It isn't easy to deal with a loved one suffering from a heroin addiction. What's worse is finding out about the addiction late, after it's already caused friction and problems. If you want to help someone with a heroin addiction before it grows out of control, you need to know and recognize the signs of an addition.

There are many signs of heroin abuse, but these represent many of the ones you can notice as someone who is outside looking in.

Indirect and behavioral signs of heroin abuse

Many of the signs you come across will be indirect. They have more to do with new habits and circumstantial evidence, such as

  • Your loved one staying out longer or putting more miles on the car than normal
  • Your loved one lacking, losing, or needing money
  • Your loved one getting caught with lying and secrecy
  • You noticing missing things, like valuables, money, or even common home goods
  • You noticing any other drastic changes in behavior

The key is to look at what's changing. It's not always indicative of a heroin problem, but it can represent a larger problem in general. In any case, it's worth it to pay attention to your loved one's changing behaviors.

Physical signs of heroin abuse

There are many signs of both new and continuing heroin use. The signs can range widely depending on the person, but here's a few things you can look for.

  • Drastic weight loss or gain
  • A neglect of personal hygiene
  • Perpetual fatigue or drowsiness
  • Needle marks on the skin
  • Constricted pupils

Signs of paraphernalia

Finding paraphernalia often represents the ultimate proof of heroin abuse. Look for anything associated with injection, such as needles, needle caps, rubber straps, and used cotton balls. In addition, you may come across other paraphernalia, such as

  • Plastic baggies
  • Burned spoons
  • Burned bottle caps
  • Aluminum foil with burn marks

While one or two of any type of these signs can mean any of a number of things, it's always worth it to give them further consideration if they show up. If you notice more than a couple of signs--especially if they keep reoccurring--it's time to get help.

Don't ignore signs or pretend they are other than what they are. Take action. It's a lot harder to deal with a heroin addiction if it becomes a heroin dependency. You should read more on this sensitive subject, then speak to your loved one delicately--but frankly--about attending a heroin addiction treatment program.