Heroin Treatment

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Heroin can be a deadly substance and causes severe dependency that is associated with a high risk of overdose. Tens of thousands die each year from drug overdose according to the Nation Institute on Drug Abuse. Treatment for drug addiction and heroin detox is available right now. It can save the life of you or someone you love.

Treatment begins with detox and continuous counseling is usually necessary to assist in breaking the physical and chemical dependence. Multiple addiction treatment options are offered today. Getting the right level of treatment at the best facilities starts with knowing what options are available.

How Treatment for Heroin Works

Heroin addiction usually starts because users are always looking for the euphoric high or effects heroin causes. Because heroin is a strong opiate, increasing amounts of heroin become necessary to produce the same high.

This increased use wreaks havoc on the body and generates a risk for overdose. Due to this, it is common for patients to need an individualized treatment plan that has multiple steps.


Substance abuse treatment usually requires detox because of the severity of withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping use. When an individual uses heroin for an extended period, chemical dependency is created within the brain.

This dependency to the drug makes it nearly impossible for people to stop using it on their own. If they do stop on their own, it can cause severe side effects and withdrawal symptoms. These can include potential risks of death, loss of consciousness, and a laundry list of other negative health complications.

Treatment for heroin withdrawal in a medical detox center is important for several reasons. Under medical care, different types of medications and extensive treatment options help to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal. Treatments usually include:

  • Behavioral Therapy: During the first few days in detox, patients begin behavioral therapy. It is done with professionals to determine what is causing their use. Cognitive behavioral therapy, alongside behavior management, is typical. It is usually combined with other evidence based treatments. 
  • FDA Approved Medications: Medication assisted treatments usually help treat the symptoms of withdrawal.

Next Steps for Heroin Treatment

Many people become stable after the detox process. Afterwards, most people enter a residential treatment program. Residential treatment is usually most effective for people with a strong dependence to opiates. It is also helpful for people who need a longer period of treatment after detox. 

Longer inpatient treatment is also beneficial to those living in an unstable home environment. Those who struggle with mental health issues also benefit from a longer period of stability. Additionally, it is vital for those struggling with other issues who pose a high risk for relapse.

Residential treatment is often referred to as inpatient treatment. It usually spans anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks depending on the medical needs of the patient. During inpatient treatment, patients reside at the facility and continue their treatment in a stable yet comfortable medical environment. This longer period of stability provides people with removal of negative influences and increased stability.

Inpatient treatment often includes:

  • Family Therapy: In many cases, the entire family suffers from the impacts of  a family member’s drug use. Family therapy allows for individuals and their families to work together to overcome the obstacles of the past. It also allows them to work together to build a strong foundation for recovery.
  •  Continued Behavioral Treatment: Cognitive behavioral therapy is often utilized to help people identify the patterns of behavior that led them to addiction.
  • Nutrition Treatment: Heroin and opiate abuse wreaks destruction on most peoples’ bodies. Nutrition treatment helps ensure that individuals get their body back on the right track.
  • Group Sessions: Inpatient care usually includes group therapy sessions where patients work with their peers and therapists. The goal is to work through problems that led to their addiction.
  • Holistic Treatment: Usually utilized in tandem with inpatient treatment, holistic treatment focuses on the mind, body, and spirit. These types of treatment are almost always helpful for patients who struggle being alone or use drugs as an escape.

The positive impacts that inpatient care offers are countless. Improving healthy behaviors while building a sober support system prove invaluable to most people starting out on the journey of recovery.

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Lower Levels of Care

For most people, outpatient treatment is the next step for patients finishing inpatient treatment. Partial day treatment and intensive outpatient are usually the recommended levels of care. While in these lower levels of care, patients benefit from the structure of scheduled care while living in a stable environment.

Why treatment for Heroin Addiction is Vital

Heroin is one of the most powerful opiates available. It creates a severe dependency both physically and mentally, even for people who only use it a few times. Without the needed break and stability treatment provides, many people would find it impossible to stop using on their own.

The body must also overcome the consequences of extended use. Most heroin users suffer from constipation, malnourishment, anxiety and other secondary conditions. A full treatment plan offers the ability to conquer these issues while setting individuals up for a successful, long-term recovery.

How Long Is Heroin Treatment?

Length of stay in treatment is dependent solely on the individual and their needs. Their needs may justify a longer inpatient stay to observe and treat medical conditions associated with their long-term use. 

Continued treatment is always beneficial for those who complete an inpatient program. Long-term commitment to treatment, therapy sessions, sobriety, and building of support is vital to the success of anyone’s recovery.

Types of Therapies Utilized during Heroin Treatment

Heroin addiction treatment usually includes several different modalities or styles of treatment. Some of these modalities include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This type of therapy helps individuals how to identify their negative thought processes that lead to drug use. CBT is a great way to teach patients how to change their thought processes. This leads to better outcomes in sobriety.
  • 12-Step Programs: Most people who struggle with heroin or opiate addiction find that working a 12-Step program is beneficial. When utilized in conjunction with therapy it is even more effective. The ability to talk and work with others who are dealing with the same issues proves extremely valuable. It also helps many people build support systems that help prevent relapse. 
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy: Created to help people learn to make better decisions. Motivational enhancement therapy helps reinforce positive behaviors.
  • Contingency Management: This style of therapy is very common in treatment of heroin addiction as well as other addictions. It works by building positive reinforcement for positive results. It is often compared to classical positive reinforcement.

Recovery Addiction: A Life-Long Journey

Recovery from heroin addiction is not a week, month or even year long process. It takes patience, tolerance, and effort in combination with medical treatment, support groups, and relapse prevention plans. Long-term recovery is almost always achieved by taking advantage of all the treatment and support options available.

If you or a loved one is looking for treatment for heroin addiction or any type of substance use disorder, The Recovery Team is always available to help. Call us 24/7 at (800) 817-1247