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Heroin Addiction

Heroin is very addictive and therefore overcoming a heroin addiction can be very difficult.

Are you asking yourself how to stop taking heroin? Are you experiencing heroin withdrawal symptoms? Or are you concerned that a loved one may be suffering from heroin addiction? Most sufferers cannot stop taking heroin without assistance.

About Heroin Addiction

Heroin is an illicit depressant substance in the opiate drug group. Heroin works by slowing down the messages that travel between your brain and your body. The most common forms of heroin in Australia are white powder and brown rock which can be injected, smoked or snorted. Common names for heroin include smack, gear, dope and hammer.

Someone is addicted to heroin when they lose the ability to control their heroin use. They will feel an uncontrollable urge to use, and they have incredible difficulty stopping themselves from using heroin.

Signs of Heroin Addiction

There are certain signs you can look for that will help you identify a case of a heroin addict. We have divided them into two categories: those to look for in yourself and those to look for in a loved one.

If you are concerned about your own situation, consider the following symptoms of heroin addiction:

  • Thoughts of heroin consume a good portion of your day
  • You find yourself looking for new ways of procuring heroin
  • You frequently worry you won’t have access to heroin during your day
  • Heroin is affecting your job, finances or relationship
  • You get upset when other question you about your heroin use
  • You are willing to go to great lengths to get heroin
  • You must regularly increase your heroin intake to achieve the same feeling.
  • You find yourself concealing heroin or your use

If you are concerned about a loved one rather than yourself, signs to look for include:

  • Unreasonable sensitivity when the topic of heroin is discussed
  • Used needles lying around the house
  • Bags of white powder or brown rock lying around the house for their next hit (full or empty)
  • Burnt foils or spoons around the house
  • Unexplained withdrawal from family relationships or positive friendships
  • Increased isolation and episodes of social withdrawal
  • Lack of concern for employment
  • Unexplained financial problems
  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain

Any combination of signs or symptoms that suggest a potential heroin addiction should not be ignored. As already mentioned, even a minor heroin misuse problem can quickly become an addiction if left untreated. The good news is that proper treatment is very effective at helping heroin addicts completely recover. Success is achieved through a combination of physical, emotional, social and psychological treatments that address every aspect of addiction.

Withdrawl Symptoms

If you regularly use heroin, your body needs to learn to work without the drug which causes withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are the various physical and psychological effects of detox and can occur after reducing or stopping heroin use.

Minor Withdrawl Symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cravings
  • Aches and pains
  • Restless sleep and nightmares
  • Mood swings
Severe Withdrawl Symptoms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Increased heart rate
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Increased suicidal thoughts


  • 2% Australians have tried heroin once or more in their life
  • One in four people who try heroin become dependent on it
  • Accidental overdose is very common with heroin as users don’t know the purity level of the drug


The first step toward recovering from heroin addiction is a heroin detox which involves cleansing the body of the substance. Heroin users will be placed onto a methadone/suboxone reduction program to decrease the withdrawal symptoms whilst the heroin leaves the body. Detox without medical attention is possible for some individuals but it is known to be a very hard detox and severe nausea and vomiting are very common. A methadone/suboxone reduction plan is recommended under review of a Doctor specialising in addiction.

At the Hader Clinic, we provide a safe and calm environment for people in need of heroin treatment and a holistic recovery program. As detox from heroin is difficult, on admission a detailed assessment and medical examination is undertaken to ensure that a safe and effective reduction process is established immediately.

The Hader Clinic has a long and successful history treating heroin addicts with proven heroin treatment programs. In Queensland, our heroin rehab clinic and retreat is located just north of Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Remember it can be difficult to convince a loved one that they need treatment for their heroin addiction, if you’ve tried to talk to a friend or family member about their drug taking habits and they’ve been resistant, you should consider a family intervention. Contact us for advice on this process as we have useful resources and can support you through to conducting the intervention.

Does a loved one need help? Call 1300 856 847 for a free, confidential consultation.

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