Heroin is extremely addictive, and many people who use it develop a use disorder. This can lead to problems at home, work, or school, as well as health issues. Treatment for heroin addiction is typically a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. A medical team will evaluate a patient’s needs to determine which type of treatment would be most beneficial for their particular situation.
Behavioral therapies have shown great promise in treating heroin addiction. Some of these include art and music therapy, relapse prevention, and communication training. These approaches are especially effective when combined with medication. Medications approved by the FDA, such as buprenorphine, help patients manage the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. They also work to change expectations and reduce stress.
Addiction treatment also involves a thorough assessment of the patient’s mental health condition. Many patients with addiction also have co-occurring mental health problems that must be treated at the same time. An addiction specialist can help create a treatment plan that addresses both issues simultaneously. Once the addiction specialist has determined the best course of treatment for an individual, the treatment process can begin.
Depending on the severity of the addiction, a person may require inpatient treatment or outpatient rehabilitation. While inpatient rehab focuses on the physical dependency of heroin, outpatient rehabilitation programs focus on the psychological aspect of the addiction. Behavioral therapies can help a person build new coping skills, prevent relapse, and promote long-term recovery.
Recovery from heroin addiction is an ongoing process that requires support and continued medical care. Professional rehab programs can help a person become and stay abstinent. Often, the first phase of a heroin recovery program includes medication-assisted detoxification. This medical detox helps a person manage the withdrawal symptoms associated with the drug and stabilizes them in their early stages of recovery. However, medical detox is only the first phase of a comprehensive treatment plan.
In addition to physical dependence, heroin addiction can cause a variety of social problems. Many addicts also have underlying mental health disorders. During treatment, a treatment specialist may address these conditions simultaneously, reducing their need for heroin. This helps the addict overcome the temptations that may be present in their daily lives.
Repeated use of heroin affects the brain’s neurotransmitters, which control heart rate, breathing, and other bodily functions. Eventually, the brain starts to crave the drug in order to feel comfortable. As a result, quitting heroin may become a daunting task. The physical and mental effects of regular heroin use may impact the person’s ability to work, communicate, and make decisions.
Heroin addiction treatment is a combination of therapy and learning new habits and behaviors. Although withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant and potentially life-threatening, treatment can help a person become sober.