Heroin is a derivative from morphine and shares its characteristics of pain relief. The drug acts almost immediately, and the consumer feels drowsy, warm and happy. Addicts often use it to soothe their physical and psychological suffering.
Why Is Heroin Dangerous?
Nodding Off. The euphoric, soothing rush makes consumers so relaxed that they can fall asleep anytime. One major side effect of using heroin is nausea and the urge to vomit. If someone used a heroin dose to stop feeling the side effects and nods off, this person could choke on their vomit.
Users get this feeling of intense relaxation by slowing their respiratory and cardiac systems down. It is easy to understand why this is life-threatening. The body eventually slows down to the point that the heartbeat and breathing stop altogether.
Another danger is related to hygiene. Heroin addicts often don’t care about cleanliness if they can get high. Using unsterile needles can lead to infections.
Can A Heroin Addict Recover?
Yes, they can, if they are in the right environment. Heroin withdrawal symptoms are unbearable for many people.
- They feel nauseous, physical pain and tremors
- They become agitated and aggressive
- They experience hallucinations and even seizures
If you enroll in rehab programs for heroin addicts you have good chances to recover. Professional heroin rehab centers focus on managing these symptoms with medications and therapy. But doing it on your own is very tough. Most addicts will self-medicate with another dose of heroin, just to make the pain go away.
In addition to instant pain relief, heroin is rapidly addictive. People that are trying to get clean on their own face multiple difficulties: the cravings and the awareness, that a single dose will instantly remove their pain. That is what keeps heroin addicts in the vicious circle of their addiction. And that is exactly why professional rehab programs are vital for heroin addicts.
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Importance of Rehab Programs
Rehabilitation centers for heroin abuse offer much more than support with withdrawal from the drug. They provide a safe environment, where patients don’t face temptations. Medical staff supervises them and intervenes if they are in danger. Addicts also receive long-term therapy to understand the causes of their addiction. They learn how to deal with triggers and temptations and how to implement a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. People learn how to manage emotions like stress, anger, and fear without drugs.
Heroin addiction is dangerous, and any dose can be life-threatening. And addicts almost never recover by themselves. Finding a qualified treatment center of heroin addiction is vital for them.
Treatment for Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction is treated with medication, therapy, education and support groups. Because the withdrawal symptoms are considerable, the best chances of getting clean are offered by professional recovery facilities.
Step 1. Detox
Detoxification is the first step in treating heroin addiction. The chemicals leave your body after a couple of hours. The initial withdrawal effects are powerful and challenging to bear on your own, particularly the first two days.
For about a week you might feel:
- Goosebumps and chills (the so-called “cold turkey”)
- Sweating and fever
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nausea with diarrhea and vomiting
- Twitching legs
- Troubles withs sleeping
If you experience severe symptoms, doctors might prescribe you medication to help you get through this physically painful period.
Typically, the detox is carried out in a medical facility, f. ex. in a hospital. If left on their own, people are tempted to end their suffering by using another soothing heroin dose. In a clinical setting, patients have no access to heroin but can get special medication to relief their pain instead. The medical staff is ready to intervene any time if need be. For this reason, constant supervision is critical during the detox phase.
Step 2. Therapy
You might have the choice of various indoor or outdoor activities. The goal is to make you discover safe ways to relieve stress and to learn to relax.
This stage typically lasts between one and three months, but your stay can be longer if needed.
Step 3. Aftercare
After the primary therapy phase, you will need to attend a long-term follow-up program. That means both personal therapy and support groups. Studies show that at least one year of such aftercare is necessary to install new healthy habits. The therapist will help you to identify your reasons for addiction and to cope with them in a different, constructive way. You will learn how to deal with your triggers and cravings. As Implied in the name, support groups provide an environment that keeps you motivated on staying sober.
Often the addict’s families are involved in counseling, to learn to how to deal with relationship dynamics constructively.
Pharmacological Treatment of Heroin Addiction
Four medications are helpful in reducing cravings and lessen the pain of withdrawal symptoms.
- Buprenorphine mimics the effects of heroin but has much weaker effects. The idea is to gradually reduce the dose to dampen withdrawal effects and the cravings.
- Naltrexone prevents heroin from acting on brain receptors, reducing the addict’s incentive to consume it.
- Suboxone is a combination of the two medications. It weakens withdrawal symptoms and inhibits heroin effects.
- Methadone works similarly to Buprenorphine, but it is stronger and has addictive potential
The use of medication in treating addiction is different in every rehab center. Some have a policy not to use Methadone, to not replace addiction to heroin with an addiction to another drug. Others will consider it a necessity in some cases. Make sure to discuss the implications and treatment plan of proposed medication.
Behavioral Therapies for Heroin Addiction
While medication helps to restore the physiological balance, behavioral therapies aim at eliminating the self-destructive behavior. In the case of heroin addiction, the most efficient approach is to combine both forms of treatment.
Contingency Management is an effective way in the initial weeks of withdrawal to provide incentives not to take heroin. Patients earn points for not consuming drugs and can exchange vouchers for gifts
The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy explores the underlying causes of heroin addiction and modifies the patient’s expectations and thinking patterns
Heroin Rehab Centers
Depending on your lifestyle and commitments, you can choose either inpatient or outpatient treatment options.
Outpatient Facilities Can Be Enough for Some People
In outpatient programs, you go to rehab centers for regular meetings with the medical staff and counselors. You still can live at home and continue your work or studies and your personal life. It can be a good enough solution for people with moderate addictions.
The danger with this option is that this requires lots of willpower and dedication. Getting off the drug and changing habits is a massive effort by itself. Many heroin addicts risk being overwhelmed if they have to deal additionally with their personal and professional life.
That is why the best solution for most people that struggle with heroin addiction are inpatient rehabilitation programs centers.
Inpatient Facilities Are Optimal for Most Heroin Addicts
Residential treatment centers offer several advantages for recovering addicts:
- People have no distractions and do not have to deal with triggers and temptations. Being able to focus entirely on their rehabilitation is particularly beneficial in the first weeks of treatment.
- They benefit from a structured daily routine. There is no room for boredom, on the contrary. People are involved in many indoor and outdoor activities and get the chance to discover new hobbies. The idea is to derive pleasure from healthy activities, which are constructive and not destructive.
- Heroin addicts often contract infectious diseases. With the medical personnel present all the time, patients are in a safe environment.
How To Choose the Right Heroin Rehab Center
The choice of a treatment center depends on your needs and possibilities.
Indoor or outdoor facility?
It depends on the severity of your addiction. For some people, an outdoor program could be enough, but keep in mind that mild addictions to heroin are not prevalent. Most people that recovered from heroin addiction went through rehab in an inpatient residence.
Many inpatient programs provide you an opportunity to treat co-morbidities. That is good news if you suffer from co-occurring mental health or other physical conditions.
What Are Quality Heroin Abuse Centers?
Good treatment standard. First of all, you should look for reliability. What is the success rate of the heroin rehab center? Is their treatment based on proven scientific methods? 12-steps programs might be useful later in your life, but it’s not the most useful at the moment. Make sure to ask what medications they are using and discuss it with your doctor. You invest your time and money, make the best out of it and take time for investigations.
Luxury rehab facilities are not a necessity, but they make your stay considerably more pleasurable. But if you have the financial possibility, you can go for high-profile heroin treatment facilities. In luxury or executive heroin rehab centers, you will have additional top-tier amenities. You could expect massages therapies, housekeeping services, gourmet meals, gym facilities and internet access.
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Payment for Heroin Addiction Treatment
The cost depends on the type, quality, length and the program of the facility. Keep in mind that you probably face a stay of several months. Many centers accept private insurance or offer long-term payment plans to make rehab available.
Tips to Prevent Heroin Relapse
To stay sober after heroin rehab, you need to make some long-term commitments:
- Attend counseling and group meetings. You will go through successes and failures, experience temptations and difficulties. All of that is natural but you do not need to go through that alone. Staying alone could even worsen your well-being, lead you to depression and relapses. But that is easy to avoid: stick to follow-up long-term therapy and support groups. Therapy and groups like Narcotics Anonymous are there precisely to make your transition to a healthy lifestyle smoother. Many people form new friendships in support groups.
- Invest in people and activities. The number one reason why recovering addicts relapse is boredom. That might seem strange, but it makes sense. If you don’t replace the old triggering habits with new ones, you will be drawn to your old behavior. That’s why it is important to develop new habits. Find healthy and engaging hobbies. And surround yourself with sober and supportive people.
- Stick to your medications. Follow your doctor’s prescriptions precisely. Do not stop any drug without consultation. You could risk acute symptoms and cravings, and you would need to restart rehab all over.
- But watch out for new meds. Make sure every prescription you receive is safe. Tell your physician about your condition and ask your pharmacist about the risk of relapse. Ask for non-narcotic substitutes for your prescriptions.
Among all the various heroin treatments, there is surely something that matches your needs and financial possibilities. So do not wait any longer, trained professionals are out there to help you get your life back on track.