Heroin is an extract from poppy seeds and is very quick in reaching the brain and producing a happy, high feeling. Medically, heroin is used for pain management, and 1 in 4 persons ends up getting addicted to heroin. The warm, relaxed, and happy feeling that heroin induces are short-lived. The affected individual, however, does not realize this. There are harmful effects on almost all systems that are cumulative.
Treatment for heroin addiction, like any other prescription drug addition, involves two specific aspects.
- Detox: Detoxification can happen either via pharmacological or behavioral methods. In the first one, drugs which produce a similar effect as heroin are given, but these do not have the harmful effects including the addictive nature of heroin. The craving is reduced, and people gradually tend to wean away from using it. Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are commonly used either alone or in combination for the treatment of heroin addiction. The choice depends on how severe the addiction is and how severe the withdrawal symptoms are. In most cases, buprenorphine and naltrexone are used in combination initially and then followed by extended-release naltrexone.
- Behavioral issue: Most people do not take to addiction only for the substance in question. There is often a deeper and more important cause to the addiction. Therefore, it is important to unravel this as part of the treatment for heroin addiction. Whether there is a history of abuse or anxiety disorder, understanding the trigger or the co-existing condition helps.
While signing up for treatment for heroin addiction, keep the following points in mind:
- Facility: It should have both inpatient and outpatient, as you might be required to stay put there for a few days.
- Programs: It is good to have individual counseling and group sessions available, as there is an excellent encouraging environment that encourages one to recover.
- Holistic approach: It should not just focus on detox, but should also help overcome the trigger for addiction.
- Finances: Be clear on how finances will pan out before signing up for any treatment for heroin addiction.