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How to Quit Heroin
Written by Opiates | Published on December 17, 2018 | Updated on August 28th, 2019,
Heroin is one of the hardest drugs to quit. Heroin is an extremely potent drug that can hook users after just the first use. For those who the drug, simply wanting to experiment with heroin can turn into full-blown addiction in a short period of time. Additionally, the extreme pain and discomfort of withdrawal symptoms keep heroin users trapped in the vicious cycle of addiction. For many in this cycle, quitting heroin for good can seem unattainable.
The journey to recovery from heroin abuse can be fraught with considerable challenges. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can quit heroin and get on the road to long-term recovery. Before you choose one of the options featured in this article, do your research! Contact your family doctor, hospital or treatment center to find out what options will fit your unique and specific needs.
The road to recovery starts with medical detoxification. As stated in previous articles, the withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin are painful and uncomfortable to endure. For many, the discomfort is so unbearable they often return to using heroin. Trying to employ methods of self-detoxification have extremely low success rates and can be extremely dangerous to one’s health and life.
The primary goal of medical detoxification is to help ease the discomfort and pain associated with heroin withdrawals. A key element in medical detoxification to quit heroin is medication-assisted therapy (MAT). The medications used in MAT are specifically designed to mimic the euphoria associated with heroin use but are safer and less likely to produce harmful behaviors. The most common medications used in MAT programs to quit heroin include Suboxone, methadone and Vivitrol.
In addition to medications, treatment personnel will conduct a thorough evaluation of the patient to diagnose any medical or psychological complications that may be present. Underlying physical and/or mental health issues can complicate recovery. If these issues are detected during the evaluation, treatment personnel can create a customized treatment plan that addresses those unique needs.
Inpatient Treatment Programs
Once an individual in physically and psychologically stable as a result to medical detox, patients can transition to an intensive inpatient drug treatment program. These programs are ideal because the newly recovering addict lives on the campus of the treatment facility and away from the distractions and temptations of the outside world. In this sheltered and supportive environment, the addict can focus their energies on quitting heroin for good.
Through a combination of individual and group therapies, 12-step support group help, life and coping skills training and a variety of other traditional and holistic therapies, patients can gain the tools and support needed to become confident in recovery. Since heroin is a difficult drug to quit, it is recommended that a treatment stay lasts for 90 days or even longer.
With intensive inpatient treatment, individualized treatment programs must be flexible enough to change as the addict’s needs change. Additionally, drug treatment centers should have programming that addresses dual diagnosis. Oftentimes, heroin users have undiagnosed mental illnesses—and they use heroin to cope with their feelings. With dual diagnosis treatment, clients receive comprehensive substance abuse counseling programming as well as mental health programming. It is important to address and resolve the underlying issues that caused a user’s heroin addiction for them to truly recover.
Outpatient Treatment Programs
While intensive inpatient treatment is the ideal option for addicts to quit heroin, it may not be their best option. Inpatient treatment requires a significant commitment, and some users may not be able to do so because of work, family or educational commitments. To help these individuals quit heroin, intensive outpatient treatment becomes a viable option.
Those who attend outpatient programming do so several times a week and for a few hours per session. Scheduling of outpatient treatment can be flexible to accommodate a patient’s work, school and home schedules. During outpatient treatment, clients attend regular individual and counseling sessions as well as 12-step support groupsother recovery-centered programming. Intensive outpatient treatment may also feature MAT programs that are run by experienced professionals.
These programs also feature sober living houses where those in recovery live with other recovering people in a structured environment. While in sober living, clients can practice putting their life and coping skills to work with the support and encouragement of their peers and staff. These environments allow those new in recovery to gradually reintegrate back into their normal daily routines while keeping their recovery at the forefront.
Another essential tool to help addicts quit heroin are through participation of a sober support group. By interacting with people who are also in recovery, these groups provide the tools and support for people to become empowered to sustain healthy choices and promote long-term recovery. There are several options those in recovery can choose from to help them quit heroin for good.
By far the most familiar of these groups are 12-step groups. For those looking to quit heroin, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) would be the group of choice. The underlying philosophy of 12-step groups is that addiction is the result of moral and spiritual failing. Through a deeper connection with a higher power greater than themselves, those who look to quit heroin can work towards repairing themselves and their relationship with others through regular meetings, working the 12 Steps as well as working with a sponsor or mentor.
While these programs are popular and have helped countless addicts quit heroin, the spiritual overtones of 12-step programs may cause addicts to turn away. As a result, alternatives to 12-step groups such as SMART Recovery, Life Process and LifeRing have been created. These groups focus on self-discovery and empowerment and give the option for people to attend meetings online as well as in person.
Finding the Right Fit for You
Recovery is not a “one size fits all” proposition. Each addict has different needs, and it may require different treatment options to help them quit heroin for good. There are many great treatment options that are available, but there can be considerable uncertainty in knowing which of those options will work. If you are in that situation, call us toll-free right now. Our experienced personnel can work with you to find those treatment options that are best suited to your specific needs.