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Choosing the Best Exclusive Heroin Rehabs

An incredibly powerful opiate, heroin has become famous for its intense psychological “rush” and its notoriously strong addictive grip. Most often smoked or injected into the veins, heroin takes only a matter of moments to hit the bloodstream – and only a matter of uses to build up opiate tolerance. Marked by harrowing withdrawal symptoms and forceful cravings, heroin rehabilitation is one of the most feared — and misunderstood – among addiction recovery processes. When in-depth, holistic treatment combines targeted therapies with state-of-the-art detoxification methods, therapeutic programs can help guide heroin addicts into a lifetime of sobriety.

Heroin Rehab Programs

There are a number of different kinds of heroin rehab programs to choose from, and the one you enroll in should be chosen based upon your needs and the needs of your family. Consider the following questions:

  • Do you still have a job or school that you go to regularly despite addiction?
  • Do you have responsibilities at home?
  • Has your health been affected by your heroin addiction?
  • How long have you been abusing heroin?
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the drug?

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The answers will help you determine which of the following types of heroin rehab treatment will best serve you.

If you are holding down a job or continuing to progress at school, then your heroin addiction may be effectively treated at an outpatient addiction treatment center. Benefits include:

  • The ability to schedule work shifts and classes around the demands of the program
  • Lower bills for treatment
  • “Trial by fire” method of getting clean by splitting your time at home and in recovery

Some considerations include:

  • Easier to relapse due to less supervision
  • Less comprehensive treatment because you spend fewer hours at rehab
  • Continuing to live at home may mean continued exposure to stressors that may have caused you to begin abusing drugs

Which type of heroin rehab program is right for your needs? Contact us today to speak with a counselor about the options that are best suited to you.

Heroin Rehab Process

Recovering from heroin addiction is a process and one that lasts for years. So much more than just the act of breaking free from withdrawal symptoms, heroin rehab should provide months of psychotherapeutic treatment as well as ongoing aftercare services to solidify your new life without drugs and alcohol.

Step 1: Detox+

This is perhaps the most fear-inducing aspect of heroin addiction treatment, but it can also be the simplest. The first day of treatment, you stop taking all drugs, including heroin, and within a few hours, you will likely begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. These can be dealt with one of a few ways:

  • Medication that addresses individual symptoms
  • Medication that “replaces” the opiate in your system and reduces withdrawal symptoms
  • No medication

Choosing the detox that will be most effective for you will be one of the first choices in the heroin rehab process.

Step 2: Psychotherapeutic Addiction Treatment+

A wide range of therapies can help you to explore the issues that may have caused you to want to get high in the first place – and what kept you using even after the negative consequences began. Personal therapy, group therapy, alternative therapies, animal-assisted therapies – any combination of these will help you to move forward in your recovery from heroin addiction.

Step 3: Aftercare Services+

When you leave rehab, the heroin addiction treatment process continues as you establish a new life for yourself without turning to heroin or other illicit substances. Sober living can help, as can support groups and personal therapy. It is recommended to continue with one or more recovery program for at least the first few years after treatment.

Use and Treatment Statistics

Use and Treatment StatisticsIn popular media, heroin addiction is all too often depicted as a solely urban problem, only experienced by the homeless, mentally ill or lifetime drug addicts. While heroin addiction certainly does impact these populations, the reality is that an astounding number of Americans on the whole have engaged in heroin abuse in one form or another. Because of the drug’s high addiction potential, heroin dependency has become a reality throughout the nation, across age, location, educational and economic boundaries.

Here are a few startling statistics about the widespread usage of heroin abuse and addiction throughout the nation.

  • A 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that more than 600,000 people across the country had used heroin at some point during the prior year.
  • Across the nation, an excess of one million individuals have abused heroin.
  • Reports by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) found in 2009 that heroin was responsible for more than 200,000 trips to emergency medical facilities.
  • Almost a quarter of experimental heroin users become genuinely dependent on the drug.
  • Freebasing heroin (often termed “chasing the dragon”) has been on the rise in the 21st century, with 12 percent more individuals smoking the drug in 2002 than merely a decade earlier, according to the National Departments of Health and Human Services’ Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS).
  • In 2008 alone, nearly 14 percent of those enrolled in drug recovery programs in the United States were primarily treated for heroin abuse or addiction.

Health Issues From Long-Term Heroin Addiction

When heroin use persists, the body and brain suffer serious – and sometimes lasting – damage. From the well-known side effects opiates cause over time to singular risks involved with needle-sharing, heroin can cause lasting health conditions in virtually every one of the body’s systems.

When cases of heroin addiction remain untreated, potential long-term health consequences can include:

  • Brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Memory declines, especially in long-term memory capabilities
  • Reproductive problems, including erectile dysfunction and inability to climax
  • Heart conditions
  • Eating disorders and malnutrition
  • Difficulty breathing, emphysema and other lung conditions
  • Recurrent lung infections
  • Tooth decay and gum disease
  • Skin infections, scarring (“track marks”) and abscessed skin
  • HIV and hepatitis (transmitted through needle usage or high-risk sexual encounters)
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Loss of “gag” reflex (potentially raising risk of overdose)
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Pulmonary embolism.
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Vision declines
  • Abdominal cramping, persistent constipation and other digestive issues
  • Increased rate of miscarriage
  • Decreased liver function and liver cancer
  • Depression and suicide

High-Risk Overdoses

In cases where heroin overdose occurs, emergency medical attention can prevent fatalities. Heroin overdoses generally occur due to inexperience, changes in tolerance after periods of abstinence, and batches of heroin with differing purities. Drug tolerance can also cause heroin use to quickly become lethal, as tolerance builds to the psychological euphoria heroin produces – but not to the drug’s effects on the central nervous system (CNS). As a result, long-time heroin users may increase dosages to fatal levels as they seek the drug’s hallmark emotional “rush.” Polydrug use also has been implicated in a disproportionate number of heroin overdoses, as users combine it with prescription opiates, stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine, or simply combine heroin with drinking alcohol.

Dual Diagnosis and Heroin Addiction

Dual DiagnosisMany cases of heroin addiction involve the presence of mental illness. Heroin use may stem from mental health conditions themselves, arising from attempts to “self-medicate” mental health disorders, ranging from the emotional pain of severe clinical depression to the harrowing existence associated with schizophrenia. Conversely, even in those without established psychological diagnoses, prolonged heroin addiction can contribute to – and trigger – secondary psychological conditions, as well.

In fact, one University of Pisa qualitative study established that among nearly 1,100 heroin addicts, more than 52 percent met the criteria for dual diagnosis. The Italian research also revealed that heroin dependency and psychological disorders can lead to one another, with 63 percent of participants developing mental health disorders after initial heroin use and an additional 25 percent using heroin after an established mental health condition was already present.

Select heroin rehabilitation facilities offer clinically designed dual diagnosis treatment programs, aimed at treating the psychological disorders that can coincide with – and complicate recovery from – heroin addiction. By treating both heroin addiction and concurrent mental health conditions simultaneously, treatment plans can be individualized to both resolve triggers for drug use and to provide relief from psychological or emotional fallout that may have resulted from years of addiction.

Advantages of Entering Rehabilitation

Heroin rehabilitation programs can provide 360-degree treatment modalities that ensure healing of body and mind after years of opiate addiction. Heroin rehabilitation programs integrate a range of services into customized, holistic treatment plans to provide the following targeted benefits to patients.

  • Peer Support and Sober Networking
    During rehabilitation, peer support plays an integral role in recovery. After relationships that have been often nonexistent, drug-fueled or dysfunctional at best, patients can experience positive and accountable relationships in the moderated atmosphere of rehabilitation programs. Peer support can be established through 12-step meeting involvement, process group participation, and as part of sober companion shadowing services made available during the aftercare process.
  • Stress Reduction Techniques
    Specialized stress reduction techniques are taught to patients during heroin rehabilitation, both to help them weather the throes of withdrawal and to establish positive coping techniques. Stress reduction techniques may include visualization, meditation, journal keeping, physical exercise, yoga and mind-body techniques.
  • Psychological Healing
    In some cases, heroin abuse may have taken place primarily because of long-standing emotional issues. As a result, psychological support becomes necessary in order to facilitate full healing from heroin addiction. Individualized therapy sessions uncover underlying psychological reasons why patients may have turned to drug dependency, while group therapy sessions provide invaluable exchange, venting space and camaraderie among peers in recovery.
  • Dual Diagnosis Support
    Because heroin is often used by individuals self-medicating anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, most opiate rehabilitation programs include dual diagnosis support as part of their treatment mainstay. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 53 percent of those who engage in drug abuse have at least a single serious mental health condition. Combining medication dispensation with expansive clinical and creative therapies guided by professional therapists, dual diagnosis facilities can treat both heroin addiction – and underlying mental health disorders – at the same time.
  • Medical Detoxification Options
    Because heroin dependency instigates chemical changes that comprise the physical component of opiate addiction, some patients may benefit from medical support during the detoxification phase of recovery. Medications such as naltrexone, naloxone and buprenorphine can block the addictive euphoria associated with heroin consumption, while medicines such as LAAM and methadone can lower or eliminate heroin cravings.
  • Relapse Prevention
    Heroin has notoriously high relapse rates, even when treatment is sought. In fact, The Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Studies (DATOS) five-year study conducted in 1993 found that among more than 2,100 heroin addicts between the ages of 21 and 74, an astonishing 82 percent experienced relapse in the first five years following professional treatment for heroin addiction. In response to these realities, heroin treatment facilities now provide intensive relapse prevention measures integrated into treatment programs. Aftercare treatment methods, transitional planning and alumni events provide ongoing support for heroin addicts who graduate opiate recovery programs to ensure against a return to heroin usage.
  • Professional Heroin Detox
    Even among programs that provide natural detoxification methods for heroin addiction, professional detox offers supervised and managed care as the body returns to neurological and physical wellness. Professional counseling, medical monitoring, fitness and nutritional guidance, and alternative treatments all combine to provide support during the detox process.
  • Life Skills Instruction
    During addiction recovery, patients build a foundation for sober living through acquisition of life skills. Anger and stress management courses, conflict resolution training, communication workshops, time management and organization instruction, and problem-solving skills coaching allow recovering heroin addicts to learn the survival skills they will need to create productive and rewarding lives after graduation.

Questions to Ask Treatment Centers

When heroin addicts are finally ready to seek treatment for drug dependency, navigating the countless options for treatment can be overwhelming – both for prospective patients and their loved ones. The following questions can help highlight the differences between potential recovery solutions, and ensure the highest level of treatment for clients seeking rehabilitation.

  • What are your enrollment caps?
    While enrollment caps can sometimes mean a wait for treatment at a given drug treatment facility, these capacity ceilings actually serve to benefit patients. Enrollment caps provide increased attention, and lower caps generally translate to higher staff-to-patient ratios at treatment centers and guard against overcrowding.
  • What method of heroin detox do you employ?
    Methods of heroin detoxification can vary wildly, from natural detoxification to methadone management therapy (MMT). Ask whether heroin detoxification is “medically supervised” and by what level of medical professional, as well as how often supervision takes place. Also ask whether “medical (drug-assisted) detox” takes place and what precautions are taken to ensure safety. Finally, ask how withdrawal symptoms will be managed and how cravings will be dealt with during the heroin detoxification process.
  • What are the core psychotherapy paradigms used?
    Many laypeople erroneously group all modes of psychological treatment together under the general umbrella of “therapy.” However, many modern heroin treatment centers provide specific psychotherapy styles targeted to specific mental health conditions, learning styles, drugs of choice, and facility treatment philosophy. Styles of psychotherapy can vary from experiential, cognitive behavioral (conditioning), and analytical emphases. Be sure to ask which styles of psychotherapy a given treatment program centers around, and research their application.
  • What does your aftercare program consist of?
    Though the existence of aftercare programs have become standard in the addiction industry, the quality and extensiveness of heroin addiction aftercare offerings vary wildly from center to center. In some cases, aftercare may provide solely a limited number of follow-up calls for a short window after program completion. Some heroin rehabilitation programs offer limited return stays in the event of relapse, while others offer continuing classes, alumni events, sober excursions or even shadowing services for graduates of their programs.
  • What are your heroin rehabilitation success rates?
    Heroin can be one of the most difficult drugs to overcome, and each program takes a slightly different approach to opiate addiction treatment. While understanding that no heroin rehabilitation program has a success rate of 100 percent, it can still be important to ask about success rates of any rehabilitation center you consider. Also, ensure that you ask about how success rates were derived, how long patients were tracked after discharge, and whether success rates apply to all opiates or heroin alone.

Find Professional Recovery Help

Despite the difficulty most addicts face in overcoming heroin addiction, long-term sobriety is possible with professional treatment. If you or a loved one has been struggling with heroin addiction, we invite you to call our confidential, toll-free help line. Rehabs.com specializes in expertly matching each individual to the nation’s most well-regarded heroin addiction programs. Our specialists are standing by 24 hours a day to listen to your personal story and provide you with the help – and hope – you need to receive accessible, affordable and life-changing treatment.