Heroin Addiction & Abuse: Causes, Symptoms & Detox in Wisconsin

Heroin use is one of the most dangerous forms of drug abuse. Not only is heroin extremely addictive, but the risk of overdose and fatal withdrawal symptoms is much higher than it is with most other drugs. This is why it is so important to seek out help and begin the path toward recovery as soon as possible. For most people suffering from heroin addiction, this path begins with detoxification.

If you’re currently looking for a safe, private environment in which to detox from heroin, Midwest Detox is the perfect solution. However, if you’re still unsure what path to take, continue reading to learn more about heroin abuse, addiction, and recovery:

In This Article
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Heroin Addiction: Causes & Risk Factors

    While there are various types of heroin that go by many slang names like dope, smack, and junk, they can all lead to severe addiction. Heroin addiction is a form of opioid use disorder (OUD). It is typically a chronic, relapsing condition characterized by a strong compulsion to use heroin in spite of the many negative consequences.

    Various factors contribute to the development of heroin addiction, including:

    • Genetics (family history of drug abuse)
    • Prior substance use
    • Mental health disorders
    • Social and environmental influences
    • Exposure during adolescence
    • Personality traits (like impulsivity and thrill-seeking)
    • Stress
    • Trauma
    • Lack of social support

    Signs & Symptoms of Heroin Abuse

    Heroin abuse is far more detectable than many other types of substance abuse. However, this doesn’t mean that it will be obvious to friends or family members that you are abusing heroin, particularly if you are in the very early stages of addiction. In any case, here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of heroin abuse:

    Behavioral Changes

    • Secrecy or deceptive behavior
    • Social isolation
    • Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home
    • Loss of interest in hobbies
    • Sudden changes in friends or social circles
    • Unexplained financial difficulties

    Physical Symptoms

    • Constricted pupils
    • Sudden weight loss
    • Drowsiness or "nodding off" at strange times
    • Slurred speech
    • Impaired coordination
    • Track marks or needle marks on arms or legs
    • Constant runny nose or nose sores (if snorting heroin)
    • Skin infections, abscesses, or scarring at injection sites
    • Persistent cough (if smoking heroin)

    Psychological Symptoms

    • Mood swings, irritability, or agitation
    • Anxiety
    • Paranoia
    • Depression or suicidal thoughts
    • Difficulty concentrating or memory problems
    • Apathy or lack of motivation

    Drug Paraphernalia & Other Signs

    • Needles or syringes
    • Burnt spoons or bottle caps
    • Aluminum foil, gum wrappers, or other materials used for smoking heroin
    • Straws or rolled-up dollar bills (if snorting heroin)
    • Rubber bands or belts used as tourniquets
    • Sweet or chemical smell

    Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

    If you use heroin regularly and suddenly stop the drug without any kind of medical or therapeutic intervention, you will experience symptoms of heroin withdrawal. It is rare for these symptoms to be mild, as heroin is a very powerful drug that quickly causes the body to become dependent. That said, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms will vary based on how long you have been using the drug.

    Some of the most common heroin withdrawal symptoms include:

    • Intense cravings for heroin
    • Anxiety
    • Restlessness
    • Insomnia
    • Muscle aches and pains
    • Cold sweats
    • Runny nose and teary eyes
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal cramps
    • Goosebumps and chills
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • High blood pressure
    • Depression or mood swings
    • Dehydration

    It is very important to seek out medical help as soon as possible to begin the detoxification process in a safe environment. Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can help reduce cravings, alleviate withdrawal symptoms, and minimize the risk of relapse. But these medications should only be used under medical supervision and in conjunction with other evidence-based treatments, such as therapy and counseling, to address the underlying causes of addiction and promote long-term recovery.

    How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your System?

    Heroin has a relatively short half-life of about 3 to 8 minutes, which means it is metabolized and eliminated from the body very quickly. However, its metabolites can be detected in the body for much longer periods. This means that medical professionals and law enforcement can detect heroin use even after it has been metabolized. Here are the average detection windows based on the type of test used:

    • Blood Test - Heroin can be detected in the blood for up to 6 hours after the last use.
    • Urine Test - Heroin and its metabolites can be detected in urine for up to 2 to 7 days after the last use.
    • Saliva Test - Heroin can be detected in saliva for up to 24 to 48 hours after the last use.
    • Hair Test - Hair testing can detect heroin and its metabolites for up to 90 days or longer after the last use.

    Long-Term Effects of Heroin Addiction

    While many of the effects of heroin abuse can be reversed with proper detoxification and addiction treatment, others may stay around for years. Prolonged and excessive use of heroin can lead to a range of health problems and complications, including:

    Physical Health Problems

    • Chronic constipation and gastrointestinal issues
    • Respiratory complications, including pneumonia and lung infections
    • Increased risk of bloodborne infections like HIV and hepatitis
    • Skin infections, abscesses, or scarring
    • Collapsed veins from repeated injections
    • Kidney and liver damage
    • Dental issues, including gum disease and tooth decay
    • Sexual dysfunction and irregular menstrual cycles
    • Increased risk of overdose

    Mental Health Issues

    • Worsening of pre-existing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder
    • Development of new mental health issues as a result of chronic heroin use
    • Cognitive impairments
    • Increased risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts

    Social and Financial Problems

    • Strained relationships with family and friends
    • Job loss or difficulties maintaining stable employment
    • Financial difficulties
    • Legal issues related to drug possession, theft, or other criminal activities
    • Social isolation and stigmatization

    Heroin Detox In Brookfield, Wisconsin

    Supervised detox for heroin is the only way to clean your system of the drug in a safe, controlled environment. Detoxification is also the best way to overcome withdrawal symptoms without relapsing. Fortunately, if you choose to get help at Midwest Detox, you can rest easy knowing that you will have the expertise of trained professionals while you begin your journey toward recovery.

    Do you live in Brookfield, Waukesha County, or the larger Milwaukee area? Are you in need of a private heroin detox center to begin your recovery? If so, Midwest Detox can provide everything you need to detox from heroin in a safe, comfortable environment. Visit our site or call us directly at 414-409-5200 to take the first step toward sobriety.