A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin use disorder, including both behavioral and pharmacological (medications). Both approaches help to restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior, resulting in increased employment rates and lower risk of HIV and other diseases and criminal behavior. Although behavioral and pharmacologic treatments can be extremely useful when utilized alone, research shows that for many people, integrating both types of treatments is the most effective approach.
When people addicted to opioids like heroin first quit, they undergo withdrawal symptoms (pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting), which may be severe. Medications can be helpful in this detoxification stage to ease craving and other physical symptoms that can often prompt a person to relapse. The FDA approved lofexidine, a non-opioid medicine designed to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. While not a treatment for addiction itself, detoxification is a useful first step when it is followed by some form of evidence-based treatment.
The many effective behavioral treatments available for opioid use disorder can be delivered in outpatient and residential settings. Approaches such as contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown to effectively treat heroin use disorder, especially when applied in concert with medications. Contingency management uses a voucher-based system in which patients earn “points” based on negative drug tests, which they can exchange for items that encourage healthy living. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is designed to help modify the patient’s expectations and behaviors related to drug use and to increase skills in coping with various life stressors. An important task is to match the best treatment approach to meet the particular needs of the patient.
Quitting heroin can be extremely difficult, but for those who have a sincere desire or motivation to quit, there are a variety of treatments available and recovery is absolutely possible. These include both behavioral therapies and pharmacological treatments.
Usually, heroin users will go through a detoxification program before beginning their long-term treatment program. During detoxification, patients are sometimes given medications to lessen the withdrawal symptoms, which can include pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
Methadone (Dolophine or Methadose) is an opioid agonist that is taken orally and is, therefore, slow-acting. It works by dampening the “high” that heroin users experience while at the same time preventing withdrawal symptoms.
Methadone is dispensed to patients on a daily basis through approved outpatient treatment programs. The oldest of the pharmacological treatments for heroin addiction, it is still an effective option for patients who do not respond well to other medications, according to the NIDA.
Suboxone is a medication that contains buprenorphine and naloxone, which is taken orally or sublingually. It is designed to prevent attempts by patients to get high by injecting the drug. If Suboxone is injected, it produces withdrawal symptoms the user does not experience if they take the medication orally as prescribed.
Heroin is highly addictive. It’s an opioid, which binds to receptors in the brain to release the chemical dopamine. As with most drug side effects, this release is only temporary — which leaves some people wanting more of the “good” feeling.
It’s important to remember, though, that even if you or someone you care about has one or even many of these risk factors, that doesn’t mean they’ll develop a substance use disorder. It can include genetic, psychological, and environmental factors.
What is Heroin Addiction Treatment? An estimated 23 percent of people who use heroin will become dependent on the substance. The brain has receptors that fit perfectly with this drug, and when users take a hit, changes are felt in the brain within minutes. When an addiction is in place, users need to develop skills that can help them to resist the urge to use heroin, despite the brain’s dependence on the drug. Intensive therapy, often provided in the context of inpatient heroin addiction treatment rehab programs, can build those skills.
An estimated 23 percent of people who use heroin will become dependent on the substance. The brain has receptors that fit perfectly with this drug, and when users take a hit, changes are felt in the brain within minutes. When an addiction is in place, users need to develop skills that can help them to resist the urge to use heroin, despite the brain’s dependence on the drug. Intensive therapy, often provided in the context of inpatient heroin addiction treatment rehab programs, can build those skills.
Fields packed with red poppy plants are inexplicably gorgeous, and they’re also intensely profitable. That’s because each poppy flower contains a sticky substance that can be extracted, cooked, and processed into opiates. Of all the opiates, heroin is the most common.
As soon as the brain cells have access to heroin, the path to addiction is set. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests that about 23 percent of people who use heroin become dependent on the substance. With the first hit, their brain cells are changed and an addiction can follow.
With treatment, however, heroin addictions can be addressed. People can learn to live a satisfying life without access to heroin. The key is to recognize the problem when it starts and to enroll people in qualified programs that can help.
When someone is battling an addiction to heroin, the loved ones surrounding them may feel unsure of how to address the issue. Addiction to heroin can cause a number of distressing symptoms, and chances are the person wants to stop but doesn’t know how or continues using to avoid the onset of withdrawal symptoms.
Your loved one may have excuses for negative consequences that are caused by the drug use. For example, if they lost their job because of declining performance, they may instead blame it on a toxic workplace or bad boss.1.
While there are sure to be some volatile emotions that have been building as your loved one has spiraled down into addiction, do your best to keep those at bay during this conversation. Addiction is already isolating and stigmatizing, so negative communication can push the addict further away. You will likely have better results if you encourage treatment in a caring and supportive manner while also making your personal boundaries clear and consistent.1.
In some cases, professional help can be very useful. Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is a training program, conducted by a therapist, that teaches the loved ones of someone battling an addiction how to bring up the topic of treatment in an effective and productive way. It has been shown to work in seven out of ten cases, and it involves a lot of dedication on the part of the family.2.
Heroin can be extremely addictive, and as of 2012, over 100,000 people were admitted to treatment facilities for heroin usage. However, recovery from heroin addiction is possible. The exact treatment varies depending on the heroin addict, but one of the most effective treatments available is methadone. Once the patient has undergone tests for HIV, cardiovascular infections and hepatitis B and C tests, the addict will start detox therapy. During detox, certain medications may be used:.
Once you have completed detox, you will attend classes and therapy sessions with counselors, as well as support meetings with others in treatment. You learn how to deal with triggers (such as situations and people) that make you want to use heroin again.
Residential centers often provide outdoor activities such as horseback riding, hiking, swimming, etc. to help you learn to use physical exercise as a safe and effective way to relieve stress. In addition, you may also learn other coping techniques, including deep breathing, yoga and meditation that aid in your recovery. The majority of residential centers offer sports, journaling, art, music, and drama as forms of therapy.
As soon as you return home and/or complete the most intensive period of outpatient treatment, you will still require follow-up care. Follow-up care typically involves attending 12-Step meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous or other support groups, as well as keeping up with individual therapy.
The length of treatment depends on your individual case. Government studies show that people who remain in treatment and stay connected to support groups for at least one year, even on an outpatient basis, are more likely to stay sober after rehab.
Heroin Addiction Treatment: Issues of Abuse & Recovery Needs. (2019). Retrieved on August 5, 2019, from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/heroin-treatment.
Heroin Addiction: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Outlook. (2019). Retrieved on August 5, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/health/heroin-addiction.
How to Help a Heroin Addict. (2019). Retrieved on August 5, 2019, from https://drugabuse.com/heroin/how-to-help-an-addict/.
Treatment Options for Heroin Addiction. (2019). Retrieved on August 5, 2019, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-the-treatments-for-heroin-addiction-63231.
Treatment for Heroin Addiction Get Help with Recovery | CRC …. (2019). Retrieved on August 5, 2019, from http://www.crchealth.com/addiction/heroin-addiction-treatment/.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). What are the treatments for heroin use disorder? | National Institute …. Retrieved on August 5, 2019, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-are-treatments-heroin-use-disorder.