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Heroin Addiction Treatment

Overcoming a Heroin addiction can be difficult to do on your own. Inpatient and outpatient treatment can offer the best chances for a successful recovery.

What Is Heroin Addiction Treatment?

Treatment for Heroin addiction usually involves a combination of therapy, medication, social support and lifestyle changes. Behavioral and pharmacological treatments are available at both inpatient and outpatient treatment centers. Heroin withdrawal symptoms are often very intense, but treatment centers can offer a supportive environment for a successful recovery.

The first step in Heroin addiction treatment is detox, preferably with a team of professionals who are trained to supervise and monitor the process of detoxification. Heroin withdrawal is often painful and can last weeks, but physicians can prescribe medication that help minimize discomfort and symptoms. Some of the symptoms that are experienced during Heroin withdrawal include:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Goosebumps
  • Uncontrolled leg movements

An important part of Heroin recovery also includes counseling or therapy. Therapy can help identify the triggers that lead to Heroin use as well as develop coping mechanisms to handle triggers. Therapy can also be quite helpful in managing co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

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Treatment Options

Most rehabilitation centers throughout the country offer Heroin addiction treatment but not all programs are the same. When choosing where to go for rehab it’s important to ensure that the treatment center provides the necessary tools and guidance for achieving sobriety.

Residential rehabilitation centers offer structured schedules and routines that include daily group or individual counseling, support groups, lectures, and recreational activities. Most residential programs last between 30 to 90 days but may sometimes last longer. Some programs may even offer activities that focus on physical wellness, music, and art.

Once inpatient rehabilitation has been completed, clients are encouraged to continue treatment. Patients usually enter a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), followed by an Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP), and finally general outpatient (OP).

Some people decide to go to outpatient treatment rather than inpatient rehab, but that is generally recommended for people with mild addictions. Outpatient Heroin addiction treatment allows a person to get therapy and medications while continuing to maintain their work and personal lives. In order to determine the appropriate level of care, one should first talk to a substance abuse professional to receive an evaluation.

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Heroin Addiction Medications

Pharmacological treatment can help during and after the detox process by reducing cravings and preventing future use, or relapse. Some of the most commonly prescribed medication for Heroin addiction treatment include:


Buprenorphine is a partial opiate agonist often used to alleviate symptoms of opioid withdrawals. Common brand names include: Buprenex, Sublocade, and Subutex. It can also be used for medication assisted therapy (MAT) but should be taken with caution, as it can be habit forming.


Methadone is considered stronger but works in similar ways to buprenorphine. The use of this medicine is controversial because it is also an opioid and can build up in the body, which can result in overdosing or addiction. It’s sometimes used short-term for detox but has been proven to be most effective for long-term medication assisted therapy. Methadone maintenance treatment can help reduce Heroin cravings and make long-term abstinence more likely. Methadone should be used with caution and only under a physician’s order.


Naltrexone, also known as Revia or Vivitrol, prevents the euphoric effects of Heroin by blocking it from reaching the opioid receptors in the body.


Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and Naltrexone. This medication helps relieve pain from withdrawal and inhibits the effects of Heroin. Taking Suboxone while still using Heroin can be extremely dangerous since larger quantities of the drug are necessary to achieve a euphoric state. Using Heroin while on Suboxone can increase the likelihood of overdose.

Ongoing Treatment And Relapse Prevention

Ongoing treatment and support are important for maintaining long-term sobriety. Heroin addiction treatment after rehab may include seeing a therapist and joining a support group. Therapists can help an individual develop coping mechanisms to prevent Heroin cravings and relapse. Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Heroin Anonymous (HA) are powerful resources for people wanting to maintain abstinence.

Some ways to prevent Heroin relapse include:

  • Take medications as prescribed by doctors.
  • Continue counseling and meetings.
  • Be cautious with new prescriptions.
  • Make sober friends and find sober hobbies.

Find Treatment For Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction treatment is available as inpatient or outpatient and can be continued through therapy and support groups. The first step is figuring out your needs and whether or not you need treatment for other co-occurring disorders. Many centers may accept your insurance or work with your budget, call a treatment provider to discuss your options.

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