The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of opioid abuse.

Heroin is one of the main drugs associated with a fatal overdose. Fortunately, opioid use disorders (OUDs) and heroin addiction can be addressed through formal addiction treatment.

Vertava Health offers holistic, evidence-based programming to help those affected by opioids. Our state-of-the-art treatment centers encourage recovery through medical monitoring, therapeutic groups, and family support.

A comprehensive range of treatment modalities is also available to patients, including individual counseling and recreational therapy.

Most people who suffer from heroin addiction are abusing at least one other drug. Because of this, along with heroin’s difficult withdrawal period, many people require professional help to find recovery.

How Do You Treat Heroin Addiction?

Heroin is a synthetic drug that impacts opioid receptors in the brain. This drug changes the way the body responds to pain and may lead people using it to feel a sense of warmth or relaxation. Because these feelings can be pleasurable, heroin is extremely addictive.

Heroin addiction is often treated with a combination of therapies, including behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment.

As a powerful opioid narcotic, heroin can lead to a painful withdrawal period. This means people experience flu-like symptoms if they stop taking the drug suddenly.

Withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as several hours after last use, and may include nausea, diarrhea, chills, and body aches. Many people who are physically dependent on heroin keep taking the drug simply to avoid the agony of withdrawal.

To increase a person’s chances of lasting recovery, most people need to begin their treatment journey with medical detoxification. In a medical detox program, patients are given medication-assisted treatment and emotional support throughout the withdrawal process.

These medications alleviate withdrawal symptoms and help prevent relapse. Once a person is successfully detoxed from heroin, they are ready to begin formal addiction treatment.

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Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Options For Addiction

Detox is the best first step only when followed by evidence-based treatment. At treatment centers like The Bluffs, evidence-based treatment therapies include several types of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) options.

The primary types of MAT used for opioid addiction include:

Methadone (Dolophine or Methadose)

Methadone is a slow-acting opioid agonist that’s been used to treat heroin addiction since the 1960s. This drug is taken orally, so the effects happen slowly. This discourages the feeling of being “high.”

This form of MAT is not used as much as it used to be, mostly due to stigma. People in outpatient methadone programs usually receive daily doses at a clinic.

This can be problematic for several reasons, including a lack of privacy. Instead, most doctors now prescribe buprenorphine-based medications like Subutex.

Buprenorphine (Subutex)

In 2002, the FDA-approved buprenorphine changed heroin addiction treatment options forever. Buprenorphine is especially effective for detoxification and relapse prevention.

Different forms of this drug can also be prescribed in the privacy of a medical office, making it much more accessible to the general public.

Buprenorphine relieves opioid cravings without the dangerous high that comes with abusing heroin. This drug is often marketed as Subutex. Another form of buprenorphine-based medication is also available, a combination medication called Suboxone.

This drug contains both buprenorphine and naloxone, an opioid antagonist. The addition of naloxone prevents patients from being able to abuse their medication.

If a person who struggles with intravenous opioid abuse tries to inject Suboxone, the naloxone triggers withdrawal symptoms. The hope is that buprenorphine-based MAT will prevent further substance abuse and encourage patients toward a recovery mindset.

Naltrexone (Vivitrol)

This opioid antagonist blocks the effects of opioids and is not considered to be addictive. In other words, naltrexone does not lead to physical dependence.

Early studies of naltrexone found that patients had difficulty keeping up with the treatment. This inconsistent treatment decreased the drug’s overall effectiveness. In 2010, a new form of naltrexone was approved, sold under the name Vivitrol.

This long-acting form of the drug is only administered once per month, which could improve the patients’ success rates. However, it’s important to note that all forms of MAT are considered to be more effective when taken in conjunction with behavioral therapy.

Types Of Rehab Centers That Treat Heroin

If you are considering a treatment program for you or a loved one, there are several types of rehab programs that focus on heroin addiction.

While each type of rehab center has benefits, inpatient treatment has been linked to more long-term recovery success.
Heroin addiction can be treated in rehab programs such as:

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment centers are residential. This means patients temporarily live at the rehab center and receive therapy on-site. Inpatient rehab programs can be highly effective, as they often provide a much-needed break from the stress and triggers of daily life.

In a quality inpatient rehab center, patients have the opportunity to focus solely on their recovery. Structure and supervision is provided around the clock, including therapeutic detox programs and 24/7 access to medical care.

Individual and group therapy sessions are centered on topics such as boundary setting, relapse prevention, and coping skills. Vertava Health’ treatment centers provide a holistic approach to healing and include alternative therapies like equine therapy, yoga, and mindfulness training.

Outpatient Treatment

Although inpatient rehab programs provide the most immersive treatment experience, not everyone can attend residential treatment. Outpatient treatment programs provide similar therapies on a more flexible schedule.

Outpatient rehab programs can be in full-day or half-day treatment sessions. The daily structure may include sessions with recovery speakers, motivational interviewing, and classes on job readiness. Family therapy sessions may be offered, along with 12-step support meetings.

This type of rehab center is designed to cultivate an environment of support and accountability. Group therapy sessions help patients to build a peer support network that will benefit them both during and after treatment.

Getting Help and Recovery For Opioid Addiction

At locations across the U.S., Vertava Health provides comprehensive treatment for heroin addiction. At our inpatient rehab centers, patients benefit from a blend of traditional and alternative therapies, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and expressive arts therapy.

With Vertava Health, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every person who struggles with heroin addiction has a different story. Our treatment centers provide individual and personalized treatment plans that empower people to find healing for mind, body, and spirit.

For more information on heroin addiction treatment, or to explore rehab center options near you, reach out to one of our specialists today.