Like other addictions, heroin addiction is a disease that needs to be treated. It’s important to look at as many options as possible when seeking treatment. Ask yourself:
- How long has this been going on?
- How severe is the problem – does the afflicted person’s life revolve around heroin?
- What will happen if they don’t get help?
Answering these questions honestly is critical to getting the right help. What are the options for treatment?
Outpatient treatment clinics are available in or near most metropolitan areas. These are staffed with professional individuals who enjoy a high success rate. Affordability also makes these clinics attractive to most families. Staff can also help with finding support groups or counseling for the addict and their family. Despite all this, there are some downsides to outpatient treatment. The addict is not completely removed from their environment and can still face pressures that contributed to their addiction. Privacy is another concern as the clinics are not usually behind gated fences.
Inpatient heroin rehab is another option. This has the advantage of removing the addict from their environment where they can gain support and be monitored 24 hours a day. At the inpatient rehab, also known as residential rehab, the addict is counseled and has the chance to form networks with others in recovery. Many facilities emphasize overall health by including things such as nutritional health, exercise and overall holistic health.
At some point the addict or their family will need to decide with a medical professional if medication is needed to treat the addiction. Because of the severe withdrawal effects associated with heroin addiction, medications can help the addict through the important step of detoxification. Medications can also help ease the cravings that cause them to relapse. Methadone has been in use since the 1960’s to help addicts. Other drugs include Buprenorphine, Suboxone® and Naltrexone.
Following rehab, the recovering addict will need support to stay clean. This will include getting regular counseling and meeting with other addicts. Group counseling or narcotics anonymous meetings are necessary to stay on the path to sobriety.
Another option is to live in a sober living home. In here, the recovering addict shares living space with others going through recovery, Studies have shown that those living in sober living environments following rehab are less likely to relapse into their addiction.
While living here, the recovering addict finds work outside the home or attends school. All pay rent and buy their own food. Residents attend recovery meetings and receive counseling. The biggest rule of the home is to stay clean. Mandatory and regular drug tests are required to ensure compliance. The average time a person lives in this environment is from 6 months to 18 months.
The advantage of the sober living home is that it gradually reintroduces the recovering addict to the life they will be living. They learn to live with the pressures of everyday living and to work through times where they may face relapse.
Long Term Management
Heroin addiction and recovery is a lifelong issue. The recovering person will continue to need support throughout their lives. Counseling, meetings with others in recovery along with family and friends can all aid the recovering addict to live a sober life.