Heroin is a synthetic opioid illegal in most places in the world. Heroin works the same way as prescription opioids by interacting with opioid receptors in the brain.
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How is Heroin Addiction Treated?
At first, the effects of heroin use feel good. However, over time, the euphoria fades. People start using heroin to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Heroin addiction can be difficult to treat, and some people need rehab to treat the addiction successfully. During the initial stages of rehab, withdrawal symptoms are very uncomfortable and this is part of the reason why heroin users seek out and continue using the drug.
After the initial detox, symptoms may become milder but might last for months or years. Different treatments are necessary to help with side effects and cravings:
- Pharmacological Treatments: Prescription drug treatments treat symptoms of withdrawal and symptoms of opioid use disorder (OUD).
- Behavioral Therapy: Two popular forms of behavioral treatment are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM). CBT is similar to standard therapy and focuses on modifying expectations and behaviors related to drug use. CM is less common and is a voucher system where people are rewarded items or prizes based on clean urine drug screens.
- Combination Therapy: A combination of pharmacological and behavioral therapy. Most people will need a combination of these types of therapies.
Types of Rehab for Heroin Addiction
There are four main heroin treatment options available: inpatient, outpatient, residential rehab and teletherapy.
Inpatient Rehab for Heroin Abuse
Inpatient rehab is in a facility where people live and undergo heroin detox and withdrawal. Medical providers provide medical and therapy services around the clock. The patient’s time is structured to support the healing process.
Inpatient rehab provides treatment for every area of people’s lives while they are recovering from an addiction. Inpatient rehab may involve:
- Balanced diet: Meals are designed to provide the nutrients absent from a typical diet during addiction. People recovering from heroin crave high sugar and fat foods. An inpatient rehab diet is designed to avoid the weight gain that comes with heroin addiction recovery.
- Build healthy habits: Besides healthy eating, rehab creates new habits around exercise, hobbies and free time. Treating the addiction leaves a vacuum, especially if the drug was associated with social activities. That space must be filled with healthy hobbies to prevent setbacks.
- Community: Other residents in rehab understand what one another other is going through. Other residents help provide social support.
- Establish healthy boundaries Living with an OUD means healthy boundaries may not exist. Rehab helps build boundaries and tools to maintain them after discharge.
- Medical support: When detox is life-threatening, medical staff are trained to handle and treat these situations.
- Remove negative influences: Drug use and addiction are often heavily influenced by association. The people that a person uses drugs with can sabotage treatment and separation from these influences is critical.
- Structure: Inpatient rehab provides a daily and weekly structure that helps foster recovery.
Outpatient Rehab for Heroin Abuse
Outpatient treatment requires a high level of trust between the patient and the doctor. Most doctors will only agree to outpatient treatment if they know the patient well. Outpatient rehab includes pharmacological treatments, behavioral, treatments or a combination of both. Speak with your doctor to see if outpatient treatment is right for you or your loved one.
Residential Rehab for Heroin Abuse
Residential rehab blends inpatient and outpatient heroin treatment programs. For this type of treatment, patients live in a facility with access to medical and psychiatric care. However, people can leave and attend jobs, school, or fulfill their obligations. Residential treatment allows people to remove negative influences in their life that encourage drug and alcohol abuse while letting them continue to fulfill their roles.
Teletherapy for Heroin Abuse
With advances in technology, online counseling, telehealth and teletherapy services are becoming more common and effective forms of mental health treatment. Addiction treatments were once restricted to in-person meetings, but can now happen anytime and anywhere with a reliable internet connection. The Recovery Village offers teletherapy treatment for those who are struggling from substance abuse and mental health issues.
Dual Diagnosis Treatments
Dual diagnoses are treated differently than a standalone SUD because together, they are more complex than the diagnoses alone. Sometimes a mental health diagnosis triggers a SUD, but less often the SUD can trigger a mental health problem.