Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin, a highly addictive opiate made from morphine known for its euphoric effects. Binding to opioid receptors in the brain, heroin alters heart rate, energy levels, and breathing in addition to other bodily functions. Between 2015 and 2016, nearly 1 million American adults reported using heroin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

In 2019, 72,000 people died from opioid overdoses. Following the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, heroin overdoses increased by 13% — 30% in certain cities. To curb the number of lives lost to heroin, it’s important for people to recieve medical care in heroin addiction treatment.

heroin addiction

Heroin Addiction

Heroin is an illegal substance that is processed from opium poppy plants and is highly addictive. It works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and affecting the body in various ways. Heroin has been used for centuries, but it has become increasingly popular in recent years.  It is usually found on the black market and can be injected, snorted, or smoked.

Aside from the fact that heroin is illegal and highly addictive, heroin abuse can be fatal. In fact, the likelihood of an overdose or deadly complication due to heroin is more common than most people think. In fact, infections and diseases transmitted through IVs, heart attacks, lung failure, and strokes are all associated with heroin addiction. 

If left untreated heroin addiction can result in devastating consequences, leading to serious physical and mental health issues, social struggles, and financial problems. Therefore, it is vital for those abusing heroin to participate in heroin addiction treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab to successfully recover.

Signs of Heroin Abuse

Once you understand the dangers of heroin addiction, the truth has the potential to be the biggest motivation for treatment. However, in order to begin your recovery journey within heroin addiction treatment, you must know the signs of heroin abuse.

Signs of heroin abuse include:

If you recognize any of these signs of heroin abuse in yourself or others, seek out medical help to safely detox. Heroin addiction treatment is unparalleled in its importance for those struggling with heroin. The fact of the matter is most heroin abusers can’t recover from their addiction without professional intervention and continued heroin addiction treatment.

Heroin Side Effects

Heroin addiction has many moderate to severe side effects that impact physical and mental health. Additionally, an IV injection heroin user poses a high risk of contracting contagious blood diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C. Likewise, all heroin abuse has a high risk of overdose.

According to the CDC, more than 13,000 people died from a drug overdose involving heroin in the United States in 2020. While heroin deaths decreased from 2019 to 2020, the number of heroin-involved overdose deaths is nearly seven times higher than in 1999. In fact, roughly 20% of opioid overdose deaths involve heroin.

Heroin’s side effects are physically and emotionally taxing on the body. While most moderate side effects take place during drug abuse, the more severe side effects occur during and after withdrawals.

Moderate side effects of heroin abuse include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Heavy limbs
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Itchy/Restless
  • Impaired judgment

The moderate side effects of heroin addiction usually subside after about a week, although the process is extremely uncomfortable without medical assistance. People detoxing from heroin in and outside of heroin addiction treatment most commonly experience nausea, vomiting, and itching. Also, feelings of fatigue often arise despite the onset of insomnia.

Severe side effects of heroin abuse include:

  • Insomnia
  • Vascular complications
  • Coronary complications
  • Lung complications
  • Gastrointestinal complications
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Depression
  • Anhedonia
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts

Royal Life Centers’ heroin addiction treatment program is committed to providing the safest, most effective medication-assisted heroin detox, followed by carefully structured, individualized medical regimens, an intensive therapy program, and extensive aftercare options.

Heroin Dependence

People who regularly use heroin may develop a tolerance for it and thus require larger amounts to achieve the same high. Increasing the amount of heroin also increases their risk of overdosing and other health complications.

As a person continues to take more and more heroin to achieve the same euphoric effects, or high, they often develop a psychological and physical dependence.  This means their body and mind become so used to having the drug in their system that if heroin is stopped, serious withdrawal symptoms occur. As a result, physical dependence on heroin has the potential to be the biggest roadblock or the biggest motivation for treatment. 

Heroin Withdrawal

Once a person is physically and physiologically dependent on heroin, withdrawal symptoms will occur if they attempt to stop. In general, heroin withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe. Additionally, symptoms from heroin withdrawal temporarily affect physical, emotional, and behavioral traits. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may experience minimal discomfort or serious side effects.

Mild Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Shakes
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Dilated pupils
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose

Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Disorientation
  • Restlessness
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Goosebumps

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Anxiety and panic
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Hyperventilating
  • Rapid pulse
  • Spasms
  • Anhedonia
  • Significant weight loss

Not everyone will experience all the symptoms of heroin withdrawal, especially the most severe side effects. This is because the severity of withdrawal symptoms typically depends on the length and frequency of heroin abuse. Another factor is whether or not the heroin contains fentanyl or Carfentanil.

While heroin withdrawal symptoms alone aren’t regarded as life-threatening, underlying physical and mental health disorders can be exacerbated to the point of heart attack, lung failure, or psychosis. Additionally, depressive states often accompany heroin withdrawal in the form of anhedonia which can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.

For this reason, heroin withdrawals are not safe for an individual to try alone. Within drug and alcohol rehab, people receive medical care and treatment to curb the effects of withdrawal. In fact, a successful recovery is attainable through addiction treatment as it provides a safe and comfortable environment to medically detox.

During treatment inside of heroin addiction rehab, your medical care team will work with you to create a treatment plan for the management of your withdrawal symptoms. While at Royal Life Centers, you will receive medical and psychological treatment under 24/7 surveillance to ensure your safety during heroin detox.

Heroin Addiction Rehab

Heroin addiction rehab provides a safe and comfortable environment for people to remove heroin from their lives and enter into recovery. Typically, individuals seeking heroin addiction treatment require detoxification in a medical detox facility. During treatment for heroin, medical professionals often provide medication to relieve severe symptoms of withdrawal. As a result, heroin addiction rehab services can help people get past the most physically taxing part of treatment which can make abstinence less challenging in early recovery. 

Heroin Addiction Treatment Process

For someone struggling with an addiction to heroin, entering into rehab will save their life. Medical detox is the first step in removing addiction from a person’s life. Detox cleanses the body of drugs and toxins in order to begin the process of physical recovery. From there, entering into a residential inpatient program enables you to heal emotionally. Medical care offered in heroin addiction treatment should be continued through partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient to receive the best chances for continued recovery. While inpatient programs are the next crucial step in healing yourself from addiction continuing your time in treatment with aftercare and outpatient services can provide you with the extra support you need to recover from heroin addiction.

During early recovery, heroin addiction treatment programs eliminate outside distractions. This allows guests to completely focus on themselves and their recovery. It is here that the true underlying causes of heroin addiction are revealed. Those who only stop using heroin, without looking into why they use heroin, will almost always return to drug use. During treatment, guests have highly structured schedules that will include intensive therapy, support groups, and activities.

Treatment Timeline for Heroin

The total length of treatment can vary, but most heroin rehab programs last anywhere between 30-90 days. Additionally, quality programs offer a continuum of care with a gradual step-down process. The first step down from residential inpatient is usually a partial hospitalization program (PHP). Guests have much more freedom at this level of care but are still held to a high level of personal responsibility. Intensive outpatient follows, loosening restrictions even further, yet maintaining accountability. After PHP, guests transition into an intensive outpatient program (IOP) where guests will learn to manage personal responsibilities such as maintaining employment while working on their resiliency and life skills.

Guests who wish to continue their time in treatment can also join outpatient treatment and sober living programs. These provide immersive and supportive community-based programs that allow individuals to practice their recovery skills with the encouragement of treatment staff and peers. Typically, the length of these continuing care services varies depending on the individual’s preferences.

Heroin Detox

When people addicted to opioids like heroin first quit, they undergo withdrawal symptoms, which range from mild to severe. To combat the negative side effects of heroin withdrawal, medications, and holistic treatment services can assist in the successful completion of the detoxification stage. 

For instance, drinking at least two to three liters of water per day during withdrawal can help you to regain strength during heroin addiction rehab. This practice assists in replacing fluids lost through sweat and diarrhea. Similarly, taking supplements and eating foods that are rich in vitamin B and vitamin C can also reinstate your body’s nutritional balance. By integrating holistically healthy treatments into Royal Life Centers’ programs, we aim to ease cravings and other physical symptoms that may otherwise lead to a relapse.

In addition, detox medications in heroin addiction rehab aim to ease physical discomfort while helping you rest to regain your strength. Nutrient-rich balanced diets, quiet and calming atmospheres, and recovery-sensitive therapy services can make all the difference during heroin detox. Most important, however, is receiving treatment with a team of experienced medical professionals including physicians, nurses, and counselors. Together, you can successfully preserve through the symptoms of withdrawal, complete medical detoxification, and take the next steps in your new life in recovery.

Often, people undergoing detox for heroin may want to alleviate the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms by returning to heroin, also known as relapsing. This is incredibly dangerous, however, considering that there is an increased risk of overdose following a period of abstinence from heroin. For this reason, it is important for individuals looking to recover from heroin addiction to receive quality medical care within a heroin addiction rehab to prevent relapse and promote lasting recovery.

Detox Medications for Heroin Addiction

During treatment in a heroin addiction rehab facility, programs often offer medically-assisted detox services. As a form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), these services provide medications proven to effectively treat opioid use disorder to minimize symptoms of heroin withdrawal. In fact, many people detoxing from heroin can experience relief during the five to ten days of these symptoms thanks to these heroin detox medications.

According to the NIDA, detox medications for heroin withdrawal include:

  • Methadone (Dolophine or Methadose)
  • Buprenorphine (Subutex)
  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol)
  • Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Suboxone)
  • Lofexidine
  • Clonidine

The NIDA also states that the medication “buprenorphine is the best opioid medication for management of moderate to severe opioid withdrawal” due to its ability to reduce cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms. However, both buprenorphine and methadone can minimize the euphoric effects of opioids and reduce cravings for heroin. With that being said, methadone is a semi-synthetic opioid that poses the potential risk of abuse. 

The FDA-approved medication, lofexidine, is a non-opioid medicine. In heroin addiction rehab, lofexidine reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification stage. For this reason, it is a useful medication to help you successfully complete our detox program.

Clonidine can relieve many of the physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal such as anxiety, chills, shaking, sweating, sleep disturbances, and intestinal issues. However, the medication can also cause drowsiness, dizziness, and low BP.

Since Clonidine is not an opioid, the medication does not provide relief from every opioid-related withdrawal symptom. As a result, heroin detox programs will also incorporate other medications that treat the other symptoms of withdrawal when necessary.

What Happens After Detox in Heroin Addiction Rehab?

While denial is uncommon during treatment for heroin abuse, you will likely still have a lot of trauma to unpack. Uncovering and processing your past and its effects on your addiction is often an uncomfortable part of recovery, but it is a key part of healing. For this reason, heroin addiction rehab programs will provide one-on-one counseling and behavioral therapy groups during treatment to help you heal. These therapies can be provided through a traditional program of recovery or a medication-assisted treatment program.

Aftercare Programs in Heroin Addiction Treatment

One of the best things a newly sober heroin addict can do for themselves is to commit to an aftercare program. Aftercare programs typically include partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs. Guests who elect to join aftercare can continue to live with others who will keep them accountable is a strong motivator to remain sober. Additionally, regular drug testing and nightly curfews are great ways to keep you on the right track.

Heroin Addiction Treatment at Royal Life Centers

Royal Life Centers’ detox for heroin begins with an introduction to addiction specialists upon guest arrival. Medical professionals perform evaluations through the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) which defines criteria for each stage of opioid and opiate withdrawal. Following your assessment and fully in the beginning stages of withdrawals, our medical team will begin your detoxification process.

Royal Life Centers’ medical detox programs last for eight days, during which guests rest under the supervision of medical staff. Our staff monitors guests vigilantly to ensure their physical and mental health. Throughout heroin detox, specialists refer to COWS, identifying the rate of withdrawal in addition to a guest’s symptoms within each stage. 

Following medical detox at Royal Life Centers, guests will begin a comprehensive, collaborative approach to heroin addiction treatment designed to support physical and mental wellness and promote a lasting, sober lifestyle. Our addiction specialists, from our therapists and case managers to our facility staff, are dedicated to providing the best in care and support. Our holistic, evidence-based approach to psychotherapy incorporates individual and group sessions and activity, movement, and adventure therapies into one program that treats mind, body, and spirit.

Once the eight-day detox is complete, guests are guided through our residential inpatient program. While participating in inpatient, guests eat nutrient-rich meals to regain physical health and strength in addition to individual and group therapy sessions for mental healing and relapse prevention.

Guests may begin their recovery journey in our residential inpatient program and continue our heroin addiction treatment through PHP, IOP, OP, and sober living residences. At Royal Life Centers, the guest is always our top priority, and we consistently do all we can to effect lasting change, so that they might continue to lead healthy, sober lives long after they have left our care.

Enter a Heroin Addiction Rehab

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance abuse problem, please reach out to our addiction specialists for guidance and support, at (877)-RECOVERY. Our addiction specialists make themselves available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.

Looking for a Rehab for Heroin Addiction?

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