Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin addictions run rampant in many sectors of the community and the crisis now climbs to a fever pitch. Naturally, this leads to more interest in and utilization of treatment options and programs. Here, we will take a look at what heroin is and what some options are for heroin addiction treatment.

A Brief Overview of Heroin

Heroin is an opioid that is sought out recreationally due to its euphoric effect on users. In certain countries, it is used as a medical pain reliever. According to Wikipedia, common ways of ingesting heroin include injecting it directly into a vein, smoking, snorting or inhaling it. Side effects of heroin use include decreased breathing, drowsiness, impaired mental functioning, and, ultimately, addiction. When injected, heroin is two to three times more effective than morphine. In the US, 1.6% of all people have used heroin at some point.

Treatment of Heroin Addiction

According to drugabuse.gov, there are two major types of treatment for heroin addiction: behavioral and pharmacological. While behavioral address the actual person and the behaviors leading to a dependence on heroin, pharmacological is the use of medicine to alleviate specific symptoms. Each of these options works great when used alone. But, for maximum effect, users should try to use both methods in a more integrated approach to their treatment. This has proven to be the most effective way.

Treatment with Medication

According to the CDC, one common treatment option for opioid use disorder (OUD) is medication-assisted treatment or MAT.  MAT is a treatment that combines the use of medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone with counseling/talk therapies and behavioral therapies.

The use of medications is especially helpful during the withdrawal process. The heroin withdrawal is especially severe and comes with nausea, vomiting, and overall pain. Medications can take the edge off and help the user over the hump as they struggle to get past the withdrawal stage safely and with their overall health in check.

The most common type of medication used is methadone. Methadone is administered to the addict orally and so reaches the brain slowly. This will lessen the "high" that usually accompanies methadone use while still preventing withdrawal symptoms. Methadone has been used since the 1960s to treat heroin addictions and is still a legitimate treatment option today. Methadone is also a safe alternative for patients who may not respond to other medications. Methadone is only available through approved, supervised outpatient treatment programs. It is typically used daily.

Behavioral Treatment

Behavioral treatment for heroin addiction is commonly used in both outpatient and residential facilities. Though it can be utilized on its own, behavioral therapies are most effective when used in combination with medicinal treatment. A common type of behavioral treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy. This type of therapy addresses the patient’s expectations and behaviors related to drug use and then tries to modify them, in hopes of increasing the coping skills to all of life’s many stressors. Whether using medicinal treatment, behavioral treatment, or a combination of both, the most important thing is to make sure the individual needs of the particular patient are considered and met.

The 12 Step Approach

The 12-step model is one of the most well-known and commonly used types of recovery methods. The idea of the steps originated from and is most commonly associated with the Alcoholics Anonymous program. But, the effectiveness of the program can’t be disputed; some physicians recommend it as a treatment for various types of addiction—including opioids/heroin. According to a 2013 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), the 12-Step model is used by approximately 74 percent of treatment centers.

There are many approaches to recovery; a holistic approach is our preferred way so that all facets of the person and the addiction are covered. If you or someone you know needs options to deal with heroin addiction, one of those options is here with us at SpringBoard Recovery. We are glad to help customize a program to address your needs on an individual basis and help guide you or your loved one toward a path of healthy, substance-free living, and overall improved wellness. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for more information on how we can help.