it accepts its own morphine chemicals. In the process, the brain stops producing its own regulating chemicals and becomes dependent on heroin supplies. Signs of heroin addiction stem from the drug’s effects on the brain.

2. Physical Signs

Physical signs of heroin addiction develop from the brain’s inability to regulate chemical processes in the body. Without heroin detox treatment, a person’s condition will grow progressively worse.

Physical signs of heroin addiction include:

  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Brief losses of consciousness or “nodding out”
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Drug cravings

3. Psychological Signs

Ongoing heroin use disrupts vital chemical processes in the brain. These processes not only regulate bodily functions, but also psychological or cognitive functions.

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Psychological signs of heroin addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

As psychological signs become progressively worse, users are less able to identify the need for heroin detox treatment.

4. Behavior Changes

As addiction takes hold, a person’s interest in getting and using heroin will become more pronounced. In the process, he or she will start to neglect other responsibilities. At this point, friends and family may start to wonder if heroin detox treatment is needed.

Behavior changes associated with heroin addiction include:

  • Missing days at work
  • Loss of interest in job performance
  • No longer engaging in recreational pursuits
  • Problems sleeping
  • Loss of appetite

Heroin abuse can make you lose your job, your family, and everything that matters to you. Call now to seek treatment help.

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5. Lifestyle Effects

Compulsive drug-seeking behaviors inevitably transform a person’s lifestyle to where heroin becomes the focus of everything a person does.

Changes in lifestyle commonly take the form of:

  • A new social group made up of “like-minded” friends
  • Scheduling the day’s activities around buying and using heroin
  • Neglecting important close relationships and friendships

Removing the focal point of the addiction lifestyle becomes the primary objective of heroin detox treatment.

6. Signs of Long-Term Heroin Abuse

It’s all but impossible to miss the signs of addiction in someone with a long history of heroin abuse. Signs of long-term heroin abuse include:

  • Significant financial difficulty
  • Psychological problems
  • Legal problems
  • Loss of employment
  • Homelessness

At this point, any remaining friends and family will insist the addict seek out heroin detox treatment.

You can find heroin detox centers by searching our directory, or by calling our treatment helpline: 866-351-3840(Who Answers?) .


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Heroin.
  2. Center for Substance Abuse Research. (2013). Heroin. 
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