Getting Help Through Heroin Treatment Programs

Heroin users are at increased risk of suffering from extreme consequences as a result of their physical and/or psychological dependence on heroin. Getting help through heroin treatment programs can change the way that heroin addicts cope with cravings teaching them how to effectively deal with the urge to use heroin in a positive manner without actually giving in.

These programs can also help the addict to overcome the extreme physical withdrawal symptoms that result from sustained heroin use by providing them with a safe, controlled environment to detox under direct medical supervision.

Heroin treatment programs utilize various methods of treatment to help patients overcome their addiction to this potentially deadly drug.

Some of the most common methods of treatment that are used include:

  • Medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms during heroin detox
  • Medications to help reduce cravings or eliminate cravings all together such as methadone maintenance programs
  • Other pharmaceutical approaches such as buprenorphine or Suboxone
  • Behavioral therapy to help change the addictive behaviors and improve the level of control that the user has over his or her actions in relation to the thoughts that they have
  • Counseling to promote healthy relationships, healthy attitudes and improved sense of self

Detoxification

Heroin treatment programs will initially focus on a safe, medically sound method of detoxification that will help the user to effectively come out of a physically addicted state and prepare for psychological therapy.

Detoxing from heroin can be difficult and in rare cases could even be dangerous. This is why it is so important to detox in a medically controlled environment.

Sometimes, the withdrawal symptoms that are most dangerous are those which cannot be seen by the naked eye such as high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat or fever. These vital signs as well as many others are continuously monitored when a patient enters the detoxification phase of any heroin treatment program.

Maintenance

Some people choose methadone maintenance or other forms of maintenance therapy to assist them in the recovery process. Many heroin treatment programs are on the fence with this method of therapy. Some approve it; others don’t.

Basically, the way that maintenance therapy works is: the patient is provided with a medication to take on a daily basis which will control cravings by making the body actually believe that it is still receiving a dose of heroin. The medications, when administered correctly and at the right dose, will not produce a “high” and will allow the user to maintain a relatively normal lifestyle.

Counseling & Therapy

Heroin treatment programs, like other methods of drug addiction treatment, mostly focus on first helping the patient to overcome the physical burden of addiction and then to heal on an emotional level. Counseling and therapy can help by providing a foundation for healthier relationships, offering a supportive environment for the recovering addict and instilling a greater sense of self in recovery.

There are many different methods of counseling used in heroin treatment programs including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), behavioral therapy, individual counseling, group counseling and support groups.

Resources:

http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin-abuse-addiction/what-are-treatments-heroin-addiction

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