Heroin Addiction Treatment
What is heroin addiction?
Because heroin creates short-lived but fast-acting feelings of being “high,” many users become quickly addicted to the drug, as they need more and more powerful dosages to reach the same effect (a process known as tolerance). Heroin is typically injected into the body through a vein or snorted or smoked. It can also be mixed with other drugs, including cocaine.
Heroin can also lead to medical complications both from short-term use and longer-term addiction, including:
- Nausea and upset stomach
- Difficulty concentrating or managing thinking
- Inability to sleep
- Damage to the heart, including infections
- Damage to other organs, including the liver, kidneys, and lungs
- Depression, anxiety, or withdrawal from society
- Severe and lasting damage to blood vessels and veins
Like other potent drugs, heroin also carries the risk of overdose, which can lead to coma and brain damage due to lack of oxygen as a person stops breathing when falling unconscious.
How is heroin addiction treated?
The first challenge that many heroin users face during their recovery is managing challenging symptoms of withdrawal, the process that occurs as the body re-adjusts to being without the drug. Heroin is a highly potent drug and withdrawal can begin to occur only hours after the most recent dosage. This leads many users to seek out the drug quickly to prevent withdrawal symptoms from appearing. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal typically include:
- An inability to calm down, sleep, or stop moving
- Anxiety and irritability
- Muscle pain and cramps
- Nausea, including vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea
- Involuntary muscle movements, particularly in the legs
- Strong cravings
Many frequent heroin users may also struggle with a psychological or mental impact from their drug use, as the brain “re-wires” itself during chronic drug use and may struggle with cognitive functioning.
For this reason and more, we strongly recommend chronic heroin users seek out licensed professional treatment as they go through withdrawal and move into recovery. Treatment for heroin addiction and dependence typically includes two components: a period of physical detoxification as the drug leaves the system (a process often called “detox”) followed by an intensive series of psychological treatment, including individual and group therapy and 12 step groups, to help develop healthy new behaviors around their drug use.
Our own process for treating heroin addiction involves a unique multi-phasal recovery approach built on individual and group therapy, 12 step meetings, and a tiered series of recovery programs that help clients learn valuable skills and understand how to sustainably manage their addiction for the long term.
Every person struggling with heroin addiction has a different drug experience and reason behind their struggle, and we work hard to place our clients in a treatment program that works for them. Because we are a multi-phasal recovery program, we can find the right stage of our program that fits best for each client’s recovery goals and needs.
How does multi-phasal recovery help with heroin addiction?
Multi-phasal recovery is particularly effective for heroin users because it provides a customized and tiered approach to recovery rather than a one-size-fits-all method that doesn’t take into account their unique history and goals.
For example, many heroin users may have tried unsuccessfully to overcome their addiction in the past, and thus need a different level of treatment than someone who may be approaching recovery for the first time. At Midwest Recovery Centers, we’re able to accommodate both types of clients through our two tiers of recovery.
The key elements of our heroin recovery program are two independent phases beginning with Phase I, when clients experience hands-on therapy, including individual and group counseling, in a controlled environment, followed by Phase II, which can entail up to six more months of therapy, support, and gradual readjustment back to everyday life.
We understand how daunting recovery from heroin addiction can be and our goal is always to provide the highest quality, most comprehensive recovery program available.