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How to treat heroin addiction

Do you think you’re ADDICTED to heroin?

Wanting to find heroin addiction help? If so, you are in the right place. Heroin (diamorphine) affects the brain and body in such a way that it starts to change your brain chemistry.  Here, we explore symptoms and signs of heroin addiction as well as review the pharmaceutical and behavioral treatments that can help you treat heroin addiction. Then, we invite your questions about heroin addiction and its treatment at the end.

Treating heroin addiction

The nature of heroin addiction is both physical and psychological. In order to treat the addiction effectively, you have to consider both the body and the mind. But it is important to note here that everyone who experiences heroin addiction is different. Therefore, treatment will be different for each person. Still, the main two modalities for treating heroin addiction are medications and behavioral therapies. A combination of the two can help you optimize the best possible plan for recovery and long lasting health.

1. Medications for heroin addiction treatment

Opiate substitution therapy helps heroin addicts by providing baseline opiate effects while being less harmful to the body overall. Popular treatments include methadone and buprenorphine. These medications are monitored while you are taking them and should only be taken as prescribed. It is always important to be cautious of the medications you are using and that you are not merely trading one addiction for another. Other medications treat heroin withdrawal symptoms and may include naltrexone, clonidine, Imodium or over-the-counter medicines to treat flu like symptoms.

2. Behavioral treatments for heroin addiction

Behavioral therapies are helpful after the body has detoxed from the physical presence of heroin. These modalities treat the emotional and psychological underpinnings of addiction. This can include one-on-one and group therapy. The use of clinical psychology biggest help use cognitive behavioral therapy to help treat addiction. The main principle of psychological treatment for Heroin addiction is to understand, monitor, and control the compulsion to abuse Heroin and ways to maintain a life without Heroin.

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Help for Heroin addiction

There are several paths to help you successfully treat heroin addiction. Listed below are several sources of heroin addiction treatment. Please feel free to comment or add to this list at the end of the article.

1. Heroin addiction treatment centers

Recovering from Heroin addiction may be one of the hardest things you’ll do in your life. Heroin alters the brain chemistry so much that when people detox they have a hard time maintaining their moods and sleep patterns. Many will find that even small problems in their life trigger the need to take heroin. For these reasons, inpatient treatments centers are highly recommended to take you out of your known environment. Medical and behavioral treatments are provided during inpatient heroin addiction treatment as well as activities to transfer your preoccupation with heroin use. There are also self/groups counseling offered at these facilities. In addition to inpatient settings, you can also seek help in an outpatient heroin treatment center.

2. Heroin detox clinics

Heroin detox clinics treat the physical withdrawal of heroin from your system. Withdrawal from any substance in its first hours can be painful and dangerous. A detox clinic provides a safe inpatient supervision for your initial detox from heroin. This helps decrease your likelihood of relapse in the first few days of recovery before you seek other treatment. You may also detox from heroin in a treatment center. What is helpful is that you are monitored during your withdrawal process so that your body is not in danger. a detox clinic can also provide you with medications and supervision to prevent you from taking heroin while you are being monitored.

3. Clinical psychologists and psychiatrists

Psychiatrists and psychologists work with people in group or one-on-one treatment settings. These addiction specialists have an vast knowledge of how addiction works and which behavioral treatment(s) are best for each person. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can diagnose any underlying mental issues that may be affecting you. Psychologists provide talk therapy and provide you withthe behavioral modification tools you need to stay away from heroin.

4. Heroin addiction support groups

Support groups are highly effective in treating heroin addiction, especially foradults. Sometimes, if you’ve been in trouble with the law, these groups are mandated by probation or parole. Support groups for heroin addiction provide an environment to talk openly with other people who are addicted to heroin. They let know you’re not alone. Other people in a similar situation opens more avenues of success. They can help you get on your feet and use tools other have used to be successful. You can attend 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or look into more secular groups such as SMART Recovery or Rational Recovery. Also, spiritual and communities organization may provide their own support groups that you can attend. Any number of theses would work. It is important to find best where you will fit and which will affect your recovery with the best possible results.

5. Licensed clinical social workers

These are social workers who are trained to work in the field ofmental health and substance abuse. Licensed clinical social workers are trained counselors and can reach out into the community, help get you on your feet, and refer you to social services which can help you anything you may need. Licensed clinical social workers can also be in charge of support groups and offer classes that could aid heroin addiction recovery. Social workers can also help you navigate the many pathways of heroin treatment. If heroin has gotten you in trouble with the law, a licensed clinical social worker may also be there to help you navigate the legal world and help you stay out of trouble.

6. Your physician

Do you have a regular physician? If so, talk to them. They can help you find heroin addiction treatments that are covered by your insurance or recommend medications or therapies to specifically treat heroin addiction. They can also prescribe medication necessary to treat withdrawal symptoms that will arise as you are going through heroin detox.

7. A trusted religious or spiritual leader

In general, trusted spiritual leaders increase positive recovery and help influence long lasting recovery. If there is someone out there in your religious or spiritual community that you trust, seek them out. They are there for your guidance and many times host their own support groups or know of therapists that can help.

Am I addicted to heroin?

Several factors play into heroin addiction. Both physical and psychological conditions contribute to a possible diagnosis. What characterises an addiction, however, are psychological components. That is, using heroin in order to escape the stressors or realities of your life is a sign of addiction. And feeling like you need heroin in order to function – not only mentally, but physically as well – means that you are addicted to heroin. The following are a few clues that point to possible heroin addiction.

  • becoming secretive and aloof so as to hide use of heroin
  • convictions due to heroin use
  • drug seeking behavior
  • engaging in illegal behavior to get heroin
  • effects on social, work and financial relationships
  • taking heroin even though there are negative consequences
  • taking heroin to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • withdrawing from family and friends

Am I ready to treat heroin addiction?

Many times we notice the symptoms of an addiction long before we admit addiction is present. Knowing the symptoms doesn’t mean you or a loved one is ready to treat their heroin addiction. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before you’re willing to seek out help. Rock bottom looks different for everyone, but it means that heroin addiction has affected you so negatively you surrender and ask for help. Sometimes interventions are needed. While involuntary treatments have been known to work, wanting to rise out of addiction is a really important key to treatment.Truly admitting you have a problem is always the first step to seeking treatment.

How to treat heroin addiction questions

Heroin is a powerful drug which can lead quickly to addiction. You have a long journey ahead to cut heroin out of your life and keep it from affecting your life in negative ways. But, once you have figured out what works for you, you can live a joyful and productive life addiction free.

Do you still have questions about treating Heroin addiction? Please share your questions and experiences with treating heroin addiction. We’ll try to respond to your questions personally.

References Sources: National Institute of Drug Abuse: What are long term effects of heroin use
NIDA: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment

SAMHSA: Understanding Substance Abuse and recovery

National Institute of Drug Abuse: Heroin Addiction Treatments

Photo credit: wilhei55

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