heroin treatment and rehab

Modified: 18th Jul 2019

The opioid crisis is so prevalent in the United States that it’s not even considered a bipartisan issue. Heroin, in particular, is recognized as one of the largest narcotic addictions with just under one million people using the drug.

Regular heroin use leads to drastic physical, emotional, and social problems, but recognizing and solving this problem can be difficult for anyone. Knowing when you or a loved one needs treatment for heroin addiction is an important first step.

Let’s take a look at what heroin treatment looks like and what to expect from a rehab center. 

Heroin Inpatient

Heroin is an opiate that may be injected, snorted, or smoked and even combined with other narcotics. But those who suffer from habitual use of the drug develop an addiction to it, which can make life increasingly difficult and can even be fatal.

Many recovering heroin addicts need inpatient treatment

What is Inpatient Treatment?

Inpatient treatment is 24-hour medical care and treatment given in a devoted facility. It requires the patient to be admitted to the facility for an extended period of time. 

Inpatient treatment is different from outpatient treatment in that:

  1. The patient must be admitted
  2. The patient must stay on the facility grounds
  3. The patient receives constant medical supervision
  4. The patient must undergo heroin detoxification
  5. The patient must abide by a strict schedule 

Inpatient treatment for heroin addiction requires the use of prescribed medication, various therapy sessions, etc. In particular, a recovering heroin addict needs to be removed from negative influences from the outside world. 

This is why inpatient treatment is so effective. The world can affect someone in many ways, usually through triggers from:

  • Specific locations
  • Particular friends, family, and/or acquaintances
  • Stressful situations

Inpatient heroin rehab allows the individual to not only be supervised by professionals but also removes access to these influences temporarily. From there, the patient is better able to work through underlying issues and overcome obstacles. 

Prescribed medication in heroin addiction rehab also assists with an important process called detoxification. “Detox” is when someone entirely removes an unhealthy substance from their body or life – in this case, heroin. 

Cutting heroin out cold turkey when you’re dependent can be difficult, though. Your body may react harshly and it can be extremely painful due to withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that it often causes addicts to relapse and use heroin again to get rid of them. Again, this is why inpatient treatment is so effective, as it forces the patient to prescribe to a rigorous schedule of treatment.

Some common medications used to treat these heroin withdrawal symptoms include:

They are usually prescribed short-term and only intended to treat immediate symptoms specifically for detoxing. 

Standard Length of Heroin Inpatient Treatment

A lot of people undergoing inpatient heroin treatment want to know how long it lasts.

The reality is that heroin inpatient treatment can vary from one individual to the next. It depends on the severity of the addiction and the patient’s progress. 

In general, though, a good rule of thumb is to expect to stay at least 30 days (at least a month) and as many as 90 days (up to three months). In some cases, it can be more or less. 

Heroin Outpatient

Inpatient treatment for heroin addictions is the most common and effective form of recovery. However, outpatient treatment may be an option for some people.

When you or a loved one has not used heroin for very long, then withdrawal symptoms may be moderate or mild. This means that outpatient treatment could still be effective. 

The difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment is that you don’t need to be committed to living in a dedicated facility. You can still live in your own home and go about your normal daily life. 

You’ll simply need to collect your medication from a heroin rehabilitation center when necessary and possibly go to therapy sessions.

Obviously, the benefit of outpatient treatment is that you can continue your normal life. You can:

  • Go to school
  • Go to work
  • Sleep in your own home
  • Keep up with other responsibilities 

A medical professional needs to evaluate the person’s home, daily life, work environment, etc. If it’s deemed that you or your loved one isn’t at risk of relapsing, then you may have more control over your own recovery. 

Standard Length of Heroin Outpatient Treatment

Just as with heroin inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment can vary based on the individual, severity of the addiction, and progress of the individual. 

Those qualified for outpatient treatment may not be as addicted as others, so withdrawal symptoms may be milder. Therefore, the length of the treatment may be less, too. 

You can still expect a length of 30-90 days for treatment, but it may be more or less. 

Heroin Sober Living

When you agree to go to heroin rehab, sober living is the end goal – not just detoxification.

What is Heroin Sober Living?

Sober living is about more than just removing heroin from your body and overcoming its effects. It’s about treating the whole individual and replacing negative habits with positive ones.

Detox is very important. Heroin addicts suffer from a number of short-term and long-term effects, such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Constipation
  • Neuronal and hormonal imbalances
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle spasms and pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Cold flashes
  • Etc. 

A recovering addict must rid themselves of the drug’s influence. But on the other hand, they need to achieve a more sober lifestyle. 

That means you will not only be detoxing from the drug but replacing the addiction with healthier practices. This is why many people undergo therapy, exercise, and explore new hobbies. 

Sometimes, addiction stems from underlying issues either in the individual himself or due to outside influences, such as:

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Work environment
  • Etc. 

It’s important you realize these issues for what they are and overcome them.

What to Expect

First of all, a good quality rehabilitation center will always have agreeable and sympathetic staff members. Whether it’s a doctor, a nurse, or a secretary, rehabs understand the psychological impacts of drug addictions. 

From the very beginning, staff members will be helpful and understanding of yours or your loved one’s needs and the steps you’ve taken to recover. 

Also, you can expect a strict schedule.

Usually, there is an early wake-up time and a healthy breakfast. Then, you will take part in a group therapy session followed by various other activities:

  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Family therapy sessions
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Rock climbing
  • Art
  • Music
  • Etc.

Treatment for heroin addiction is about treating the whole individual. These healthy hobbies and activities give a recovering individual something else to focus on, so they can replace their addiction. 

Ongoing Recovery

Whether you recognize the signs of heroin addiction in yourself or that of a loved one, the first step to recovery is overcoming denial. From there, it’s all about being better informed about heroin treatment and rehabilitation. 

Rehab doesn’t need to be a mystery, and hopefully, you understand it a little better now. 

If you have more questions or want to know how Addiction Treatment Services can help you or loved one recover, contact us right away!