Heroin detox programs offer recovering addicts the best possible opportunity to get clean and remain drug-free over the long term. Medical heroin detox programs allow patients to use replacement medications, such as methadone or Suboxone, to slowly withdraw from heroin over a set period of time.
Medical detox is designed to reduce the severity of the effects of stopping drug use. The process also allows the body to metabolize and eliminate any toxins left in the body as a result of illicit drug use.
Detox is the first stage in treating heroin addiction. Stopping use can help to break the body’s physical dependency on the substance. However, ongoing counseling and therapy as part of a structured rehab program are required to address the psychological aspect of addiction.
Most people with an opiate abuse problem will have tried to detox using the “cold turkey” method at some point during their addictive use. The person just stops taking drugs.
Studies released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that the risk of accidental overdose is significantly higher when a person relapses during detox than at any other time during the person’s addictive drug use.
Detoxing at home also doesn’t provide the support, structure and medical monitoring required to achieve a successful recovery.
In order to safely withdraw from heroin, it may be necessary for some people to undergo medically supervised detoxification in a residential treatment center that has a specific detox unit. Inpatient detox treatments are recommended for people with a history of long-term heroin abuse who are more likely to experience adverse withdrawal symptoms.
Inpatient detoxification treatments offer the benefit of close medical supervision and monitoring throughout the process. Nonaddictive medications may also be given to treat any other conditions or disorders that may be present. For example, mild sedatives may be given to treat insomnia, or antidepressants may be prescribed to treat symptoms of depression.
By comparison, outpatient detox programs allow the person to maintain work commitments or return home each day after treatments. There is no need to be admitted into a rehab center, but the person must still abide by strict conditions in order to receive the next dosage of medication. The use of replacement medication allows the person to detox slowly over a period of time. As treatment progresses the dosage of prescription medication is tapered down until the person is eventually free from both drugs.
Prescription medications use to begin the detox process include methadone and Suboxone (buprenorphine). Once the detox process is complete, the person may be given Naltrexone, which is an opiate blocker that actively blocks the euphoric effects of heroin.
Withdrawing from heroin can cause withdrawal symptoms that include:
According to statistics released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, only 11.2 percent of people who required treatment for a substance abuse problem received it at a specialist rehab facility. Research also shows that those people who do receive professional treatment in a rehab center over the long term have a much higher recovery rate and a significantly reduced rate of relapse
Rehab treatments implement a combination of therapies to treat heroin addiction. Individual counseling and cognitive behavioral therapies have proven to achieve good results in correcting self-destructive behaviors.
Regular attendance at group meetings, such as Narcotics Anonymous, can reduce feelings of isolation, at the same time as providing valuable peer support during recovery.
In order to successfully recover from heroin addiction, it’s advised to seek help from a residential treatment center. Structured heroin rehab programs combined with a safe, medically supervised treatment environment make it much easier to work through the recovery process and remain clean and drug-free over the long term.
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