How Is Heroin Addiction Treated?
When you’re addicted to heroin, breaking free of the drug can seem impossible. But heroin addiction can be treated successfully, with a variety of treatment options that support heroin users through all stages of the recovery process from detox and withdrawal to long-term strategies for drug free living.
Why is Treatment Important?
Quitting heroin “cold turkey” can be difficult and potentially deadly. Stopping the drug abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms that range from uncomfortable to life threatening. Users often begin taking heroin again just to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. And without help to understand the dynamics of addiction, users still face the same life-situations and circumstances that trigger their heroin use.
In a heroin treatment program, all these issues can be addressed in a safe and supportive atmosphere. Because heroin affects the body and brain in many ways, recovering from those effects can be easier with the help of specialists trained in addiction medicine. Treatment options can include:
- Inpatient, or residential rehab – on-site stays of 30, 60, or 90 days or more
- Intensive outpatient rehab – inpatient-style services while living at home
- Outpatient rehab – detox, counseling and other services while living and working as usual
The costs of heroin treatment programs can vary widely, from upwards of $10,000 for a stay in a private residential rehab to nothing at all in a free, state sponsored inpatient or outpatient program. Some programs offer general heroin rehab services, while others focus on specific populations, such as pregnant women, or those with a dual diagnosis of heroin addiction along with a mental health condition such as depression or schizophrenia.
Whatever type of rehab is right for your circumstances, a comprehensive heroin treatment program includes support for detox and withdrawal, as well as counseling and other therapeutic activities to help you get healthy and drug free.
Detox and Withdrawal – the First Step
Treatment for heroin addiction begins with stopping the drug and clearing it from the body. Detox and withdrawal from heroin can take place in a dedicated detox facility or hospital, or as part of a stay in a residential rehab. In some cases, detox can also be done on an outpatient basis with the support of medical professionals.
Depending on the degree of addiction and other factors, detox can be done under sedation in just one day, or naturally and gradually over a period of days or weeks. In medically supervised detox of all kinds, patients can get help with the discomforts of withdrawal with a variety of medications designed to relieve cravings and ease physical symptoms such as nausea and chills.
Counseling and Therapeutic Activities
In both inpatient and outpatient heroin rehab programs, counseling and group therapy are an essential part of treatment. With the help of therapists and other professionals, recovering heroin users can learn to understand their addiction and develop new skills and strategies for drug free living. Family therapy can help both the heroin user and other family members cope with addiction and learn new and healthier patterns.
Because heroin use takes a toll on both body and mind, many inpatient and outpatient rehab programs include other kinds of therapeutic activities, such as nutrition therapy to encourage healthy eating patterns, or yoga, dance and art therapy to reduce stress and heal the body and mind.
Studies show that for some people, medications such as methadone and buprenorphine can play a major part in recovery from heroin addictions. These kinds of medications mimic some of the effects of heroin on the brain and body but without the addictive high, so they can be used to reduce the discomfort of withdrawal and to keep patients stable while they work on recovery. Some people may use medications for only a short time, while others may continue taking them for months or even years under the supervision of a doctor or clinic.
Heroin addiction can damage all aspects of a user’s life, and it can seem impossible to quit. But the many treatment options available today can make recovery a reality – and open doors to a life that’s free of drugs.
Is heroin addiction harming your life – and your relationships? We’re here to help. Call us at 800-891-9360(Who Answers?) to get the answers you’re looking for right now.