Heroin rehab programs help many individuals end an opioid addiction for good.
Heroin is one of the toughest drugs to quit, but high-quality heroin rehab programs dramatically improve your changes of long-term success. Here are six important things you need to know about heroin abuse and drug rehab for heroin addiction.
1. Heroin is highly addictive.
Although we’re stating the obvious here–if you’re addicted to heroin, you know how quickly addiction and dependence develop–it’s important to know why heroin is so addictive.
Opioids like heroin produce intense euphoria due to the massive dopamine release they cause. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of pleasure and wellbeing. As you continue to use heroin, your brain’s functions and physical structures change in the learning, memory, motivation and reward centers. This leads to intense cravings for heroin, and these can make it extremely difficult to kick a heroin habit on your own. These brain changes also affect your thought and behavior patterns, leading to dysfunction ways of thinking and behaving.
At the same time, heroin produces a high level of tolerance very quickly, which means that you need increasingly higher doses of heroin to get the same effects. This can lead to dependence, which is the result of changes in the way your brain operates chemically in an effort to compensate for the presence of the drug. At some point, your brain may begin to operate more comfortably when heroin is present. Then, when you stop using, brain function rebounds, which causes the onset of withdrawal symptoms. These can be excruciating, making it even harder to stop using without drug rehab for heroin addiction.
2. Medical detox addresses dependence, but it’s not the only option.
Medical detox is the process of allowing all traces of a drug to leave your body so that brain function can begin to return to normal. During medical detox, medical professionals provide medications that reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and shorten the time it takes to detox.
3. Medication-assisted treatment is the recommended route for treating heroin dependence.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, which combines medications with behavioral therapies, is the best way to treat a heroin addiction. Methadone and buprenorphine are the most common medications used in MAT and work by normalizing brain chemistry, blocking the euphoric effects of opioids, and preventing cravings. MAT enables people with a heroin addiction to work to restore their lives without constant intense cravings. It’s been shown to:
- Reduce overdose deaths.
- Improve retention in treatment.
- Decrease opioid use and associated criminal activity.
- Improve the chances of obtaining and maintaining employment.
- Reduce the risk of relapse.
- Reduce the risk of HIV and hepatitis C.
4. Medical Detox and MAT are only the beginning.
Medical detox and MAT only work to treat the physical dependence on heroin. Addiction is far more complex than dependence and requires intensive treatment that helps you:
- Identify harmful thought and behavior patterns and replace them with healthier ways of thinking and behaving.
- Develop essential coping skills for cravings, stress, and other powerful relapse triggers.
- Delve into the underlying issues that led to the addiction, which often include chronic stress, a history of trauma, and co-occurring mental illnesses.
- Learn to have fun and relax without opioids.
- Find purpose and meaning in life without drugs.
High-quality heroin rehab programs take a holistic approach to treatment that promotes whole-person healing. But how long is inpatient treatment for heroin?
5. Inpatient heroin rehab programs should last at least three months.
Many people wonder, how long is inpatient treatment for heroin? The National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses that anything less than 90 days of treatment is of limited effectiveness. That’s because just as it takes time to develop an addiction, it takes time to re-learn healthy ways of thinking and develop the skills you need for long-term sobriety. Staying in treatment for an adequate amount of time is essential for successful recovery.
6. Treatment works.
It’s not easy to end a heroin addiction for the long-term, but high-quality heroin rehab programs dramatically improve your chances of successful recovery by giving you the skills and strategies you need for long-term success. Rehab works for most people who engage with their treatment plan, and it can work for you, too.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.