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Heroin Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation

Heroin is an extremely addictive and damaging substance. Heroin addiction is a menace that adversely affects every aspect of an addict’s life. From his health to his personal relationships, nothing is spared. However, it is possible to recover from a heroin addiction. It is never too late to reach out for help. Recovery is always possible! A number of rehabilitation centers have been established that offer specialized programs for the recovery.


Table of Contents:

  • 1.Heroin Addiction Treatment Plan
    • Detoxification
    • Partial hospitalization treatment program
    • Outpatient treatment program
    • Rehab therapies
    • Rehab aftercare
  • 2.Treatment of Co-occurring Conditions
  • 3.Heroin Addiction Medications
  • 4.How to Prevent a Relapse

Heroin Addiction Treatment Plan:

Heroin withdrawal and recovery is an extensive procedure that requires willpower, determination and proper medical attention. Recovery from heroin involves therapy, medications, lifestyle changes and so much more. The treatment for heroin addiction usually consists of following components:

  • Detoxification:
    Drug withdrawal and detoxification is the first step towards recovery. As the drug is withdrawn, severe withdrawal symptoms are produced by the body to push the user back to the usage of drug. During Detox process, body cleans itself of harmful chemicals accumulated form the years of drug abuse by any possible means. Detoxification process can be immensely painful and dangerous. Even though it is possible to complete Detox at home but it is not recommended. Going through the process under medical supervision not only increases the success rate but also helps to manage painful symptoms. In some cases, the drug is gradually tapered off while in others it is quit cold turkey. It depends upon the detoxification plan chosen so it is very important to opt for right rehabilitation center.
  • Partial hospitalization treatment programs:
    Partial hospitalization treatment programs require the patient to live in a specially designed facility during the process of recovery. The patient may have to live in the rehabilitation center for a few weeks to few months depending upon the severity of his condition and progress made by him towards recovery. In this type of treatment plan, the patient is monitored 24/7. A group of doctors, nurses and other medical staff is always available to look after the patient. Any medical condition or side effects are also managed by the staff immediately. The staff and other patients play an important role in this type of recovery plan. Partial hospitalization treatment programs have a high rate of recovery with very low chances of relapse. It is recommended to opt for Partial hospitalization treatment program in a good rehabilitation center.
  • Outpatient treatment program:
    Outpatient treatment program offers more or less the same treatment options excluding the living in part. The patient is allowed to live at his home with his family while offering his everyday duties. Outpatient treatment program is an option when the condition of the patient is not very severe. In this type of treatment plan, no constant supervision and medical care is provided to the patient. Also the chances of success are less and chances of relapse are greater. The biggest benefit of this plan is that it allows the patient to live in his home and perform everyday duties. It is recommended to opt for an outpatient treatment program after having completed an Partial hospitalization one.
  • Rehabilitation therapies:
    Therapy is an important component of process of recovery from heroin addiction. From start to end, the need of rehabilitation therapies cannot be denied. Therapy is an important part of both Partial hospitalization and outpatient treatment plans.
  • There are two main types of therapies offered:
    Individual therapies: Individual therapies only involve a patient and his therapist. The therapist focuses on bringing positive changes in the behavior and lifestyle of the addict and replacing negative habits with positive ones. Therapist also helps the patient to start over. Coping mechanisms, techniques on establishing new relationships and ways to fight off cravings are taught.
  • Group therapies: Group therapies involve a number of patients going through the same pain. It can be very encouraging to realize that you are not alone in this pain. In fact, there are many people fighting the same battle. The patients discuss their progress, coping mechanisms, recovery rate and success stories with each other.
  • Rehabilitation aftercare:
    A number of aftercare plans are designed to help the patients live a successful life after recovery. Any good rehabilitation program involves aftercare and self help options. Support groups greatly help the patient stay positive. Studies suggest that patients who sign up for post rehabilitation programs are less likely to relapse and more likely to live a content post recovery life.

Treatment of Co-occurring Conditions:

Heroin Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation

Treatment of co-occurring conditions is an inevitable part of any good treatment plan. The term co-occurring conditions is used to refer to a situation where two medical conditions exist simultaneously i-e drug addiction as well as some underlying mental illness. Most of the drug addicts have a history. There is something that leads them to the addiction. It can be a psychological condition or an emotional trauma in the past. Diagnosing and treating such hidden mental illnesses is an important part of therapy. It is not possible to recover from a drug addiction unless that mental illness is cured. The patient is highly likely to relapse if underlying mental illness is left unattended. So the treatment of both drug addiction as well as mental illness needs to be carried out simultaneously.

Heroin Addiction Medications:

A number of medications can be used to facilitate the process of recovery from heroin addiction. Addiction is a disease that alters the brain in such a way that it fails to function without the drug. So some medications can be useful to act either as a temporary replacement or antidote to heroine. They also help to ease the pain and withdrawal symptoms. Some commonly used medications include:

  • Buprenorphine: It is an opiate that acts on the same receptors in the brain as heroin but its effects are short lived and limited. It helps to ease cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Naltroxone: This drug blocks opioid receptors thus helps to reduce cravings. Also, since the receptors are blocked, the drug fails to produce any effects even when it is taken by the patient.
  • Methadone: Methadone works in a way similar to Buprenorphine but its effects are stronger. The use of methadone is controversial since it has a potential to accumulate in the body that results into an overdose. Also, it is addictive itself so extreme care should be taken while administrating this drug.
  • Suboxone: Suboxone is both Buprenorphine and Naltroxone combined. This drug helps to relieve withdrawal symptoms as well as to inhibit the effects of heroin if taken by the patient.

How to Prevent a Relapse:

  • Joining aftercare programs: Joining aftercare programs can be greatly helpful to continue a sober life and successfully resist cravings.
  • Keep taking medications: Medications prescribed for the treatment of heroin addiction such as buprnorphine or naltroxone should be continued unless a doctor asks to discontinue.
  • Continue counseling and therapy: The need for therapy may still persist even after a successful recovery. Therapy helps the patient to deal with stressful life situations without the usage of drug.
  • Replace negative company with healthy gatherings: The friends one keeps can help a great deal in the process of recovery
  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones: Stay optimistic.


Road to drug and alcohol recovery is easy if you follow our extensive addiction recovery guide.