Heroin rehab is one of the most effective ways to treat heroin addiction. Successful heroin rehab treatments are designed to break the physical and psychological aspects of addiction by using a combination of prescription medications and behavioral therapies.
The purpose of heroin rehab is to help restore a degree of normalcy to drug-affected brain functions during the recovery process. Abusing opioid narcotics creates changes in the brain’s chemistry, tricking it into believing it can no longer produce dopamine or endorphins on its own without the artificial stimulation of heroin.
Heroin rehab treatments aim to modify behaviors related to compulsive drug use and then work on improving coping skills so that the person is better prepared to live their life without returning to drug abuse.
Treating heroin addiction is often more challenging than treating an addiction to methamphetamine or alcohol. The treatments available for an addiction to opioid drugs are also far different than the treatments available for other forms of substance addictions. For example, there are no prescription medications available for treating a meth addiction, thus rehab treatments consist primarily of behavioral therapies and abstinence.
By comparison, there are a number of prescription medications that can be administered to treat a recovering heroin addict in order to reduce the risk of relapsing back into a cycle of drug abuse. Methadone is perhaps the most commonly recognized treatment medication, but Suboxone or Naltrexone are also administered to some patients.
Treatment in a heroin rehab center begins with the detox process, which helps to break the body’s physical dependence to the drug. Methadone treatments help to wean the recovering person off heroin without inducing withdrawal symptoms. The dosage of the replacement medication is slowly tapered over time, so that eventually the person is free from the effects of both drugs.
While detox can break the physical dependence to the addictive substance, it cannot treat the psychological aspect of the addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapies are highly effective for identifying and treating the underlying mental triggers behind self-destructive and dysfunctional addictive behaviors.
Many people struggling to overcome heroin addiction mistakenly believe they can simply detox at home and quit taking drugs for good. Unfortunately, detoxing from heroin can induce terrible physical and mental withdrawal symptoms that can last up to two weeks. One of the symptoms includes an overwhelming compulsion to take more drugs in order to stop the horrible symptoms. The rate of relapse for heroin addicts is highest during an unsupervised home detox, which dramatically increases the risk of overdose.
Seeking professional help from a rehab center offers a medically-supervised detox program that alleviates the worst of any withdrawal symptoms. Rehab treatments also include structured programs designed to offer support throughout the recovery process, including a combination of therapies that can reduce the risk of relapse.
Statistics released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that pharmacological treatment, or the use of prescription medication to replace the drug of addiction, dramatically increases the retention rate in treatment programs, as well as decreasing likelihood of drug abuse.
Medically-assisted detox can be done via inpatient or outpatient treatments. With outpatient detox, the person is required to attend the center regularly to obtain another dose of medication, but is allowed to return home.
Many people opt for outpatient heroin rehab treatments, as they are able to maintain a level of independence during treatment. Some people are unable to commit to being admitted into an inpatient facility due to work or family commitments.
By comparison, inpatient addiction treatment programs are designed to give the recovering addict a safe environment in which they can complete the detox process. A person in an inpatient rehab facility has a far greater chance of success, due to being away from familiar people and places associated with drug abuse, which helps to defeat some of the psychological aspect of addiction.
Inpatient rehab programs also incorporate a combination of behavioral therapies and exercise programs. The behavioral therapies start to work on correcting self-destructive and dysfunctional behaviors and attitudes that relate to drug use. Exercise programs help to restore some tone and strength to a drug-ravaged body, but also help the brain learn to produce endorphins naturally again, which greatly reduces the risk of relapse.
Many people believe that relapsing back into drug abuse is a sign that treatment has failed. However, relapse is a normal part of the addiction recovery process and is just a sign that treatments need to be adjusted accordingly to reduce the risk of symptoms returning again.
The success of any good rehab treatment program is dependent on the relapse prevention strategies created for each patient. Every addiction is different and every person has different addiction triggers. For this reason, the right relapse prevention strategy needs to be tailored to suit each person’s unique characteristics, and the length and severity of the addiction.
Relapse prevention programs help people in recovery identify their own addiction triggers. New coping skills and positive habits are taught to replace negative or dysfunctional behaviors, which are then implemented when the first early warning signs of relapse are recognized.
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